Perhaps one of the most common questions asked of authors is: “Where did the idea for this story come from?”
Most of my book ideas start with a daydream—or night-dream I suppose. Usually I’ll just see a scene play out, and my mind will run with it. The Dean Curse Chronicles was no exception, and I distinctly remember it.
There was a boy, about 13 or 14 years old, sitting in history class while his teacher droned on about the War of 1812. He was only half paying attention when suddenly his teacher was beside him… only not really, because she was still at the front of the class too. He straightened up and blinked at the new teacher, and then glanced at the teacher at the front of the room, then back to the new teacher, then over his shoulder at his best friend sitting behind him, who, it seemed, hadn’t noticed the arrival of the peculiar twin.
The twin-teacher slowly began to shift… She dropped a shoulder and twisted her waist. Then she hunched forward, and her right arm stiffened and twisted upward. Her face became the color of wet clay, and her mouth slowly opened until she resembled a crumpled, zombie-like version of herself.
Then she screamed.
It was a terrifying shrill cry that sent the already horrified kid to the ground. And, just like that, it was over. The kid was on the ground, panting and sweating, but the twisted version of his teacher was gone. More than that, it was clear he’d been the only one to notice the apparition.
My daydream ended, and I just knew the teacher had 24 hours to live and the boy was the only one who could save her.
Only… if you’ve read the story, you know that Dean had a bit of a learning curve to overcome when it came to saving people.
How did you come up with the name Dean Curse for the main character?
I have a brother named Dean, and most people who know me think I based the character off him. The truth is, I’m a fan of the show Supernatural, and an image of the main character popped into my head when I was searching for a first name. As any fan of the show will tell you, the main characters on the show are Sam and Dean Winchester. The “Curse” part of the name happened quite by accident. I was scrambling to write out the scene I’d just daydreamed, and I had the idea to name the kid Dean Cruise, but when I typed it, my fingers typed Dean Curse, and I stopped. Another scene played out in my head: it was the kid addressing the reader at the start of the book. “My name’s Dean. Dean Curse. Yes, I see the irony in my name, no need to mention it…” and that made me smile. So I went with it.
How many books are there going to be in the Dean Curse Chronicles?
Well, since I’m putting these books out on my own, that depends in large part on the readers. For now there will be four, but I have ideas for so many more. One of my favorite book series as a kid was The Hardy Boys. I liked that there was a definite story line that encompassed the series, but at the same time, each book was its own mystery. I wanted to do something similar with Dean Curse.
Do you have a favorite character?
Becky, Dean’s little sister. I don’t know why, but she really reminds me of my sisters (I have four). Not that any of my sisters have crazy hair or really bizarre hobbies. There is something nostalgic about the dynamic between Dean and Becky, and I really enjoy writing scenes where they’re interacting.
A close second, however, is Mr. Woodward. I based him loosely on a teacher I had in high school who was, hands down, my favorite teacher from any year in any school. He was a guy you knew had lived a crazy, interesting life just by looking at him, but his stories were just too crazy to be real… only they were real. I still smile when I think about some of his classes.
How long did it take you to write the first book?
About a month and a half, but I have a bit of a process when I write a book, and part of that process is putting the book in a “drawer” for a few weeks and then doing a rewrite. So from the time I started writing until the time it was ready to go to an editor, it was about three and a half months.
The cover art is incredible. Who is the artist?
To say I got lucky with the cover designer would be a gargantuan understatement. The artist is Pintado, and to those interested in discussing a project, you can check out his website at http://pintado.weebly.com . He was a dream to work with, and he paints like a boss!
MORE TO COME…..