Strange the Dreamer, the epic fantasy series written by Laini Taylor, began as a dream. Now Taylor, a National Book Award finalist, has just released Muse of Nightmares (Little, Brown 2018; $19.99), the second book in the series.
“The story has been in my mind for 20 years or more,” says Taylor, whose author photo shows her with a shock of long seriously pink hair. “I think I dreamed Sairi, the character that came to me, who lived high above the city and I thought of her as the Muse of Nightmares. I started writing about her for my first book but then that became Lazio’s book. But this is about Sairi, the way trauma changes us and if it is possible for a person to overcome this. Sarai doesn’t know what she’s capable of and she feels helpless, but is she?”
The journey of Sairi and Lazio is one of intrigue and mysteries (what was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? where did the gods come from, and why? and how do they defeat a new foe?) and it’s interesting to note that as we follow Taylor’s story-telling, we often are only a few steps behind her as the story plot evolves. That’s because as much as she wants to shape her story, it often, as she builds her characters and scenes in her mind, takes on a will of its own.
Taylor says she always hopes to get to the ending she has in mind.
“But it doesn’t always work that way,” she says.
Immersed and—dare we say—co-dependent–with her characters, Taylor is sad when they make a bad choice though she can understand why they did so.
“It just give me so much empathy for them,” Taylor says. “I ask what causes people to do that. When my characters don’t survive, I really wish I could save them, but I can’t.”
But though she doesn’t often know how her books will end or save a character, she did know that she wanted to eschew the typical epic ending of a massive battle between good and evil and instead resolve it by asking and answering a powerful question “must heroes always slay monsters or is it possible to save them?”
When: Thursday, October 11 at 7 p.m.
Where: Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 West Jefferson Avenue Naperville, IL
Cost: Free and open to the public. To join the signing line, please purchase the author’s latest book, Muse of Nightmares, from Anderson’s Bookshop. To purchase please stop into or call Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville (630) 355-2665.
FYI: (630) 355-2665; andersonsbookshop.com