Friday, July 18, 2014

My Review of John Dreamer by Elise Celine with a BONUS Interview!

Title: John Dreamer
Author: Elise Celine
Received by: Author

John Dreamer has an interesting concept for the common tale of fear. Fear is something people must conquer throughout life. It likes to change it’s appearance and shape, so why not a different approach in defining and conquering it? After reading John Dreamer that’s what I feel author Elise Celine has successfully done. She establishes a unique setting for a group of young people who have never met, all needing to face fear and decide which path their lives should each take.

I believe that each of our lives have multiple possible paths. It’s up to us to decide which to take and bare the fate of those decisions. Each character in the book makes a decision and the reader gets a quick summary of how that choice set of a ripple effect in their life. I think it’s a great way to inform a young audience that choices have rewards and consequences, no matter the size of the choice.



Andy wasn’t usually sure about much, but she was absolutely certain this was the weirdest day of her life as she stood stranded in the middle of a great white room with six strangers. Well, they were mostly strangers. She could have sworn she’d seen the guy with the green eyes before, and maybe that was why he kept staring at her.

When a man calling himself the Guardian appeared and said they had come to make their deepest dreams come true, they embark on an adventure none of them ever imagined, and the consequences of their actions would change them forever.

"John Dreamer" is the first in a series of books set in the confines of the Great White Room.

The main character in the book for me was not Andy; it was the white room the story is staged in. Not the typical star of a book I know, but let’s face it, sometimes great settings can steal the show if they are that good. The white room is a gracefully described setting. Me as a reader felt it was a safe place that could cause no harm to the characters. It’s a controlled environment in which the characters can evaluate their lives and decide which path to take. The place even comes with a humorous character called The Guardian, to spice things up. At first I wasn’t too sure how humor like his could fit in the situation Andy finds her self in, but it worked and balanced out the story well.

Andy is the main character in John Dreamer and the story is from her point of with the exception of a surprise POV, which I’ll let readers discover on their own. Elise Celine’s writing will easily captivate readers into her story. Andy literally wakes up in the white room and as a reader it was fun to experience. I do wish there was more detail about Andy but I’m sure there will be in the next book in the series. There is a definite buy in to her story after she sees the stranger who doesn’t seem a stranger at all. It creates interest that will keep readers reading.

Right about now is when I discuss the male lead character, but I just can’t. I have to leave it a surprise. John is written as a mystery at first. Elise gives little information about him but he has a great ending. He carries a continuous calmness with him while in the white room with Andy. I expect great things from him in the sequel.

The pace of the book is very fast and is a book I’d recommend for a weekend read. I feel young readers will find a character they can identify with, since Elise covers a wide genre of personalities. If you want to experience a different book about life choices, fear, and love then I’d recommend John Dreamer. It’s definitely a big story told in a good pace that will consume any reader.

My Song Pick

Interview Time!

I absolutely LOVE interviewing authors. I am always surprised by the answers I receive to my questions and think it's great when readers can get a great experience with the authors they love. Elise Celine has some great things to say about her book John Dreamer and what projects she's been working on. Thank you Elise again for the chance to interview you. 

The Brain picking of Author Elise Celine

What inspired you to take a unique approach on youth facing fear and the ripple effect of choice?

I have always been inspired by the power of dreams. I believe that anything is possible, that things come to you at the correct time and that everything happens for a reason. What I wanted was to send a message of hope to whoever was willing to listen. We all have a chance at redemption. We make mistakes, survive suffering and have shortcomings, but we can be better, and we can be happy. I believe that more than fear, the characters are facing life changing situations that show them that they are capable of being this incredible version of themselves that they had kept hidden for so long. Some are blessed to have other people in their lives bring out the best in them: be it teachers, friends, family or significant others. But for the rest, a good dream could make us see all the possibilities that lie within. This is what this book is about, finding that better person that looms deep in our soul. Be it braver, kinder, more assertive, self assured, grateful or simply forgiven.

You make sure to describe the white room with great detail; the chairs in particular are very detailed for each character. Was there a lot of research involved to pair the chairs with each character?

When I originally wrote this story and we made it a play, all the chairs were exactly the same white plastic type you see in your everyday picnic. When I made it into a novel, I thought that each chair should have its own personality to match that of the character it was paired with. Some came very naturally, like John and Andy’s. Others had modifications over time. For example, Olivia’s chair was completely different, but I changed it when I made the picture for the cover. My former boss, who loves to collect antiques and art, lent me the three seats that you see with Andy and when he showed me the serpent armrests I thought that it was perfect for Olivia. The chairs are a character in themselves, and they’re functional to the story, like Roy’s roller, which helps him move around as much as he needs to. I love the chairs, and there’s a new one coming in the sequel.

The Guardian is an extremely lively character who is often compared to Willy Wonka. How do you feel about the comparison?

I never thought about the familiarities between the Guardian and Willy Wonka until recently when I relived the Gene Wilder version with my kids. But he wasn’t my inspiration, because the person I see is my friend Andrew, who everybody calls “The Killer” (long story), who played the Guardian in real life. He is one of funniest people you will ever meet. Since we were a very low budget production, all our costumes were provided by the drama department at the local university. Just imagine a huge room filled with gowns and wigs and props, two stories high. Well, he had the best time coming up with all this characterizations the Guardian would give himself every time he appeared in a scene. His first choice was this silver bell bottom suit that was just ridiculous, so the image got stuck in my head. He also came out as a mambo dancer, an angel and even as Obi Wan Kenobi. But I do love that they compare him to Willy Wonka, it’s an honor for me.

Of all the characters in the white room, who was your favorite to write for and who was the most challenging?

Roy was my favorite to write for, he is just so obnoxious you love to hate him. It was fun making him struggle so much, it’s like he’s begging for trouble. I am so different from him, I loved having him say and do things I would never even dare. 

The most challenging was John himself. He had to be perfect, but flawed. He had to be real, and unbelievable at the same time. It was hard for me in the first book, but in the sequel he came to me more naturally, since he had nothing to hide anymore. The same happens with Andy, they both let their guard down and become more rounded characters.

What book or books have you read recently that you can’t stop talking about?

I read a lot, whenever I can find the time. I’ve read from the classics, to the Latin American boom writers (which are my favorite), to Harry Potter and everything in between. Right now I’m reading the first book in the Game of Thrones series (I already read 3, 4 and 5 after watching the first two seasons, but wanted to go back to know all the details that the show sometimes disregards). I could go on forever about GoT, but enough has been said about the series. Other than that the last book to make me feel something really deep was Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. The subject of mistreated kids moves me to the core, because I imagine my own kids alone and abandoned, and it makes me grateful for everything that I have in my life. 

Now, this is a very difficult question because books are my favorite thing in life, I’m a reader before a writer and I could go on and on about all the stories that have touched me.  

What writing projects do you have in the works right now?

I just finished writing the sequel for John Dreamer and am waiting for it to be edited and published. I’ve had this part of the story in my head for so long it took me no time to write, the first book took me years, and the second only several months. I decided that the series would end here, so everything is resolved now. I had the end in my mind so clear I just wanted to get there as fast as I could. One thing that was very interesting to me was that a key element came to me while I was on a cruise with my family in the Amazon River last December. I hadn’t even published the first part, but was already starting with part II. I was looking out at this incredible landscape, got struck by inspiration and wrote down one sentence, which changes everything. Now I wont tell you what it is because it would be a complete spoiler, but I hope people will like how it all comes full circle. Other than that I have another story in the back of my mind that could be a new book, also in the YA audience, but with a completely different theme, far away from fantasy and dreams. 

Finally, what do you hope readers will gain after reading your book John Dreamer? 

I hope that this story inspires others to believe in themselves, and if it touches at least one heart I will be content. All this process: writing, editing, wishing, waiting has been in itself an incredible adventure for me, and I'm grateful to whoever takes the time to read my novel, because every reader is helping make my very own dream come true. 

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