Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blog Tour- The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall

The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall
Kara’s afraid to go to sleep—until the nightmares come when she’s awake . . . .

Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

This is a really suspenseful read; it's really more suspense than horror, but still pretty scary. I could not read this book at night and had to read most of it during the day, like at work. I really enjoyed the setting of Japan, which you don't often see in YA novels; it's fun to go abroad through reading. The myths used were a really fresh and original take on a tired subject (vampires) and really utilized the setting and history of Japan to that advantage. I loved reading about the friendships Kara made during her time there and just how similar Japan's students can be to our own. The climax of the story seemed rushed and abrupt, though the ending gives us a breather and a bit of time to come out of the climax and story, which was nice. Overall, a really scary read and definitely one to be considered if you're wanting a book for Halloween and want a fresh take on an oft-used subject in horror.

Interview with Thomas Randall
1) How did you get the idea for Dreams of the Dead and the overall trilogy?

I've always been intrigued by the fact that Japan doesn't have what I think of as a "traditional" vampire legend. There are vampiric creatures--all sorts, actually--but no vampire in the vein (no pun intended) of Dracula. A lot of countries have variations on that sort of European core, and that has become the source of most of what modern readers think of as vampire legend. I wanted to do a story that would be able to explore all of these very different vampire myths as a kind of counterpoint to the versions we see so much of--either the sexy predator or the angsty immortal. These vampires have taken the fear out of vampirism, taken the monstrousness away, but these stories retain the fear. As for Kara and her friends, I'm not sure where all of that came from, but I loved the idea of this girl starting over, a stranger in a strange land, and how much courage it would take for her to plunge into a foreign land pretty much on her own and be able to stand tall, especially at her age.

2) You're using a psuedonym for this series. Why is that?

A lot of reasons, actually, some of them contractual. At the time I made the deal with Bloomsbury I was under option for my YA work with another publisher, but working under a pseudonym was an exception to that option. That provided me an opportunity to attempt the pseudonym thing, which was something I've always wanted to do. Multiple times during my career I've suggested to publishers that one thing or another be published under a pseudonym. Unfortunately, in the past, publishers have always insisted that they'd rather go with the known (a familiar name) than the unknown (a brand new one). THE WAKING is different from my other work. Not that I haven't done creepy before, or courageous teen girl faces the darkness. But the tone of this feels different to me, and obviously the atmosphere is very different. Hopefully people who've enjoyed my other work will discover this, too. And hopefully a new crop of readers will find it as well.

3) What book(s) are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about them?

Hmm. I broke character for only the second time on this blog tour, so I might as well continue. YA-wise, the whole WAKING trilogy (DREAMS OF THE DEAD, SPIRITS OF THE NOH, A WINTER OF GHOSTS) is done. Right now I'm doing a YA dark fantasy for MTV Books called WHEN ROSE WAKES, which is coming out very cool, I think.

4) You write a lot of horror novels. What brought you to that particular genre, and what about it interests you and keeps you writing it?

I don't honestly know what brought me to horror in the first place. It always intrigued me. I always liked being scared. From my perspective, very little of what I've written can really be classified as Horror, but I'm always proud to be counted amongst the roster of horror writers. And there's no question that THE WAKING is horror, though you could call them supernatural thrillers, too. As for what interests me about it now...I think we all love being scared. There's catharsis in there. Like a good laugh, you feel better after a good scare. More alive. More engaged. More relaxed. (Not relaxed WHILE being scared, of course.) But for me part of the appeal of the supernatural is spiritual. If you can believe for even one instant that demons and ghosts exist, than for that same instant you have to accept that there is life after death. Where there is evil, there is good. Where there are demons there are angels. Horror helps us believe that there is more to our existence than just flesh and bone.

5) Now, the burning question on everyone's minds- what's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

It's a toss-up between Tangerine and Crushed Pineapple. :)

For more info on the tour and its stops, go here to see Little Willow's post about it.


  1. Thanks for posting the interview, Book Chic! I'm so glad that you read (and enjoyed) The Waking: Dreams of the Dead.

  2. It was extremely interesting for me to read this blog. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.