Sometimes the characters in my books have a parallel experience – in THE LAST MATRYOSHKA, when Jo Epstein falls asleep in her Vladimir hotel room to the pulsing of bass and drums from the disco below, she dreams of dancing bears—a sign that she is coming closer to the heart of the mystery she has come to Russia to solve.
In ASK THE DEAD, Jo falls asleep on an airplane and dreams about a calypso singer serenading a Wall Street crowd from a hot air balloon. He hits a high note, transmutes into an ancient Egyptian priest spouting proverbs, and I wake up in time to gulp a cup of coffee before we begin our descent into San Juan Airport. These are all elements in the case that her subconscious is working on.
These sculptures outside a museum in Moscow seem like characters in a dream
For me, culling material from dreams is like snorkeling in clear water in search of elusive tropical fish. I may catch a glimpse of the extraordinary early on but soon the day fills with distractions and the water becomes cloudy—unless I act quickly, many of the best ideas recede into the depths. Sometimes I can bring them back with meditation or exercise – or even by taking a nap!
So tell me – do you mine your subconscious when you write? Do the characters you write about have a rich "dream life"? How do you “stay in touch” with the depths of your psyche?
Please share your thoughts!