A chat with Caragh O’Brien, author of The Vault of Dreamers, and a giveaway!

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THE VAULT OF DREAMERS goes on sale Sept. 16th, and Caragh O’Brien stopped by to answer a few questions about the book! We’ve also got a copy of the book to give away to one lucky winner (US only), so be sure to fill out the widget and I’ll pick a winner on Sept. 19th!

CaraghO'Brien(c)TomyO'Brien (2)Congrats on the new book! Will you tell us a bit about THE VAULT OF DREAMERS and what inspired you to write it?
Thanks, Kristin! And thanks for having me by My Bookish Ways. The Vault of Dreamers takes place at a very unusual arts school which doubles as the set for a reality TV show, where each student is the star of his or her own feed. Cameras are everywhere, and they’re always on. At night, students are compelled to sleep for 12 hours, ostensibly to make them more creative, but when a first year student, Rosie Sinclair, skips her pill, she discovers the school doctor tending one of the sleeping girls in a sinister way. Nobody’s dreams are safe. The Vault of Dreamers is a novel of ideas, about dreams and art, and I really don’t know anything else like it. I was inspired by a combination of factors, especially the creative students I used to teach, reality TV shows, the elusive links between dreams and inspiration.

Why do you think readers will connect with Rosie Sinclair?
Hopefully, some readers will be drawn to the creative, imaginative way that Rosie thinks. She’s grown up in a gritty boxcar community with few luxuries, and she wants to be a filmmaker. One of her quirks is that she can see the world as if through a moving camera lens. She’s very honest and brave, but she isn’t perfect, either. Trying to figure out how art and manipulation work at the Forge School is a challenge for her.

The book definitely touches on our pervasive use of social media. What kind of research did you do for the book?
It’s still stunning to me how quickly social media can connect people, and how ripples can spread between people who don’t otherwise know each other. You can just see TV shows trying to tap into that more, so it seemed logical to me to have an audience factor affecting the show in my novel. For my research, I studied up on dream states of the brain. I also looked into current technology for reading dreams and the brain’s visual processing, plus info on coma patients and brain damage. I was interested to discover that dolphins have two-part brains, so one half can sleep while the other is awake. That would be useful for humans, too, I think.

vaultofdreamersIf you could experience one book for the very first time, which one would it be?
Do you mean, experience a book I’ve already read as if I hadn’t read it? I’d pick Austen’s Pride and Prejudice because I wonder if it would have the same impact on me now as it did the first time I read it, in tenth grade, when I felt I would never again find such a perfect book.

You’re a former teacher, and I read that you volunteer at Journey House, a program for incarcerated teens. What’s the most rewarding part of that for you? Will you tell us a little more about it?
I feel deeply honored to work with the residents of Journey House, a locked facility for young women aged 13-17. The residents, who have criminal records and abusive pasts, progress with their educations and therapy during their stays, which range around eight months. I lead 5-week writing workshops with them, and we write poems, stories, and journal entries together. The young women are amazing, their stories are heartbreaking, and they teach me what it is to be an artist because they write about what matters.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on the sequel to The Vault of Dreamers, and at the moment, I’m in a very messy exploratory phase. Thanks again, Kristin, for having me by!

Keep up with Caragh: Website | Twitter

Also, Caragh will be touring with Fierce Reads, so be sure to check out that schedule!

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The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the ridges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

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  1. Pingback: Blog Tour, Day 4, - Caragh M. O'Brien | Young Adult Author

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