“1984 and Brave New World meets Narnia” in this exciting new young adult release from award-wining author Stephen Zimmer. Four main characters begin their journeys in the Faraway Saga, a tale that invites readers to explore infinite horizons![divider]
[RAVENOUS]: Tell me about Dream of the Navigator. What inspired you to write it?
[ZIMMER]: A lot of things came together to inspire Dream of the Navigator. Watching trends in society and technology, and patterns, definitely inspired the vision of the massive technates that serve as the main population centers within the world portrayed in the book. It is a fusion of dystopian and utopian elements that are used by those in power to maintain tight control over the masses through the extensive deployment of technology.
On the other side of the equation, I have a keen interest in consciousness, dreams, and things of a spiritual nature, which brings limitless possibilities to a storyline such as this where non-physical realms are explored and discovered by the principle characters.
Bringing all of this together in one story has been very enjoyable as a writer. It has given me plenty to work with and explore, which inspires even more elements as the writing progresses. I think readers are going to have a lot of fun reading it, and it will leave them with a few things to think about too.
[RAVENOUS]: What was the best and worst part writing Dream of the Navigator?
[ZIMMER]: The best part of writing this book was being able to open up some new territory for myself as an author. I’ve never been shy about trying out some new things (such as when I wrote my Harvey and Solomon Steampunk short stories) and it was great to be able to immerse into dystopian elements within the context of young adult fiction. It gets into futurism and even science fiction a little, alongside some fantastical elements. Being able to draw those kinds of things into a single mix as a writer is both challenging and a whole lot of fun.
The worst part is always making the hard decisions of what character threads to follow. There are many very interesting characters in this series, such as The Artist and Gabriel, but I wanted to keep this focused to a quartet so I made the choices to follow Jaelynn, Cayden, Salvador, and Haven and see things through their eyes. These were the right characters to follow but it would have been just as smooth of a flow to write character threads for The Artist and Gabriel.
[RAVENOUS]: Which character in the story do you most relate to?
[ZIMMER]: Oddly enough, it is not one of the 4 primary characters that I feel I relate to the most, but rather one of the supporting cast, boy named Gabriel Adamson. He is fiercely independent and has a strong sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with the society that he is living in. He’s not just being a rebellious teenager for the sake of rebellion. He is an independent thinker and is driven to learn and become better at what he does. He is not one to compromise the values that he holds strongly to heart. I am similar to him in a lot of ways and it was a great experience in writing seeing his character take root and evolve. By the time I finished this novel I had come to relate with him very well.
[RAVENOUS]: How do you get to know your characters?
[ZIMMER]: When I am writing, I describe it as a cinematic process, in that I write what I “see” happening, very much like having a vivid daydream. When I am in that kind of zone, I am in the character’s heads too, so I have a connection with them that allows me to get to know them on a level that is not possible with my friends and even family in this world. When you are listening to their thoughts, looking through their eyes, and observing them in their world, you cannot help but get to know them extremely well.
[RAVENOUS]: Any special scenes you loved, but had to edit out?
[ZIMMER]: I did do a lot of trimming to make sure the pacing of the novel flows well, but thankfully I did not have to get rid of any significant scenes. I am glad that I did not have more than four character threads in this book as I know I would have eventually settled on 4 and it would have been hard to cut one out that featured a character like The Artist or Gabriel.
[RAVENOUS]: What is your writing kryptonite and how do you overcome it?
[ZIMMER]: Endless rewriting of a scene is one hurdle I had to learn to overcome in the earlier phases of my development as a writer. To progress in a manuscript, I learned to simply move to work on another section if I found myself bogging down in rewriting a section. In completing a book it just took time to get a sense of where the text needed to be in order for my editors to work with it. When I find myself starting to go over the same territory again and again without any major revisions, I know it is time to hand it off to the editor. If I did not do this, I could literally do infinite passes through a manuscript.
[RAVENOUS]: Where do you see your series going in the next few years?
[ZIMMER]: I estimate this story arc covering a trilogy, but I am leaving it open for a possible 4th installment, depending on a couple of subplots/developments that I’m looking to include in the storyline. I think these books would be a great foundation for cross-media projects such as film/tv and gaming, though the settings and environments would necessitate a sizable budget and high-production value to render them justice.
[RAVENOUS]: What was your writing process with Dream of the Navigator? Did you research, set aside time each day, or write whenever inspired?
[ZIMMER]: I kept to the same process that I take for all of my work, which involves morning writing sessions in a space that is set aside for writing only. The computer I use there is not connected to the internet and I do no other work on it besides writing. When it comes to research, I normally take time for that during the day or evening when I need to investigate something.
[RAVENOUS]: In 3-5 words, how would you sum up Dream of the Navigator?
[ZIMMER]: Cinematic, engaging, and thought-provoking.
[RAVENOUS]: What messages do you hope readers will take from Dream of the Navigator?
[ZIMMER]: If readers come away from reading this book with a better appreciation of keeping an open mind about the nature of the universe and the incredible possibilities out there, while also gaining a greater understanding of the value and nature of individual freedom, then I will be very happy.
[RAVENOUS]: Alright! Now for a couple fun questions….
[RAVENOUS]: If you could assign a theme song to Dream of the Navigator, what would it be?
[ZIMMER]: Rush’s “Freewill”. The exercise of free will, and environment to be able to exercise one’s free will, is paramount to this series. The classic Rush song does a great job of representing the concept of free will in music.
[RAVENOUS]: What is your favorite word?
[ZIMMER]: That is a very difficult one to answer as I have many favorites! Yet for some weird reason, I always get a chuckle out of the word “fish.” I can not explain it, but it is a word that has given me immense amusement over the years. Great to use in combination with other words to come up with ridiculous imagery too! Haha!
[RAVENOUS]: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
[ZIMMER]: David Gemmell’’s novel Legend. This novel has a wonderful depth underlying a great heroic fantasy tale involving an aging warrior about to fight his last battle.
[RAVENOUS]: If you could name a drink (virgin or alcoholic) after Dream of the Navigator, what would call it?
[ZIMMER]: Navigator Nectar, and it would be a very carefully selected and aged Bourbon that would have to be at least as good as Blanton’s. I can see myself aboard The Artist’s vessel having a good pour of this! haha
About DREAM OF THE NAVIGATOR:
Cities have been replaced by technates. It is a world of soaring apartments, hundreds of stories high, where technology measures, monitors and rations to meet the needs of the greater populace. It is a world of drones, in the air and on the ground, and advanced robotic beings who carry out much of the harder labor, security, and even pleasure assignments.
Those discontent, or who resist, are taken to Rehabilitation Centers, established after the embrace of the Greater Good Doctrine. For most, virtual realms, substances, and entertainment provide escapes, but for Haven, Cayden, Jaelynn, and Salvador, growing up in Technate 6 is a restless existence.
A hunger for something more gnaws inside each of them. Discoveries await that open the gates to transcend time and space, and even new planes of existence. Nothing in their universe, or others, is impossible to explore. What was once reality, now seems like an illusion in a deepening experience. Begin the journey to Faraway, in Dream of the Navigator, the first book of the Faraway Saga![divider]
About the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels and novellas(Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), the Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).
Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.
Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.