Wednesday 13 July 2011

"Dreaming Not Sleeping" - an interview with Julia Kavan

Today, I am delighted to be able to chat to Julia whose Horror/Erotica Short Story, ‘Dreaming, Not Sleeping’ is published by Etopia Press.
If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a bit of background to the story:

‘Her nightmares were simply too good to resist.

A woman is tempted away from the safety of her husband’s arms by a skillful nighttime visitor. But they both find nothing is what it seems…’
 CatherineWelcome Julia and congratulations on a truly original and unnerving story. I loved it!
Julia: I’m glad you enjoyed it, Catherine!

Catherine:  What made you start writing and when did you begin?
Julia: I was very much a daydreamer as a child, and spent a lot of time in my own head. Up until I was a teenager I also enjoyed performing in school plays and village events. Then shyness struck and, rather than stand up in front of others, I preferred to write – and let others read it in front of an audience! That also gave me the opportunity to see how others reacted to what I was writing – and I liked making them laugh. (I haven’t always been this spooky!) I started to experiment with my writing in other ways too – however that was discouraged and I stopped writing completely for a period of time.
I picked it up again around ten years ago – and was asked to teach a local creative writing class. I’ve been doing that for at least one term every year since. At the same time I was writing screenplays and I started writing a novel. As teaching became more paperwork heavy I had less time to write. I started seriously concentrating on writing to be published a couple of years ago. E-publishing has been an exciting development and I hope I continue to have my work published in this way.

Catherine: In addition to ‘Dreaming Not Sleeping’, I read an excerpt of a novel called ‘While Yet A Boy I Sought For Ghosts’ on your website ( I found it beautifully written and intriguing. Can you tell us more about it?
Julia: While Yet a Boy is the novel I started and put away - a supernatural mystery set in the fens and forests of East Anglia, in the UK. The main character, Nick, is a forensic artist. His half brother went missing when Nick was a teenager and he feels guilty about his role in his disappearance. His career was a way to assuage that guilt - however it became a kind of torture for him, so he gave it up to teach art. When an old friend and detective calls on him to assist in identifying the remains of a boy – he feels duty bound to help... but his world goes haywire when his long buried gift of clairaudience resurfaces.   

Catherine: That’s very much my kind of story! When you start to write something new, do you begin with a blank sheet of paper and just dive on in there, or are you more of a planner?
Julia: Stories usually churn around in my mind for a while before they make it to paper (or screen). I’m also very likely to start writing the middle of a story if my mood when I sit down to write fits that section better. I should probably be more disciplined and start at the beginning! My stories are constantly in the back of my mind when I’m away from my desk too. I often write with pen and paper rather than straight on to the computer. It helps me get a feel for the story, somehow.

Catherine:  What are you currently working on?
Julia: I am polishing While Yet a Boy and I’m also working on a couple of short stories in a completely different genre, which has been fun – and a bit of a learning experience. I have no idea if they will ever see the light of day!

Catherine: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get their story published?
Julia: Write what you love and don’t try to guess the next ‘big’ thing. Take note of the ‘rules’ – but bend them if required. Don’t give up.

Catherine: If you had your own TV chat show and could interview 3 people (living or dead), who would they be and what would you want to talk about?
Julia: It would probably be the quietest chat show ever! I’d like the chance to talk to Clive Barker because I love The Hellbound Heart. Neither living or dead – Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre. I think he’d be a challenge, and I like a challenge! Actually.... I think I’d let him ask the questions. And... Joss Whedon. I was a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – even though I refused to watch the first episode – why would I want to watch something featuring vampires and a cheerleader? His writing was very clever and the ensemble cast worked brilliantly well – they won me over (and Angel might have had something to do with it!). He also created The Gentlemen – the scariest screen ‘monsters’ I think I’ve seen. Although there is that hideous Chucky doll thing..
Catherine:  Sounds like a first-rate show! Thank you very much for joining us today, Julia. Where can we find out more about you and, crucially, where can we find your book? 
Julia: Thanks for having me, Catherine. You can find me rambling on my website, which you’ve already mentioned , and you’ll also find interviews with some of my fellow Etopia Press authors there. I’m also on Twitter and on Facebook
Dreaming, Not Sleeping is available from:
Etopia Press:

Here’s an excerpt to give you just a flavour of ‘Dreaming Not Sleeping’:

Forgive me.

It was a kiss that brought me here. Soft and gentle. It ripped away my breath and tore away my soul. Now I can’t find my way back. I don’t want to find my way back. I hope you understand.

First, there was a single word whispered close to my ear—sweet and warm. Come. I smiled at the nuance and turned towards the voice but, when I opened my eyes, all I saw was the silhouette of my sleeping husband, his back towards me. I closed my eyes again and sank into fitful sleep. Come. Farther away now. Enticing. Promising something else. Something new. I chased the voice through fleeting dreams, trying to see who was speaking—but he stayed just out of reach, out of sight, a teasing phantasm, hiding around corners and whispering from the dark. I awoke frustrated, wanting more.

Daylight and real-life humdrum were enough to break the last tethers of fantasy clinging to my soul. The sound of the voice faded away with the day, drowned out by tedious chatter. But the thrill of the chase stayed with me, a gentle pulse between my legs keeping time with my heartbeat. I wanted to hear his voice again. I wanted to return to the dreamscape and hunt him down. Make him follow through on everything that single word promised. I wanted night to return so I could find him again, in the dark. Ridiculous! It was simply a dream.

Anticipation carried me to bed at night. I tried to grasp a memory from that first dream, to recapture and hold the voice in the hope that I could perhaps summon its owner forward from the recesses of my mind. When my husband reached for me in the dark, I pushed his hand aside. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and listen.

Come with me.


“Let me see you,” I said.

Come with me and you will.

I tried to follow, stumbling as I chased the shifting form in front of me. He laughed, but still I followed. It was hopeless. I couldn’t catch him. He vanished. And I crumpled...

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