In the following email interview, writer Mike Resnick notes he hasn’t seen a movie in theaters in five years. And yet he also says his new urban fantasy novel The Master Of Dreams (hardcover, Kindle) was so inspired by the worlds in certain movies (and, yeah, other books) that this book is only the first third of the story. Go figure.
To start, what is The Master Of Dreams about?
It’s the story of a reasonably normal, reasonably competent man who finds himself whisked from one fantasy world to another, with trips back home in between these excursions. The fantasy worlds are worlds that he — and almost all the readers — are familiar with: Oz, Bogart’s Casablanca, Camelot, etc. There is a reason for this, but it is not revealed until the third book.
Where did you get the idea for The Master Of Dreams?
Like any kid, I grew up wondering how I’d fare in Oz or Casablanca, so third-thirds of a century later I wrote the story.
It sounds like The Master Of Dreams is an urban fantasy tale. Is that how you see it, or are there some other genres at work in this story as well?
It’s as close to an urban fantasy as it can be without taking place solely in totally urban venues like Manhattan, where the book opens and closes.
The Master Of Dreams is not your first novel. Are there any writers, or specific stories, that had a big influence on this book, but not on anything else you’ve written?
No. I admire a number of fantasy writers — many of them are long-time personal friends — but nothing they wrote formed the basis for this book.
What about non-literary influences, such as movies, TV shows, and video games; did any of them have a big influence on The Master Of Dreams?
Well, clearly some of the films I grew up 60 and 70 years ago had an influence. Nothing recent, though.
Now, you’ve already said that The Master Of Dreams is the first book of The Dreamscape Trilogy. Do you know what the other two books will be called and when they might be out?
The second book is The Mistress Of Illusions, and the third is The Lord Of Nightmares. I’ve seen the preliminary cover art for the second book, so I imagine it’ll be out later this year. I’m just finishing the third one — I spent a few weeks in the hospital, and I fell behind in my writing — but I should be handing it in sometime in May.
What was it about this story that made you think it should be a trilogy?
I think the characters and incidents are interesting enough to last through three books without boring the reader, and the basic premise, which is hinted at in the first two books but not revealed until the third, was worth the wordage.
As you know, some people wait until all three books in a trilogy are available before reading any of them, and some then read all three in a row. Is there any reason why you think someone shouldn’t wait to read The Master Of Dreams?
Same as with any trilogy or series, which is to say, if each book cannot stand alone, cannot produce a satisfying read and conclusion even while pointing out that there’s more to come, then the writer didn’t do his job properly.
Earlier I asked if The Master Of Dreams had been influenced by any movies, TV shows, or video games. But has there been any interest in adapting this book or the trilogy into a movie, show, or game?
None yet, but that’s absolutely par for the course. If you’re not a huge name, a mega-seller, Hollywood and TV wait to see how the public reacts before offering money, since production costs mean that they’re playing with mega-millions.
If it was going to be adapted, which would you rather it be: a movie, a TV series, or a game?
You’re talking to a guy who hasn’t watched a single show on TV except news and sports since 1982 — and has produced an extra thirty novels because of that decision — and hasn’t been to a movie theatre in maybe five years. And I have never played a video game. My dealings with Hollywood have occasionally been lucrative, but never artistically satisfying.
Lastly, if someone enjoys The Master Of Dreams, which of your other novels would you suggest they read next and why that one?
My bestselling novel is Santiago, and my most-awarded novel is Kirinyaga, but if I were to suggest a single novel that is most like The Master Of Dreams, it would be the probably-out-of-print fantasy, Stalking The Unicorn or any of its sequels / companion pieces, each of which beings with the word Stalking.