Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge, Suzanne Young
Published by To the Stars on October 6th 2015
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
From the critically acclaimed transmedia project Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, comes one of the most anticipated collaborations in YA literature this year: a thrilling, edge of your seat story written by award-winning musician, producer and director Tom DeLonge and New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young.
Poet Anderson...Of Nightmares follows the epic journey of two orphan brothers, Jonas and Alan, who are Lucid Dreamers. After a tragic car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers to get closer to the Waking World. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson.
So what’s special about this book? Truth be told, there’s so many things about Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares that standout to me as a reader. There are just so many different genres that are meshed together in this YA book that makes the end result truly special. The story itself is one that I personally could kick myself for not coming up with. It’s just fascinating and instantly drew me into the story and I had to keep reading to find out what in the world was going to happen. Simply put, you get sucked into this complex world that these two authors have created. You also care about each and every character, and definitely cheer for them to defeat the bad guys. My first reaction to the ending was anger, but that was short lived once I realized that there will luckily be two more books after this one! I can’t wait to find out what’s next for our main boy Jonas and all of the other memorable characters that more or less come to life throughout the story.
Who should read it? This is a complicated question to answer because I personally think that the story covers pretty much every genre out there. I have seen that fans of Star Wars and other science fiction novels will potentially love this more than other readers, but I am not a huge fan of Star Wars (shocking I know) and I still found myself lost within the world of lucid dreaming here. I think it’s a genius topic to cover because I’m sure that a lot of people have at least heard of lucid dreaming, but might not be familiar with it in the way that it is presented in this story. Personally, I thought that it was insanely creative and different to come up with all of these trials that come with lucid dreaming.
Jonas and Alan are both orphan brothers who also are lucid dreamers. Alan, who is older, ends up in a coma from a car crash and Jonas then sets off into the dream world of Genisis to find him. There is where he discovers that he is a poet. There is a war going on in the dream world, and the villain is REM, who wants to take over the Dream World and the Waking World. Jonas must face off against REM and save these two worlds. Additionally, there’s also some romance thrown into the novel between Jonas and Sam. I found it to be an added bonus in the story, and I really enjoyed getting to read about their relationship.
While some may say that this is a trilogy that Science Fiction fans are most likely to enjoy, I also have to say that those who just enjoy a unique and complex YA story will love the book as well. Since it covers a variety of readers, I’m going to recommend it for those that love YA and are looking to escape to a completely unique and creative world that you will definitely get lost in.
Interview with Tom DeLonge:
What inspired the storyline of Poet Anderson and is there a character that you most identify with?
I saw a fascinating documentary about the study of nightmares at Stanford University. It talked about nightmares preparing human beings for real world events. It instantly made me think of my already existing character Poet Anderson, a post-punk and introverted kid from a rainy downtown Seattle. He’s a lucid dreamer, somebody that can see a better world, even if there is myriad of conflict. Yes, a character that I see a lot of myself in. From the days when I had much longer bangs. HA.
Have you always wanted to write a novel? How was this experience for you?
When I was younger I could never find the desire to read. I cheated over and over and never read one book in school. Out of all the books they had given us, in all my years of school, I never read one of them.
As Blink-182 got popular, I started to realize what really made me excited about art was the way people felt when they come together, quite an epiphany for me. I became fascinated by the world of film, books, and music coming together. Hitting somebody with a 360 degree bat of art on the head. Angels and Airwaves was the genesis of that. Now, whenever I have any time at all, I find myself reading anything I can get my hands on, and trying to learn something of value.
Lucid dreaming plays a key part in the storyline, have you ever experience a lucid dream? What attracted you to the role that dreams play in our lives?
There are two main reasons that attracted me to dreams, I have had lucid dreams in the past where I can’t get these pictures out of my head to this day; wondering what they meant, and what the hell they were, I am also a daydreamer by trade, and I spend every waking hour thinking about how to improve my future, my environment, and my experience.
The novel is part of what you call a Poet Anderson Transmedia experience. Can you explain what other media assets you have created that help tell the story and how …Of Nightmares fits into it?
I believe that the future of art is the convergence of film, music, and publishing. This will create new ways for people’s imaginations to be immersed into new worlds and new ways of thinking. This is called Transmedia, a cohesive mix of various mediums of art working together leading to a much grander experience for the audience.
Recently you’ve shifted your focus from your platinum-selling band Blink-182 to your new company To The Stars. What can you tell us about your future plans?
As I’ve grown, I find myself wanting to do more things that involve other young artists. I get inspiration from talented people. I want to learn from them. I want to meet more people, try more things, feel new emotions, and see more reactions on people’s faces.
I just don’t do well in a box. After 25 years of one thing, I’ve developed a really cool new view of the world. I am always looking for new interesting ways to share my ideas and exciting, innovative people to collaborate with. The sky’s the limit for To The Stars, and I get to be the captain.
Interview with Suzanne Young:
What is your take on lucid dreaming?
I wish I could lucid dream. I read up on the act itself, and there are some who don’t believe it’s possible and others who think it’s a learned skill. I’d like to believe that a true lucid dreamer can modify and change his/her dream, but then again, if we all had the skill, how many of us would wake up again? It’s almost like virtual reality. But in the case of POET ANDERSON, it’s an actual reality.
Where did you draw your inspiration for the world?
I was lucky in that Tom and screenwriter Ben Kull already had a clear idea of what the world should look like. I tell character-driven stories, so my focus was on the Anderson brothers, and later, Poet’s relationship with Samantha. It was great to have pictures and graphic novel images to draw on for the setting.
There are a lot of intense battle scenes. What is your process for writing those?
When I write, I always imagine the scene as a movie. I watch it in my head and then try to describe it on the page. Sometimes it works; sometimes it’s a mess. But those were the times I’d send it to Tom and he’d be like, “I love it!” Or he’d be like, “Yeah, I don’t know what’s happening here.”
How does the novel …Of Nightmares fit in to the TransMedia universe?
The novel tells the origin story, introducing a young adult version of Poet Anderson. We know he’s going to be a serious badass, but right now, he’s Jonas Anderson, and he just wants his brother and he to live their lives. Then a Night Terror and a bunch of Dream Walkers show up and throw his life into total upheaval. He grows from here, but this was a great place for him to start.
Some of your other novels have heavy emotional themes. Does that carry into Poet Anderson at all?
Most of my books are about loss and grief, and I think one of the more interesting aspects of this book, in addition to the world Tom created, is the relationship between Jonas and Alan Anderson. That sense of belonging to no one can be a driving force. Some of us have to create our own families. So I think in that aspect, fans of The Program series will connect to the emotions that Poet Anderson will stir up.
Where do you see the story going from here?
No spoilers, but I will say this; going forward, nothing will be the same for Poet Anderson. He undergoes a significant change, losing a lot of people along the way. In the end, he realizes exactly what he is capable of. And what it can mean for the entire dreamscape.