I’ve been following Michael S. Fedison and his intriguing novel The Eye-Dancers for a while now, so when he told me he had a new edition of it, I asked him to come tell you, my readers, a little more about it. He kindly agreed. Michael, you have the floor….
The Eye-Dancers, a Young Adult sci-fi/fantasy novel that explores the very concept of what we term “reality,” has been available as an ebook since late 2012, and while it was a great feeling releasing the novel as an ebook, it is especially rewarding at this time to release it in paperback form.
What is The Eye-Dancers about? Here is a quick synopsis! . . .
Seventh-grader Mitchell Brant and three of his classmates inexplicably wake up at the back edge of a softball field to the sounds of a game, the cheering of the crowd. None of them remembers coming here. And as they soon learn, “here” is like no place they’ve ever seen. Cars resemble antiques from the 1950s. There are no cell phones, no PCs. Even the spelling of words is slightly off.
A compulsive liar, constantly telling fantastic stories to garner attention and approval, Mitchell can only wish this were just one more of his tall tales. But it isn’t. It’s all too real. Together, as they confront unexpected and life-threatening dangers, Mitchell and his friends must overcome their bickering and insecurities to learn what happened, where they are, and how to get back home.
The answers can be found only in the mysterious little girl with the blue, hypnotic eyes. The one they had each dreamed of three nights in a row before arriving here. She is their only hope. And, as they eventually discover, they are her only hope.
And time is running out.
I also wanted to include an excerpt. What follows is a portion of the opening sequence in the novel . . .
Peering out his bedroom window, his eyes flattened into squinting slits, Mitchell Brant saw her.
“No,” he said. “It can’t be her. It can’t be.”
But it was. She had come again.
He looked away, at the night-shadows on the floor, at the sheets jumbled and strewn on his bed. Maybe she wasn’t really out there. Maybe it was just an illusion, some odd distortion of the light.
He looked out the window.
She was still there.
He felt the fine hairs at the nape of his neck stand up. Gooseflesh, cold against the stifling humidity filtering in through the open window, speckled his forearms.
The girl was standing under the streetlamp, looking straight in at him—the same way she had last night and the night before. She was just a child, probably no more than seven years old—his sister’s age. What was she doing out in the street, alone, well past midnight? Was she a runaway? And why had she come three nights in a row?
I asked Michael a few questions about the book, here’s what he said. :)
What inspired the story of The Eye-Dancers?
Michael: Actually, the germ of the idea began decades ago! When I was in high school, I had a nightmare I never did forget. In the dream, there was a little girl, maybe seven years old, standing out in the road, beneath the street lamp. The light from the lamp streamed right through her–she was more ghost than girl. In the dream, I was looking out through my bedroom window, and she saw me, beckoning me with an index finger to come outside.
I sensed, more than knew, that she wanted to take me somewhere–perhaps the cemetery, or some version of limbo where I might forever remain, a prisoner. When I woke up, my bedsheets were jumbled in a heap at the foot of my bed. I was sweating, my heart beating too fast and too hard.
Once I managed to get my bearings, I realized I had some very gripping material for a story. (Even back then, I wrote all the time–I’ve always needed an outlet for my imagination!) I jotted down the pertinent details of the dream, determined to include this “ghost girl” into a story. Over the next few weeks, I tried, but nothing worked. It appeared the “ghost girl” might remain on the fringe, never able to fit into a workable story.
Then, two decades later, I experienced the same dream! But this time, upon waking, the idea for The Eye-Dancers was in place. When I had gone to sleep the previous night, I had nothing. Then, in a flash, after a restless night, I had a novel to write. The creative process never ceases to amaze me.
The opening scene of The Eye-Dancers, where Mitchell Brant, one of the novel’s main characters, has a nightmare of the “ghost girl,” mirrors my own dream.
Finally, after twenty years, the “ghost girl” had a home, after all.
Who’s your favorite character in the book?
Michael: Mitchell Brant is one of four main characters in The Eye-Dancers. He was the most personal character for me–by that I mean, he shares several of my own characteristics at that age. In that sense, he is the character I feel the strongest kinship with.
That said, Marc Kuslanski, the science wiz, was awfully fun to write for. I’ve always had a soft spot for the science genius/know-it-all/idiosyncratic character.
Is there a particular intriguing tidbit you’d like to share about The Eye-Dancers?
The parallel world where Mitchell and his friends find themselves is loosely based on 1950s America. I wasn’t even born in the ’50s, but nevertheless, I have always been drawn to the decade. The styles of the ’50s have always called out to me. It was fun incorporating this element into an alternate reality novel.
Is there a secret about Mitchell and his pals you can tell us that your readers might not know?
Michael: Actually, the four main characters–Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski–are all inspired by friends I knew growing up. I still keep in touch with them, even after all these years.
What authors might you list as particular influences?
Ray Bradbury would have to top the list. His unparalleled enthusiasm and imagination have always inspired me. Truman Capote is a master wordsmith. When I want a primer in how to write well, I simply open up one of his stories. Stephen King’s characterization, an underrated quality to his writing, has left a mark as well. His characters tend to be well-rounded and real. And, though a different medium, the original black-and-white Twilight Zone has always been a favorite. The Twilight Zone features numerous landmark episodes that stretch the imagination and yet, at the same time, force us to look inward–at our society, our values, ourselves. One of the greatest shows in television history, without question.
Now for a fun question: if you could face and vanquish any literary (or movie) villain, who would it be?
Michael: Hmm. That is very interesting! This is where my comic book geekiness will come out. Who else but Doctor Doom?
Uh oh! Remind me never to get on your bad side! ;)Finally, do you have any forthcoming projects you’d like to share with our readers? What’s next for you, now that The Eye-Dancers is released?
Michael: A short story collection is in the works. And I am currently writing the sequel to The Eye-Dancers. The sequel takes place five years after the conclusion of The Eye-Dancers. Writing for the characters now that they’re older–one year away from heading off to college–has been a very interesting and fun experience. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!
As part of The Eye-Dancers coming out in hard-copy format, I am running a special promo for the ebook. Until September 30, 2014, The Eye-Dancers, the ebook, will be on sale for just 99 cents. Please grab a copy today!
At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Eye-Dancers-ebook/dp/B00A8TUS8M
At B &N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-eye-dancers-michael-s-fedison/1113839272?ean=2940015770261
At Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/255348
And, if you’d like to buy a hard copy! . . .
Or . . .
Sounds great, Michael. Good luck with it!
Michael S. Fedison was born in Rochester, New York, and now lives with his wife, Sarah, and regal cat, Luke, in the green hills of central Vermont. Michael has been writing creatively for as long as he can remember, and has had short fiction published in several literary magazines, including Iconoclast and The Written Word. He works as a full-time technical writer and also is a freelance proofreader and copy editor.
Michael has been a lover of imaginative stories his entire life. He enjoys any story that takes you by the hand, lifts you up, and transports you to another place, a new and creative way of looking at the world around us.
Connect with Michael at his blog: http://eyedancers.wordpress.com/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/msfedison27
At The Eye-Dancers Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Eye-Dancers/213004492164436
And at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6592469.Michael_S_Fedison
I think The Eye-Dancers sounds really intriguing, don’t you folks? Best of luck, again, Michael, and thanks for being here!