Guest author – Becky Black

Young Becky has been my guest many a time (so many she’s used up all my questions!) but she’s welcome here any time she’s got a new release. She’s talking about a subject close to my heart, which is sleep, and the power of the subconscious mind. And you can enter the draw to win a copy of Dream for Me by commenting here! (Click on the little pencil icon to do so.) Winner picked in a week’s time.

So, Becky, writers and sleep (or lack thereof). What do you think?

Sleep. It’s a subject I’ve had an interest in for many years, since reading a library book when I was a kid about the strange and wonderful world of sleep. And like most teenagers and students I carried out extensive personal research into the subject. So it was fun to write my new book Dream For Me. Sleep is a central theme of the story, because one of the heroes is one of the few people left in the world who does sleep.

It’s a “what if” story. What would our world be like if most humans no longer slept? And how would they view those rare people who do still sleep? As disabled? As freaks?

Writers and sleep have a tricky relationship. One the one hand, sleep is great, because sometimes ideas come from dreams, or from that wonderful half-asleep, half-awake state of naps, snoozing and lie-ins, when the mind is free to wander without the internal censors of the fully awake brain. There’s scientific research that suggests sleepy brains can be more creative.

In On Writing Stephen King even directly compares the acts of sleeping and writing.

”In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives. And as your mind and body grow accustomed to a certain amount of sleep each night — six hours, seven, maybe the recommended eight — so can you train your waking mind to sleep creatively and work out the vividly imagined waking dreams which are successful works of fiction.”

But sleep is also very time consuming. I don’t think many of us writers get that magic eight hours. But even if you only get six, it’s hard not to imagine how much more writing you could get done in those six hours if only you didn’t have to sleep. Writers sleep with notebooks by the bed, ready to capture ideas and dreams, so they’re at least getting something from that time. Some even try to fully leverage sleep time in the service of their art by learning lucid dreaming – at which point you can put sleep down on your writer’s time card as “outlining”.

But for most, however pleasant sleep is, and however much we want more of it, it’s one more thing to fit around the writing, along with day jobs, family, reading, promo work, social life, exercise, chores etc. And it’s often the thing we sacrifice first. So imagine if we didn’t have to sleep. Oh my gosh, we’d get so much done, right? Well, we’d get so much more Tweeting done and our kitchens would gleam…

Of course, the readers would also have so much more time to read, so would need more books than ever. So all the spare time we might think we’d get? Maybe not. In Dream For Me the work day has expanded to twelve hours and more. Well you don’t think if we didn’t need to sleep that the powers that be would just let us loaf around, did you?

It’s no wonder so many writers also have a very special relationship with caffeine.

Dream For Me

In a society awake for twenty-four hours a day a man who sleeps is a freak. But not to neurobiologist Shay Mistry. Jacob Garcia, the last known sleeper in America, is the test subject whose brain Shay has been dying to get his hands on for years. When they meet, Shay discovers the sleeper’s brain comes accompanied by a gorgeous body and a hostile attitude. As Jacob sleeps night after night in his lab it’s harder and harder for Shay to resist their mutual attraction.

Jacob is tired of being a lab rat, but he’s got his reasons to be in Shay’s lab—one of them he’s not going to tell anyone about—and his plan is to do what he came to do and leave. So falling in love with Shay is like adding a hand grenade to all the other balls he’s juggling. He doesn’t need this added complication, but his desire for Shay is too strong to resist. When Jacob’s secret comes out it triggers a chain of events leaving Shay irrevocably changed and forcing Jacob to choose where his loyalties lie.

A m/m science fiction romance available now from Loose Id.

Find out more about Becky and her books at her website.

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