"Vande Velde once again grabs readers' attention on page one and holds it to the end."
—School Library Journal
As soon as I heard my friend Carol say, "I dream other people's dreams," I knew I wanted to use that line in a story. Before writing Witch Dreams, I tried once before to use the idea of solving a mystery through the ability to eavesdrop on dreams. That particular story got bogged down in details, and the people in my writing group kept getting confused until--instead of through dreams--I let my character witness a murder through a magical spell involving a strand of hair and a bucket of water. That book ended up being Magic Can Be Murder.
Cover illustration by Vince Natale
Ages: 10 - 14
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish, now Two Lions Press
Sixteen-year-old Nyssa uses her ability to see into people's dreams to discover who murdered her parents six years ago.
Where do you GET those ideas?
I met a woman who introduced herself by saying she could dream other people's dreams. My friend Carol's dreaming was different from Nyssa's because it wouldn't be a shared dream. If you told Carol you had a problem, she would write it down on a piece of paper, put that paper under her pillow before going to sleep that night, and then have a dream on your behalf. She would tell you what she dreamed, and the two of you together would work to interpret the dream. (So you might work it out this way: That old, creaky car in the dream symbolized my marriage, and the fact that I stayed with the car when it broke down on the side of the road means that I shouldn't give up on the relationship.)
I never had Carol dream for me.
Nyssa ended her song, and in the quiet of the early morning heard hoofbeats on the dirt road behind her. She turned and saw two young men who--judging by their fine clothes and fine horses--were obviously bound for the manor. As they got closer, she recognized one of them as Ralf, and she discounted him as just a dressed-up servant from the house.
"Who's the songbird?" she heard the other ask. He tossed a coin in her direction, which landed in the dirt at her feet.
As though she were a beggar. As though she'd been singing for their entertainment, rather than to annoy the lord and lady.
"Just crazy Nyssa," Ralf said. "She's mostly harmless."
"She still alive?" the other asked mildly.
It wasn't until the men had passed that Nyssa recognized the second: Lord Haraford and Lady Eleanor's youngest son, who had been away for the past six years. The last time Nyssa had seen him, he had been fifteen years old, younger than she was now. She would have thought that he'd filled in nicely in those six years and gone from gawky to handsome, except for the look of disdain on his face.
That, and the fact that he was Elsdon, the man who had murdered her parents.