Over the last year I've had the distinct pleasure of getting to know the very talented--smart, witty, kind, and encouraging--author Dean Mayes via Twitter, blogging, and Facebook. Yes, he's from the land down under, but that's not even the coolest thing about him (although, yes, very cool--he pronounces his name Dane. *American swoon*) Dean has also published a gorgeous romance, THE HAMBLEDOWN DREAM, set in both Chicago and Australia. Dean's publishing team has just redesigned the book and is now launching the 2nd edition of the digital version with a beautiful new cover. Dean has also digitally signed
I didn't doubt for a second that I would like The Hambledown Dream. I'm always a sucker for a good love story. But Mayes gives you more than just a sweet fluffy romance. The Hambledown Dream features beautiful writing, a bit of magic, a touch of music, compelling characters, and the passion of two souls reaching for one another across the burden of distance and impossibility. I was both absorbed by the novel, by its lyrical prose that reads like a song, and moved by the storyline of a man whose love is so strong, even death cannot stop it. The Hambledown Dream is at times gritty, but it's real and life affirming, filled with poignant longing. It's an emotional book that pulls you in by the heartstrings.
Meet the author
Dean Mayes has been writing, blogging and dreaming for most of his adult life, in between practicing as a Pediatric ICU Nurse and raising his two children, Xavier and Lucy (who was born during the writing of his debut novel The Hambledown Dream). Dean's passion for writing began when he was about six years old and he got a purple dragon stamp on his first piece of creative writing in the 2nd grade from Mrs Furnell. Apparently it was a big deal to get a purple dragon. Ever since, Dean has strived to create lasting stories, vivid characters and visual tome that is immediately engaging. Dean lives in Adelaide, Australia with his partner Emily, his children ...and his cross-breed cattle dog Simon.
THE HAMBLEDOWN DREAM
by Dean Mayes
Australian, Denny Banister had the world at his feet; a successful career, a passion for the guitar and he is in love with Sonya – his best friend and soul mate. Tragically, Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer and he is destined to die.
Meanwhile, Andy DeVries has almost nothing; he is alienated from his family, he moves through a dangerous Chicago underworld dealing in drugs, battling addiction & now he’s gone and overdosed - jeopardizing the only thing that matters to him; a place at a prestigious Conservatory for classical guitar.
Having been snatched from the abyss Andy recovers, but he is plagued by dreams - memories of a love he has never felt, and a life he's never lived. Driven by the need for redemption and by the love for a woman he's never met, Andy begins a quest to find her, knowing her only by the memories of a stranger and the dreams of a place called Hambledown...
A Few Words with the Author
Recently, I had an opportunity to sit down with Dean and have a bit of a chat. Here's how it went.
Me: G'day mate, I'm so rapt ta have yoos visit me blog.
What, is that too much? It’s the accent, isn’t it? I can never get it right.
No, No that's fine, very nice – although if you hada mentioned chucking a shrimp on the barby, I may well have had to kill you.
Ha! I'd never do that! *Chucks shrimp kebab over shoulder*
By the way, I totally spruced up the place for you. What do you make of my new sculpture? I had it shipped all the way from Australia, just for you.
Is that a gun he's holding right there or...?
Err, no. It's, um, a mallard duck. But, you know, abstract.
Alright then, let’s get down to business. How did you come up with this story? The Hambledown Dream seems to straddle a line between contemporary fiction and fantasy—magical realism, perhaps. Did you set out to write something with a magical element? A romance? What were you hoping to achieve with this story?
Hambledown was an idea that I've had for around eight years actually. Very early on, I had this singular thought about a reincarnation story where you have someone who is noble and proud, being given a second chance at life – but – in the body of someone who is duplicitous and mean and not very likeable. When I came to sit down with the story proper – I had three elements. That original idea, classical guitar and some sort of love story. I didn't know how that love story would evolve, so it was a discovery for me as I wrote the story. I believe I set out to achieve and did achieve - something that is very organic and 'real world' despite the paranormal element, which is very subtle.
I totally think you achieved it! Indeed, so many of the characters in your book felt so genuine and thought out. Do you think you’d ever write a story about any of these secondary characters? What kind of story?
I've been asked whether Hambledown is a one off – whether there is a sequel to it somewhere within the other characters. And the short answer is – for now – no there isn't. However I have revisited Hambledown in my mind many a time since I finished the novel. It's a place I enjoy very much and the characters there have become 'friends' if you will. I did write a short story follow up which you can read on my blog, which is a kind of coda to two of the most cherished characters from The Hambledown Dream.
Awww, phooey. Would've loved to see more of Beck. Or Samantha. Or a story about Beck AND Samantha...
Well then, what are you working on now?
I'm about 25K into a new project which is tentatively titled “Gifts Of The Peramangk”. It's set here in Australia and it follows the journey of an eight year old Aboriginal girl who lives in abject poverty in suburban Adelaide. However she has a gift – she has been taught to play the violin by her grandmother and when we meet her, she is an undiscovered virtuoso. Amidst a life of violence and despair, there seems little hope for this little girl. But she is about to be discovered and it will change her life forever.
It's set against the back drop of one of Australia's most difficult chapters in 'The Stolen Generations' – something that still affects our indigenous population today. I'm really excited about it because it is challenging me like no other writing project I've attempted. It's a contemporary work which will possibly appeal to young adults as well as adults. I think I'd like to make it as accessible as possible.
It sounds amazing! I look forward to reading it. Okay, so I happen to know that you’re a huge Star Wars fan. If you were to choose one character from Star Wars to narrate for an audio book, who would you choose? And why?
I just saw James Earl Jones (Darth Vader) on GMA in your good country recently, where he was asked to recite Justin Bieber's “Baby, Baby, Baby” and I thought – man if he can pull that off then I would LUUURRRRVE to have him read Hambledown.
I agree! He's a perfect one to read The Hambledown Dream! Your book is made to be read aloud by a master.
Alright, it’s time for some invasive questions.
London or Fiji? London
Beans or filet mignon? Filet mignon
Croissant and cappuccino or biscuits and gravy? Croissant/Cappacino x 5
Chocolate or Jared Leto? Excuse Me?????
Okay, so I probably should tweak that last question. Some people might prefer cake.
Dude, it’s been so AWEsome to have you here, I want to capture this moment forever with a picture. Smile.
Isn't Dean awesome? A great guy with a fantastic book. You can find him here:
Dean on Twitter
The Hambledown Dreamer on Facebook
And find THE HAMBLEDOWN DREAM here:
And before you go, check out the international release trailer for THE HAMBLEDOWN DREAM. It really captures that sense of longing that carries the reader through the book:
Thank you so much, Dean! It's been a pleasure to have you visit my blog! Even if you can't appreciate my abstract Mallard art from Australia.