Romelia: WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT WAY YOUR BOOK HAS CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DRAFT?
Ocean Bloom: The most significant way that my book has changed since the first draft, is that it used to have a completely different ending. The book is a blend of reality and surrealism with a blurry picture of what is real. In the end, the picture gains focus to reconcile into one of two worlds. I changed the ending to make the book more fulfilling, but also complete. I don’t want to reveal what the ending originally was, as it would be a spoiler for those who have not yet read my book.
Romelia: WHAT PERSPECTIVES OR BELIEFS HAVE YOU CHALLENGED WITH THIS WORK?
Ocean Bloom: This book discusses socially accepted norms and the reason for those. It challenges the belief that all people who break socially acceptable norms are bad people. Sometimes good people do bad things.
Romelia: WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK?
Ocean Bloom: The idea for the book has been circulating in my head for years. Similar to the main character of the book, Bjorn, I like people-watching, and many scenes in the book are real life situations that I have either experienced myself or have witnessed. Also embedded in the story are many interesting facts that challenged my personal values and beliefs. I wanted to share those observations and challenge my readers and put them outside their comfort zone. I hope that they will rethink the norms and beliefs that they have followed for decades.
Romelia: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK’S IDEAL READER?
Ocean Bloom: I think the ideal reader for my book would be between the ages of 16 and 75, and would be someone who enjoys psychological thrillers or suspense novels. It is a book for someone who is interested in the human mind that determines our perception of the world, but also is fragile and can be exposed to manipulation. The book does have some technical descriptions involving computers or hacking, but it isn’t necessary for the reader to have any background or interest in that area.
Romelia: HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR BOOK?
Ocean Bloom: I did a lot of research for this book. I wanted to introduce to the story interesting facts involving cyber security, data analytics, personal data collection, music and even the universe. The book contains many references to events that really happened including the hacking of a hospital computer system for ransom. I also studied Marcus Hutchins, a 22-year old British hacker who stopped the spread of Wanna Cry, a ransomware attack that hit hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. Further, the book has references to Greek mythology, poker tournaments, the pharma industry, data privacy (or lack of it) and many other specialized areas that I had to research thoroughly. Finally, since the book takes place in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, I studied the city topography to make sure that all the scenes were realistic, allowing the reader to follow the streets and go to places where the main character, Bjorn, would go.
Romelia: HOW IMPORTANT WAS PROFESSIONAL EDITING TO YOUR BOOK’S DEVELOPMENT?
Ocean Bloom: Professional editing was very important. My editor gave me great feedback, suggesting that certain portions of the story be changed or expanded upon. It was upon the advice of my editor that I ultimately changed the ending. As an author, you lose perspective and an editor brings an independent and fresh perspective and also challenges certain scenes to ensure that they are necessary for the progression of the story. In addition, I had a group of trusted proof-readers that included two psychology professors, one from Harvard and the other from UBC, who provided me with valuable feedback and comments.
Romelia: WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST SCENE TO WRITE, AND WHY?
Ocean Bloom: I think the hardest scene to write was the ending. There were a number of subplots going on in the story and everything had to be tied together in a way that would satisfy the reader. Reading a book is a commitment. People have little time these days and I wanted to make sure that the book provided a return on their investment. I wanted to create an “aha moment” and bring closure to the story. It was important to me that the book allowed people to reflect on and relate to certain elements of their lives.
Romelia: WHAT CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOK ARE MOST SIMILAR TO YOU OR TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
Ocean Bloom: I would say that out of all of the characters in the book, I relate most to Bjorn and Élodie. Both are flawed characters, but they are ultimately good people. I resonate with Bjorn’s struggles as I have personally experienced them myself. There were moments in my life when I would try to make a difference and bring meaning to life. But it is hard to do when you are silenced by those positioned above you.
I also find elements of Élodie’s life among friends and colleagues that I know so well. Some are hostages of successful marriages that over the years have burned out of love and emotion, leaving them with a feeling of responsibility to stay in the marriage and take care of their children.
Romelia: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?
Ocean Bloom: It took me about 15 months to write my first draft of the book, and another 4 months to edit it.
Romelia: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR YOUR BOOK?
Ocean Bloom: I wanted something that represented one of the main themes in the book, where the main character, Bjorn, was confused as to what was real or not real in his life. A lucid dream is one where the dreamer becomes aware that he or she is dreaming, and may even gain some control over the dream. I thought this described Bjorn’s situation.
Romelia: WOULD YOU AND YOUR MAIN CHARACTER GET ALONG?
Ocean Bloom: Yes. Although Bjorn has his quirks, I think that we have a lot in common, including our love of red wine.
Romelia: IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR CHARACTERS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?
Ocean Bloom: If I could meet Bjorn, I would tell him that he is a good person, who is smart with many talents. I would tell him that he needs to stop dwelling on his past and move on with his life.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE? ARE YOU MORE OF A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?
Ocean Bloom: I am more of a pantser. I did not outline or plan out my whole story before writing. Ideas often came to me as I wrote. However, after writing three quarters of the book, I shifted and became a plotter to figure out how to tie all the subplots into one cohesive story with both surprise and closure.
Romelia: WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR WRITING SPACE TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED?
Ocean Bloom: A glass of wine. Just joking. But I do think a glass of wine sometimes got the creative juices flowing. Generally, I think a quiet environment with no distractions helped me to write.
Romelia: IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A SPIN-OFF ABOUT A SIDE CHARACTER, WHICH WOULD YOU PICK?
Ocean Bloom: I think it would be interesting to write a spin off from the Creator’s perspective. He was a multi-faceted character, who most would find evil, but was also intelligent and well liked. He may even have a good side to him.
Romelia: IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANOTHER POPULAR AUTHOR, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Ocean Bloom: I think it would be interesting to spend a day with J. K. Rowling. She is such a talented author with an amazing imagination.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE WHEN YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK?
Ocean Bloom: I have a family and a full time job, so I do not have a lot of time to write. I did most of my writing on weekends, lunch breaks and during the evenings. However, when I work on a novel, I think constantly about the main characters, and research new events that I want to bring to their lives. It is hard to disconnect from the story as you are always thinking about what should happen next. Writing creeps into your daily life and competes for your time and attention. However, it is nice to have something to ponder, especially when you are doing dishes.
Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED AS RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK?
Ocean Bloom: No. My book took place in Vancouver, B.C. where I live. But I did visit some of the locations described in the book.
Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING SNACK OR DRINK?
Ocean Bloom: I occasionally have a glass of red wine when I write in the evening. I don’t usually snack when I write. Well, except a dark chocolate. But that doesn’t count as a snack, does it?
Romelia: HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK?
Ocean Bloom: I pop a bottle of champagne and celebrate with a nice dinner. But I also know that the book is never finished. Yes, the writing process can be finished but then the hard part comes, which is facing reality and promoting the book. As an author, it is very rewarding to see people reading the book and enjoying it. If that is the feedback that you get from your readers, well then you may as well pop another bottle of champagne.
Romelia: WHAT RISKS HAVE YOU TAKEN WITH YOUR WRITING THAT HAVE PAID OFF?
Ocean Bloom: I did touch on a couple of controversial subjects in my book including religion, affairs, addiction and some controversial events that have happened in other countries, but I think overall those topics made the book more interesting. As an author I want to bring attention to social problems and ethical injustice. I want to generate awareness of certain inequalities and abuses conducted by certain industries and governments. I hope to make a difference.
Romelia: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?
Ocean Bloom: Ocean Bloom is my pen name, so I don’t find much about myself when I google it, other than my Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads pages, along with my YouTube trailer.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR KRYPTONITE AS A WRITER?
Ocean Bloom: Procrastination. It is always easy to find something else I need to be doing, especially with a full time job and family.
Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.
Ocean Bloom: I tried bowling once, and my bowling ball slid out of my hand, and went flying across into another person’s bowling lane. Let’s just say I haven’t been bowling since.
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
Ocean Bloom: Something most people don’t know about me is that I am an animal advocate. Something I hate about the world is inequality.
Book trailer: https://youtu.be/2zGx3wsyCno
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org