The following is an interview with author Barbara Newman regarding the upcoming launch of the YA novel, The Dreamcatcher Codes. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Newman about the creative process of bringing this story to life, the impact that the story may have with readers, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your novel! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Barbara Newman: Four girls come together from the four directions on a quest to recover a stolen piece of an ancient Crystal Horseshoe – a sacred talisman which holds the Codes of Nature and is the very key its survival. These girls are powered by the elements–earth, air, fire, and water—and cowgirl spirit. They’re guided by messages from mystical dreamcatchers, mythic, horses, the ancestors, and wisdom from all things in the natural world. Time is of the essence, not too different from the times we’re living in; the bees are dying, there are plastics in the oceans, humanity has lost its way.
The inspiration for this story came out of two of things I care about: girls finding their strong, authentic voices and the state of our environment.
BD: The novel deftly combines fantastical elements with the real-world issues of climate change and female empowerment. What can you share with us about your creative process in weaving these narratives together, and what have been some of your creative influences?
BN: The archetype of the cowgirl was a strong influence; these women and girls are strong, unstoppable, badass, like the Fearless Girl statue going head-to-head with the bronze bull on Wall Street. But truly, the greatest creative influence was the natural world. I traveled to remote places, hiked solo in the high desert, slept under the stars without a tent, came face to face with rattlesnakes and monsoons, saw the stone people in rocks, learned about plant medicine and crystal grids, Native American mystics, and it all shows up in the book in some form. I had a great time doing the research.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that the girls’ story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
BN: My characters are fantastical with all kinds of superpowers, but they are rooted in the real. They’re inspired by youth climate leaders like Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin who stand up against greed and the corporate abuse of our planet. My hope is that this book activates readers to make change.
The book also builds cultural bridges. The characters are diverse; there are girl crushes, one character is bi-racial, one is adopted, another is Native American. (Yes, I got the blessing from that community.) All of these things inform the bonds of their sisterhood which is a big theme.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
BN: We create opportunity! I can absolutely see this being adapted as a series or film, or even a series of graphic novels. I have mood boards all over my office walls. The work of these girls is not done…so, stay tuned.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
BN: I’m already mapping out new “Compass Points” for a sequel and writing a guidebook for fans of Dreamcatcher Codes called Codes of the Cowgirl: How to Live a Kick A Life.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Dreamcatcher Codes and your other work?
BN: You can find me on my website www.barbaranewmanauthor.com and on Instagram and other social media. I might even try BookTok. Well, maybe not.