Eighteen-year-old Aria Hale loves her job at her father’s dream therapy company, where she enters dementia patients’ dreams to save their memories. But when their lab is ransacked, two technicians are murdered, and her father is kidnapped, everything changes for her.
Determined to find her father, Aria and her friends embark on a harrowing hunt across continents using the dreams of their enemies to guide them. But this dangerous journey plunges her into a world she never bargained for: deception, intrigue, and even love. As she races to save her father and hunt down her enemies, she soon realizes she’s in fact the one being hunted. And her dreams are the greatest danger of all.
In the vein of Inception meets The Bourne Identity, THE DREAM HEIST propels readers into fast-paced adventure that will send them racing to the very end. The Big Thrill spent some time with author Christina Farley to learn more:
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
This story was born from two articles I read in the same week. One was about a cyber heist where $81 million was stolen through swift codes. The other was how scientists were using dream therapy to help dementia patients regain their memories. At this time, my grandmother (she’s passed away since) was struggling with her memories. So I was utterly captivated by the idea that science might be able to heal her mind.
Then my mind began to spin. What if I could merge these two seemingly unrelated articles into one story?
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
As a huge traveler, I had a blast putting my journeys into this story. Specifically, my experiences in Southeast Asia with my husband and visiting my sister while she worked at Hong Kong Disney. The bomb explosion was also based off of a personal experience—not a good one—but there was something therapeutic in putting it in this story as if I was given control over that moment.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge was merging fact with fiction. Since this book was based off of a real heist, I wanted to stay true to that plotline. And then there was all the research I needed to do to really understand the latest dream therapy research. At times I was overwhelmed with the amount of research I had to put into the book. My critique partners were the ones who really helped me get out of the weeds on this one!
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
So much about this book was based on my personal travels. I think that was one of the fun parts about writing this was using my personal experiences and bringing those things into the story. I’m hoping that lends a sense of authenticity to the book. Since traveling is one of my passions, it’s exciting to merge that love with my love of writing. I’m realizing that this might be the perfect pairing for all the books I write!
Christina Farley is the author of the Gilded series, The Princess and the Page, THE DREAM HEIST, and The Immortal Secret. Prior to that, she worked as an international teacher and at a top-secret job for Disney where she was known to scatter pixie dust before the sun rose. When not traveling the world or creating imaginary ones, she spends time with her family in Clermont, Florida, with her husband and two sons, where they are busy preparing for the next World Cup, baking cheesecakes, and raising a pet dragon that’s in disguise as a cockatiel.
Visit her online at ChristinaFarley.com.