Nightmares, in fiction

As a crime writer, I entertain with the stuff of nightmares.  Murder and mayhem, kidnapping and political manipulation, all the things nobody wants, but everyone secretly desires to have faced.

But every so often, I’ll slip a real nightmare into my fictional creations.  Just a handful of times, something personal make the trip from my own psyche to one of the character’s.  A dream about getting trapped in a tiny crack in the earth; the sight of a terrified cat on the freeway; phobias and peeves and things that make me shudder, all make their way from my life to a character’s.

Like the catacombsUnknown

In 1774, sections of Paris roads near the Place d’Enfer (Hell Place) began to collapse, bringing to official attention the incredible labyrinth of quarries underlying the city.  Hundreds of kilometers of tunnels, deep below the surface, silent and shaky and… now filled with millions of bones.

People go down these tunnels.  For fun. They call themselves cataphiles…cave

(Placehacking: follow the cataphiles into their rabbit hole, here.)

They crawl through tiny openings, squeeze down narrow tunnels, risk cave-ins and arrest and flooded corners and getting lost forever, for the sake of filling their senses with the solitude and the weight of the city over their heads. Read about them from National Geographic, here ).

Now, that had to go into the book.

The Bones of Paris, here.


  1. Kathryn on October 30, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Your description of Russel’s dreams made me a fan. The careful choice of just-the-right-words brought her terror right off the page and into my nightmares on occasion. Thank you. About those catacombs. Did you take that tour? The one at night? I did NOT!

  2. Merrily Taylor on October 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Wild horses wouldn’t get me down there! Dark, low ceilings…dead people…eeeeek!

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