A Novel Set in Chicago…and Pseudo-Chicago

Photo Credit: Tom Carroll via Flickr

Photo Credit: Tom Carroll via Flickr

My New Adult Urban Fantasy novel Gateway to Reality is finally available.

Art and Urban Life

Shortly after I got the idea for Gateway to Reality I decided it would be set in Chicago. I had recently visited the city, and I generally prefer to write about places I’ve been rather than second guessing a location. I picked this city not just because I love Chicago, but for  two other reasons: character and plot.

I knew my main character, Wes Teague, would be an art school graduate living in an urban setting, and I knew that art would play big in the story. Wes makes the minimum to cover his bills, relies on public transportation, and lives with few amenities. He’s estranged from his family and doesn’t have that great of a relationship with his girlfriend. He is an artist in a funk, slightly disgruntled and dissatisfied with life. Little does he know that his life is about to get turned upside down—and not in a good way.

Once I knew that Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate sculpture (also known as “the Bean”) would play a big role in the story, the Chicago setting was a definite. Several other local pieces of art make an appearance as well. But the Chicago in Gateway to Reality is quite a bit different from the place we know.

Chicago—with a Twist

Most of the story takes place in alternate universe, a place that we would label a dream. But in Gateway to Reality, dreams are the only real world. Thus, the bits of Chicago surrounding Wes’s adventure aren’t complete, and  the laws of nature there are anywhere from skewed to nonexistant. Wes is concerned about what kind of world he’s entered when he sees the skyscrapers behind the Cloud Gate dancing and swaying, but the moving skyline is the least of his worries.

Here’s a short excerpt to give you a taste of what it’s like for Wes to enter this crazy pseudo-Chicago.

“Wes turned full circle, scoping out his surroundings. This place resembled the Chicago he knew, and yet little things were off. He took a few steps closer and was startled by the human reflections in the Bean. They made faces back out at their matches, sneering or laughing. The expressions didn’t match the people looking in.

It’s a dream. It’s just a dream. The thought helped to steady his footing. Nothing to be worried aboutI’m just here for a bit, then I’ll wake up 

The colors of the world before him were vibrant—brighter than he was used to. Here, he saw—felt—what had been missing the day before. The air was sharper, crisper. Smells wafted past, not all of which he recognized, or that belonged in this park. His vision was clear, focused. Not like getting a prescription adjusted. More like taking off shades that shrouded reality. All of his senses seemed more alive here.

How could a dream feel more real than his own life?”

Gateway to Reality

Here’s the blurb:

Talented artists shouldn’t be waiting tables, scraping by, and living mediocre lives. But that’s exactly what art school graduate Wes Teague is doing.

Then he wakes from a bizarre dream, haunted by the sense that his life isn’t real. A harrowing truth presents itself–the real world lies in his dreams, not when he’s wide awake.

The dream world he enters each night is rich and vibrant. Chicago appears the same on the surface, but chaos runs rampant as gravity, physics, and other laws of nature become fluid, changing unexpectedly. There, Wes’s parents, brother, and sister are strangers. His girlfriend Emily doesn’t recognize him. Wes longs to return, to unlearn the truth about his dual reality.

Wes would sacrifice almost anything to get back to blissful ignorance in a false world.

But now he has feelings for the real Emily.

GtR kindle cover final medium

Gateway to Reality is available:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

iTunes | Kobo

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