The debut novel by Nicole Wolverton, THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS, has one of the most intriguing covers I’ve seen in a while, I absolutely adore the way the verticality works in it.
Plus, it has a great title and an incredibly unique plot:
For Lela White, a Houston sleep lab technician, sleep doesn’t come easy-there’s a price to be paid for a poor night’s sleep, and she’s the judge, jury, and executioner. Everyone around Lela considers her a private woman with a passion for her lab work. But nighttime reveals her for what she is: a woman on a critical secret mission. Lela lives in the grip of a mental disorder that compels her to break into astronauts’ homes to ensure they can sleep well and believes that by doing so, she keeps the revitalized U.S. space program safe from fatal accidents. What began at the age of ten when her mother confessed to blowing up the space shuttle has evolved into Lela’s life’s work. She dreads the day when an astronaut doesn’t pass her testing, but she’s prepared to kill for the greater good. When Zory Korchagin, a Russian cosmonaut on loan to the U.S. shuttle program, finds himself drawn to Lela, he puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. As Lela’s universe unravels, no one is safe.
To help celebrate the release of THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS, Nicole was nice enough to stop by for some questions.
PAS: What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you there yet?
NW: I wanted to be a lot of things: writer, librarian, artist, the next Dr. Ruth. The only thing that came to fruition was the writer thing, which is good since that’s what I wanted most! There are days I still think being the next Dr. Ruth would be fun, but I have too many stories in my head to give up writing.
PAS: If you could talk to the 15-year-old Nicole for five minutes, what would you tell yourself?
NW: First, I would tell her to stop worrying so much. I was a weird 15-year-old, constantly worried about everything and trying to wrestle control over everything I could. Things turned out okay for us, so there’s no point to being in a constant state of freak-out. Next, I would tell her to buy stock in Microsoft as soon as possible. Lastly, I would tell her the plots to all my favorite novels and beg her to get writing immediately.
PAS: What is your least favorite word?
NW: There’s no word I hate to use when writing (with the exception of misspelled words), but I hate saying the word “moist.” I have no idea why, but it’s true. I shudder a little when I say it.
PAS With such an unique plot for THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS, where did the idea come from and how did the story develop?
NW: As many have guessed, my head is a warped place. I go on these kicks, where I have to read everything I can about a certain topic. So a few years ago I was reading a lot about the shuttle program. Mary Roach’s book Packing For Mars discussed a lot of the science behind getting astronauts ready to launch, including the psychological testing. It stuck in my head, and the more I thought about it, the more I considered the people who actually test the astronauts. Before long Lela White, the main character in THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS, had taken up residence in my head. There was a lot of research to do before I could write, though–more information about the shuttle program, sleep disorders, mental disorders, arson, etc. As I was researching, the story fleshed itself out.