As an educator and life coach communicating the importance of working with dreams and intuition to discover a deeper and truer sense of self, I wondered how to reach teens. Most of my work has been with adults near my own age who have personal concerns similar to mine: how to keep or improve health and how to live the years beyond age fifty to the maximum. My work with this age group centered on these issues.
Teens, however, usually enjoy exuberant good health and are just stepping onto life’s stage with new worlds to create so intuition and dreamwork need to focus on different issues pertinent to them. I thought that putting the spotlight on problem solving would be most effective since teens must do a lot of that in school and in their personal lives.
They face many issues which challenge their newly developing sense of who they are. It is all too easy to let others dictate their values and ambitions during a time when peer pressure is extreme. In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, I decided to write about a thirteen year old, Ashlynn Acosta, who is entering high school and strongly desires to fit and succeed. She has many challenges to face and problems to solve. She knows she is different because she has lost her mother, leaving her emotionally vulnerable and without a strong motherly supporter to help guide her. She suffers from nightmares and thinks other might consider her to be a witch because of the prophetic nature of her dreams.
With the help of a mentor, Ashlynn learns that how she responds to challenges and problems can serve to deepen her sense self and what is important to her.
I was inspired to place the story in Massachusetts because I know Cape Ann well from having lived on the Bat State’s North Shore for about twenty years. Along with a rich history, the area is famous for many of the elements in my story: a diverse ethnic population, witch hunts, fighting fishermen, Yankee ingenuity and the tradition of standing up for all that one holds true. The book’s cover shows an entrance to Gloucester High School, where my heroine Ashlynn goes to school.