Novel Reading of Sweet Dreams: Searching for Roy Buchanan, by Tory Gates

Get to know the writer: 

1. What is your novel about?

Sweet Dreams: Searching for Roy Buchanan is the first of the Sweet Dreams Series. It follows the life of Aki Sato, a Japanese teenager who is gifted (or is it cursed?) with the ability to time travel. It is called “Amida Syndrome,” and was passed down by her mother. But Aki’s mother and father were killed in an accident before she could be instructed in it use.

Aki is beset by terrifying nightmares, but in these, she hears a strange, musical progression that she cannot identify. This, plus Aki trying to help her older brothers, Kenji and Hiro keep the family business, and them, together.

A breakdown of her family’s vehicle leads to the discovery of that sound on Earth…a retired blues musician named Kazu offers to teach Hiro guitar; he also reveals to Aki that he, too, carries the Amida, and knew their mother.

Through a series of misadventures, Aki tests her powers and leads her brothers on a wild ride through time, and the blues. From the streets of Chicago, the Mississippi Delta, 1960s London and elsewhere, they meet legends before their time, and those who were never known until after their passing.

On the way, Hiro discovers his musical calling, an old flame from Kenji’s past comes back into his life, and Aki discovers her own voice…and they all learn of the power of the blues.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

This is Young Adult Fiction, with Emphasis on Coming of Age, Adventure, and SciFi/Fantasy. (But I’ve had readers from 13 to their 60’s tell me they loved it!)

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Transformative Storytelling.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I used to perform in two Boston area casts. I lost count how many time I’ve seen it long ago!

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

“Blues for the West Side,” Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

“Lord of the Rings,” J.R.R. Tolkien. I read “The Hobbit” at nine, and LOTR at ten, and I know that had the most profound influence on me. The telling of a tale in a place that took decades to create is something that I don’t think will ever again be approximated.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

A series of threads wound together in my mind, and they should never have. Music, especially the blues has always moved and inspired me; my interest in Japanese history and culture, and the idea that if I was going to commit fully to writing, I was going to do “something different.”

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Hayao Miyazaki. His films are the kind of stories I tell, the world he wants to see, and that’s the kind of world I write about…the one I/we want to see, not the one we’re told to see.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Too many things! I’ve been in broadcast radio for over 30 years; I’m currently a news anchor for the Radio Pennsylvania Network, which serves more than 60 stations; I also host an online blues program for the London-based Radio-Airwaves Station (they call me DJ`Riff), and I also play guitar and write songs as well.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I am interested in seeing how this story translates to the stage. When I write, I “see” the story, and imagine it in a film or play form. I’m especially intrigued by how others would “read” the story, and how they see the characters as being portrayed.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write! Even if you are not writing a story right this minute, it’s perfectly okay to dream, think of your story, talk with your characters, interview them, listen to their conversations. Do character sketches, do timelines, storylines; all of this is writing. And write what you want written; never write to anyone’s orders, but yours.



Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

By writingfest

Monthly Festival showcasing the best of new novels from around the world. Novel transcripts get performed by professional actors. OR, we also turn novels into movies and seen by 1000s online and at various film festivals.

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