What would you do if you woke up in somebody else’s dream? Worse, if you woke up dead?
And what if you discover that last night's nightmare continues in your real life today? And that you have to go back to your dream for clues on how to stay alive?
Or, what if other people's lives depend on your dreams?
Adam Filder, our main character, is going through all of this, and much more... He's a successful, charismatic young surgeon at the peak of his career and enjoying life to the maximum. He moved from the UK after his university studies and now operates in a private clinic in New York.
Everything is normal and beautiful until one day, when things start to get confusing. He has premonitions about upcoming cases, some of them incredibly accurate in terms of the procedures and treatments he must follow. Sceptical at first and under pressure from desperate cases, Adam begins to follow the suggested procedures on his patients and ends up saving lives in the most impossible circumstances.
Adam soon becomes obsessed with his dreams and tries to find ways to remember every second and detail of them. That’s why he teams up with his brainy friend, Gene, to build a dream-recording machine.
They come up with clever self-learning algorithms to understand and combine mental images, emotions and thoughts with medical knowledge and science to guide Adam. But... will this make things better?
What will Adam do? Will he follow his dreams blindly? Or, will he resist the temptation and use his intelligence and skills instead, despite putting some of his most suffering-patients at risk?
How are his colleagues and his crush, Michelle, reacting? And then, if the dreams influence his reality and not the other way around, should he influence his dreams? The book is following Adam's struggle and spiral fall into his inexplicable yet alluring paradox.
The Brainweaver is the first novel in the Adam Filder psychological drama series.
2018 Catherine Stowe, The Brainweaver
Catherine STOWE is the pen name of Mihaela Damian, author of The Brainweaver sci-fi psychological thriller.
Born in Romania, Mihaela grew up at the time when the communist regime was starting to become increasingly suffocating. Her father, an industrial robot designer as a day job and an artist in his spare time, encouraged Mihaela to develop her creativity and authentic expression from an early age. Apart from the regular painting and poetry, she enjoyed writing short stories, whenever the inspiration called her.
After graduating from university, she lands in Cambridge, UK where she works on understanding and integrating into the English society. She starts intensive language classes where suddenly she rediscovers writing and, to her great surprise, her brain starts coming up with a foreign new style, a deeper introspection into human emotions, reasoning and behaviour. Maybe it was the stage in her life or expressing in English that produced this strange shift in her creativity processes, but what is certain is that comments like "This is an great story! I would love to read more like it," or "Have you thought about writing a book?" really made an impact on her writing love affair.
An unexpected chain of events propelled her out of the UK into epic Switzerland where she ended up in a stimulating brain-research laboratory at the hospital of Lausanne. If she previously had the right mind-set, now she also gets the right setting to spark her.
She writes in two genres: psychological sci-fi thrillers, inspired by her involvement and fascination with neuroscience, human brain processes and behaviour, and short tragicomedy stories based on life during Ceausescu's 'golden age'. "A psychological thriller can be deep, heavy and soul draining to write at times, so an occasional light escape is just what one needs to keep the sanity in check," she says referring to the two contrasting styles. "Plus, writing one way increases the creativity of the other, as the brain is used differently for the two genres. Definitely in my case; alternating allows rest, processing and preparation for the next writing session of the contrasting type. And then, there is the inspiration: I have to use it whenever it finds me, for whichever book."
I am not the superhero type, she says. I like a real challenge, so I take normal people and put them in extraordinary circumstances and see what happens. And, because people react differently based on personal perception, surroundings, social pressure and prior experiences, the options for a writer are infinite. This applies equally to the reader — I like it when my stories inspire them further and make the reader's mind wander. The writer Rebecca Whitney calls it "an intense collaboration with the author, a direct wire into their brain". I call it perpetual creativity.
After finalising The Brainweaver, the Adam Filder series will follow with two more books. "When you write, you get great ideas that are sometimes too early to be placed into the current book, but are perfect for a sequel. So, this will have to happen."
In parallel, Mihaela Damian is also completing her satirical stories set in Romania in the 80's, seen through the innocent and enthusiastic eyes of a child.