Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson is making his literary debut with a story about a boy who finds adventure and peril in a land of living dreams.
On June 20, Thompson launches his debut novel, The Book of Nodd. The book follows Edward Nodd, a “peculiar” boy who stumbles into a dream world searching for a lost friend. There he meets a host of fantastic characters including the evil Sandman, whom Edward must ultimately confront in the City of Nightmares.
Thompson said the book “rides the fringe” between horror and fantasy, two genres he’s been a reader of for a long time. He said he’s a fan of authors like Stephen King and Michael Ende, who wrote The Neverending Story, which was adapted into a film in 1984.
“That had a huge impact on my childhood. I might have seen that movie 400 times as a kid,” Thompson said. “It was on constant play in my house. I’m sure my parents hate it now.”
Thompson describes his protagonist as an unpopular child and victim of bullying who feels as though something is absent from his life. He said it’s a relatable theme.
“I think that a lot of people will resonate with that, that they feel like something is missing from their lives, and [Edward] finds it there in the dream, which is wonderful for him,” Thompson said. “I think that a lot of people find solace in their dreams and I think that theme goes throughout.”
Thompson said he’ll be donating proceeds from the book to the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society. Thompson has bipolar disorder and he said he’s experienced a lack of support because of insufficient funding and staffing for mental health programs. He said it’s an issue that’s costing lives.
“I think I’m No. 700 on a list of people to see a psychiatric professional, so [it’s] really a difficult situation for anybody who has mental health issues and to me that’s so important,” he said.
Finally seeing The Book of Nodd in print has been a dream for Thompson. He said he first came up with the story about 20 years ago but life kept getting in the way.
“It sat around in my mind for a long time and I fumbled around with the ideas and built up the storyline and the world a little bit,” he said. “I finally got the nerve to get up to write it and I got about halfway through the book and then I hit a bunch of snags in life.”
The Book of Nodd is the first of a planned trilogy for Thompson, and he said he’d like to write a prequel as well. He said it’s been gratifying to see his dream become reality.
“Having a physical copy of the book in my hands is amazing,” he said. “It’s something I never thought would ever happen and here I am. It sits on my shelf and I marvel at it daily.”