The Psychic Realm: Dark Inception

I get a lot of emails asking to know more about how my Legacy Series is similar to the popular movie Inception.My first thought when this happens is that Dark Legacy sold and was published long before  the movie–so why isn’t everyone asking how Inception is similar to my popular Legacy Series of novels?


Of course I love to hear everyone’s thoughts–even those who dig the  movie more ;o) So keep emailing. But it’s especially cool to get feedback from those who’ve seen the movie AND read the first book. I’m dying to know more about what you think about Secret Legacy, which is FINALLY out in May. So, here’s a place to leave those comments. Let ‘er rip!

I’ll give you some highlights to work from–the cool things in both Inception and Dark and Secret Legacy that you’re not seeing out there an anything else right now.

Dream Theory

People can’t get enough of the parapsychology and metaphysics behind the movie and my Legacy novels.Including me! I’m currently reading books on particle physics as I work on proposals for new Legacy family (and what I’ll be pitching for books 3 – 5). It’s technical stuff that a new sci-fi/fantasy audience will dig while others might find it to much. But the thing about Inception and the Legacy series is that everyone who’s seen and read them thinks is–Cool! Even people who think the premise of both is too fast paced and complicated, are fascinated with the dream theory and the frantic speed of the the scenes that give us amazing images to explain just our sleeping minds work.

I’ve done posts on lucid and shared dreaming, so go check them out. These are real phenomenon that scientists research. They’re both also things I’ve personally experienced. I HAD to write about them, much like the creators of Inception.

Though I’ve never had psychotic psychic experience any more that the movie’s writers, I suspect, have found themselves so immersed in dreaming they can’t be completely sure whether they’ve ever made their way out or not. We have no way of knowing if the government is experimenting with psychically altering our minds and waking behavior through our dreams…but isn’t it cool (and creepy) to wonder???


Inception takes a more linear, architectural approach to dream imagery and symbols. The characters in the movie are also, for the most part, in more control of what they’re seeing in their dreams than my Legacy twins. The vividness of the Leagacy series’ back drops lends itself more to fantasy–symbolism and imagery, especially dealing with color and animal totems and the common dream paradigms of running and falling and drowning and searching through tunnels and mazes and doors.


I create a puzzle in the novels, a mystery amidst the thrilling, frantic action, that the reader’s turning pages to solve no matter how confusing a scene might be. Inception’s done the same thing with their setting–using it as almost an additional character that draws viewers in and keeps them riveted, whether they fully understand what’s going on in the current dream or not.

The settings are the best parts of both journies, IMHO.


Repetition isn’t usually something you’re looking for in a movie or a book. But in a movie or book about dreaming, it’s essential. Because dreams create and recreate themselves and the dreamer’s sleeping reality by drilling down through layers of conscious and subconscious thought. They repeat, even if we don’t remember them doing it. ESPECIALLY, in the case of the movie and books, because we don’t remember them.

In both Inception and the Legacy series, scientists are counting on dreamers NOT remembering their programming. The writers are using actual dream theory to explain why they don’t–and why the dream experts infiltrating others’ sleep can’t always be sure they’re in reality, either.

These layers and the repetition of them frustrate someone not looking for as much of a fantasy escape as you get in the movie and books. But for the viewer and reader who want to know more about the cutting edge of a thrilling science that tries to explain the more fantastical, secret parts of our minds… The ride is one of the coolest they’ve ever taken ;o)


It’s totally the WOW! factor for most people who dig this kind of experience. That’s what I hear over and over from Legacy Series readers and from Inception fans.


You don’t mind being confused, it’s part of the fun. You don’t mind the race for answers that don’t come until the very end, and even then you’re still not completely sure what’s going to happen next, because you live to hang on the edges of your seats. You are dying for more, even when the movie or books are over, because…Wow!

It’s thrilling to see this stuff play out on the screen or in a book. It makes you wonder–could that really happen? It makes you dream up ideas and stories of your own, because your own creativity had been fully engaged in what you’ve just seen and read. Your imagination’s become part of the story, EXACTLY the way it does in your very own dreams…

So, if you’re hooked on this kind of stuff, even though others have found the experience frustrating and confusing, you’re in good company. And I’m thrilled that there’s such a strong audience for the kind of contemporary fantasy I love to write. Yes, my series came before Inception ;o) But so many new fans are finding me now because of the parallels between the movie and my fiction.

If it means a new audience discovers Dark Legacy and Secret Legacy, and that I get to write further into the series as I craft three more books about a new legacy family with even more cool metaphysical gifts… Wow!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to “The Psychic Realm: Dark Inception”

  1. Regan Black says:

    Must confess, I haven’t seen Inception (though it’s on the weekend agenda, thank you Netflix) but I’ve always found dream theory fascinating.
    Dream repetition? Oh, my. That’s one thing that gets me on both a creepy factor and reassurance factor. There are a couple dreams (good and bad) I’ve had for as long as I can remember. It really is astounding how our sleeping minds work.
    And I’m all for anything that keeps you writing this WOW-factor series and world!

    • Anna says:

      The reptition is the one common thread in all our dreaming, Regan. That and the emotion that passes back through to the waking world. It’s how all this works–best we can tell, at least. You can’t write a book that’s tied to dream theory, even a fiction one about psychic dream programing and manipulating waking behavior, without showing the importance of drilling deeper and deeper into dream meaning and repetition until you can see a vision’s true intent.

      Our minds keep circling back to the same images and symbols and emotions for a reason. The important thing, whatever you believe about dreams, is to figure out what’s driving those subconscious passes through your common dreamscapes. The key–reality is almost NEVER a literal reflection of the dream itself. Our dream images are mearly reflections of something else, so don’t let scary/freaky dreams throw you too much ;o)

      Enjoy Incpetion. It’s a crazy ride.

      Let me know what you think!

  2. Ken says:

    I can talk Inception all day. For me the genius of the movie was the compounding of time as the characters travelled from a dream, to a dream within a dream, within a dream, within a dream. The concept works wonderfully with the closing cinematography to visually overlap the climactic events as they occur simultaneously. That would be so tough to do in a book. The scene jumps would be maddening.

    Or we can compare the whole thing to Dennis Quaid’s Dreamscape. Errr… bad comparison.

    Anna, thanks, now I have to go by your book. Damn it.

    • Anna says:

      Heh–sorry about the new “buy”, Ken ;o)

      I think you’re totally right about the time factor they used in Inception. It’s the external “ticking clock” that drove the thriller aspect of the move. And the imagery was unbelievable–didn’t it win the Oscar for cinematography?

      The scene jumps in the movie were maddening for viewers. I have several friends that were turned off by the frantic pace. Others who’ve watched the movie over and over, pulling out new pieces of scenes that they’d missed before.

      I did the same thing in Dark Legacy–a psychotic twin was sending dream images to her sister, slowly driving them both insane, and the reader is jumped in and out of dreams and erality and enduring the mania from the “healthy” twin’s POV as she loses her mind. It was tough, and there were readers that didn’t get the effect. But there were others who absolutely loved the creepy, surreal, choppy images. And it was true to the dream world and the contemporary fantasy world I was building for the characters, where stuff like this happens for a reason and mad scientists are trying to weaponize our minds… Bwahahahahaha. I’ve never been prouder of something I’ve tried to innovate onto the page.

      Dennis Quaid… Yeah. Not so much…

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I don’t pretend to anything but a base line understanding off of the “science” behind both the book series, and the movie, I just know I LOVE them BOTH.

    I have always been fascinated by dreams, I just don’t want to know what they mean when it comes to me. That would be scary.

    What I enjoyed the most about the movie was my 13 year old son “got it” and when I got a little lost, we paused the movie and he explained, very clearly I might add.

    What I love about your Legacy series (I got to beta read the second one coming out soon) is layers, for lack of a good word, between the dream realm and the awake world and also how it’s used to convey things about our real world. What I enjoyed doing, after beta reading was going back and seeing how it all came together. WOW. Its a world I want to get lost in again, and again, and again.

    Its one of those things where I say, all the time “I wish I could write like that.”

  4. rae says:

    What scientists are in Inception? As far as I could see it was a criminal gang or gangs raping people’s minds for information.

    To be honest I wasn’t as enamoured of Inception as everyone else seems to be. It looked pretty, and it was a nice idea but not especially original. Nor were the characters particularly filled out, they were just exposition mouth pieces.

    • Anna says:

      I don’t think there are actual scientists in Inception. Perhpas “reaserchers” is a better word, but they were using scientific principles to explain the reality behind how they inteded to program someone’s consciousness.

      I know exactly what you mean about the lead characters–whether or not they could be perceived as “heroic” is dabatable, given that they were tampering with others’ consciousness. The antagonist in my Legacy series are a band of government scientists trying to weaponize daydreams–and it’s clear they don’t care who they hurt or how many innocents are scacrificed until they have their ultimate psychic weapon. The race to stop them in Secret Legacy (the second book) ultimately becomes, for the protagonist, about rescuing and freeing a gifted psychic child that the scientists have focused their research on.

      The Brotherhood of Watchers in my series can even be perceived as a criminal gang–intentionally so. The “hero” in Secret Legacy is really more of an anti-hero (he’s actually for a short while the “enemy” in Dark Legcay, Book 1). The journey for this character in SL is to take control of what he and his Brotherhood are doing, and to concentrate their effortst to help the Legacies out there that are being manipulated, rather than just to stop the government’s next ploy.

      I hope you find a more dense character journey in the Legacy series. That’s the way it’s written, at least. Like all my other books, the story at its core is about community and redemption and releasing your past so you can become the very thing you’d fail at, if you stay the broken person you’re fighting so hard to leave behind.

  5. Mary Preston says:

    It is confusing but a fascinating subject no less.

  6. I must admit, I’ve got a copy of “Dark Legacy” on my TBR shelf (used to have a pile but has now grown to a shelf). Thanks for reminding me why I bought a copy. Will have to dig it out and give it a spin.

  7. I thought Inception was very interesting. Made me think, which is a good thing. I came over here from Fangs, Fur, & Fey, on the mention of that movie alone. :-) The science of dreaming really intrigues me, so I bookmarked your blog to read even more of it later.

    Then I saw Dark Legacy at Walmart, and recognized it from your blog! So I bought it and it’s moved to the top of my to-be-read pile. So you have a new reader thanks to your mention of Inception. ;-)

    • Anna says:

      Great to meet you, Mary. Thanks for linking over from FF&F. I loved the movie, too, and am thrilled to see dream science playing out on the big screen. It’s cool that you found DL in your Walmart. Go, Wally World! I hope you enjoy. Be sure to let me know what you think when you get to it.

      More Psychic Realm and Dream Theory posts coming soon, now that I’m back in town. It’s time to get serious about explaining more of the cool stuff coming in Secret Legacy…

  8. Rob Preece says:

    When I published my book, Medium in the Middle, a lot of people told me it was similar to “Medium.” Well, there are similarities… both have a woman who sees ghosts. Both have a crime-solving angle. Like you, I’d written my book before the video version (in my case a TV show) came out but people instantly compared the lesser-known book to the better-known video show. Fair enough, I guess. I do think there are some ideas that resonate in the universe allowing multiple people to pick up on them. I think my version is a lot funnier but it’s possible the TV people weren’t going for funny in their series.
    Rob Preece

Leave a Reply