Christina Askounis' track record includes a Peabody Award-winning TV series on the environment and 20 years of teaching writing at Duke. And now, her science-fiction novel The Dream of the Stone is poised to become a hit—14 years after it was originally published.
On Sept.18, at 7 p.m., Askounis will appear at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh as part of the store's "View from Tuesday Evening Program" to promote The Dream of the Stone, which was reissued by Simon & Schuster in April. "It's wonderful that the book is now reaching a whole new generation of readers, especially right now with the resurgence of interest in fantasy," Askounis says.
Stone tells the story of Sarah Lucas, an orphaned girl who uses a mysterious stone to travel to the planet Oneiros in order to save her brother and stop an evil force called Umbra. The story bears some structural similarities to Madeleine L'Engle's classic A Wrinkle in Time, and L'Engle—who died Thursday, Sept. 6—endorsed the book. "She taught me so much about writing and about life through her example and her work, including her novels and her nonfiction," Askounis says of L'Engle. "So much, in fact, that I had a hard time breaking free entirely from the spell cast by Wrinkle; in some ways Dream may be seen as a sort of homage."
Askounis is currently working on a novel for adults, and plans to work on two more books that would form a trilogy with Stone. She feels that this time around, readers are more responsive to her story. "The climate right now is better for fantasy than it has been probably since the initial appearance of The Lord of the Rings, thanks of course to a certain bespectacled young wizard, may he rest in peace," Askounis says.