Dokey, Cameron 1956-
DOKEY, Cameron 1956-
PERSONAL: Born August 14, 1956, in Stockton, CA; daughter of Richard (a writer and teacher) and Charron (a teacher; maiden name, Johnson) Dokey; married James F. Verdery (a theater manager), September 23, 1984. Education: University of Washington, B.A. (magna cum laude).
ADDRESSES: Agent—Fran Lebowitz, Writers House, Inc., 21 West 26th St., New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Novelist. Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, actor, 1977-81; Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA, exhibit copywriter, 1989-93; novelist, 1993—.
MEMBER: Romance Writers of America.
YOUNG ADULT NOVELS
Eternally Yours (horror), Kensington Publishing (Kalamazoo, MI), 1994.
The Talisman (horror), Kensington Publishing (Kalamazoo, MI), 1994.
Graveside Tales (a "Fright Light" book), illustrations by Peter Georgeson, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, KS), 1997.
Midnight Mysteries (a "Fright Light" book), illustrations by Peter Georgeson, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, KS), 1997.
Together Forever, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.
(With R. L. Stine) Dance of Death ("Fear Street Sagas," No. 8), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Kathryn Jensen, Jean Thesman, and Sharon Dennis Wyeth) Be Mine (story collection), Flare (New York, NY), 1997.
Hindenburg, 1937 (historical fiction), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Washington Avalanche, 1910 (historical fiction), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Cade Merrill) The Prisoner ("The Blair Witch Case Files," Case File No. 6), Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.
Beauty Sleep (fairy tale retelling), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2002.
The Storyteller's Daughter (fairy tale retelling), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2002.
How Not to Spend Your Senior Year, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2004.
Sunlight and Shadow, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2004.
"MYSTERY DATE" SERIES; YOUNG ADULT SUPERNATURAL ROMANCE NOVELS
Love Me, Love Me Not, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Blue Moon, Kensington Publishing (Kalamazoo, MI), 1995.
Heart's Desire, Kensington Publishing (Kalamazoo, MI), 1995.
"HEARTS AND DREAMS" SERIES; YOUNG ADULT HISTORICAL FICTION NOVELS
Katherine, Heart of Freedom, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
Charlotte, Heart of Fire, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
Stephanie, Heart of Gold, Avon (New York, NY), 1998.
Carrie, Heart of Courage, Avon (New York, NY), 1998.
BOOKS BASED ON TELEVISION SERIES
Winning Is Everything (based on the television series Full House), Simon Spotlight (New York, NY), 1998.
Here Be Monsters (based on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2000.
Haunted by Desire (based on the television series Charmed), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2000.
The Summoned (based on the television series Angel), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2001.
Truth and Consequences (based on the television series Charmed), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2003.
Also author of book Lost and Found (1999). Contributor of two stories to How I Survived My Summer Vacation, Volume 1, based on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Simon Pulse, 2000). Coauthor of educational materials based on the cable television series Beakman's World.
SIDELIGHTS: Cameron Dokey has authored a number of books for young adults. Her writing is diverse—from historical fiction to novels based on popular television shows—but a common thread connects much of her work. The characters in Dokey's novels are strong, intelligent young women, who meet and defeat the challenges in their lives. Even in her horror novels, a genre known for its depiction of weak female characters, Dokey's young women emerge victorious with a better sense of who they are.
Dokey once told CA, "My own books reflect my personal interests, as well as a couple of publisher requests." Dokey explained that her first two books, horror novels titled Eternally Yours and The Talisman, "caused some people who know me to raise their eyebrows and throw up their hands in dismay. 'Why was I writing horror novels?,' they wondered. 'Weren't those always horribly violent, particularly toward young women? Didn't I want to write anything where good things happened? Didn't I want to write things that were uplifting and worthwhile?'"
Dokey defended her work, saying, "Read my books. . . . I think you'll find that they are not gratuitously violent. You'll find that my girls are strong characters who overcome great odds. They grow and change throughout the course of their stories. They become more self-aware. They refuse to become victims, and their words and actions say so. I am writing something where good things happen. I am writing something worthwhile, and I am particularly pleased to find my own views about my work reflected in special mentions by librarians."
Dokey's horror writings include Eternally Yours, in which Mercedes Amberson falls for Conner Egan, the lead singer of a local band, not realizing that Conner is actually a vampire looking for the eternal love of a woman in order to become human again. In The Talisman, an ancient pendant holds the key to the mystery of how Gina Serventi's best friend, Diane, wound up dead. Dokey published two "Fright Light" books called Graveside Tales and Midnight Mysteries and three "Mystery Date" books titled, Love Me, Love Me Not, Blue Moon, and Heart's Desire.
In Love Me, Love Me Not, Kristen is in a graveyard mourning the death of her twin sister when she unwittingly captures the eye—and the heart—of Death himself. Death takes over the identity of one of her classmates in order to get Kristen to fall in love with him. A Publishers Weekly critic noted, "Conveniently, the principal characters take an elective in world mythology, paving the way for numerous references to Hades's abduction of Persephone and thus glossing this enterprise with a veneer of respectability."
Dokey's young adult historical fiction novels abide by the same rules she applies to her horror novels. She told CA, "I want to be interested in the people I create. I want to watch them grow. If I really wanted to get cosmic about all this, I could say that I try to expect the same things of my characters as I do of myself. I need to grow and change as a writer. I need to take on new things."
In the "Hearts and Dreams" series, Dokey focuses on romance and the brave young women who inherit a hope chest as it is passed from one generation to the next. Each story is based on an actual event in history, and each young woman is faced with a challenge she must overcome. Katherine, Heart of Freedom is set during the American Patriot activities. After Katherine learns that her father is involved in the action, she disguises herself as a boy to help fight for freedom and finds love along the way. Charlotte, Heart of Hope is set during the War of 1812, when the Indiana Territory is being threatened by Indian attacks. Charlotte is sent to Baltimore to live with her aunt. Alone and in a new place, Charlotte is surrounded by people she is not sure she can trust. When she is kidnapped, Charlotte must figure out the truth. When Stephanie is separated from her true love by her father in Stephanie: Heart of Gold, she stows away on a ship headed to California in search of her beloved. The final novel in the series, Carrie, Heart of Courage, is set during the Great Chicago Fire. The shy, timid Carrie emerges as a heroine, saving herself and others from the devastating blaze.
Dokey's other historical fiction novels include Hindenburg, 1937, and Washington Avalanche, 1910. In Hindenburg, 1937, Anna fulfills her grandfather's dying wish and boards the ill-fated Hindenburg in order to escape to freedom in America. Once on board, Anna finds comfort with a stranger named Erik Peterson, but her comfort is short-lived when her former love, now a Nazi spy, boards the ship, and Anna must decide between the two men. In Washington Avalanche, 1910, Ginny Nolan boards a train headed to Seattle to escape the wrath of her stepbrother. She befriends Virginia Hightower, a woman on her way to marry a man she has never met. Ginny is unprepared for the love she finds with Nicholas Bennett (the man to whom Virginia is betrothed), and no one is prepared for the avalanche that engulfs their train in the middle of the night.
Some of Dokey's most critically acclaimed books are her retellings of traditional fairy tales. In The Storyteller's Daughter, Dokey reworks the tale, "The Thousand and One Nights," about a young woman named Shahrazad who is picked by the king, Shahrayar, to be his next wife. The problem is that Shahrayar was betrayed by his first wife, so he keeps each of his new wives for only one night before killing them in the morning. In order to save her life, Shahrazad tells an unending story, night after night, that keeps the king captivated. School Library Journal's Connie Tyrrell Burns called "The Thousand and One Nights" "a delightful retelling, tweaked by the author to create a fresh, often quirky feminist who is not afraid to speak her mind." Burns continued, "Dokey's style blends just the right amount of old-fashioned phrases and figurative language that touches of contemporary tongue-in-cheek."
In Beauty Sleep, according to Angela J. Reynolds of School Library Journal, "Dokey has taken the familiar 'Sleeping Beauty' fairy tale and turned it into a fantastical romance guided by adventure and magic with humor and wordplay thrown in for good measure." A spell is cast on a baby Aurore that she will die at the age of sixteen, but another spell cast says she will sleep for one hundred years. When terrible things happen to her kingdom, Aurore sets out into the magical forest to try to figure out a way to stop them. In the forest, Aurore meets Prince Ironheart, in search of a princess who has been sleeping for one hundred years. Kliatt's Stacey Conrad concluded, "this story will appeal to all who love a good fairy tale."
How Not to Spend Your Senior Year is Dokey's contemporary novel about a senior girl who must pick up her entire life and move away from her friends for the twentieth time since third grade. When Jo O'Connor questions her father, she learns that he is a witness in an important court case, and that their constant moving has something to do with her mother's death. Changing her appearance and her name, Jo must forget her past and move on. Lynne Marie Pisano of Kliatt called How Not to Spend Your Senior Year "an innovative, unusual, 'can't-put-this-down' story." She went on to describe the book as "a riveting, fast-paced, illuminating story of love at first sight, friendship and high-school survival techniques."
In addition to her many young adult fiction novels, Dokey has written several books based on popular television series such as Full House, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel. She contributed two stories to a collection titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Volume 1, which is also based on the Buffy series. In a collection of romantic Valentine-themed stories titled Be Mine, Dokey penned a humorous tale of a tampon that accidentally flies through the air only to land right in the middle of the class hunk's textbook. A Publishers Weekly critic noted that the collection is laced with "spunky, offbeat characters" that "give well-worn plots new life."
Dokey once told CA, "I've always wanted to be a writer, even though I haven't always known what I wanted to write. When I was growing up, my father taught high school and my mother taught kindergarten. (The totally cool thing about having parents who were teachers was that all of us got the summers off. We'd go camping, which my father loved and my mother hated.) Every weekday evening during the school year, from eight o'clock to ten o'clock, my father would go to his study and write. I'm not sure I thought about it much at the time. It was just the way things worked at our house. Gradually, however, I began to realize that my father was doing something special. Once I'd realized that, the certainty began to grow upon me that, someday, I would be a writer, too.
"I did many things before I became a full-time writer. I worked as an actor in a professional repertory theater, and I worked at a lot of secretarial and retail jobs. The turning point came when I was hired to be the exhibit writer at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington. At last, I was fulfilling my dream of being a writer. Naturally, I began to look around to see what other kind of writer I could be.
"Friends from my acting days were writing young adult fiction. When I expressed an interest, they agreed to mentor me.... I've been writing young adult fiction ever since. In many ways, it makes a lot of sense that I've landed in the young people's corner. I was a voracious reader as a young person. Every two weeks, my mom and I would make the trip to the library. She would check out books for her class, and I'd check out as many books as I could for myself. I think the number was ten. Two weeks later, I'd return those ten books, all read, and go home with ten more. The librarians loved me (except when my books were overdue!)."
For the future, Dokey told CA, "I'd like to write something for someone over the age of sixteen. It would be a novel that takes three years to write and another two to revise. I would only write a paragraph a day, maybe (as compared to producing a complete new work in eight weeks or so). While I'm at it, I'd like to collaborate with an illustrator and do a children's book, and I'd like to write a cookbook that I can dedicate to my mom, who died when I was twenty-one. She never got to see me become a writer."
Dokey concluded, "Writing is a process. I'm interested in all of it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2002, review of Beauty Sleep, p. 1691.
Kliatt, March, 1998, review of Charlotte, Heart of Hope, p. 10, review of Katherine, Heart of Freedom, p. 10; November, 1999, review of Hindenburg, 1937, p. 16; November, 2002, Deborah Kaplan, review of The Storyteller's Daughter, p. 18; March, 2003, Stacey Conrad, review of Beauty Sleep, p. 32; January, 2004, Lynne Marie Pisano, review of How Not to Spend Your Senior Year, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, July 3, 1995, review of Love Me, Love Me Not, p. 62; February 3, 1997, review of Be Mine, p. 107.
School Library Journal, December, 2002, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of The Storyteller's Daughter, p. 136, Angela J. Reynolds, review of Beauty Sleep, p. 136; October, 2003, reviews of The Storyteller's Daughter and Beauty Sleep, p. S67.
Science Fiction Chronicle, February, 2002, review of The Summoned, p. 60; March, 2004, Lynn Evarts, review of How Not to Spend Your Senior Year, p. 208.
Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1997, review of Be Mine, p. 177, review of New Year, New Love, p. 177.*