Meet Chynna Laird

The Making of Dark Water

Most of my stories combine real experiences with weird dreams I’ve had, and Dark Water is a perfect representation of this.

Last fall, I had a dream that I was swimming and was suddenly tugged under the water. My dreams can be quite vivid so I felt my lungs burning with the need for air, and everything was distorted and blurry—just like it would look if you were under water looking up at the surface. Just when I thought my number was up, a hand reached down to me and guided me up to the surface. It was an elderly Native man with the kindest face I’d ever seen. He didn’t speak, but sang and motioned for me to come forward. Then I jolted awake to see my son lying on my chest, which explained why I couldn’t breathe properly!

The next day, I researched Native legends about water and The Watcher was born. I essentially created him, then built the story around him and the water legend. I chose West Hawk Lake as the setting because my family had a cabin there, where I spent every summer of my childhood. It was a beautiful place, but I always felt it was surrounded with a bit of eerie mysteriousness too.

Dark Water, then, is my tribute to one of my favorite childhood places as well as to my deep respect for the Native culture and spirituality.