Sorry for the delay. I have finally finished the first title of the YA fantasy.
Remembering my dreams is getting easier. Sometimes they contain characters from my books, usually not. The door back in, for me, has been learning to wakeup and pause, in neutral, for at least a few seconds before I begin thinking. If I can get the feeling--the last emotion of the dream--I can sometimes tug it back toward me and remember a lot of it.
My next step is going to be talking to the dream people, seeing if they will answer me. My characters do and I am not a bit unusual in that. Many fictionalists "hear the voice" of the character before they know what will happen in the book.