Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Guest Post: Jesi Lea Ryan

Rooting paranormal fiction in realism

I think we can all agree, no matter how cool they sound in theory, that vampires are not real. *Shocked face* Neither are werewolves or faeries or angels/demons (at least not the kind from urban fantasy novels). But what about psychics? Hmmm...just maybe.

That’s the thought I originally had when I had the idea to write my young adult, paranormal novels Arcadia’s Gift & Arcadia’s Curse. I’ve always been fascinated by psychic phenomena. Unfortunately, I don’t have an ounce of psychic intuition, but that doesn’t stop my generally skeptical mind from wondering about the possibilities of a paranormal story that is rooted in reality. Sounds like an oxymoron, but I rolled with it, and my character, Arcadia (Cady) Day, psychic empath, was born.

“Our bodies have five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing. But not to be overlooked are the senses of our souls: intuition, peace, foresight, trust, empathy. The differences between people lie in their use of these senses; most people don't know anything about the inner senses while a few people rely on them just as they rely on their physical senses, and in fact probably even more.” — C. JoyBell C.

Early in my research, I stumbled upon the above quote, and I decided to base my entire fictional world on it. In my series, the soul senses were once common in early humans, but over time, as verbal and written communication flourished, these senses devolved out of the gene pool...mostly. Now, a very minor percentage of people have the recessive genes for these soul senses, and each soul sense corresponds to a psychic ability.

Soul Senses
Corresponding Psychic Gift
Telepathy, Dream Walking,
Clairvoyance, Clairaudience
Medium, Spirit Handler
Charismatic, Telekinetic,
Hydrokinetic, Pyrokinetic
Empathy, Healing

Usually, the soul senses manifest themselves during puberty, but in Cady’s case, hers became active after a
traumatic event. I chose to write about a psychic empath because I hadn’t read about one before. Lots of paranormal books have telepaths, mediums and telekinetics, and sometimes an empath is a side character or it is a secondary ability for the main character, but I had never read a book with a main character who was primarily an empath. (I know there are books out there with empathic characters, but I make a point now not to read them for fear they may influence my work.)

I spent a lot of time doing Google searches on empathy, and didn’t come up with a lot of useful information. However, I did stumble upon a suggestion that an empath may have a larger aura field than most people, and maybe this is how they can feel the emotions of others who step into their aura. Sounded good to me, so I ran with it.

Taking a “normal” sixteen year old girl and turning her into an empath overnight was a bit tricky. I wanted her to have the ability there all along, lingering just below the surface of her personality, so when the triggering event happens, the empathic abilities made sense. The first thing I did was make Cady a naturally compassionate person.  She gives people the benefit of the doubt, tries to get along with others and has a huge soft-spot for animals. Secondly, Cady is an identical twin.  There is lots of research on the psychic bonds between twins, so *SMALL SPOILER* when her twin sister is killed, their auras would naturally reach toward each other, thus stretching Cady’s aura field so out of shape, it never snaps back.  Ta da! A psychic empath is born!

Along the course of learning to use, grow and control her abilities, Cady meets several other psychics with varying gifts.  To read about Cady and her friends, you can purchase the books at the links below:

Arcadia’s Gift:
Audible (audio book)
iTunes (audio book)

Arcadia’s Curse:

Jesi Lea Ryan Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, IA.
She holds bachelor degrees in creative writing and literature and a masters degree in business. She considers herself a well-rounded nerd who can spend hours on the internet researching things like British history, anthropology of ancient people, geography of random parts of the world, bad tattoos and the paranormal. She currently lives in Madison, WI with her husband and two fat kitties.