“Are you psychic?” I’m occasionally asked this question, since my series’ protagonist has this is gift. The answer is yes, but I can’t do what Mae can do. I have a long history of precognitive dreams, some that predicted major events such a relative’s death, a friend’s illness, or a major change in my workplace, and others that foresaw peculiar and unlikely but utterly trivial events, such as seeing a man in a top hat at breakfast in a hotel. I have no idea why I dream the future, but it’s happened forty or fifty times. I stopped counting. I’ve only once been able to harness this ability intentionally in order to see something for a friend, and the dream took months to come true. I wouldn’t make a good psychic in a novel. I have a character with a more focused and useful version of this talent in the next book. Ezra Yahnaki, the twelve-year-old grandson of Mescalero Apache medicine woman Bessie Yahnaki, will be introduced in Ghost Sickness, book five of the series.
The idea for Mae’s gift was planted a number of years ago when a neighbor invited me for dinner. She had a friend visiting from out of town. This visitor could hold something you owned and pick up information about you and your life. I didn’t know what to expect, but I asked her to find out what I most needed to know. She turned away from the dinner table, holding my eyeglasses, and was quiet for about five minutes. When she faced me again, she described an elderly woman in a bed, and said she sensed that this woman was very sad. I recognized this was my mother, who was in a nursing home suffering from multi-infarct dementia. Though this psychic’s vision didn’t reveal something new, she had somehow perceived an important and difficult part of my life.
I based Mae’s gift on this woman’s ability to see and emotionally connect with the present at a distance through touch, and added the ability to see the past. The limitations of the gift add challenges to the plots. While the information she can access is vivid and deep, it’s also incomplete, provoking questions as well as providing answers.
This is revised and recycled from an old post from Dec. 2013