I grew up loving the paranormal, the spooky, so it was no surprise that I enjoy writing in that genre. I am also a research junkie, and the amount of research required for The Claire Wiche Chronicles really let me indulge.
Because there is so much going on in my books, at the suggestion of one of my beta readers I added a reader’s guide. A bit different for each book, it gives an overview of the mythology/folklore/fact, then how much I change it – or not – to create the world of my story. Here are some examples, from Rest For The Wicked:
crystals – crystal healing has been popular for centuries, and has been documented as far back as 1550 BC, in an Egyptian medical document known as the Ebers Papyrus. References to them are found across religions and in everyday society. For every health issue, physical or mental, there is a crystal that can help. Lapis for boosting the immune system, helping with depression, and a host of other ailments. Hematite for mental clarity and confidence, along with blood cleansing properties. Rose quartz for self-acceptance, self-love, and personal worth.
I use amethyst for Claire – it is a spirit crystal, and a wonderful, all-purpose crystal, for everything from meditation to pain. It is one I have used for years, to ground me and to promote clear thinking. For Claire, it is a way to ground her to the life she has chosen. But it also opens the channels of communication with angels, so stay tuned.
demonic possession – literally, to be possessed by a demon. As above, possession was thought to cause certain diseases. Blindness was from a demon of blindness, who sat on the water, and struck those who drank the water with blindness. There was also the spirit of headache, the demon of epilepsy. The Sumerians believed that all disease was caused by demons, what they called “sickness demons.” Modern demonic possession is similar to what is portrayed in film and television: loss of control by the possessed over their body, supernatural strength, access to hidden knowledge, drastic changes in voice and/or appearance, and expulsion by exorcism.
I take the high road with demonic possession – the demon has total control over the body they possess, and they also have complete access to the memories and emotions. The human’s personality is dormant, but they can hear, see and feel everything that is happening. Once possessed, supernatural strength keeps the body from dying, even when it is mortally wounded. The demon also gives the body they possess, or ride, exceptional healing abilities, up to a point. Iron, salt, and holy water can hurt them, to the point where they may decide to vacate. And of course, a rousing exorcism will send them back to Hell – if they don’t escape first.
Jinn/Djinn/genie – there are many versions of the Jinn mythology, depending on what source you read. In Islam, the Jinn were created by Allah from smokeless flame, and, like man, given free will. In Muslim cultures, Jinn have been given different qualities. As an example – in Morocco it is believed that the Jinn can grant three magical wishes. Stories of the Jinn litter the One Thousand and One Nights, where the tale of Aladdin and the lamp can be found.
This is where I veer away from mythology and folklore the most. Marcus came from the idea of the Jinn, but he is a completely different entity within the confines of my fictional world. As I wrote him, Marcus simply evolved, and I liked what he became so much I decided to go with it. So he is Jinn, but not any Jinn you will find in religious or folklore text.
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The mix of elements in my series makes them unique, and fun to write. I love taking the story sideways when the reader least expects it – and what happens often catches me off guard when I’m writing it. I do loads of research, and being able to share some of it – while weaving in parts of the story world – has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing my series.
And with at least two more books to go, I see many more hours of research in my future. I can’t wait to get started. :)
You can learn more and follow Cate at her website (http://catedeanwrites.com/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/catedeanwrites), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/catedeanwrites), Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5694181.Cate_Dean). And click on a cover below for more info on those books!