Touch of Death — Writing Research

John Oxenham said, “For death begins with life’s first breath, And life begins at touch of death.”

For some strange reason, I find these words comforting. And in a way, a source of inspiration for my character, Francesca—a clairvoyant who is struggling with her gift.

Enter research on Psychic Abilities.

Being interested in the paranormal since I was a child, it wasn’t such a big leap to make a character a clairvoyant. But I am a research addict. So I started buying all sorts of books on psychic abilities, the afterlife, parapsychology. I watched ghost stories, most haunted places, read about experiences from psychics, started watching Medium. I wanted my character to be slightly like Allison Dubois, but completely in new territory with the full-strength visions she begins to have. I wanted Francesca to see and feel things that she questioned, that she didn’t completely understand or want to have.

The one thing I knew was that I wanted her to experience something that might be her psychic ability but was really created by the villain; a sort of psychological manipulation that messes with her head even more.

Here’s a snippet of one of those scenes (this takes place in what is currently the middle of the book):

‘She backed out of the stream of liquid, heard the dull cascading of water on skin turn into a thunderous beating on the tub floor and slowly opened her eyes. The water wasn’t water. It was bright red and smelled metallic. Like blood. And it was all over her and in her hair. Letting out a stifled scream, she leaped from the shower. Heard the curtain rip. She grabbed a towel and furiously began rubbing the blood off her body. Squeezing the towel around her hair, she saw it soak through the light blue terry cloth. Dropping it, she grabbed another and patted her face, squeezing her eyes shut. “There is no blood. There is no blood.”

When she finally mustered the courage to open her eyes and look at the still running shower, there really was no blood. She quickly shut off the water. The towel she’d dropped thinking it was full of blood, was clean. With a sigh, she sagged against the wall, letting her eyes drift toward the heavens in a silent prayer. She blinked and looked into the mirror, expecting to see her tired face; instead, she saw a condensation-fractured number 23.’

The blood was her actual vision—or the clairvoyant part—the number on the mirror is not. And before you say it’s not possible to have a number or words appear on a mirror without someone writing it in the condensation, I assure you it is. I wished my sister a Happy Birthday as an experiment. She didn’t know she was part of an experiment (I didn’t want to influence her). She thanked me later.

I have had so much fun researching and writing this book. Creating the visions was the fun part… in fact I had so many ideas for them, I’ve had to write them on sticky notes and keep them for the second book in the series.

More of my research “techniques” and fun to come.

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