The Aisling psychic triplets trilogy was a departure for me. I’d always had a little of the Gothic in my books, a little suspense, and layers of characters and their interactions. But while writing the sisters’ books, I was struck by how much of the material, resource, and research already dwelled within me.
Writers often speak of where they get their research, and share with others. To some extent, writing is a share and hand-me-down craft. The rest of the writing experience rests on the individual’s investment of time and energy. Some people are just natural storytellers, and stories bubble out of them. But structuring them, and putting them into book form, takes editing and control.
I spent a great deal of time setting up this trilogy. Due to the logistics of business and contracts, I wrote SILENCE THE WHISPERS (a favorite story) prior to beginning this trilogy; the psychic triplets had to sit on the back burner for a while. The basic trilogy idea contains a story arc, where the threads of the story run through each book, and end in the third. I’d written several other series, including the TALLCHIEFS (9 books), and understood how to build a series from the start, not just adding book after book. I usually lay down all three story ideas at one time, rather than adding on one at a time, which may be more usual. (I happen to like building proposals and series.)
As for this trilogy, I wanted Celtic names for the contemporary sisters, who are in order: Claire, Tempest and Leona. I have a great number of baby namer books and used the definition of the names to suit the characters. In a series, in this case a trilogy, it is really important to keep a character list and to balance the names of all concerned. For instance, Claire in AT THE EDGE is an empath and more gentle and reserved (until Neil comes into her life). Tempest’s name says everything (A STRANGER’S TOUCH 4/08). And Leona (FOR HER EYES ONLY 10/08), the oldest of the triplets by three minutes is a lioness, when defending her family. Greer, the world-famous psychic mother of the triplets has red hair and a pale complexion, just as they do. Greer’s coloring and her gifts are inherited from her ancestor, Aisling, the captive bride of a Viking chieftain.
Greer is a widow with very unusual children, and one profitable gift in her pocket: she’s a powerful psychic. As a single mother, with three daughters, born three years apart, I understood much of the family dynamics. To some measure, this trilogy mirrors my own life and interests. That research was already built into me, stacked up and ready to be used. It’s true then, a writer sells pieces of their family off, a few at a time. I understood the relationship and interaction of the sisters, and somewhat how the mother would feel/react in certain instances. I’m also very interested in Viking history, and elements of the Celts. You can read much of this at my website and blog, how I used my own earrings and other elements dear to me, such as beach stones and handcrafted in artistic items, within my stories. I like to keep a variety of objects around me; each seems to have a story lurking within.
I also visit every location of every book, but fictionalize the names. AT THE EDGE is set in Montana, a state I love very much and have set several books there. A STRANGER’S TOUCH is set on the shores of Lake Michigan, where I spent a creative retreat. I thought Port Salem was an excellent choice for a fictional town, considering what happened to psychics in another Salem. FOR HER EYES ONLY is set in Lexington, Kentucky, where I visit often.
Here is where regimentation and control of the writer come into play. With everything built into me already, and my extensive interests, it was important to center into the threads of the story, running through all three books. Yet it was imperitive to give each book, each sister, an individual suspense/dangerous story. This trilogy is a crossover between psychic and romantic suspense, because there is individual danger included, and there is an overall family danger. For those unfamiliar with romantic suspense, it can be light or loaded with forensics and bullets. The Aisling trilogy is loaded with tension and danger and suspense, but also saturated with family relations. It is also loaded with sensuality and romance, as the sisters deal with their different and unwanted psychic gifts. That is the key to the trilogy: these women want to live like every woman, yet they cannot. They cannot even live close together, for fear of their sibling and psychic connections interfering with each other.
If you are a reader who prefers a light, comical read, this trilogy may not be for you. These stories are layered with intrigue and relationship and very dangerous threads. I very much enjoyed writing the individual suspense stories, and building the threads running through these books. I hope readers enjoy them, too.
As for the psychic elements, I researched much of that and interviewed psychics. But I kept the elements away from what I consider paranormal, like ghosts or vampires. In each book, the sisters relay that they are not shapeshifters or mediums for the dead, which is a psychic element. To me there is a distinct difference between paranormal and true psychic.
Do I have any interest in psychic or intuitive ability? Yes, definitely, and I feel bits of it reside within my family. (BTW, I have my own set of runes, which I understand better than Tarot cards.) I really enjoyed writing this trilogy, and hope you enjoy it too. A newsletter is available at my website, if you wish to keep up with the progress of this trilogy and my other upcoming books. Bookmarks and newsletters are also available for SASE.