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Cheryl Brooks | When the Supernatural Becomes Natural

July 10, 2014

Cheryl BrooksREBELThe “Topic of Choice” option for a guest post during a blog tour can be a tough one for a writer. Discovering the seed of an idea seldom occurs instantaneously, and sometimes you have to fiddle around a bit before you find it. Since I’m obviously here to promote my latest release, REBEL (book ten of The Cat Star Chronicles), I should probably talk about that. But would that be too pushy, too mercenary, too self-serving? Who knows? Guess I’ll just start typing and let my fingers take me wherever they want to go, which is the best way I’ve found to overcome writer’s block. See? I’ve already written over a hundred words! Whoo hoo!

That being said, writing is not an easy job. The amount of time it takes to write a book is incredible—REBEL weighs in at a little over 99,000 words—and when you factor in the necessary research, editing, and critiquing, the hours required to finish a book increase exponentially. I’m very thankful I wasn’t published prior to the advent of the word processing computer because I’m a terrible typist. In the previous sentence alone, I made three mistakes that were easily corrected and some that my trusty Toshiba fixed for me. Back in the days of carbon paper and white-out, I never finished a manuscript, although I did try. The Internet has made research easier than ever, but there is still a danger of getting side-tracked. Before you know it, the time designated for writing is gone for the day.

Speaking of days, since today is Supernatural Thursday here on Fresh Fiction, I should probably talk about that. I’ve already touched on computers, and for my money, they border on being paranormal. Sure, science is explainable to those who study its mysteries, but to others, it’s nothing short of magic. So are the cars and planes that take us from place to place. I can put gas in my car’s tank and change a tire, but if something goes wrong under the hood, I’m lost.

Starships would be no different to those who merely fly them. After all, even Captain Kirk couldn’t fix a warp engine, and Mr. Sulu probably couldn’t either. But Scotty could. His character was probably responsible for more applications to engineering schools than any other determining factor. He was always the one who saved the day by repairing the ship in a third of the time stated in his original estimate. He even admitted to tripling the actual number so he could maintain his reputation as a miracle worker, which makes him at least seem supernatural, despite being a mere human.

Many of my characters in The Cat Star Chronicles are aliens, and even though they may appear to be supernatural, they really aren’t. Granted, they have some pretty nifty abilities, but none that aren’t shared by every other member of their species. The Mordrial/Terran witch Tisana (the heroine of WARRIOR) can shoot fireballs from her eyes and ripen fruit simply by looking at it, but that’s normal for a Mordrial. Although Kotcamp, the Sympaticon shifter in STUD, could change into different forms, he was no different from other Sympaticons.

Even my Zetithian heroes aren’t supernatural shifters. As a humanoid species with feline characteristics, they don’t become cats. They are cats. Their unique sexual abilities stem from the fact that their females can’t mate with just anyone. In REBEL, Kim (the Zetithian heroine) had to be enticed by Onca’s purring and in turn, her scent had to arouse him or there was no chance for romance. The only Zetithian trait that can be construed as supernatural is their occasional prescient vision. And again, that’s simply part of being Zetithian.

All of those species only seem supernatural when compared with ordinary human beings, although their strengths vary. Even among humans, some are more gifted than others. Consider the child prodigy pianist who can play Mozart at an age when most kids have never even heard of classical music. The seven-foot-plus center who can sink a basket from mid-court. The astrophysicist who can think in terms that boggle the minds of practically everyone else. What appears to be supernatural is often simply a matter of perspective.

Within the books of The Cat Star Chronicles, my readers have been given a peek at the future as I envision it. Travel between star systems fast enough to accomplish in weeks or months, rather than generations. Alien species with as much diversity as the life forms found on our own planet. Love as strong as the bond between two humans who’ve found their perfect partner in life. We’ll never know for sure whether there is any truth to that vision. But here in the realm of fiction, I’m dreaming the dream of what might be.

Don’t wake me up just yet.

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