To celebrate Sci-Fy month, I have a guest post by author Julie Filarski! Enjoy 🙂
Beth Montgomery, the protagonist in my novel, The Memory Healer, has more gifts than the average psychic. Not only does she see visions, but she has the ability to time travel and to relive part of her previous lives. While writing the novel, I wanted to ensure that the reader was not confused when these psychic episodes occurred. So I had Beth experience some sort of physical sensation just prior to the event. That way, I felt it became obvious that she was time-travelling to another era.
For instance, when Beth agrees to carry out a psychic appraisal of Carrington House, which she does reluctantly because she is frightened by a string of nightmares which she interprets as metaphysical warnings to stop tampering with the supernatural, the physical sensation she feels just prior to her regression to 1908 is shown this way:
Beth’s knees felt weak, and she reached for the banister. Had her instincts been right? Should she refuse to do the psychic assessment after all? She was trying to decide whether to go or stay when a young woman appeared on the landing. The staircase began to swirl, a familiar rushing noise filled Beth’s head, and she felt the shift in time that would carry her into another era. Calm down, she told herself when her sense of foreboding intensified. Why was she so frightened? None of this was new to her.
The technique I used when Beth returns from her regressions was similar. The physical sensations she experiences lets the reader know she is returning to the present day, as shown in the following scene after Beth enters the young woman’s bedroom and finds her asleep on a four-poster bed:
Beside the bed was a small table. A few antique knickknacks lay upon it, and lying face-down in an open jewellery box was a gold watch. Beth read the inscription: Mary Adelaide Clark.
She frowned and looked at the sleeping woman, searching her memory for some form of recognition. None came. Next to the watch was a ring. The sight of the exquisite black and white stones, shaped in the form of a yin-yang symbol, sent another shiver down Beth’s spine.
She was struggling to remember why it would when she noticed an ornate calendar hanging just above the bedside table. The year was 1908, and the month, October. Most of the days had been crossed out. Her eyes reached the date yet to be marked. 30 October 1908. Her mind repeated the date, and she panicked. She had to leave at once and return to the present time.
As the giddying rush of years went by, she heard the words “I’m coming soon”.
Again, when Beth saw visions, I wanted to ensure the reader understood what was happening, as shown in the following scene:
She had just started studying the old home when her vision blurred and time shifted again. The light was dim in the place where she now found herself. When she strained to see her surroundings, the image of a man began to form. At first, he was hard to make out, but then the vision intensified. She saw his tall frame, handsome, rugged face, and dark-brown eyes that gazed into her soul. Something powerful stirred in her heart. He came towards her, holding out his hands when he drew close. His touch at first was feather light, as soft as breath being blown onto skin, yet Beth felt the jolt all the way through her body.
When the vision disappeared, Beth found herself holding her breath, aware of the erratic beating of her heart. It took an effort to move forwards. She reached the front door and sank onto the step. Who was he? It was clear he was someone from her past of exceptional importance to her. But who?
As the novel progresses and Beth learns that the answers to secrets of the past are hidden somewhere in 1895, her regressions to that era become more frequent. I found it imperative while writing the book that the reader was fully aware of the different eras Beth was entering and leaving. I think the techniques I used were successful.