I'd like to welcome J.C. Whyte to the blog today. J.C. is the author of The Color of Clouds, a supernatural mystery, which was released earlier this year.
Kathy: Pedro is a unique protagonist in The Color of Clouds. How did you choose to feature a spirit guide in your mystery?
JCW: Spirit guide Pedro isn’t the protagonist, just the narrator. He does, however, play a major role in the formation of this story. But the protagonist is the skeptical scientist Paul Strumbolt, who moves the action along.
My own scientist husband is in fact responsible for the concept of this book. For years, I listened to his theory about dark matter. Eventually it occurred to me how much fun it would be to trap a couple of characters inside this dark matter. And from there, the story just took off. Yet I needed someone on the “inside” to help guide the trapped characters. Since this someone also needed to communicate with those on the “outside,” a spirit guide was the perfect choice.
Kathy: Pedro usually sends messages through a psychic named Gwen. Have you ever visited a psychic? (For my own edification is Gwen a psychic, a medium, or a psychic medium?)
JCW: I have visited a number of clairvoyants over the years. A clairvoyant is a psychic who allegedly has visions and interprets what is seen in those visions. But Gwen is a clairaudient, a psychic who “hears” messages but cannot see into the spirit world. I have not visited any of those, but have witnessed some on TV; they purportedly get insights from their spirit guides yet the messages are seldom crystal clear. I wanted Gwen to have a higher degree of psychic ability so she could relay accurate messages throughout the story.
Kathy: Have you ever received a message from the other side?
JWC: Well, I did visit a Michael channel when this entity was still messaging near the end of the twentieth century. It was a remarkable experience. After the channel allowed the Michael collective to cohabit her consciousness, her whole personality changed. She spoke rapidly and with great humor, and never once throughout the hour-long session did she slip up by calling herself “I”; it was always “we” for the Michael entity ostensibly consisting of an array of souls beyond the earthly realm. But this psychic (as well as other Michael channels throughout the world) can no longer connect with the entity; apparently this was a short term visit (about a decade?) to allow Michael to share information about our human growth and advancement.
Yet my meeting with that Michael channel thoroughly convinced me that while some psychics might be downright phonies, there are those who do impart messages from the other side. Anyone interested in learning more about this information should seek out books about The Michael Material.
Kathy: Pedro convinces Gwen to go on a cruise in order to help a troubled teen. Have you ever been on a cruise? If so, I hope it was not as eventful as Gwen's!
JCW: I’ve been on a number of cruises, mostly in the Mediterranean and around Europe. My husband and I will be taking our next cruise in the Australia/New Zealand area. We really enjoy cruises, especially since there are so many ports of call in many different lands. But trust me, none of our cruises was ever as eventful at Gwen’s!
Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?
JCW: Who doesn’t like a good mystery? I started reading Agatha Christie mysteries as a teenager. And she certainly never disappointed!
Kathy: The Color of Clouds appears to combine genres. Do you prefer mysteries, science fiction, with paranormal aspects? Do you write in a single genre as well?
JCW: Problem is, I can’t do what’s already been done. In other words, I have to be original. I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. Even as a teen I refused to do needlepoint on somebody else’s pattern – had to draw my own! So naturally, I combined several genres in this book because it’s not normal to do that in the publishing world.
I’ve also written a children’s middle grade book (Karmack) about a nature spirit who boomerangs bullies with their own pranks; that’s certainly unique, huh? I guess you could say I write whatever happens to strike my fancy at a particular time. : )
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
JCW: Pedro is a favorite because he’s rather mischievous yet well-meaning. Think of the old TV show Columbo and you can picture Pedro as the rumpled coat detective played by Peter Falk. Also, I’m particularly fond of Sylvie, mostly because of her feistiness and her relationship with Ernst; these two were certainly fun characters to write.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
JCW: Every writer wants to be published. What’s the purpose of writing if no one reads it, right? I remember back in high school, when I was a reporter for the school newspaper, a bunch of mean girls made fun of something I wrote. They knew I could hear them laughing and of course their derision stung. But as I recall, the fact that they read the article gave me some small satisfaction.
What’s even more satisfying is having your work win an award. Prior to The Color of Clouds, Muse It Up Publishing released my Karmack as an ebook in 2013. It subsequently came out in paperback last December. And to date, Karmack has won two awards: a silver medal from the Children’s Literary Classics, and a first place from the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. I hope The Color of Clouds, which Muse published last March, is good enough to win an award too!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
JCW: Right now I’m transitioning from non-fiction back to fiction. I get on these jags where I’ll only read non-fiction, and then I tire of it and go back to fiction. So the most recent reads on my Kindle are: Darwin’s Odyssey by Kevin Jackson; On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett; The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown; The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer; and The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. All are true stories.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
JCW: I love to travel, and now that my husband and I are empty-nesters, we’re doing our bucket list. Last June we visited South Africa and went on a photography safari. The bush animals were so fascinating to watch. Some day, we’d love to go back to Africa and do a longer safari in the Serengeti Plain of Tanzania.
We also enjoyed a trip to South America last year, visiting both Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. That was definitely a magical trip.
Another favorite spot of ours is Las Vegas. And by the time you read this, I will just have returned from a Karmack book signing at the annual Vegas Valley Book Festival.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books?
JCW: I’ve given a lot of thought to writing another book featuring Pedro and Gwen, but just can’t seem to get started on it. As I said, my problem is not being able to do what’s already been done! Since I’ve written a story with these two characters it doesn’t much interest me to write about them again. But if an interesting idea does take seed in my brain, I might use them as characters in a new story. And I could set it in the Galapagos or Machu Picchu!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
A: I’ve always had a joy of writing inside me. It just feels good to complete a piece and be satisfied with it. My least favorite thing (probably true of most authors) is having to market the book. I’d much prefer staying at my computer, completely absorbed in the writing. : )
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