Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Post: : B.A. Chepaitis

  Disturb Me

    My novel, The Fear of God, is second in a series of books featuring Jaguar Addams and Alex Dzarny, two telepaths who work in a future prison system, rehabbing the worst criminals by telepathically making them face their fears.  In this novel, Jaguar has to rehab Sardis Malocco, a cult leader who’s blown up a bunch of her people, and may have plans to create the End of Days. 
    The plot itself was a joy to work with – there’s nothing like pushing your characters into a corner then making them save the world.   But what was even more fun was developing the relationship between Alex and Jaguar. 
    In the first novel they were at odds, and only slowly, tentatively, drawing closer to each other.  In this novel Alex gets to the point where he realizes he prefers Jaguar’s company to that of other women.  Mostly this happens when Jaguar actually finds him in bed with another woman, and silently goes away.  After, he asks her why she didn’t announce her presence and she says she didn’t want to disturb him.
    “Disturb me,”  he says.  “Anytime, under any circumstances.  That’s your prerogative.  To disturb me.”
    You have to love a man who recognizes that any real relationship  - between friends or lovers, between a reader and the book even - is a disturbance.  Then to go on and say you want it.    That’s just cool.   But for me the phrase has deeper implications.
     You see, I want to disturb people with my writing.  Not all the time, and not in every way.  I like to give my readers a fast-moving plot that keeps them hooked, so my structure sticks to ancient narrative patterns that have their roots in all good storytelling formats.  I’m not out to reinvent the wheel that way. 
    But I also want them to come away from reading one of my books with their hair a little wind-blown, their horizons broadened into new possibilities of behavior, new possibilities of consciousness.   So I disturb them with characters who live on the edge, with language that tries to capture what it’s really like to have psi capacities, with a woman who curses colourfully and a man who is both courteous and powerful, and questions about things like what’s the difference between what we imagine and what we produce, between what’s sacred and what’s religion.  
     I’m grateful to both Jaguar and Alex for giving me a way to do this kind of thing for my work, though I will say that  Jaguar has probably disturbed me more than she’s disturbed any reader, or Alex. 
    But that’s okay.  Like Alex, I say that’s her prerogative.  To disturb me. 

BIO: Barbara Chepaitis is the author of 8 published books, including The Fear Principle  and The Fear of God featuring Jaguar Addams (Wildside Press), and the critically acclaimed mainstream novels, Feeding Christine and These Dreams. Her first nonfiction book, Feathers of Hope, is about Berkshire Bird Paradise and the human connection with birds.   She’s writing a sequel which tells the story of helping our US Troops in Afghanistan rescue Eagle Mitch.  Barbara is founder of the storytelling trio The Snickering Witches, and faculty coordinator for the fiction component of Western Colorado’s MFA program in creative writing.  

Barbara’s website: