Amber Foxx, author of the award-winning Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series, has worked professionally in theater, dance, fitness, yoga and academia. She has lived in both the Southeast and the Southwest, and calls New Mexico home. Learn more about Amber and her books at her website.
Psychics: Using Fact in Fiction
Since I write a mystery series featuring a psychic, I’m often asked if I’m psychic. Yes—and you probably are, too.
I like to keep up with research on this subject, reading scholarly books and articles, and of course, talking with psychics. Most, I’ll admit, sounded like newspaper horoscopes, offering vague all-purpose insights, but some seem to have genuine gifts.
According to Dean Radin’s book Supernormal, an approachable summary of his scientific studies, being psychic is a natural human trait. Like athletic ability or musical talent, the way it manifests varies, and it can improve with training the mind to focus. In experiments testing clairvoyance, telepathy, and precognition, subjects who meditated regularly performed significantly better than others who didn’t meditate.
Another factor affecting psychic ability is love. Compared to unconnected pairs of experimental subjects, long-term couples are more psychic in relation to each other. Dr. Larry Dossey’s book One Mind describes how people who aren’t normally psychic have visions or dreams connecting them with loved ones at times of intense need. This also occurs with pets and owners, and with doctors and patients. As with any other sense, we’re constantly filtering out irrelevant information and focusing on what is salient. It’s only when we dream about an emergency, or we hear a voice warning us of danger to a loved one, that we pay attention. Otherwise, our psychic sense’s input can be ignored as background noise, the way unimportant input from our hearing often is.
Some gifted individuals can bring their psychic ability into action on purpose. Dossey documents psychics finding shipwrecks that were previously undetected by other means or locating stolen property. This is the type of the psychic who could inspire a character in mystery fiction.
I have precognitive dreams, but I wouldn’t make a good psychic in a novel. Some of my dreams predicted important events, but most foresaw peculiar, trivial events—for example, a man in a top hat appearing at breakfast in a hotel. Only once was I able to dream the future intentionally for a friend, and the dream took months to come true. In Ghost Sickness, book five of my series, I introduced a character with a more focused version of this ability, Ezra Yahnaki, the twelve-year-old grandson of a Mescalero Apache medicine woman. His psychic gift is limited to seeing the future, and he’s still learning how to interpret the images, but what he dreams is important, and he’s learning to seek such dreams on purpose.
Mae Martin, the series protagonist, can’t see the future, only the past and the present. The idea for her talents and her limits came to me a number of years ago when a neighbor invited me for dinner. Her other guest, Laura, could hold something you owned and pick up information from it. I didn’t know what to expect, but I asked her to find out what I most needed to know. Laura turned away from the dinner table, holding my eyeglasses, and was quiet for about five minutes. When she faced me again, she gave a vivid description of an elderly woman and also her setting and her emotional state. I recognized my mother. Though Laura’s vision didn’t reveal something new, she had somehow perceived an important concern in my life. I based Mae’s gift on this woman’s clairvoyant connections through touch. The need for a personal object adds challenges for her in solving a mystery.
In Death Omen, the sixth book in the series, Mae Martin feels compelled to use “the Sight” to help the people closest to her—her boyfriend, and her stepdaughters from her second marriage—and also to investigate another seer.
To welcome newcomers to the series, book one, The Calling, is free through the end of November.
A Mae Martin Psychic Mystery, Book 6
Trouble at a psychic healing seminar proves knowing real from fraud can mean the difference between life and death.
At an energy healing workshop in Santa Fe, Mae Martin encounters Sierra, a woman who claims she can see past lives—and warns Mae’s boyfriend he could die if he doesn’t face his karma and join her self-healing circle. Concerned for the man she loves, Mae digs into the mystery behind Sierra’s strange beliefs. Will she uncover proof of a miracle worker, or of a trickster who destroys her followers’ lives?