The Paranormal Perceptions series was created to gather some of the most interesting authors that are using paranormal elements in their stories. Every author has their own perceptions and provides their own insight on all things paranormal, ranging from urban legends and paranormal research, to myths and inspirations. This week on the guest series is author of The Harvesting, author Melanie Karsak(@MelanieKarsak).
Thank you so much to P.W. Creighton for inviting me to be part of the “Paranormal Perceptions” series
as part of my Bewitching Blog Tour of “The Harvesting.” My series, which begins with the death of
mankind, explores many themes of interest to those who enjoy the supernatural and paranormal.
Layla Petrovich, my heroine, may begin her tale on “z-day,” but she soon finds herself in a battle for
contemporary Middle Earth. At odds with the undead, in league with forest spirits, and in contact
with other supernatural creatures, Layla spends much of Book 1 of “The Harvesting” trying to figure
out how to survive the end of the world. In her favor, however, she has a unique gift. Layla’s medium
grandmother, Vasilisa Petrovich, was told by spirit that the end was near. In fact, Vasilisa stockpiled
her cabin and readied her granddaughter by passing along her mediumistic gift. Her new-found psychic
abilities will guide Layla through much of “The Harvesting” series. So where did this inspiration come
from and why have I added sensitive, psychically in-tune characters in a zombie novel?
While I have always had an interest in the paranormal, I received my first Tarot deck at the age of
12, some of the inspiration for the character of Vasilisa Petrovich is a result of my visits to Lily Dale
Assembly in western New York.
Lily Dale is a community of spiritualists; many mediums live on-sight. During their open season, they
offer great lectures and training workshops. You can study Reiki, attend a sweat-lodge, or visit a healing
temple, just to name a few of their services. I visited Lily Dale Assembly in 2005, 2007, and again in
2009. During those years, I was going through profound personal transformation. In 2005 and 2009, I
sought out a medium to speak to the spirit world. Each time, I left feeling remarkably . . . better, more
at ease, more at peace with the decisions I was making. In 2007, I attended a community service and an important message came to me—a specific and unique message—about a quandary I was mulling over regarding my professional career.
As I began plotting “The Harvesting,” I wondered how the realm of the spirit might respond if mankind’s days were numbered. Would spirit try to intervene? Would they warn those with the gift? Would they be prevented from forewarning? I am not a medium, but my sense from having spent years reading Tarot is that universal energies (call it God, Goddess, Allah, or what have you) would somehow forewarn that a massive change for mankind was coming. In the character of Vasilia Petrovich, I present one individual who has been warned that the end was near. Vasilisa does what she can to open Layla’s “third eye” to prepare her for the death of mankind. Vasilisa’s character is, in part, inspired by the energy I felt at Lily Dale Assembly, but Vasilisa is not the only psychic in my novel.
There is a very short parallel at the end of “The Harvesting” that features two characters, Cricket and
Vella. Cricket is a carnie girl, and Vella is the resident carnival Tarot reader. Vella tells her friends that
she keeps pulling the same card from her Tarot deck over and over again: the tower, destruction of
a way of life, clearing a path for a new beginning. In the character of Vella, I’m again playing with the
question of whether or not sensitive people might feel our end. It is a question I pose, in addition to
many others, in “The Harvesting.” What do you readers think? Would psychics, mediums, and other
sensitive people be able to sense the death of mankind?
Thank you very much for having me.
About the Author:
Melanie Karsak, steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, resides in Florida with her husband and two children. Visit the author at her blog, melaniekarsak.blogspot.com, to learn more about upcoming projects.