May 17, 2011

Spotlight - B.A. Chepaitis - Author of "The Fear Principle"

Join B.A. Chepaitis, author of the sci-fi mystery with romantic elements The Fear Principle as she virtually tours the blogosphere in May 2011 on her first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About B.A. Chepaitis:
Barbara Chepaitis is the author of 8 published books, including The Fear Principle featuring Jaguar Addams (Wildside Press), and the critically acclaimed 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 about Eagle Mitch, a bird she helped our US troops rescue from Afghanistan.  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.  

Facebook site for Barbara
Facebook site for Jaguar
Barbara’s website  

The Heart of Fear
In my novel The Fear Principle and the others that follow in the series, my characters Jaguar and Alex  are empaths and telepaths who rehab criminals by making them face their deepest fears.  Along the way they often have to face their own fears, and hope they come out the other side in one piece.   I chose this as central  to the books because  fear is such a complex state in humans.  Primal, biological  fear that signals imminent danger gets tangled in emotional fears that grow more from the past than any present threat.  I figured if I started with fear  I’d have a continuing supply of stories to feed the series and so far, I’ve been right.  

Of course, Jaguar has her own complex relationship with fear.  As a child she survived the Killing Times, an episode of murderous violence  that took over the cities , destroying millions of people.  Her family was killed and she was brutally wounded then forced to live on  explosively dangerous streets alone for a year.  Thus she understands fear like few others.   Her experience left her strong in the broken places, and shaped her rather difficult personality.   She’s impatient with  euphemisms , hypersensitive to lies,  not trusting of many, but profoundly loyal to those she does trust.  She colors way outside the lines, and runs with scissors, pointed out. Her traumatic experience left her with gifts and wounds, as it does to all survivors of trauma.

Jaguar readers often ask me if I had a difficult past, too, and if that ‘s why I became a writer.   The answer to the first question is yes and no.   I had  a difficult and wonderful childhood, and I had both at the same time.   I had some profound traumas to overcome, including  violent abuse, and I also had a home filled with music and reading and  food and love.   

The answer to the second question is also yes and no.  I can’t, for the life of me, tell which part of my experience shaped me as a writer more.  

The traumas I survived taught me compassion for  human pain and sometimes human folly, though it also cost me  in time  spent on healing rather than moving my craft forward.   But if the pain informed my compassion, then the love gave me the strength to move  beyond the pain, and encouraged the  primary motivating factor that usually saves me from my own fear.  That is, it taught me to  be more curious than fearful.   

To me, and I suppose to Jaguar, the heart of fear is a smaller place than the heart of love, which  looks beyond its own worries and toward the large world of possibilities.  Fear protects itself in huddled corners, while love is curious about what waits around the outlying curve.  This is something my character Jaguar Addams lives on a daily basis.  And I certainly hope I’ve learned from her and others to do the same.

** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by me..as I see it~!! **

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