Thursday, October 10, 2013

Perception, by D.Jean Quarles

Indie Author Spotlight

Perception, by D. Jean Quarles

What happens when we die? Is it the end of everything? Or another beginning? What about coincidences? What are they really? Perhaps there is more. Perhaps everything depends upon your perception.

Greg has lost a wife and Rachel, her young son. Both find answers where they never expected and in the process they find so much more.
                                      -Book Description from Amazon

I love books that both entertain me and make me think.  Perception succeeded.  I really enjoyed the information about psychic phenomena, and the questions posed about coincidence, doubt, perception, and life after death.  Unlike some books taking on big topics like this, the characters remain center stage, instead of serving as a backdrop for philosophy.  I liked all the main characters, and got drawn into their stories:  their heartaches, their uncertainties, and their possibilities of happy endings.

Quarles' writing is pretty smooth, though it has its idiosyncrasies.  There are a few small tense issues, like when Quarles sticks unnaturally to past simple when some of the other past tenses in a writer's arsenal would serve better.  I also find it odd that most or all of her characters, from different regions of the US and different walks of life, use the construction "I've a dog" instead of the much more common American "I've got a dog" or "I have a dog."  However, the writing overall is clear, with some very powerful passages.

Her depiction of Greg's and Rachel's grief in the beginning is exceptional.  Raw and realistic and compelling.

The story moves along at a good pace, following three sets of characters.  It's never a drag to return to one set of characters, like it often is in stories told this way.  Part of this might be the way we know they are all going to come together in the end, and we want to see how it happens.  The ending of the novel is pitch perfect.

Perception, by D. Jean Quarles, made me wonder about certain experiences in my own life, which makes it the type of book you don't just forget.  With its lovable characters and fascinating details about the psychic world, Perception is an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.


Buy it on Amazon

And for an Exclusive interview with this talented writer, read on:
Questions by Melinda Brasher
Answers by D.Jean Quarles

Q.) Perception deals with the psychic world and messages from the dead.  What kind of research did you do on psychic phenomena?

A.) I absolutely loved the research I did for Perception! Previous to writing perception, I edited a non-fiction biography of a woman spiritualist. Her story intrigued me and even though a number of years had passed, when the idea for Perceptioncame, I found myself drawing on some of the information she'd imparted for her book. I also read a number of books by authors exploring everything from life after death to those related to psychic phenomena. In my research, I found that spiritualism as a religion was still practiced. I became even more excited when I learned that a congregation met close to my home in Arizona. There are actually a number of churches and they tend to have services very similar to what I described inPerception. Finally, my research led me to a number of conferences and seminars relating to life after death where psychic demonstrations were commonplace.

Q.)  Have you or anyone you know had contact with spirits of loved ones who have passed on? 

A.) I had just completed the first draft of Perception when my mother passed. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by butterflies. They seemed to follow me everywhere. I'd drive down the interstate and turn my head and see bushes filled with orange and black, or they would flutter around my head getting my attention when I sat outside in the hammock. Also, butterflies came in other strange ways. My father sent me a package of jewelry. One entire small box was filled with butterfly pins I'd never seen before. A woman I knew sent me a photograph of orange flowers, and a white butterfly was caught in the background. 

I was finishing the final edits when my father passed. He died at home, as he'd wished. My brothers and I stayed for several weeks, settling the estate. One evening late at night, long after everyone else had retired, I sat alone with the television on. I rose and turned it off, leaving the room to go into the kitchen. Moments later the television turned back on. In fact, each evening, one of us saw some display that could not be explained - lights flickered, came on, went off, radios played, and breezes blew through closed windows. 

Because of the topic of my book, I've also had a number of people contact me telling me of their own similar experiences. The best conversation though occurred with my daughter. Her family had lost a beloved pet. Her son asked if they would ever see him again? Her response surprised me. "Of course you will, just like we see Grandma and Grandpa all the time, we'll see Cider." They then proceeded to discuss how their beloved dog would reincarnate. After, I had to ask, apparently my parents often visited my daughter's home.

Q.)  You wrote Perception from the point of view of different characters.  Who was your favorite to write?

A.) When writing, I like to find myself in different character's heads. With Perception, Eileen, the grandmother of a young psychic child allowed me to explore how it would feel to have a child you wanted to protect, but at the same time, nurture - a child who some would say had a gift and others would feel was touched. It was a perspective that challenged me as a parent and grandparent. I gave her a lot of thought. When I was young, a sweet lady from London lived across the street  and thought speaking to the dead was absolutely normal when my best friend, her daughter, did it. I never had the feeling my own family would have been so accepting. 

Q.)  What other books do you have out?  Tell us about them.

A.) For a number of years I lived in Wyoming. There is something special about living in an area where most American cities have a greater population than the entire state. I wrote Rocky's Mountains and Fire in the Hole to showcase the wildness and hardship that can be found in Wyoming. I also am working with co-author, Austine Etcheverry, on a young adult science fiction series titled The Exodus. It begins in Wyoming with a number of high school students and a catastrophic earthquake caused by alien beings. The first book, Flight from the Water Planet, was just joined by the second book, House of Glass released this month. Our Secret Lives, the story of three generations of women is in the final stages of edits and should be out before the end of this year. 

Q.)  What writing plans do you have for the future?

A.) I am currently working on a novel about reincarnation. This one allows me to be in the head of one person, so to speak, but multiple lifetimes and genders. We have also started writing the third book in The Exodus series which mostly takes place on a planet far away and means creating a new world.

Q.)  Do you have any recommendations of other books your readers might enjoy?

I hope Perception leaves readers thinking. Another great read that leaves you thinking about your life here and the one hereafter is A Brief History of the Dead

Q.)  Where can fans contact you? 

A.) My blog, A Write Life can be found at You can also find me on Facebook: I am a GoodReads and author and my books can be found for both Kindle and Nook. 

Thank you Melinda for the opportunity to share this with your readers. I would love to hear their stories.

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