Monday, October 17, 2011

Magnetic personality: Kathy Carmichael!

I live in the upper left-hand corner of the U.S. in Washington State. My cyber friend, award-winning author, Kathy Carmichael, could hardly be further from me, geography-wise. She resides in the lower right-hand corner of the U. S., namely the west coast of Florida along with her Scottish husband, two not-so-wee sons, two cats and, in her words, a huge collection of dust bunnies. Somehow, though, I feel we are kindred souls. My watch sometimes stops for no apparent reason, so maybe we have that electromagnetic thing in common. Kathy writes mysteries, women's fiction and romance.

Her romantic comedy, Hot Flash, was named by Booklist as one of the Top 10 Romance Fiction titles for 2009. Kathy loves hearing from readers. Visit her website at Welcome to Book Blather, Kathy.
They say to write what you know, and so I created a character in my book, Stuck on You, who has the same syndrome I have. I'm electromagnetic as my grandmother was before me. There is a new term for this called Street Light Interference Disorder and people who suffer from it are called SLIders.

My family first recognized the problem when I was in grade school. I received a wristwatch for Christmas and it didn’t work properly. Sometimes it sped up, other times it slowed down, but it rarely displayed the correct time. My mom, knowing her mother had the same issue with timepieces, bought me another watch, this one a pendant to hang from my neck. It couldn’t keep time, either. To this day my friends tease me because they never know whether I’ll be early or late.

My overly-magnetic personality also shows up in other ways. Like when I'm highly creative. The clock on my computer goes nuts, the streetlight in front of my house shuts off, headlights of oncoming vehicles go out and even stadium lights go dark. Most especially, lights in my house burn out. My husband buys light bulbs by the case. 
Of course life for the characters we create can’t be too easy. I thought it would be fun to make my heroine’s disorder even worse than mine. Poor Diedra has a time of it in Stuck on You.

 I suspect that many creative people may also be SLIders.
You might be a SLIder if:

1) You’re always very early or very late for appointments because you can’t count on your watch or clocks keeping the correct time. For me, time is at best an estimate. If my friends want me to be on time, they have learned to give me a reminder call.
 2) Street Lights go out when you approach.
 One time I was in front of my house chatting with one of my neighbors. She mentioned she was mad at the city. She’d called them to look at the street light in front of our houses since it was always going out. They told her they’d changed the bulb but there was nothing wrong with it. I glanced behind me at my office window, then followed the direct line of sight to the street light. Needless to say, I didn’t tell her what was really going on.
  3) Oncoming car lights dim.
One night when I was in serious writing mode I had to run out to get dinner for my kids, who rode along with me. As we drove down the street, whenever an oncoming car got within twenty feet of my car, their left headlight, and only the left headlight, went out. My kids counted and it went on for over a dozen cars. Hopefully when the cars got away from whatever electromagnetic field I was emitting, their lights came back on. I hope.

4) Your car’s electrical system malfunctions.
Sometimes right in the middle of furiously writing, I’d have to quickly run an errand or pick up my kids. Too often, my car’s electrical system malfunctioned.  None of the interior and exterior lights, the radio and other electronics would work until my creative magnetic storm passed. I’d have to wait a little while and then try again. At first I thought the problem was with the car itself, but it happened with many different vehicles. I haven’t experienced this with my newest vehicle at all. I don’t know if it’s wired differently or electronics are now handled in a different way, but I’m really glad not to “go dark” anymore.

5) You sometimes set off burglar alarms.I used to frequent a nearby retail dress shop and each time I entered the store, their alarm sounded. At first the sales clerks were suspicious and would check my purse to make sure nothing in it set off the alarm, but later they got used to me and just waved me on, knowing I’d set the darn thing off again when I left.
6) Household appliances sometimes go crazy.
 My toaster seems to be especially sensitive to electromagnetic fields. Toast really can fly.
 If you discover you may be a SLIder, too, I do have a few tips. My cell phone’s clock has never been affected by my electromagnetic fields so you can use it when you want to know the real time. Your computer’s internal battery may not last, so it doesn’t hurt to order an extra one to have on hand. When my disorder gets really bad, I use my ionic hair blow drier to sort of even out the fields, and it does help calm things down. And, as I mentioned earlier, buying light bulbs by the case can save time and money.
Here’s a little about my book, Stuck on You: 
Talk about magnetic attraction!

 Accident prone is one thing. But electromagnetic impairment, too? Whenever Diedra Palmer's emotions run high, light bulbs burn out, watches stop and appliances go berserk. Between the accidents and the way everything around her breaks or goes wild, she's a total jinx.

Can two polar opposites...

Alec Sparks works hard to maintain control. After his parents' divorce, he took on the responsibility for his clingy mother. Now he's an attorney and looks after his clients just as thoroughly. No wonder he doesn't want even more responsibility--and that's what Diedra would be. She's an accident waiting to happen, a disaster in every sense of the word. But when Alec must join forces with Diedre to help a couple in trouble, the nearly combustible magnetic attraction sends their senses soaring. 

... ever become soul mates?

Diedre likes her men in neckties and starched collars, all the better for mussing. And Alec Sparks is the starchiest man she's ever met. Trouble is, he's made it clear she can't have him. While Alec and Diedra work together, can they fight the heated desire flaring between them?

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