Today's featured continuing character is Deryl, the psychic in the Mind Over Trilogy by Karina Fabian.
Continuing Characters: A series of interviews featuring continuing characters and the authors who know them best.
Deryl Stephens is the psychic character in the Mind Over Trilogy, the first book of which came out in August 2011 (Mind Over Mind). At 13, Deryl's telepathic abilities manifested to an uncontrollable level, driving him insane. After five years in an asylum where no one believes in his ability save one psychiatrist who uses him as a case study, Deryl is cynical, hopeless and suspicious of the new intern, Joshua, hired to try to befriend him and help him redevelop his social skills. Joshua will instead take him at his word and try to help him control his psychic abilities, which will make all the difference in the world.
"A gilded cage is still a cage. Never mind. Just a passive-aggressive response to my incarceration." --From Mind Over Mind
Questions for Deryl
Q. Psychic powers! How exciting. What's it like?
(laughs) You really want to know? Because I can show you. I can bring you into my mind. I'll strip away your identity and replace it with a revolving cast of strangers who don't know anything about you, don't care, and don't believe in psychic abilities, anyway. Even if they did, they wouldn't know how to guard their thoughts. You won't just know the problems of the couple next door--you'll feel them. How about the mailman's lower back pain? Want to forget ten years' of schooling? There's a kid walking down the street--just wait. You'll know just how much that scraped knee stings, too. Come on--open your mind to me and I'll toss you in--see if you can claw your way back out to your own skin and remember your own name.
That's what being psychic is to me. It's not cool. It's not fun. It's pure, unrelenting torture, and if my control slips for even a minute, it's insanity--except the voices in my head are real.
Q. How do you stand it?
I didn't for a long time. I just did my best to deal with it, looked in the mirror reciting my name a lot, and hoped I'd find someone, somewhere to believe me. Then when...well, things got too much, I tried to kill myself. That's when I got committed. I don't recommend either course of action. There are months of my life I don't even remember, and I don't ever want to. I don't know how I clawed back to sanity--I'd honestly believe an angel helped me, except that then it abandoned me in SK-Mental. That's where I am today--desperately trying to shield my mind against the truly crazy people, where the staff tolerates my peculiarities. Malachai--Dr. Josias Dolfus Malachai--believes in my abilities, but he just wants to study me, make me his guinea pig, maybe try to find that "psychic center" of the brain and activate it in others. How heinous is that?
So I'm marking time, wishing for but not expecting a miracle.
He's got a lot of work to do before he can live anything like a normal life, if living among psychic aliens who think he's some kind of savior. However, his experiences have given him compassion and a unique look on life that is going to be vital in how he handles the challenges in the next books.
Lots more confusion and pain. (Sorry, dude.) The Master isn't going to let go of him so easily; Tasmae is even freakier in person than she is in his mind, and he is going to have to save two worlds with his limited knowledge, extensive imagination and some true grit. But it's not all bad. Tasmae's as attractive as she is bizarre, and once he helps her through the crazy bits, they'll get along just fine. Joshua, the psychiatric intern and his best friend, will be there to rescue him when he needs help, as will Joshua's fiancé and Deryl's other friend, Sachiko. Plus, Deryl will do a lot of healing of his past and forge himself a wonderful and calmer, if not "normal" life. Who knows? He might even get bored now and then.