Carol Matas: Psychics and Murders, Oh My!

April 5, 2024

Author Carol Matas holds her new book, Zevi Takes the SpotlightWelcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by and about great Canadian children’s book creators! Today’s guest: Carol Matas. Take it away, Carol!

I know I am a guest on a scientist’s blog today, but I have to talk about something that doesn’t quite fit in with scientific theory. Or does it???

Psychic powers? Synchronicity? Messages from beyond? Prophetic dreams? Dowsing? Far-seeing?

Is any of it real? But then what is reality anyway?

This is a true story:

I had my first book published in 1982 and then wrote three more that I could not find a publisher for. When I moved back to Winnipeg in ’82, I was eligible for a Manitoba Arts grant and applied. I submitted my 3 manuscripts as background material. Meanwhile my cousin Manny Matas, a practicing psychiatrist, who was very interested in the paranormal, suggested I go see a certain psychic. I went and at the end of the session he asked me if I had any questions. I did. “Will I ever get published again?” I asked. (Or maybe whined, not sure which.) “Yes,” he replied after a moment’s pause. “You will have 3 books published in a year by a publisher in Saskatoon.”

Okay. That was so weirdly specific I didn’t really know what to do with it so I forgot about it.

No more than a month later the arts administrator for my grant called and introduced herself. She said she had noticed that my three books had not yet been published. It so happened that on one of her juries sat a publisher from Saskatoon. Would I like her to give said publisher my manuscripts? She thought they might be a good fit.

I started babbling about a psychic who told me this was going to happen. I could hear that she thought I was a bit…something. Nevertheless, she gave them to the publisher as promised, the publisher read them, took all three, and they were published within a year as predicted.

Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by the paranormal. My cousin went on to write a book called The Borders of Normal, about de-stigmatizing the paranormal.

But when I wrote my first book, The Freak, about a Jewish Winnipeg teen who suddenly becomes psychic after a near death experience, it was less about her abilities and more about what such abilities could mean. Is everything fated? Where does free will fit into the picture? The book was also about antisemitism and Neo Nazis.

My new book with Orca Book Publishers is also about a Jewish psychic teen but this one is much different. It is less about the “how can this happen?” and more about “what do we do when it happens?” In this case Zevi has been living with his psychic abilities ever since he can remember. In fact he thought everyone saw the world the way he did – until he finally realized they didn’t. His sister, a budding scientist, is working on a theory of quantum physics to explain it but in the meantime Zevi isn’t interested in the why – only on how he can hide it as well as possible. But then Zevi has a dream. A dream that tells him exactly where a young child has gone missing. And when Zevi’s dream saves the child, Zevi becomes famous. That fame seems set to derail a promising acting career that Zevi has been trying to build. When a famous actor comes to Vancouver to film a movie, Zevi and his best friend Nir sign on as extras. Little does Zevi know that it will be up to him to save this actor’s life – by using the signs and dreams that are flooding him all the time.

Before I became a writer, I was an actor. I trained in London, England for about 18 months and then worked in Toronto and Winnipeg. I draw from that experience as well as the 36 years of my husband’s experience teaching acting as a professor at University of Winnipeg. I also was very lucky to have Film maker John Kozak as a consultant on the manuscript.

So, acting, film making, psychic phenomenon all make up Zevi Takes the Spotlight. As does an old-fashioned murder mystery format.

Oh – and this is my fist Hi/Lo book, and that was a terrific challenge. But that’s for another blog another time.

I hope you enjoy the book!

And thanks to Lindsey for allowing me to guest blog here.



1 Comment on ‘Carol Matas: Psychics and Murders, Oh My!’

  1. I can’t wait to read the book!

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