Stephen B. Pearl's Ray McAndrues wizard series books

Stephen B. Pearl

Nukekubi Interview

Nukekubi book cover - paranormal, mystery novel

including background information

taken from The Examiner newspaper website

Meet Ray, the romantic paranormal detective and his creator, Stephen B. Pearl by Liz McKeown.
February 12, 2012

     Nukekubi opens with Ray, a lifeguard who moonlights as a janitor, trying to keep furniture on the floor. Loosening a poltergeist's grip on a disabled girl is all in a day's work for the wizard who solves crimes of a supernatural nature. The author doesn't skimp on romance, either. "The heart trumps the head every time", Ray said when faced with his non commitment-oriented girlfriend, Cathy's romantic sparring. His woman of interest is an exotic dancer who is pursuing her PhD in Psychology. What's not to like about paranormal fiction with a sense of humor? Take male vs female bathrooms, for example. "Cathy's bathroom scares me. It looks like an alchemist's lab exploded in technicolor".

     Question: Cathy is quite a hot item. What was your process in conjuring her up?

     Answer: Cathy, like most of my female characters, is a compilation of women I have known over the years, and, I'll admit, my own projections of what I find attractive, and in some cases daunting, about women. I have to spend a lot of time with my lead characters so generally, they are people I would want to spend time with. In the case of Cathy, for personality, she is about one third my wife, Joy. I'll let you guess as to which third. ;-) I'll give you a hint, Joy's closet is organized by category. Cathy is also partially based on some exotic dancers I've known over the years. It's amazing how many people are interesting when you get past your preconceptions and just let them be people.

     I'm married, I'm monogamous and I make no bones about it, so I'm safe. I've had a couple of friendly acquaintances who danced the pole, very nice women, kind, warm and compassionate once they got past the idea that I was out to bed them. One thing I will say is that there was a reason that the cat goddess Bast was the patroness of both mental healing and an erotic form of dance. As to my input. I like strong women. Like Ray I need someone who will growl back when I'm being unreasonable. I am enamored of intelligence, there is nothing more tragic than a beautiful face with a vacuum between the ears. I also like it when a woman knows that she doesn't have to emulate men to be powerful. Women have a power all their own. Show me a woman who owns herself and her power without apology and this is a woman I want to know. I guess my process in conjuring up Cathy was first I made a person I really liked then I made her a woman by drawing on examples of the various aspects of femininity I have encountered. Then, I gave her issues, lots of issues. Hey, conflict has to come from somewhere. ;-)

     Question: Usually, it's the female who wants to settle down. In Nukekubi, it's the other way around. Is this a trend in twenty-something couples?

     Answer: (Sigh) It's been a long time since I was twenty-something, so I don't know on that score. I will say, Cathy would love to settle down in an open, honest, polyamorous relationship. Cathy fears that she is, like her mother, not a one man woman, and after seeing how the lying destroyed her parents' marriage, and being used as a weapon in the middle of it, she is loath to make the same mistake. The problem is Ray believes that in a monogamous relationship there can be a depth of connection that can't be obtained in a polyamorous one, and he wants that. As hateful and ruinous as his parents marriage was the one good thing was the level of intimacy that monogamy granted them. Cathy and Ray's wants in a relationship are based on the families they grew up in and the scars they carry.

     Question: After reading your description of Ray's "guy" apartment, with dirty laundry protecting the carpet. I laundered this question out of sensitivity to male companions. If this aspect of Ray is autobiographical, have you changed your ways?

     Answer: As I've gotten older the laundry on the floor thing has eased, I am not Ray, he is smarter and better looking than I ever was, but some elements of him are written pretty close to home. I keep a hamper in the bedroom and it's just as easy to pop dirty cloths into it as drop them. I think a lot of things don't matter to men in the same way they matter to women. Women are conditioned in our society to see the house as a reflection of their worth as a person. Men aren't. What women don't get is we have the same issues with you because things impact our self esteem. Let's say a man fixed a door on a cabinet. It opens it closes the color matches and all the woman does is complain because it squeaks if you push it to the hinges' extreme range. Same issue with a different face. Okay, I'm a walking opinion but you asked.

     Question: Ray says he represents the eternal child growing up. Tell me more about this.

     Answer: Some parents fight against their children growing up. With a child that has a high level of dependency, such as a handicapped child, this response can be greatly exaggerated. The pubescent girl having a little crush on Ray challenges the mother's view that her needy child will always need her and never grow up. The mother wants to deny that the child will ever have the independence or needs of an adult woman. Thus the mother has a 'noble' excuse for not living her own life because she must sacrifice for her child even if the truth is that that sacrifice is holding the child back.

Copyright © 2009, Stephen B. Pearl
by GISjoy