My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome E.L. Tettensor to talk about how the power of teleportation relates to Master of Plagues.
My superpower is teleportation. Cool, right? In the blink of an eye – bamf! – I’m somewhere completely different.
Not physically, of course. That wouldn’t work. I get motion sickness.
Mentally, though, I can transport myself anywhere, anytime. Even better, I can be in two places at once. One version of me might be sitting across from you at brunch, listening politely as you recount your latest misadventures with Tinder, while another me – the one enjoying herself – is planning an epic battle, deciding whether that flanking manoeuvre is going to be enough to save our heroes, or whether they’ll need more siege engines.
Now hang on, I hear you saying. Every author has that superpower. (See, I actually heard you saying that, because I teleported.) And I suppose that’s probably true, but nowhere in the instructions did it say my superpower had to be unique. So pipe down and let me get on with this.
As any teleporter will tell you, it’s dangerous to transport yourself unprepared. You never know where you might end up, and what you might need when you get there. So before I go anywhere, I pack my suitcase. Not just any suitcase, mind you – this thing is special. It’s the spinach to my Popeye muscles, the Power of Greyskull to my Sword of Protection. It’s been all over, this suitcase. It’s covered in stickers from every corner of the world, and jammed full of souvenirs – tastes, smells, sounds. Experiences bottled up and carefully stashed away. With memories from over 50 countries to draw on, I can bring a little piece of authenticity to just about any scenario. Horn beads from South Sudan, a mental photograph of a refugee camp in Jordan, a Voodoo talisman from Haiti… I have only to fling open my suitcase and watch these treasures arrange themselves into a rich, fully realised setting – in this case, the slums of Kennian, in the shadowed tent of an Adali witchdoctor. It’s a useful trick for any author, but especially one who writes detective novels. If you want your inspector to have Sherlock Holmes-like observational skills, you’d better have meticulous details for him to observe.
Not only can I teleport Anywhere, I can also teleport Nowhere. This, my friends, is a skill I cannot recommend highly enough. If you knock on my door while I’m writing, I’m not there. You can’t see me or hear me. Or at any rate, I can’t see or hear you. I’m in the Cone of Silence. It’s a virtually impenetrable fortress; only the bravest and most determined can breach its walls. If you have the fortitude of mind, body, and spirit, you will NOT be rewarded. Woe betide the poor bastard who invades the Cone. Seriously, don’t do it. And if you do, be sure to come equipped with scale mail and a hockey helmet.
The only downside of my superpower is that I can’t control it quite as well as I’d like. It can strike at some pretty inopportune moments, and while I don’t turn green and split my pants, I do get a faraway look that can give me away, especially to those who know me well. This is particularly inconvenient when it strikes during my day job. “Er, I’m sorry, Madam Ambassador, you were saying?” (Seriously, this has happened. I blamed it on being distracted by the whole roast goat on the buffet table.)
On balance, though, it’s a handy gift, one that serves me well in writing and in life. Especially during those interminable budget meetings. “And now, if you’ll refer to page eighty-three of the spreadsheet—”
About the Author:
E.L. Tettensor is the author of the Nicolas Lenoir mysteries. She is also Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound trilogy, and Erin Tettensor, occasionally distracted aid worker. She works very hard at juggling these personalities, which is a superpower in and of itself. You can find her on Twitter @etettensor, or visit one of her lovely websites, www.eltettensor.com or www.erin-lindsey.com. She lives in Bujumbura, Burundi.