- N. N. Light
The Talking Cure by @parkcooper is an Indie Reads event pick #uf #romance #indiereads #giveaway
Title: The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic and Psychiatry
Author: Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper
Genre: Urban Fantasy//Very-Slow-Burn Romance Series
* Zach Cutter claims he's not really an antiques dealer as such, but that he's really a supernatural investigator.
* Zach claims he's got repressed memories, missing at least a year of his life, probably more.
* Zach claims he can do magic. Not stage magician magic-- REAL magic.
* Zach claims he's got FEELINGS for his new psychiatrist, Dr. Cynthia Mann.
* Zach claims a LOT of problematic things.
But they're ALL TRUE.
After a disturbing case in New York made Dr. Cynthia Mann wonder if the supernatural might actually be real, she's started her life and her practice all over again in Cleveland, where she meets a new patient, stranger than any she’s ever met before—and far more charming than anyone she’s ever met, too. During the progress Zach makes as Cynthia’s patient, he tells her stories about his past, and their relationship slowly edges from a doctor-patient one to a friendship—and Zach clearly wouldn’t mind if it became more. Together, Cynthia and Zach will have to find a way for him to get out of the trouble he stumbled into long ago...
“...How did you know that I’d been considering taking the rest of the day off?”
“Simple,” he said, “I’m a magician.”
“You mean like a stage illusionist?”
“No, just your average supernatural detective type.”
“Maybe you should ask me to sit down and tell you what my trouble is.” I did. He slouched in the leather chair in front of me. “I need some sleeping pills,” he said.
“Because there’s some sort of magical creature that’s invading my dreams. Until I figure out how to get it off my back, I need something that’ll knock me out at night without letting me dream. I’m thinking Ambien, or something stronger, if you’ll just prescribe that for me, please. Then I’ll take my prescription slip and be on my way, and you’ll never have to think about the strange man who came into your office without an appointment ever again.”
Well, I wasn’t about to give a prescription to a complete stranger, especially not with a story like that. “Why’d you pick me to come and see, Mister...?”
“Zach Cutter. It used to be Zach Lansky, but I changed it after... what happened.”
“...After what happened?” I asked. Mr. Cutter pulled up his sleeve. I saw the scars of a failed suicide attempt. “How...” I stopped. How was sort of obvious. “Why...?”
“I did this after Celeste died.”
“...Celeste was my girlfriend. And she was a gifted psychic. We were investigating a haunted house case... only it turned out that the house was chock-full of the most vicious, pissed-off ghosts ever. Six of the people who went into that house that day ended up dead—and no, it wasn’t me who murdered any of them. Some killed each other... some, no one could even figure out what could have caused what happened to their bodies. Christ, it was awful. They locked me up for months, after I got out of there, for my own good... and I needed that time, considering the things I saw...”
“...Oh. ...I’m sorry to hear that.”
“...That’s not what you’re really thinking.”
“You’re thinking, ‘this guy is a danger to himself, and maybe others.’ But let me tell you, Cynthia, about a fourth of the magicians I know have been under observation for some serious mental health issues at one time or another. Magic is a very stressful job.”
“We’ve just met. Maybe in a few sessions, we can start calling each other by our first names, but... it’s nothing personal, it’s just... I am supposed to be the doctor here.”
“Oh, sorry. Now, about my sleeping pills, Dr. Mann...”
“No, I can’t give you that prescription.”
“Well, because so far, I don’t believe a word of your story.” Honestly, so far, he sounded sincere, but based on the things he was telling me, I wondered if he was just testing me, to see what sort of person I might be, what my reaction would be to the kinds of things he was telling me...
“Um...” said Mr. Cutter. “May I ask you why you don’t believe me? I mean, you’d take other patients’ stories at face value. You’d give them the benefit of the doubt.”
“That’s because my other patients’ stories tend to make sense.”
“You don’t believe in magic?”
“Let’s say I’m an open-minded skeptic. If you can prove to me that magic exists...”
“You want me to do a magic trick?”
“Yes, that might help.”
“I’ll do you one better.”
“I’ll tell you about the case I’ve been working on.”
“I don’t think a case could convince me...”
“You listened to Cormac Whitney talk about Die Dame, you can listen to me.”
“How did you...” I stopped. I didn’t tell people about what “Whit” Whitney had told me. I never talked about him. As far as I knew, Kyla still didn’t know anything about the talk Whit had had with me. I had never said a word to her about it. I suppose she might have learned about my connection to Whit Whitney if she’d Googled me... if she had, though, she’d never mentioned it.
But Mr. Cutter really shouldn’t have known... that phrase he’d said. That phrase that Whit had mentioned— “How did you know about—”
“I’m a magician, like I said,” he shrugged. “Now, do you want to hear about my newest case, or what?” He didn’t act like he was interested in the fact that he knew something that I’d never told anyone. He acted like he wanted to talk about his job.
I tried to think. Maybe Whit’s wife had told someone some of the same things Whit’d told me...? I tried to keep in mind that there were all sorts of possibilities I might not be aware of how— “—All right,” I said, “Tell me about your recent case you handled. As a supernatural investigator. See if you can convince me.”
“Fair enough. It started out after I came back to Cleveland for a visit...”
“This is your hometown?”
“Yeah, I grew up here. But I haven’t settled down anywhere for more years than I can count... In fact, I was living in N.Y.C. around the time that you encountered Cormac Whitney. That’s how I knew to contact you.”
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One day Barb Lien-Cooper had an idea that was so beautifully simple, she was shocked no one had come up with it before: what if a handsome, charming man dropped into an understanding young female psychiatrist’s office and said “I’m a magician/supernatural investigator with repressed memory problems that I need to talk about…”?
Barb (and her husband and writing partner Park Cooper) designed the work as an episodic story where in every chapter the client, Zach Cutter, would come into Dr. Cynthia Mann’s office and talk about his cases—because no one wants to stop reading a book in the middle of a story. With an episodic novel, a reader could finish reading a chapter, feel content, then be able to go to sleep or what-have-you, then pick it up at the next opportunity without losing their place. In every chapter, the two lead characters would start having deeper and deeper feelings for each other—
—However, there’s a real-life impediment to the characters acting on their feelings: the American Psychiatric Association says that therapists must not date their clients.
So---their relationship deepens not just because of obvious physical attraction (which is there, but which isn’t supposed to be acted upon), but because of an increasing mutual knowledge of what makes the other person tick. The authors thought about old films like Tracy-and-Hepburn romances and Bogie-and-Bacall films (such as To Have and Have Not) where feelings were conveyed through flirtatious dialog instead of onscreen physical intimacy.
Additionally, the authors have a passion for and great knowledge of world mythology, particularly monster mythology, and so they were determined that Zach Cutter’s cases wouldn’t just be the standard vampires and werewolves, but that they would also feature less-well-known monsters and mythologies from around the world.
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--grew up to become a guitarist/singer-songwriter
--got an album put out on the Imp label
--jumped in the fountain of youth one time (she looked down into the water and her glasses fell off so she had to get them back)
--got a Ph.D. in literature
--wrote a fantasy prose novel
--wrote a cyberpunk graphic novel
Barb and Park:
--met through a comic-book fanzine
--had a long-distance relationship
--co-wrote an online column about pop culture for a dozen years
--adapted and edited manga
--wrote comic books and graphic novels (one co-published by Marvel)
--wrote prose novels (and still do)
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