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Carolyn Crane | Turning a "Fault" Into a Super Power

Winners may get all the glory in life, but I find the losers to be far more interesting.  They see the world differently—often because they’re flat on their back…in the store parking lot…after being trampled over on the way to the sale. But they’re looking at the stars.

What I most enjoy is when the things the losers hate about themselves turn into powers. And look! One of my favorite examples of this is a Christmassy one: Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer. All the other reindeers laughed at him and excluded him because of his red nose, but when the snowstorm hit, suddenly his bright nose was awesome.

I love the drama of that. And it’s something I really enjoyed playing with in my disillusionists trilogy. My characters have problems that run—and ruin—their lives. And I got to turn that upside down, into awesome superpowers.

The whole idea started, oddly, from reading a depressing book. This book! OMG, it made me feel really awful, and I thought, if I had an enemy, I would give them this book as a gift, so that they could feel as disillusioned as I did. (In fact, I actually recommended it to somebody I was mad at. LOL. But I am not a terrible person! I swear!)

Then I thought, what if there were people who disillusioned others professionally? Instead of a hit man who kills people, there would be this psychological hit squad that disillusions people—basically “crashes and reboots” the bad guys so that they can come back good.

And who better to be on a psychological hit squad than really messed-up, neurotic people? 

So, with a little magical help from a certain handsome tortured mastermind (because, okay, I love handsome tortured masterminds), my hypochondriac heroine, a woman gripped by anxiety her whole life, can suddenly fill notorious criminals with fear—and get a few sweet hours of being free of fear herself. Or her grim friend Shelby infuses them with depressing thoughts. My rage-a-holic cook can make them lose control.

This all takes place in poor struggling Midcity. Crumbling Midcity is a Midwestern rust belt casualty that was really proud the year its school students finally got average test scores, but it’s been all downhill from there.

Bad enough that Midcity’s jobs are gone; now it’s terrorized by telepaths, telekinetics, dream invaders, memory revisionists and other criminals with strange powers.

Can my intrepid losers turn Midcity around? Will Justine, my hopeless hypochondriac, find love with her flawed hero? Is he more flawed than he’s letting on? One thing is for sure: nothing is quite as it seems in Midcity.


MIND GAMES and DOUBLE CROSS, the first two books in the Disillusionists trilogy, were released by Spectra/Bantam in 2010; an as-yet untitled book #3 will hit in 2011. Carolyn Crane lives  in Minneapolis with her husband and two cats. You can find excerpts and more at her website or visit her at her blog or tweet up on twitter.

MIND GAMES: synopsis:

MIND GAMES heroine Justine Jones isn't your typical kick-ass type - she’s a hopeless hypochondriac whose life is run by fear. She's lured into a restaurant, Mongolian Delites, by tortured mastermind Sterling Packard, who promises he can teach her to channel her fears. In exchange, she must join his team of disillusionists - vigilantes hired by crime victims to zing their anxieties into criminals, resulting in collapse and transformation.

Justine isn't interested in Packard's troupe until she gets a taste of the peace he can promise. Soon she enters the thrilling world of neurotic crime fighters who battle Midcity’s depraved and paranormal criminals. Eventually, though, she starts wondering why Packard hasn’t set foot outside the Mongolian Delites restaurant for eight years. And about the true nature of the disillusionists.

Comment to win:

In MIND GAMES and DOUBLE CROSS, a character’s biggest quirk or worst problem can be a power. What would your disillusionist power be? Comment to win a signed copy of Book #1 of the trilogy: MIND GAMES.




34 comments posted.

Re: Carolyn Crane | Turning a "Fault" Into a Super Power

I would fill like I Just fit in with this book.
(Stacey Smith 1:02am December 22, 2010)

Wow! What a great concept - I love the idea - can't wait to read it.
(Barbara Hanson 5:54am December 22, 2010)

This story sounds compelling!
(Joanne Reynolds 6:25am December 22, 2010)

Sounds interesting like rooting for the underdog but with a twist. Happy holidays to you!
(Karen Gervasi 9:33am December 22, 2010)

My power would be boredom. I get bored easily and have to move onto
something else even if I'm not finished with what I was working on before. I
have a tendency to start a project and get past the fun part, then I set it aside
to do something else. So I guess that would have to be my super power. Well,
that and the fact that I can read, watch t.v. and talk to hubby all at the same
time and know what is going on in each.
(Nikki Cooley 10:26am December 22, 2010)

If I could turn one of my faults into a super power it would be me ability to
procrastinate. I could make the bad guys decide to take over the world some
other time LOL
(Lesleyanne Drake 11:01am December 22, 2010)

This is one of the books that has a lot in it and much more depth. I know this book is going to be a interesting read
(Anthonia Sharp 12:08pm December 22, 2010)

This is a very unusual sounding character...you have me curious about this story! I would have to think on what would my greatest "fault" power! :) Happy Holidays!
(Colleen Conklin 12:19pm December 22, 2010)

What an unusual premis....sounds really interesting and I would love to read it.

I guess I could get people to to get extreme about their hobbies....why take over the world when there is a cross stitch sampler to get done first....hehe.

in Germany
(Valerie Bongards 12:40pm December 22, 2010)

My fault to change into power would be indecisiveness--no one would ever be able to choose which harmful thing to do first.
(Joan OToole 1:06pm December 22, 2010)

This series sound really interesting - cant wait to read it...
Lethargy might be a good power - no one would have enough motivation to do anything.
(Devon Gainer 2:25pm December 22, 2010)

My fault would be procrastination. I would love if I could get rid of that altogether. I have gotten better with the kids now I don't postpone as much cause you never know what will happen with kids.
(Chris Swanson 3:16pm December 22, 2010)

What would your disillusionist power be?
That is a good question... I would guess mine would be the power of positive thinking....

Thank you for a chance to win your book... Looks really good...
(Kelly Mueller 3:35pm December 22, 2010)

I have two major faults: procrastination and indecisiveness.
(Cherie Japp 4:06pm December 22, 2010)

Oh, I would love to read this book and the series.
Now, about disillusionist power ..wow!! I really need to think about this, maybe cynicism or too much realism...LOL
(Clio Teixeira 5:30pm December 22, 2010)

I'm a neat freak. It's a blessing & a curse.
(Mary Preston 5:46pm December 22, 2010)

OK, my entire life has been one big Murphy's Law episode. I MUST READ THIS BOOK. BTW, what was that terribly depressing book you read? Any hints?

My power would be...ummm. I don't know. My issues are affirmation (real affirmation and not that cr@p people dish out just because it is expected of them)and security. How would those turn into powers????
(Michele Powell 6:01pm December 22, 2010)

I would guess that we all win a few and loose a few, and hope life balances out OK.
(Marjorie Carmony 6:19pm December 22, 2010)

I think mine would be fear of bugs. LOL

Sounds like a very interesting book.
(Larena Hubble 6:25pm December 22, 2010)

I'm a detail person. I sometimes drive my family crazy with the notes I've written. Plaster them with paper, that's my motto. Your books sounds so interesting. Would love to win the copy.
(Maude Allen 7:00pm December 22, 2010)

I have a hard time making decisions.... at least my husband says I take too long to make them. So I guess doubt would be mine!
(Brenda Rupp 7:36pm December 22, 2010)

I tend to be shy. Wonder what I could do with that?
(Lisa Garrett 7:42pm December 22, 2010)

Oh, mine would be the tyranny of the weak that ultimately control the strong.
Would love to read the book though.
(Maria Antunes 7:43pm December 22, 2010)

Hm, what would my power be? Probably that I worry too much
about everyone, which can literally make me sick.

This sounds like a really fun and different book!
(Margay Roberge 9:17pm December 22, 2010)

Looking forward to reading this series. Thanks for the contest to win a copy. Merry Christmas
(Teresa Ward 9:50pm December 22, 2010)

Definitely a lovely idea. Where do I sign on? I'm another worrier.

Merry Christmas to all!
(Sigrun Schulz 10:00pm December 22, 2010)

Thanks for the chance to win. Merry Christmas
(Gail Siuba 10:19pm December 22, 2010)

Well, I do have a severe disinterest to dusting. Can that
even be turned into a superpower?
(G. Bisbjerg 10:39pm December 22, 2010)

I agree losers have more intriging stories to tell than winners. Justine in your book sounds just like that. Can't wait to read it.
(Diane Chenier 11:00pm December 22, 2010)

I think it would be great to be able to be able to have the power to cause a timid, stressed person to swap their problems with a bold, anti-social person with no fears whatso ever for 48 hrs so each can experience these victims can become the bullies and each can change their lives when they return to themselves.
(Susan Lathen 12:07pm December 23, 2010)

If I'm understanding the question correctly, I would give certain people who are weak or on the quiet side, abilities to be more outgoing, or let them think they're stronger than they really are. In the past, I have come to let people like that realize their strengths, and they have become better people for it. I wouldn't do it for evil purposes, just to level out the playing field a little. They need a chance to succeed, just like everyone else!!
(Peggy Roberson 8:29am December 23, 2010)

I'm afraid that people will critize me--so I'm afraid to go to large gatherings, etc---what kind of superpower could come from that?
(Sue Farrell 11:03am December 23, 2010)

It's so hard to take over the world when you're agoraphobic. It's hard to walk outside to the mailbox when you're afraid of walking outside your home. Christmas shopping by computer is easier than getting a gallon of milk to go with your cookies. Just think of all you would do with just a few hours of this problem being gone. You could visit people, walk in the park, go somewhere and meet a guy, see what's new on the shelves of the grocery store.

The whole idea is crazy, but it could make for a fun book. This new one looks like it's full of fun.
(Christina Harrison 2:06pm December 23, 2010)

What fun working on the psyche and seeing what good comes of it or not.
(Alyson Widen 7:24pm December 27, 2010)

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