Lee Fishman is the author of the book Mediums Guild, a career counselor and is on the board of her local ACLU; here is a link to her website:
Q: What is Mediums Guild about?
A: Margo, a financially strapped single mother of two, works by day selling real estate. At night she earns extra money reading tarot cards and telling fortunes. After a reading at a Halloween party, Greg tells Margo how his sister and a male friend disappeared without a trace. When he asks Margo for help, she recruits intuitive friends in hopes of finding clues to the couple’s whereabouts. Too bad they come up short – until Margo has a dream that leads investigators to a location where the couple is found…dead. Local media swoop in on Margo, eager to know more of her psychic abilities and her connection with the baffling murder. As others learn of her emerging talent, a shadowy syndicate tries to convince Margo to use her abilities for their financial gain, leading her on a dangerous journey full of twists, turns and surprises.
Q: What inspired you to write it?
A: Years ago, I followed the story of a local couple’s disappearance. In my imagination l always wondered what might happen if a psychic got involved in the investigation. To be honest, I’ve been fascinated by all things intuitive since the year my kid sister and I found an old Ouija board in a closet and a cousin gave me a deck of tarot cards as a gift. As a teen, I became intrigued with telling fortunes, going on to learn the meanings of the cards and finding value in the stories they told. They almost take on a life of their own. Later, as an adult I traveled to Lilydale, NY where I worked to explore other facets of intuitive ability.
Q: What makes someone a convincing psychic?
A: That’s a very good question. I’ve met many psychics and mediums. I find the ones I trust to be the most modest. They don’t make outrageous claims about themselves; in fact, they use their talents to help others, often with little thought for monetary gain. They accept their intuitive gifts as just that, believing that we all share this type of ability. The difference is that some people work to explore and deepen their skills just as you might, with music or art or athletic ability.
Q: Who are some of your literary influences?
A: I confess to being a total book worm and am rarely without a stack of books “to read”. Right now I’m looking forward to reading David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. Of course, Kate Atkinson is always a favorite; I especially love her Jackson Brody mysteries. And I’ve just started reading George Saunders whose stories are mind-blowing.
Q: What is Edge of a Dream about?
A: Edge of a Dream tells of a young refugee couple. They escape from war-torn Sarajevo, finding asylum in America but while Rija, the young wife, sticks to the straight and narrow, seeking acceptance through hard work and education, her husband, Josef drifts off, lured to a world that promises easy money but, in reality, leads instead to crime and violence.
Q: What experiences did you draw from when writing it?
A: I once worked with recently arrived asylum seekers and new Americans. My job was to help them to become more successful in job searching, in a language that wasn’t their own. I was often impressed and humbled by their drive, persistence and determination.
Q: What does your work as a career counselor entail?
A: Right now I’m working with unemployed young mothers, helping them improve their resumes, practice interviewing skills and become more comfortable in the world of work.
Q: What are some common challenges you face at work?
A: Well the weak job market is certainly a big barrier, obviously. Many of the applicants are motivated but they need more and higher level training than they now have access to.
Q: How did you become involved with the ACLU?
A: When I worked at the public library, I partnered with the ACLU to host an annual Banned Books Reading. We recruited local personalities to do readings from their favorite banned book. We usually had a great turn-out and it was lots of fun.
Q: What was the most interesting local case you have seen at the ACLU?
A: The recent ACLU case that I am so thankful for is the one that involved winning the battle to overturn an unnecessarily restrictive Pennsylvania Voter ID Law. The ACLU and other groups not only won the first round, but went on to win the appeal as well. It was a huge case that took many thousands of hours of work by ACLU staff and attorneys.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)