Phyllis Schieber’s Manicurist Has Second Sight

Smiling-portrait-4-1 Welcome our guest, novelist Phyllis Schieber!

Prescience (n)—knowledge of events before they take place; foreknowledge; second sight

The Manicurist is a story of redemption, but it also pays homage to the forces that are beyond our control. The characters ultimately accept those forces that defy explanation, which leads to deepen their relationships. They may not be like any people my readers necessarily know, but the characters and their struggles will not be unfamiliar. They are ordinary people with some unusual challenges, but ultimately, they all want the same thing—to be loved and understood.

Tessa and Walter Emanuel seem to be an ordinary couple, enjoying a typical marriage. And they seem the ideal parents for their somewhat rebellious teen-age daughter, Regina. Without warning their comfortable lives are thrown into turmoil when a disturbing customer, Fran, comes into the salon where Tessa works as a manicurist. Suddenly, Tessa’s world is turned upside down as revelations come to light about Ursula, the mentally ill mother Tessa thought had abandoned her in childhood, and the second sight that she so guardedly seeks to keep from others. Together, the family discovers what it means to accept the unexpected and to embrace change.

smiling2 I am intrigued by the reality that nothing is ever what it seems to be. The most seemingly ordinary people in the world have stories that are likely to surprise us. Who would ever suspect Tessa to have survived the sort of childhood she experienced or to have the gift of prescience? Yet, Tessa not only has a mesmerizing story to tell, but she can also see what others cannot.

There are so many aspects that contribute to the impetus that led to the story that became The Manicurist—my interest in prescience, my understanding of how family dynamics shape our lives, my love of words, my fascination with unusual characters, and a determination to tell an surprising story about typical subjects—among them love, marriage, parenthood, loss, and growth.  My characters and their stories are a conglomeration of all these interests.  While my characters are mostly from my imagination, aspects of their personalities and quirks can be based on people I’ve known or on people I’ve observed. None of my characters are based on any one specific person. I would find that too distracting.

I never have a specific plan before I begin a novel other than the need to tell a story about something I want to explore in greater depth. In The Manicurist,I began with the idea of a manicurist who has prescience, and the story evolved from there. I have always been drawn to how second-sight manifests itself, simply because I believe that everyone is born with this ability. We simply don’t need to use it because technology has taken over for us, but the predisposition for it is present in all of us. Prescience, like any other skill, needs to be honed. Most of us have lost this skill because we never need to use it. I think that’s tragic. I remember that as a child, I used to practice what I believed were my extrasensory skills, including levitation. Mostly, I succeeded in giving myself a headache, but I was determined, and it was an interest that remained with me and continues to absorb me. There is always the potential for a great story when some degree of prescience is involved. I just followed that likelihood. More importantly, however, is how the story leads me. Once I am fully involved with the characters, I simply follow their lead. They always seem to know best anyway.

Have you ever had an experience that made you believe in prescience? If so, how did that experience influence the outcome of how you handled the situation?  Do you agree that we are all born with some degree of prescience?  Post a comment to put your name into my drawing for a copy ofTHE MANICURIST.

The Manicurist was a finalist in the 2011 Inaugural Indie Publishing Contest sponsored by the San Francisco Writer’s Conference.


About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in books, novel, paranornal, second sight,ESP,prescience. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Phyllis Schieber’s Manicurist Has Second Sight

  1. diane says:

    I am captivated with your post today and your unique and fascinating novel which appeals to me greatly. I have always been interested in the ability to feel and sense events. Prescience is an interesting concept and several times throughout my life I have been able to know what will happen and what did occur. I think that certain individuals have that sensitivity and are more aware. Not everyone is. Certain outcomes developed as I knew they would which was unfortunate. The Manicurist sounds compelling and special.

    • I have found that I have that prescient connection with certain key people in my life, especially my son. I can think about him, and the phone will ring! What’s that all about? I wonder. Thanks for stopping by, Diane!

  2. leannebanks says:

    Congratulations and welcome Phyllis! I have had that sensation a few times in my life where I felt as if I’d previously dreamed what was happening to me. And then I usually add a soundtrack of creepy music in my mind to help me with my discomfort. There are many unexplained things that happen inside us!

    • Thank you, Leanne. I know exactly what you mean. It feels strange when that happens, but it also feels right. There are certainly many things we don’t understand. I like that, don’t you?

  3. michelehauf says:

    Great post! I do believe in that extra sense we all possess but don’t utilize. We use it, but we’re not aware of using it. And some who are aware, are those who look at cross-eyed because we think they are a little wacky. Sounds like an awesome story!

    • I think that’s why meditation is so important–disconnect from all the technology and allow ourselves to really separate. The results can be amazing! Thanks so much for your comments, Michele!

  4. ellie says:

    I enjoyed learning about the background of your book which is intriguing. The characters and the story is original and enthralling. Reading this book would be an experience since it involves a topic that you have explored. Prescience is amazing, extraordinary and beckons me. I do believe it is powerful and exists. It has affected me and at times still does. I cannot say that I have come under its spell but I have felt its influence. I have to trust my instincts and understand the feeling.Best wishes on The Manicurist.

  5. Thanks, Ellie. Prescience “beckons” me as well!

  6. Good morning, Phyllis! (It’s still morning here. Been running the girls around, and I’m just dropping into my desk chair with a big sigh.) I’m so glad you could stop by, show off THE MANICURIST and start us talking about this fascinating subject. I just know there’s stuff jam packed into this brain of ours that we don’t know how to use. But it must be so strong in some people that it drives them crazy until they recognize it and let it play out. I think it has to do with our survival instinct from way way back, and there’s so much information in our DNA, why wouldn’t it include stuff from our ancestors besides physical traits?

    • Good afternoon, Kathy! I agree with you–prescience simply makes sense, considering all the alleged “coincidences” that cannot be explained any other way. We just need to be more in touch with that side of our consciousness, and then it all comes together.

  7. Cindy says:

    I just read The Manicurist for the second time. It’s an engaging, complex, and insightful novel that should be on everyone’s “must read” summer list!

  8. catslady says:

    I just read an article that suggests coincidence is really the sixth sense. Many times it’s the little things that I notice – the phone rings just as I was thinking of calling someone myself – my one daughter and I do that all the time, especially when she was away at school – to the point of having the phone in my hand and it would ring. Just yesterday I emailed someone about something that I had been thinking about for months and she replied that she had just written a handwritten note to me and was getting ready to send it. Yes, I do believe but in today’s world, we rarely pay attention. Your book sounds fascinating.

  9. anne says:

    The Manicurist is a book that I will be reading because I know I will think about it for a long time. Prescience is more than coincidence. For me it is being attuned to situations, people and innermost thoughts. Not everyone can understand this so I don’t mention it since they are skeptical but I have felt it ever since I was young. It does manifest itself but I never know when.

    • phyllis says:

      Many are skeptical about what they can’t understand–it’s simply the way it is. I agree that it’s more than coincidence–one of my favorite lines from THE MANICURIST is, “… coincidence is the glue of dreams.” Stay “attuned,” Anne. It’s the best way to observe!

  10. loisgreiman says:

    Thanks for joining us, Phyllis, Can’t wait to read your lovely novel. Best of luck with it.

  11. Trish Jensen says:

    This is going to sound silly, but it’s my first experience. Others I’ve always felt were crazy renditions of deja vu. I’ve been here before. Or did I just know in my subconscious was I expecting exactly this scenario, right down to the words people spoke and the actions they decided upon.

    But my EARLIEST feeling was (DO NOT LAUGH…well, okay, laugh) at all of those teenage and early adulthood slumber parties. Anyone remember Truth or Dare? I was KNOWN for the fact that I could always (WITHOUT FAIL) predict if someone would tell the truth to the question, or take the dare. I’d write it down secretly, and if I predicted truth, I’d predict the answer as well. SOMETIMES I already knew the answer to the question, but regardless, I’d guess I had a good 95% rate for predicting what it was. See? Told you it was silly.

    The one spooky and so very sad instance though, was that I happened upon a friend crying in the stairwell at my school. We were friends, but not bosom buddies. I sat down beside her and asked her what was wrong. I just KNEW she was going to tell me a friend died. A friend I didn’t know. But as soon as she said it I had a really clear vision of a friend of mine who didn’t go to my own school, but we rode horses together at our club. There was no way I had any idea this school friend knew my riding buddy. I had not spoken with or seen my riding buddy since her last (ironically) birthday slumber party, so had NO IDEA she was even ill). But as soon as my school buddy said she lost a good friend, my riding buddy’s name, face, smile popped into my head.
    When she said it, I broke down, too. Not only because she HAD been my friend, but because it felt like I almost caused it to be her by thinking of her the moment the school buddy said a friend had died.

    Anyway, if this is prescience, I might have had it once upon a time. Ever since it just feels like really strange deja vu.

    Great blog! Great food for thought. Contest folks, I already own a copy of the book, so if you want to take me off the list, fine. If not, I have sisters and a mother who are voracious readers.

    • Don’t you think prescience and deja vu are linked in some way? I do. And I don’t think there is anything strange or funny (well, maybe a little funny!) about your experiences. I think it’s strange and funny that we find those sorts of experiences strange and funny! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  12. bn100 says:

    I think it exists, but don’t remember experiencing it. The book sounds intriguing.

  13. Tracie says:

    Intriguing post!
    I believe that there is definitely something to the whole sixth sense and premonition theory. I believe that we all experience it but deal with it differently. To what degree it actually exists I’m not certain. It could be the same in all of us and for those that embrace it they can better manage it and have a deeper depth to it. On numerous occasions I have thought of someone that I haven’t heard from in ages for no apparent reason and in no time receive a call, email, text or bump in to them somewhere. I have also thought of people and reached out to them after quite some time to find them going through a trying time and needing the extra support. Through my life I have experienced reoccurring dreams that mean nothing at the time then after years of having them something in my life happens that causes everything to fall into place. Of course, it could be me just rationalizing it but they end after the real life occurrence so I’m a believer that they relate. Finally I will say that I have experience deja vu too many times to count. For the longest time I was convinced that it was a warning or sign to deal with the situation in a certain way and I would drive myself crazy trying to remember every word that was spoken or action that was taken in order to better react to the situation. After way too much time working myself into a tizzy trying to control it I’ve become better at just letting the situation work itself out.
    Looking forward to reading The Manicurist!
    Good luck and happy writing!

  14. Why try to control something so natural? I agree that we just need to be open to the “messages” the universe sends our way. It’s a much more interesting way to live regardless! Thank you for your insights on this subject–no pun intended, or maybe intended?–and for your warm support.

  15. What’s so marvelous about The Manicurist (which I read and loved) is that Tessa senses things through touch, particularly touching other people’s hands. She learns about others simply by doing her job, giving manicures. It’s one of the things that makes this book so magical and moving.

    I’ve been told I’m psychic. I’m not so sure about that. I think I’m intuitive…which is maybe the same thing.

    • I think it’s pretty close to being the same thing! Thank you for your kind words about The Manicurist. Tessa’s “intuitiveness” complicates her life because she resists it. I think that we all need to embrace our gifts, whatever they might be. I’m always grateful when I open myself to the idea that there are powers beyond explanation!

  16. Thanks to all of you, especially to Kathy, for embracing THE MANICURIST! I had a wonderful time talking to all of you! I knew I would…. psychic? Perhaps.

  17. What a fascinating topic—-and your book sounds wonderful, Phyllis.

    I agree with you that we must all have these moments of prescience, and have experienced them a number of times. I have. Twice, it involved the death an immediate family who was in the hospital and a sudden, loud inner voice saying “You’ve got to go to her NOW.” Both times, I made it to the bedside with less than hour to spare. Sometimes it involves something just out of the blue–a flash of knowledge that I could not have known. Once, while dating a vet student, we were at the vet school horse barn in the evening, and an instructor was posting (autopsying) a horse that had been in a pretty traumatic accident of some kind, and had just died in surgery. he was discussing it with a couple of students and they were debating about what a particular bit of tissue was. The word flashed in my mind, clear as day, but I was too shy to say and after all, what would **I** know about it anyway? I’d never even seen the innards of a horse! But I told my boyfriend later, and the next day he said that the tissue had been analyzed, and I was right. Spooky!

    I look forward to reading your book!

    • I totally get what you’re saying, Roxanne. I think more than anything else, need to trust our instincts. In the wake of so much technology, we have completely forgotten how to rely on our feelings and perceptions. Whenever I disregard my instincts, I always veer off course. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences!

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