Interview with Jack Ironwood, main character in Soulshifter

Jack is a sixteen year old high school student who lives in western Michigan. His chestnut hair falls in loose curls that he likes to wear long and untamed, often hanging over his brown eyes. He’s most comfortable in worn jeans, a band t-shirt and canvas sneakers.

I’m sure everyone is wondering about the sect you belong to, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about it?
Sure. If more people know about it, hopefully it’ll cut down on the crazy rumors. It’s called the Racamedi Sect, named for the Italian scientist who studied transcendental abilities within family groups. His idea was to form a group of like-minded—and gifted—families to be sort of a support group for each other. Once people started getting together and organized, they realized we could try to help people and established the sect mission: “For the Betterment of Society”.

Transcendental? Can you expand on that?
Yeah, I guess transcendental is kind of an old-fashioned word, but I’ve heard it so many times it’s part of my vocabulary. Anyway, it really just means like spiritual or psychic abilities. You know, telekinesis, ESP, empaths… the kind of stuff you see on TV plus some things you probably never heard of. Unfortunately, a lot of people think we’re a bunch of freaks, but actually, most of us are regular people who happen to be able to do things most people can’t.

So what’s your ability?
Well, it’s one of the lesser known abilities, even though it’s fairly common within the sect. I’m a soulshifter, which means I can travel into the spirit world or underworld. Usually, I’m just looking for advice or guidance, so I spirit-walk—meaning it’s a mental journey. But I can actually cross to the other world physically too.

Is it a difficult thing to do?
(shrugs) Soulshifters have to be trained; I mean I have a mentor and stuff. Uh… hard or easy doesn’t really apply. It’s more about knowing the proper procedures so that you stay safe.

Let’s switch gears, how would you describe your family life?
Crowded. (laughs) But happy. There are four of us: mom, dad, and Jase—that’s my six-year-old brother—and we live in an old two-room farmhouse. I know my parents work hard to give us what they can. They expect me to work hard, too, in school and stuff, and to think for myself. Since I started high school, they’ve kind of stepped back and let me take the lead on my life, but they’re still always there if I need them.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m really into music so when I have time I like to play my guitar or listen to music—or both. I joined a band this summer, so a lot of my spare time now is spent rehearsing with the guys.

What are your hopes for the future?
(smiles) Since I doubt I’ll be a rock star, I want to be a high-level shifter. Like, I don’t want to do a mundane job and have this ability on the side. So I put a lot of effort in learning from my mentor and hope that I’ll eventually do important things. Maybe become a mentor, or even a sect elder.

What is your greatest fear?
Screwing up. Not being good enough. I’d like to think I was given this ability for a reason, so I feel like I should accomplish great things.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To feel as confident in school as I do in the sect. When I ‘m at school, I mostly just try to go unnoticed. I don’t exactly feel like an outsider, but I also don’t feel like I fit in.

What qualities do you look for in a girlfriend?
Well… I’d like my girlfriend to know me and still like me anyway! I think it would be great if she was both my girlfriend and my best friend—someone I could share things with who would understand me.

Which famous person do you most admire?
I’d have to say Eddie Van Halen. I love his guitar style and he’s amazingly talented. He taught himself to play guitar and that was after teaching himself to play drums. When he was a kid, his mom made him take piano lessons, but he never really learned how to read music, he just played by example and by ear. I’d be stoked to have half his talent.

Thanks Jack!

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