by Carol E. Ayer
Kayla Jeffries, the main character in Peppermint Cream Die, is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Approximately twenty percent of the population share this trait. Most HSPs are introverts like Kayla, but some are extroverts.
Having the HSP trait means that Kayla is always at risk of becoming overstimulated. This is because she processes experiences so deeply.
Kayla is especially bothered by loud noises, such as leaf blowers, jackhammers, and fireworks. Even her cats’ meows can sometimes set her on edge.
She doesn’t always like to be touched. Her close friends and family have learned to hug her briefly if they hug her at all (if she isn’t feeling overstimulated, she might initiate a hug herself). Some fabrics can be too scratchy for her, and certain sensations, such as a ragged fingernail catching on her clothes, irritate her if she is already feeling overwhelmed.
Criticism, especially from someone who means a lot to her, can ruin Kayla’s day. She also can’t bear to watch violent movies or hear about harm coming to an animal.
Living with the HSP trait has its positive side, however. Kayla delights in the sights and sounds of the nearby ocean, the smell of fresh cookies baking, and the timbre of her boyfriend’s laugh. She is deeply moved by beautiful art and literature. She adores her two cats, Sugar and Flour. She loves snuggling with them under a soft blanket.
When Christmas rolls around, Kayla is in heaven. She revels in the decorations, the smell of her indoor tree, and the baked goods she makes for her clients. Christmastime is a feast for her senses! Sitting on her porch with her boyfriend Jason, drinking hot cocoa and looking out to the ocean, is one of her favorite experiences in life. Now if only there weren’t that pesky murder to solve…
Carol Ayer, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), lives halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento with her cat, Rainn. When she’s not writing, she’s reading mysteries and thrillers or watching movies and cooking shows. As a native Californian, she visits the ocean as often as possible.