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When is death not really death? When you have nine lives…

Exploring inspiration for Spirit Woman (Airwoman #2)

Last year, I wrote a post about where I get my ideas from. One of the ideas that I wrote about in that post was a character with nine lives. If you’re interested, you can read it here.

My sister and I were discussing the musical, Cats, that we’d seen as children. The gist of our conversation was that we vividly remember seeing the musical, but have no idea what it was about. However, the old saying about cats having nine lives struck me and I wondered what it would be like if people actually had nine lives. This random thought led me to the creation of a character with nine lives. Though I didn’t use her at the time, she became one of the characters in Spirit Woman. In fact, I created a race of people who all have nine lives: the Neufers (‘neuf’ is ‘nine’ in French).

What would life be like if you had nine of them?

If you’re read any of my other posts, I’m constantly asking questions during my story creation and world-building process.

Why? Why? Why?

When I started to think about a race of people with nine lives each, I wondered what effect this would have on the way they live their lives. Would it extend their overall lives? Would people live hundreds of years? Would they care about death? Would they mark death as we do? Or would they be blase about risk?

I came to the conclusion that, in general, people were likely to live shorter lives so that their overall lifespan (that is once all nine lives are taken into account) would be shorter on average than a human (Earthen). This is because, if death wasn’t the end of life, I think people would have less appreciation for risk and less aversion to danger.

In fact, I expect these people would take many more risks, go willingly into danger and be more prone to anger and violence. This is because death loses it’s sting when you just wake up again, especially in the early years when you’d have many lives remaining.

By the time people are on their last remaining lives, the propensity for risk-taking, dangerous and violent behaviour is likely to be deeply ingrained into their psyche that it is difficult for individuals to learn restraint.

From a world-building perspective, I decided that people with nine lives would be keenly sought after in dangerous professions, since they would be less likely to be concerned with occupational health and safety or risky work practices! Also, it makes these people the perfect smugglers because of their preference for danger and risk.

And so, the race of Neufers was created.

What do you think? Would your life be different if you had nine more of them to live? Do you agree with my analysis? Leave me a note in the comments.

*Photo by Afrah from

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