What is a typical day like for you as a writer? I’m definitely a morning person and have a ritual that sets my day. I usually get up before dawn, feed the cats, have a cup of coffee, and meditate for 20-30 minutes. I’ve been doing it, in that order, for nearly thirty years. Then I start writing if I have a project, or other work. Several years ago I put Joseph Campbell’s writing practice in place: at least three hours a day. It became automatic, and often the time extends itself without me noticing.
What interests you about writing fiction? I’m most interested in teaching stories. The reader learns or resolves something themselves through identifying with different characters, in the course of being entertained. As the writer, the same is true for me. The process is magical to me. It’s like a movie unfolds in front of me, and I just write it down. It’s particularly surprising when a new character appears to take me somewhere I hadn’t imagined.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel? Since the majority of what I write has to do with the Hero’s Journey, as mythologist Joseph Campbell so beautifully relayed in his work, my intent for readers is they recognize the Hero in themselves. We’re all on this evolutionary journey to different degrees. Ultimately, I hold that readers find inspiration, and more so, ways through tricky places, perhaps by identifying with my fictional characters or the examples from real people in my nonfiction books.
How do you come up with an idea for a new novel? The ideas present themselves. It may be something I want to explore myself, or a point I want to get across.
Are you traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path? I’ve published articles through professional journals and magazine since the early 1990s. When it came to my books, I specifically chose to self-publish through Kenosis Press, my own small press, for these important reasons: 1) they never go out of print; 2) the publishing process is truncated; 3) I have control over the content. Since my books are vehicles for my work, I continue to feel this is important.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear? I’ve gone through quite a process in the last 25 years. I felt like I was on a high-speed train going through one station after another, dropping things off and picking up others along the way until I realigned my life for a right fit.
This is what I’ve noticed. When I’m ready to go through a threshold—the next evolution—the residue of whatever fears may still be present becomes strongest, They can present themselves through critical internal voices, body stresses, or even dreams. I know that any of these are just internal signals that I’m moving out of what has been familiar. I’ve seen this to be true for virtually anyone. I do some objective exploring to see if there’s any validity to the messages. If so, I fine-tune but move forward if it’s a direction that’s beneficial. I tell my mentoring clients that it’s actually a marker of progress! Intent will prevail and the fears lessen over time as you get used to the (now) familiar.
Preston Johns Cadell is tormented. He attempts to outrun discontent and the void in his heart. His mother is hardly around. His father’s origins and disappearance are shrouded by family secrets. His sole remembrance of his father is flying through the stars nestled in his arms.
Any comfort Preston derives is from an unseen advisor who teaches him of the invisible world. Now he is coming of age. Memories arrive from long ago when a brown-skinned woman cared for him. But she, too, vanished. Finding the buried remains of his father’s altar, Preston must answer the draw to his destiny, to discover his lineage–even though he has no idea how or where it will lead him.
Portals to the Vision Serpent is a Hero’s Journey into the realms of shamanism and the Maya world. Interwoven are the struggles of indigenous peoples to preserve their way of life and tragedies that often come from misunderstandings. Through a family saga of dark wounds and mystery, spiritual healing unfolds.
The author donates 10% of profits from book sales to Kenosis Spirit Keepers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit she founded whose mission is to help preserve Native traditions in danger of decimation.
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Genre – Fiction / Coming of Age / Historical
Rating – PG