Friday, June 26, 2015

#148 : In Conversation With : Rahima Warren

How did this story come to you?

I am still puzzled by where this story and its hero came from. It certainly did not come from my life experience. All I know is that I had a character similar to the protagonist of The Star-Seer’s Prophecy in my dreams and fantasies since I was a child. I have no idea where he came from, but he wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept showing up, over and over.

Partly inspired by my curiosity about him, I studied dreamwork, and became a psychotherapist. I found that Carl Jung’s work with dreams and archetypes most helpful. I did dreamwork and wrote dialogs with this inner character, and tried to analyze what part of my psyche he is, or what archetype he represents. No matter what I did, he kept on lurking around.

Finally, one day, I wrote a short story in my journal, hoping that he would be satisfied and go away. Big mistake! That little story opened the floodgates. This character, whose name turned out to be Kyr, had quite a journey to go on. The only way he could do it was to take over my life and turn me into a writer.

When those floodgates opened, a rush of intense, exciting creative energy poured forth. I surrendered to the current and it swept me along. I had no plan. I just went with the flow and wrote what Kyr showed me. His story started out so dark that I was sure I would never show it to anyone, ever! But writing his story was my secret passion— and it was the only way I could find out what happened next.

After decades of personal growth work; after becoming a transpersonal counselor and working with clients for twenty years; and becoming an Expressive Arts therapist, I’d learned to trust the creative process and my soul’s hidden wisdom, and so I was able to allow Kyr’s story to pour forth without censoring or editing.

After the first draft of the entire trilogy was on paper, I realized it is a powerful story worth sharing. So I studied how to write fiction, hired an editor, and revised, revised, revised.

Did you always want to be an author?
I began reading fantasy and Sci-Fi as soon as I could read, thanks to my parents. (They left F&SF magazines with fascinating cover art lying around the house.) I always wondered how the authors could create alternate worlds and write such fascinating stories, but I never imagined becoming one of them. I thought authors were these odd creatures who lived in flats in New York City.

At one point in the late 1980s, I felt I needed to observe a ‘fast’ from unnecessary words for a month as a spiritual practice. I stopped reading, watching TV, etc. And I got my first laptop. One night, when I couldn’t sleep, I turned on my laptop and started writing whatever imagery showed up in my mind. I found myself writing stories. Still, it was just for fun. I didn’t think about becoming an author until after I had written the first draft of The Star-Seer’s Prophecy.

They say life imitates art, but were there any events or people in your life that became inspiration for your work?

My psychotherapy clients revealed to me the amazing ability we humans have to overcome terrible trauma and abuse, to move toward healing our wounds and recovering our innate beauty, integrity and wholeness. To do this, we need to face what harm was done to us, and eventually, to begin to see beyond our pain to the brokenness of our abusers. Many people were able to move past their anger and vengefulness, and to forgive the person who harmed them, without forgiving their harmful actions. This is a major theme of The Star-Seer’s Prophecy, but it is not based on any particular person’s story.

What were some of your inspirations when you were creating your world?
I’m sure I have been subliminally influenced by reading fairy tales, and many of my favorite authors, such as Ursula LeGuin, Carol Berg, Charles De Lint, Patricia McKillip, and Sherri S. Tepper, to name a few. However, I did not consciously copy anyone. My process was to sort of “listen-see” and write whatever I “heard-saw.” Kyr’s world turned out to be semi-medieval, with black sorcery, healing magic, and magical rituals, but no dragons, unicorns, or goblins.

Magic is always an integral part of fantasy novels, how did you create your magic?

Again, I followed the flow of the story. Ideas for the magic just seemed to arise as needed. In hindsight, I can see that for the healing magic, I drew upon my experience with energy work such as Reiki. For the rituals, I was influenced by my experience of the sacred rituals of Celtic and Native American traditions, but only in a general way. I did not copy any particular culture’s rituals.

What's the one thing you want people to take away from reading the Star Seer's Prophecy?

That the real magic is forgiveness – forgiving those who have harmed you, instead of obsessing endlessly about your wounds, and/or seeking revenge. This only perpetuates the pain. Equally important is forgiving yourself for making mistakes, for not being perfect, for being human. Often, one of the hardest things is to forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know at the time. For example, in the story, Kyr begins as an obedient slave to the evil sorcerer-king called the Soul-Drinker. Later, Kyr learns what atrocities he committed as a slave, and feels deep remorse. He painfully learns to forgive himself for not knowing at the time that what he had done was wrong.

Without giving away too much, what's next for Kyr?

In the first book, Dark Innocence, Kyr chose the hard path of healing, forgiveness and love. With the help of friends and healers, he overcame his terrible upbringing as a Slave of the Soul-Drinker, and became a man capable of kindness, courage and integrity at the Sanctuary of the Goddess Zhovanya.

In Book Two, Fierce Blessings, Kyr faces the familiar nightmare of cruelty and evil that he knew as a boy, in the second hell foretold by the Prophecy. As hostage for the safety of the Sanctuary, his friends, and his beloved Jolanya, he struggles to protect his soul from succumbing to the depravity he has known for most of his life, and fights to keep hold of the blessings he received from Zhovanya. 

In the final volume of the trilogy, Perilous Bliss (forthcoming), Kyr is plunged into the third hell of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy. A most intimate and harrowing betrayal throws him into a storm of rage and despair. Alienated from his friends, himself, and, worst of all, the Goddess, he flees to a mysterious tower, where he finds the solitude that is all he can bear.

 But the time has come, at last: the stars are moving into the pattern foreseen long ago by the Star-Seer. Will Kyr be able to keep faith with the Goddess Who saved his soul in time to renew the Sacred Balance and restore Her sovereignty? Or will he return to the foul slavery he has known most of his life? The fate of the land and the Goddess Herself depends on his choice.



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