Today I would like to present an interview with Lesley Phillips, the author of the upcoming novel The Midas Tree!
I will be hosting Lesley in a couple of months as a guest host, which is something I'm very much looking forward to! :)
The Romance Bookie: In 2-3 sentences tell us about "The Midas Tree".
Lesley Philips: The Midas Tree is a mystical realm where spiritual beings and animals live in harmony with each another and their environment. The hero, Joshua, finds a magical golden acorn that draws him into a world of adventure inside a tree. The book follows Joshua as he grows and learns about his life and destiny, and as he searches for a way back to his home in the garden of color and light.
Joshua and his adventure symbolize the spiritual enlightenment journey. The Midas Tree is planet earth and the creatures and spiritual beings that live there are teachers and guides. They teach Joshua how to meditate and use spiritual techniques help him on his mission to return home and also to overcome his ego.
TRB: How did you come up with the concept behind "The Midas Tree"?
LP: It was a vision that came to me one night after I had been meditating. I had decided that I wanted to write and that I was ready to receive the information that I was meant to write about. So I meditated on clearing my blocks to writing. That night I could not sleep because ideas were pouring into me about The Midas Tree and by morning I had met many of the characters and had a draft outline for the book.
TRB: When and why did you first begin writing?
LP: I was trained as a scientist and worked as a business negotiator in the pharmaceutical industry. Most of my writing experience was scientific communications and business proposals. I left that industry sector in 2005. I had been heavily focused on personal growth and opening my spiritual abilities through meditation and so had come to believe that this work was no longer a fit for me.
After I left I started writing a novel about a psychic in the biotechnology industry. It was semi-autobiographical and was meant to be funny. It was also quite cathartic and healing for me to be able to pour my feelings and experiences out onto the page. That book is still unfinished, but it got me started.
Before that my creativity had been opening up through painting. I had created an intuitive card deck, called Portico Soul Essence Cards, and had written a book about my spiritual interpretations of the symbols in the paintings. Apart from that I do remember that I loved writing stories and poems when I was at school, but that was a long time ago.
TRB: What has been the most difficult part of writing?
Writing the book was not difficult at all. To write, I would take a moment to meditate and clear my mind. Then I would sit and watch the story play to me as though I was watching a movie screen. All I did was write the story down as it unfolded before me. I could stop at any place and resume when I wanted to. I never experienced writers block because the story was already there in non-physical reality. I just had to allow it to manifest into physical reality.
The most labor intensive part has been getting the book ready for publication and doing the marketing and promotions. That has been more work than writing the book itself. I am lucky in that I have the time and resources to focus on this so that the book has a good opportunity to reach the people it can entertain and help.
TRB: What are you reading right now?
I am re-reading a book that I have owned for about 15 years, called Rune Power by Kenneth Meadows. It’s about ancient runic shamans, and the original purpose of runes, which was as a carrier to bring forces and potencies from the unmanifest world into physical existence. I was attracted to pick it up again, as the creatures in the “The Midas Tree” use a magical runic script on sign posts and to leave messages for each other.
Another book that I am always reading and re-reading is Chakras, Key to Spiritual Opening by Mary Ellen Flora. She has been my spiritual mentor for many years and this book is the ultimate self help book, and I use it as a guide book for my life.
TRB: Ebook or hardcopies? Which do you prefer and why?
LP: Hard copies, as I don’t yet own an E-reader. I’d like to get one and try it out though.
TRB: Any advice for aspiring writers?
LP: Yes, get out of your intellect. I was so glad that I did not take any training in how to write a novel. If I had, I don’t believe I would have been able to do it. The reason is that there are so many rules about how it is supposed to be. All of those rules create limits to the creative flow. They set up an idea of perfection that you are supposed to strive for. But those ideas, which are based on past successes, don’t allow for something new to come through.
I used my intuition when I wrote this book. I did not concern myself with spelling, grammar, sentence construction or any of the rules of novel writing. I just entered the flow and wrote what came to me. Once the book was written I went back over those details and hired a copy editor to help polish it. Only then did I seek feedback.
Not much was changed from the original draft. The only part that was re-written was the first chapter. The original version began with a beautiful description of “the garden of color and light.” The final version starts with action and mystery, when the hero discovers a magical acorn that has a mesmerizing effect on him, and begins to pull him into another reality. I guess that is one rule that does hold true. It is important to hook the attention of the reader within the first few pages.
My decision to change the beginning was based partly on feedback from published authors, agents and publishers. However, it was also based on the fact that the ending of The Midas Tree is a new beginning, not unlike the actual beginning of the book, and so it was a mechanism to create the idea of a circle of life.
Dr. Lesley Phillips is a speaker, author, workshop leader, spiritual and meditation teacher based in Vancouver BC, Canada. Her book, the Midas Tree will be published on 11th November 2012.
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Thanks everyone!! :)
The Romance Bookie :)