How much of the book is realistic? Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? I’ll first say that it is a work of fiction. But elements of the challenges that the characters undergo may seem familiar to a number of readers just because it speaks to the human condition. I did draw from a number of actual incidents in my own life, especially ceremonial experiences and time in Maya sacred sites and villages. I changed a few cultural things to fit in with the story, but otherwise the descriptions of ritual, beliefs and lifeways are factual. What I didn’t know myself, I researched through a stack of anthropological books I have on the specific Maya people I wrote about.
Will you write others in this same genre? Right now I’ve got two different ideas vying for my attention, both well developed. I’m not yet sure which one will win out to focus on first. It would be great to be able to split myself in two! Aside from that, one of the minor characters in Portals to the Vision Serpent is asking for a separate novel to tell his full story. I’m letting it percolate.
Who designed the cover? The artwork we used is one of my mixed media pieces, a ceiba tree—sacred to the Maya people—and a rainforest area that appears in the book. Becky Fulker of Kubera Design did the cover and interior design. I’d used her services before. She turns out professional results and is a delight to work with. Her website is: http://kuberabookdesign.com.
Who is your book publisher? I self-publish through my own small press: Kenosis Press.
What articles have you published recently? My article The Last Spirit Keeper was published in Sacred Fire Magazine in November 2012, Issue 16, about the last Lacandón Maya elder in the rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico still maintaining his traditions against great pressure. My article Acts of Creation was just accepted by Stone Voices, a spiritually-oriented, literary arts journal, no date on publication yet.
What social issues interest you the most? I’m interested in a number of social issues. But Native traditions that are threatened are my primary focus. Since the mid 1990s I’ve spent a lot of time in Peru, Mexico and Guatemala working with the indigenous spiritual leaders and healers there. In the last six years I’ve been fortunate to make friends with a number of Hopi people as well. From my standpoint, the sacred threads—through ceremonies and lifeways—that traditional indigenous people weave are what holds the world together in a deeper sense. The pressure for them to leave those practices behind is overwhelming. If they do, I believe we all lose.
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
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