Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Interview with Cerridwen Fallingstar

Welcome, I’m so glad to have this opportunity to chat with you. Can you share with my readers the essence of the story you’ve penned?

The essence at the heart of these two Japanese novels in the ‘White as Bone, Red as Blood’ series (‘The Fox Sorceress’, which has just been published, and ‘The Storm God’ which will come out next spring) is the contrast between war and peace. The novels contrast the art, poetry and love affairs which characterized the Heian period of Japan with the dawn of the Samurai, the beginning of the Kamakura period characterized by the rise of the warrior cult.

What I found most fascinating, is the knowledge that you drew on your own past-life experiences to learn about and then write this fantastic story. Can you tell us more about this – when did you first learn of Seiko and what happens when you go back in time?

I had my first memories of being Japanese when I was a child; I dressed as Japanese several times for Halloween, cherishing the illusion of re-inhabiting one of my old skins. Memories of two different Japanese lifetimes re-surfaced strongly in my early thirties. By looking through Japanese art books I was able to pinpoint the time period to the 12th century. When I started researching that period, I was stunned to realize that the people I remembered as my friends, enemies and lovers in that life were well-known figures in Japanese history. Going back in time is always a powerful and poignant experience.

What makes this book special to you?

What makes these books special for me is the deep feeling of love it evokes. It is wonderful to re-experience connections with loved ones from another time. Love doesn’t die.

What makes this a book that people MUST read and WHY?

The ‘White as Bone, Red as Blood’ series opens a gateway into a world unknown to western readers; it is a unique window onto that long-vanished culture. If you want to understand the soul of Japan, this book is a must. My books are the only past-life novels which qualify as quality literary fiction. They are essentially posthumous autobiography.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

Creativity is our natural state of being. Just get out of your own way. Adopting a playful, non-judgmental attitude towards your work can help. As Sylvia Plath once wrote; ‘Perfection is terrible. It cannot have children. It tamps the womb.’ Accept that your work will be imperfect—and gorgeous—like you.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

My biggest block has been the necessity of earning a living, and therefore fitting in my writing around the edges. This particular book was derailed for a long time by my husband’s sudden and unexpected death and by a car accident which left me with on-going pain from injuries. I lost years of work from the combined effect of these events. There is really no way to speed up that sort of unguided tour to the underworld; you can only hope it will provide depth and insight and compassion which will deepen your work later.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote your book?

I offer a mini past-life journey (using hypnosis) to each group of people attending one of my book signings. People love it!

Each author is different in the way they create a work of fiction. Please describe for us how you plan or plot a story.

For the past-life novels, I make a trance/hypnosis tape to guide myself into the time period I am writing about. Once in trance, I put in a new tape and record all my memories and perceptions. Then I emerge from the trance and transcribe the tape onto my computer. And then, of course, I re-write the material a hundred times, refining it into literature. I also do all the conventional research, visiting all the significant sites in Japan where the books take place and researching the historical events to ensure that my depictions of them are accurate.

Authors are very unique in the way they write, the tools they use, when they write, etc. Please describe a typical writing day for you? How do you organize your day?

I usually write in the morning. Research can happen at any time of the day. The story unfolds organically; I do not outline. Sometimes I am as surprised by a turn of events as the reader.

What is your current work in progress?

I am nearing completion on a non-fiction inspirational book, a ‘Wiccan Soup for the Soul’, if you will. I have also begun work on another past-life novel. This one is set in Minoan Crete.

Can you tell us where to find more information about you and your books and how readers can reach you?

My first past-life historical novel about Witchcraft in 16th century Scotland, ‘The Heart of the Fire’, is still available through Amazon. It has sold over 20,000 copies, mostly through word of mouth. The second book in this Japan series, ‘White as Bone, Red as Blood: The Storm God’, will be released in Spring of 2010. More information is available at I teach classes and give lectures, offer private hypnosis and healing sessions, and lead sacred site tours. Have broom, will travel.

What would you like our readers to know about you and your writing?

Read the books. That will tell you everything you need to know. Don’t loan the books to your friends; you’ll never see the books again. Buy them their own copies. If you fall in love with an author’s work, support them. Literature is being dumbed down into blandness and mediocrity by the consolidation of publishing companies and big-box bookstores. Vote with your pocketbook; buy quality books from independent booksellers. My book can be ordered by your favorite bookstore from Ingram or Baker and Taylor.

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