Book Club: What made you think of Santa Fe for the setting?
Author: I love Santa Fe and Taos. If you go to my blog there’s a list of locations that inspired scenes in the novel [see Locales That Inspired Prose].
Book Club: “I should have worn my necklace with a cross that has dirt from Chimayo.” “And I have so many stories from that dirt.” [Laughter] “He [the author] did the photography and stuff on the book, and I think that’s pretty phenomenal.” “The cover’s really great, by the way.” “And that room they go into, where everything happens [The Grotto of Hearts], was there something that inspired that space? Is it a real place?”
Author: No, it’s a photomanipulation. The source image is a wood bench sitting in front of a flagstone wall.
Book Club: Was there an inspiration for the Grotto from other movies, or paranormal, or did you just kind of imagine that one yourself?
Author: I got it straight from that image.
Book Club: Is your second book a sequel?
Author: Yes, one of the threads I didn’t finish in the first book is that Abigail wants to know what’s on the other side of the mirror. Early on, Raphael entices her to stay by telling her she needs to pursue the answer. Later in the book she steps through the moon gate and has a vision of people standing in front of a theatre. The people are speaking French and she wonders what’s going on, but Raphael is suddenly beside her and says, “It’s not your time. Go back.” And where do they end up at the end of the book?
Book Club: In Paris, where she’s always wanted to be.
Author: Where people speak French, and that’s where the second book takes off.
Book Club: Did Abigail or Caroline see the little girl?
Author [making the assumption the question is in regards to the little brown-eyed girl that appears several times]: Caroline is the little girl—or, rather, her spirit is the little girl.
Book Club: Abigail is the one who saw the image in the mirror that was different from what she looked like.
Author: Abigail was wearing lipstick and the little girl in the mirror [an apparent double of Abigail] was not.
Book Club: Who was the little girl then?
Author [still assuming the question is about the little brown-eyed girl, although it may have been about the girl Abigail saw in the mirror]: The little girl is a manifestation of Caroline’s spirit. [For the answer to who the little girl in the mirror was, wait for book two!]
Book Club: “At one point it said that you could never know true love unless you have a child of your own. How can you tell a lesbian person something like that, when she might never have a child?” “They do it through in vitro fertilization or surrogates, same as single women who want children, or couples who can't conceive.” “But it seems strange that you talk about it as the epitome of love when maybe she’d never experience it.”
Author: Second book! Things happen. [Change of subject:] Who knows that there was a recipe in the novel? They were at Sam’s and they’d been working out in the sun all day and they came inside and Sam was making watermelon salsa. [Author hands out copies of recipe; see Watermelon Salsa article.]
Book Club: “Did Lucifer die in the end?” “You can’t kill Lucifer, sorry...”
Author: ...because he’s being fueled by man’s evil. Actually, my original plan for the end of the second novel is that Abigail is dreaming and she senses this gathering darkness, then sees these silver orbs coming toward her. She figures out the orbs are the medallions on Lucifer’s boots. And that’s going to kick off the third novel because Lucifer is back. But I kind of changed my mind about that. If I do write a third one I’ll do something different.
Book Club: With the same characters?
Author: Pretty much the same characters. I feel like I’ve done Lucifer, so it’s time to move on.
Book Club: In my mind a lot of the book had to do with good and evil and as a species we are doing a lot of things that are affecting the Earth.
Author: For me I think the male morphic field—group consciousness or whatever you want to call it--has been hijacked by greed and plunder.
Book Club: Yes!
Author: As a consequence we’re destroying the Earth and we need to bring back the female energy; and the male energy needs to transform into more constructive stuff.
Book Club: “You see that happening now, with young fathers who are active participants in the child-rearing process, whereas with our generation the roles were really divided. “ “Yes, it was our job to take care of the kids, cook, and clean the house.” “The first time I ever did my husband’s laundry was the last. There was a sweater that he liked and [it got messed up]. “Just by accident!” “Good plan! Good plan!” [Laughter]
Author: Everything you’ve said is perfectly valid, even the criticism—I understand it.
Book Club: “We always think of it as constructive.” “Absolutely.” “So is there anything that you would like readers to take away?”
Author: I hope there is be something in there that people could come away with—maybe it was, for instance, when Rayna was talking about the Earth and says it’s not God’s planet, it’s ours, and we’re responsible for how things turn out. She uses the analogy of race car drivers who get in these horrific wrecks and you see the videos and the parts go flying all over the place and the driver is okay. The idea being, who is responsible for the fatalities in car wrecks? Who designs the cars? God doesn’t make those cars; people do. He doesn't drive drunk or go text messaging down the road, either. Indeed, for the most part, God doesn't allow bad things to happen, we do.
Book Club: Yes, I remember that part.
Author: It’s a group consciousness thing. It’s all of us; that’s the trick. You can only work on yourself, but it’s all of us. Another thing Rayna talks about is that “people respect strength and exploit weakness,” and I think that’s very true.
Book Club: “It’s very true.” “That’s a good one!”
Author: So it’s just little things like that. I like the part where Raphael is doing Tai Chi and he starts talking about time and he says it’s basically a stream of transitions in the ever present now.
Book Club: Something I made a note of as I was reading is that in two different places you talk about the irony that in order to have peace you have to be prepared to wage war.” “Unfortunately that’s the way the world works.” “That’s the way mankind is, if we’re going to preserve peace or freedom we’ve got to be prepared.”
Author: And yet in another chapter, Rayna holds up an assault rifle and says, "This is a last resort.” You know, have you talked? Have you compromised? There’s a whole list of things that she goes through as alternatives to violence.
Book Club: “There was a lot of wisdom written in it.” “I liked it a lot. Just to enjoy the experience. It was a great story. I believe in endless possibilities. I loved it. I loved everything about it.”
Author: I really like the Earth Paradise chapter where Abigail is climbing up out of the canyon, away from the flash flood, and as she starts to revert back to herself she finds her own answer to the question of why the Earth should be the best possible place it can be—because of all the people who have struggled over the centuries to evolve humanity to its present state. We owe it to them to get our act together.
Book Club: Yes, let’s keep human evolution going. We have grandbabies!