Vila's Cottage Crafts
Although Forest Song: Finding Home is not a romance novel as we usually think of romance novels, in the literary sense, it does fit into the romance category. It takes the reader into a different realm and introduces him or her to a different way of thinking, and, therefore, can be classified as a romance. This is not a "girl meets boy" book, however.
Interview with Whispers of the Muse http://whispersofthemuse.org
Interview with Whispers of the Muse
Spotlight Questions and Authorís Information
Novel/Project Title: Forest Song: Finding Home
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author Name: Vila SpiderHawk
Brief Author Bio: Vila SpiderHawk and her husband share a log home of their design in the woods of Pennsylvania where they live with their six cats and enjoy the frequent visits of their many woodland friends. A retired teacher, SpiderHawk is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook.
Author Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Website: http://www.vilaspiderhawk.com
Between 1929 and 1933, Judy Baumann adjusts to her true home in the Polish woods, overcoming unexpected challenges. Both heartwarming and exciting, this is a tale of Judyís education in a tumultuous time.
Links to where the book(s) can be purchased: http://www.amazon.com/Forest-Song-Finding-Vila-SpiderHawk/dp/0981473989
The following is an exclusive Whispers of the Muse interview conducted by Deborah Riley-Magnus with author, Vila SpiderHawk.
Muse: Vila, first of all, Whispers of the Muse welcomes you to the site. Tell us a little about yourself. What part of the world do you live in? Tell us about your background?
I currently live in the woods of south-central Pennsylvania. We built a log home up here on the mountain, and weíre now living a lifelong dream. Iíve lived all along the East Coast, from New England to southern Georgia, but Pennsylvania has always felt like home. I just love living in the forest. Every day of the year there is something new whose beauty takes my breath away! I just couldnít be happier.
Professionally, I am a retired teacher, having taught French at the college, high school, and middle school levels. This was enormously satisfying work, but in my heart I was always a writer. And so when I retired, I thought Iíd try my hand at writing a book. Thatís how Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones came into being. Then, drunk with power, I decided Iíd write the story of Judy Baumann, expecting that it would probably turn out to be a fairly long novel. Well, the first of the Forest Song series, Forest Song: Finding Home covered only a few years of her life. I am currently working on the third volume, which may see her through her twenties. Judy, it turns out, is a very interesting, ridiculously communicative character. I may, in fact, never finish telling her story. But I shall enjoy trying.
Muse: Who are your favorite authors?
Vila: I used to love Anne Rice, though I havenít read much of her work lately. I used to enjoy her lush descriptions and her intricate stories. I feel that her writing has changed, however, and so I no longer seek her out.
Mostly, however, I enjoy the French authors and poets. I adore Flaubert for his precision in his use of language and Baudelaire for his luxurious poetry. I enjoy Sartre for his philosophical thinking and Camus for the same reason. I love MoliŤre, because he always makes me laugh and Proust for his interminable sentences. These authors, philosophers, and poets are like old friends to me, and I take comfort in reading them again and again.
Muse: Why do you write paranormal Romance?
Vila: I write the story that Judy tells me. If she lived in the future, Iíd probably be writing sci-fi. Judy guides my writing every step of the way. I just meditate on her, and she tells me what I need to know for that dayís writing. She never ever gives me a hint of whatís to come later on, which can drive me crazy, but she has her way of communicating, and so I go with it. But I take my cue from my characters. The genre wasnít my choice. It was Judyís, and I think it suits her temperament. Therefore, it suits mine.
Muse: What is your writing regimen? How often do you work on a novel? Do you set daily time or word goals? What keeps you meeting your deadlines?
Vila: I write every day, usually from about eight in the evening until I can no longer keep my eyes open. I do not set numerical goals. I think thatís an invitation to sloppy writing. I would rather write one very good paragraph than five truly dreadful pages. Besides, in the long run, itís much less work to insist on the very best I can do each day. This cuts down on rewriting at the end of each project.
To meet deadlines, I set priorities. I take care of that which must be done immediately and move on from there. And when I am working on a project, there is nothing more important at the moment than that particular project. I usually donít have trouble meeting deadlines. Itís just a matter of focus.
Muse: Does the way you personally look at life reflect in your writing style?
Vila: Oh of course. Anything else would be dishonest, and above all else, I demand honestly of my characters and of my writing about them. They may say things I disagree with, but basically my books are peopled with characters who love the earth and have a great deal of respect for others, including non-human beings.
Muse: What are the creative jumping off points for you? Are you inspired by dreams? Music? Nature? The occasional black nightmare? What triggers your imagination?
Vila: Oh yes all of the above, though I really donít tend to have nightmares. I canít remember the last time I had one, actually. But sure, all of that is important. However, once I make the acquaintance of a character, I simply meditate with her, ďchatĒ with her in a meditative state, and she tells me her story. I never, as an example, write an outline for a novel. I simply listen to my character and let her tell me what I need to write. She gives me the basic story. Then itís up to me to make art of it.
Muse: Tell us about Forest Song: Finding Home. What was your inspiration?
Vila: Well, of course, I live in the woods. And so thereís a good deal of inspiration from that simple fact. And I have always been interested in Germany and Poland around the time of the Second World War. And so I searched for a woman who lived in that time and in that place. Well, I didnít find a woman. I found a little girl named Judy Baumann.
People have asked me if I am channeling someone who has actually lived. I donít know how to answer that. Judy may have lived in that period. I wouldnít be surprised if she did. But I donít know if Iím channeling or not. All I know is that Judy comes to me in meditation and has extracted the promise that I shall see her story through to the best of my ability.
Muse:What is your favorite scene from the book and why?
Vila: I love the scene in which Judy and her mother have lunch with the Feldens. She is very much out of her element there, as is her mother. I love Judyís honesty in this part of the story. She is so terribly awkward, so terribly embarrassed, so terribly afraid of doing something wrong. And so is her mother. And yet in the end she treasures the Feldens, as they do her. Itís just how life is sometimes. When we get out of our comfort zone, we often find wonderful new experiences and warm and loving people who affect us positively for the rest of our lives.
Muse: Have you written other books?
Vila: Iíve written a collection of eight stories entitled Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones in which women and girls turn to the elders of their neighborhoods or their families or their tribes for help in handling lifeís inevitable challenges.