Today, I have A.F. Firebird, author of The Reluctant Goddess, posing her own questions and answers about her new novel and the topic of metaphysical fiction.
Q: You describe your new novel as metaphysical fiction, what is metaphysical fiction?
AFF: It is a form of speculative fiction which explores ideas prevalent in metaphysics through the medium of story and characters. This type of fiction strips away religious rhetoric and new age language, so that the reader can contemplate the ideas presented in a simpler and hopefully more accessible way.
Q: Give me an example of the type of ideas explored in the book.
AFF: Firstly, the story is written within the context of a benevolent conscious universe, where the inanimate and animate alike work to help Ellena. The books in the shop, that she owns, all have something to tell her if only she could hear them. Her pets, a dog and a cat, are her spirit guides offering gentle, loving encouragement. Through the eyes of the characters we see our planet and the universe from a perspective.
The second main theme, is the idea that the greatest work a person can do is to live authentically. To discover who and what they really are. The main character, Ellena, has lived a life full of the common distractions of life. By the time she reaches her late forties she still has not discovered her true self or a purpose which gives her life meaning. Throughout the novel we follow her journey as she is assisted by a conscious benevolent universe, to fully realise her identity.
Q: The Reluctant Goddess takes a non traditional approach to the idea of a goddess. Explain your take on what it means to be a goddess.
AFF: My aim has been to merge old ideas with new. Ellena is a reincarnation of Quan Yin, Goddess of compassion, who, rather than take up buddhahood, chose to stay on earth to help all humans reach enlightenment. Instead of showing the goddess as super human, the book explores the effect of fully realising the virtue of compassion in the world. And so the idea of a goddess being someone who lives their virtues or values whatever they might be.
Q: Now that The Reluctant Goddess is finished what next.
AFF: I want to continue working on metaphysical fiction. The next book continues to delve into the role of compassion in human evolution. I believe, as so many others before me, that fiction is a great way to open discussion and contemplation of ideas, so I am looking forward to feedback from readers.
The Reluctant Goddess
by A.F. Firebird
Published by: Pose Ltd
Date: 4th July 2012
Kindle Edition : ASIN: B007QMHPYE £1.54
Paperback Edition : ISBN-13: 978-0957313804 £7.99
Where to buy:
paperback or kindle: http://www.posegroup.org/books/trg/buy/index.html#buy
paperback or kindle:
Also available on itunes
Other ebook formats upon request here:
Ellena Ripley is a bookshop owner from a rural town in the south of England - or so she thinks. But lately, she has a growing sense that life is not as it seems. At night, she dreams of a serene man who appears to be trying to tell her something; In the day, she can't shake a feeling of expectation. But of what?
Meanwhile Hector, servant of LIFE and the man from Ellena's dreams, has a dilemma. How do you tell someone they are a goddess? His previous attempts have met with disaster so he must be cautious, particularly when his new trainee, Boudica, formerly Queen of the Iceni tries to help. The question is can they succeed before it is too late?
"The Reluctant Goddess" is a multi-level modern fantasy fiction novel for the intelligent reader, taking us into a fascinating world where there is more to life than meets the eye. Is this just a dog or is this shape hiding an angel? What are those books on the shelf whispering - if you only knew how to listen?
Filled to the brim with memorable characters and experiences, "The Reluctant Goddess" is the kind of book that not only has the power to change the way we look at life, but also challenges you to read it again, and again."
Member, UK Society of Authors
Author, In Serein
Member, UK Society of Authors
Author, In Serein
"The Reluctant Goddess is so much more than a ‘once upon a time’ story, more like once upon a universe. A story not contained within the world we know, but more in the world we suspect or hope might be. Where the meaning of life the universe and everything does not equal 42 but takes us so far beyond and within us all.
The journey that the author takes us on, is challenging, but becoming the observer travelling through time and space makes for a rich experience, with characters and settings to fascinate and delight us. The interconnectedness of LIFE makes us human and super human, stretching our minds and comforting us at the same time. There is a plan!
So fasten your seatbelt, open your heart and mind, and make the leap! Just like the reluctant goddess, you won’t regret it."
"This story is the odyssey and metamorphosis of Ellena, a young divorcee, a seemingly conventional young working woman who stumbles lurching on a path to self-realization. Unbeknownst to her she is guided lovingly but cautiously by her two pets, her dog Hector and her cat Fluffy. The pets are, in fact, physical embodiments of highly evolved beings with long ancient histories of their own, and astounding powers. Hector is a guardian angel on assignment. Fluffy the cat, also sent to assist in the project, is an avatar of Boudica, the queen of the British Iceni tribe who led a violent but unsuccessful revolt against the Roman Empire in 800 BC. The guardians are constrained to help and guide, but forbidden to interfere with Ellena's (or anyone else's) free will—which presents enough nearly insurmountable frustrations and temptations to present substantial drama in itself.
This turned out to be, to my delight, a powerful piece of literature. Considering that A.F Firebird employs a number of unusual and potentially disorienting literary conventions—constantly shifting the identity of the protagonist, punctuating the main story with short chapters of vaguely related and sometimes quite violent and dramatic human scenarios—the continuity of the overall work is exquisite and quite captivating.
In fact, it was compelling enough that I finished the book in only three or four sittings, despite my heavy schedule.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes their metaphysics spiced with humour and drama."
Hank Levin, Editor
Free Spirit Journal
San Rafael, California
Free Spirit Journal
San Rafael, California
About the Author:
A.F. Firebird is the alter ego of a sociologist/psychologist turned web developer from the UK. While A.F. Firebird has worked in several fields her primary focus is the exploration of six virtues: appreciation, forgiveness, compassion, humility, understanding and valour. Her first novel, The Reluctant Goddess, numerous short stories and children's books, all investigate aspects of these virtues.
My incarnate body was not all I had hoped for. It was not that I wanted a human body - it’s just that I wanted to be a Great Dane. I shifted in my basket by the Aga and nibbled an itchy bit of black fur just above my right paw. But that’s LIFE: so often you get what you need, not what you want. Even so, a Border Collie with a bit of Labrador thrown in was not a real dog as far as I was concerned. My fur was long, my paws were white, while the rest of me was black except for a white crest on my chest and a circular patch around my left eye, which I guessed had been added for comic effect. Still, it could have been worse - I might have been a poodle.
The current phase of my mission was going well. Although the overall project, Brh-man: Phase 1, was not. But as I frequently reminded the Council, who had sanctioned the project, one had to take the long view with these things. This time … well not time really, that was my dog-self talking. There was only now, or as LIFE liked to call it “the present” owing to its love of puns. In reality a “time” would be more accurately described as a handful of stuff grabbed from the lucky dip barrel of the present.
So far I had incarnated without too much difficulty. Dog-shape was ideal for the kind of work ahead and I’d succeeded in being adopted by Ellena, who was ripe for my special kind of assistance. Boudica, my trainee, had met with similar success. Although not everything had gone so well for her, she was at this moment prowling around Ellena’s front room irritably, no doubt still wondering how the Queen of the Iceni had come to this. It seemed that, Boudica, not as adept at subconscious communication as myself, had not been able to plant an image of her real name in Ellena’s mind. So while, I had a shiny tag with “Hector” written on it, Boudica’s tag said “Fluffy”. Since she was a large long-haired white cat, I felt this showed a distinct lack of imagination on Ellena’s part or perhaps an overdeveloped sense of irony. Either way Boudica was still having a major sense of humour failure.