What a fascinating topic today's guest, Kate Sermon, is sharing! I love to see how other authors structure the foundations of their magic systems. This looks especially interesting. Be sure to check out her new book, Dark Sleepers, and also her wonderful giveaway contest at the end of this post.
Hello, my name is Kate Sermon and I’m the writer of the Dark Flows the River Trilogy. The main magical theme in the book is centred around the Astral Realms and those that inhabit them. I thought you might like me to tell you a bit more about these Astral Realms and how I envisaged them.
Many cultures and religions have a belief about the after life in one form or other. The astral realms are one way of looking at this. According to occult teachings the realms can be visited by either astral projection (which I’ve used in Dark Sleepers), meditation, lucid dreaming, and near death experiences. Kezia and Ben, my main two protagonists, learn the skill of loosening their astral bodies so they can visit and affect these realms. Not only are these realms places where the dead are said to reside but they also are home to angels and archangels. When Kezia first enters she gets in through a gateway where she meets her guardian angel who she shares with Ben. This is shown as a place veery like a place on earth but to has a different quality. There is mist everywhere and she can float around and fly and other entities can hear her thoughts and feel her feelings. While doing research for Dark Sleepers I came across the idea brought forward by Robert Bruce that there are seven layers of planes with higher planes being bright and colourful. I wanted to make the realms that Ben and Kezia visit to be much more individualised and purposeful.
The astral body is sometimes referred to as the soul, or spirit, or etheric body. Some people believe that this body can travel through time, visit past lives and affect change in our world by power of its thoughts. That was the main thing that grabbed me and I brought into the book as a theme. The idea that thoughts are creative, and we can change events, just by how we direct our thoughts. Whether these thoughts are positive or negative is imperative. Because the belief is that whatever we put out in the form of thought energy is what we get back. In Dark Sleepers I play with this idea in a extreme way by having the baddie be an negative entity. A negative Thoughtform which starts to show itself as soon as Kezia and Ben reach a certain sensitivity.
The Akashic records also show up in the story. These are books that supposedly hold all our past lives within them in detail. I found this idea fascinating and thought encompassing these into the story would be amazing. While researching I found out that people who astrally project themselves claim to visit the halls where these books are kept and therefore gain insight into patterns and behaviours that they can bring forward into their present life. The idea being that we don't fully deal with these patterns until we’re consciously aware of them.
There is no known scientific evidence that astral projection exists as an objective phenomenon which is why my series is fantasy. But what I love about idea such as these is that they are spread all over the world in many offering cultures and belief systems.
What do you think? Are you intrigued by the idea? Is it possible that this is a very real thing that can be utilised?
Dark Flows the River Trilogy
Genre: Young Adult Magical Realism Paranormal
Word count: 71,000
Page Count Print: 326
About the Book:
“You are astral travellers now. Able to project your spirit out of your body at will and enter the realms. You are not the only ones. Some people come here in their dreams without even knowing it. Some purposefully decide to travel here to find answers to questions they can’t find on earth... And some pass over... Die.”
Kezia's world implodes after her dad dies. She can't cope any more, and then she discovers the ability to leave her body. She drags her best friend, Ben, with her into other worlds to find her dad, but what she finds along the way, she could never be prepared for...
"Kate Sermon's writing is truly sublime. She creates characters to care for; whether it is dealing with friendship in our own world or grief in the astral planes, Kezia and Ben remain real people with hopes and flaws. Dark Sleepers is a startlingly imaginative debut." ~ Dan Metcalf, Children's Author
Kezia was struggling even more. The memories that threatened to overwhelm her had waned, dispersing like vapour from a boiling kettle. But they had been replaced by a fear that she guessed was not her own, even if it was hard to tell for sure.
She lay down on the dirty sand and closed her eyes. It was an instinctive action and at once she knew that it was a good one. She breathed, as her mum had taught her when she was stressed or worried. She could hear very clearly her mum’s soothing voice say “Darling, just breathe. That’s all you need to do.”
It helped. Her heart rate slowed and a sense of herself began to emerge from the jumble inside her. As she concentrated on her breathing, she began to hear a tiny whispering sound like mice behind skirting boards. It came from deep inside her head. And it definitely wasn’t her own thoughts. It must be the girl’s.
Then it occurred to her – maybe she could talk to this child. Maybe find out something that could help. Just like the day her dad died, she found that words weren’t needed. Her thoughts traced patterns of light through the blackness.
“Who are you?” She asked.
Almost immediately she got a reply. A quivering voice, barely audible, said: “I don’t know. I’m… I’m scared.” It sounded desperate.
“Please don’t worry. I’ve been to this place before, it’s not so bad. I can help you.” She hoped this was true. “What’s your name?”
“I don’t remember… wait, I think it may be Rose. Can you really help me?” The voice brightened. “But he was chasing me. I needed to get away. It all happened too fast.”
“I’m sorry Rose. I don’t understand.”
Confused for a moment… but then a light bulb pinged on. It drenched all the confusion in bright, white light. She suddenly realised she knew what was going on – what this place was and why the children were here.
About the Author:
Kate lives with her family and other animals in Devon halfway between Dartmoor and the sea. She's done a bit of journalism; writes a bit of poetry; has published some short stories, teaches creative writing, and is currently ensconced in a MA Creative Writing. Alongside, she's writing the second book in the series. As a teenager Kate traipsed the moor imagining herself in some version of Wuthering Heights. Nothing much has changed.
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