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About Hidden Passages; Tales To Honor the Crones
Brimming with hope and beautifully written, these eight stories of women helping women and girls through the challenges and transitions of life will surprise you with every turn of the page.
In Passages, a girl moves through a rites of passage into womanhood, both symbolic and literal, among her tribe of watching women, bonding with the other women as well as with the feminine in nature, bonding with the divine, and erasing boundaries between all.
Lavinia is something of a ghost story of women, where the reader wonders at times who is living and who is not.
Vila SpiderHawk is taking a different view on the aging of womankind. Hidden Passages is a collection of tales, some of which are interconnected, others which stand alone, all of which deal with women who are finding or already using the wisdom acquired from years of life experience.
These are women as women should be: unafraid of living, unafraid of expressing their femininity, unafraid of aging, unafraid of facing up to their own fears and weaknesses and transforming them into strengths, unafraid to confront those who would deny them their place, simply – unafraid. We should all wish to be such terrific crones.
Read the Interview with Vila
Q: Give us an example of a typical writing day.
A: I approach writing as I used to approach teaching—by reviewing the work I did the night before and making the changes I feel need to be made. Only then do I start on new material. When I finish a chapter, I do precisely the same thing. Then when I finish the manuscript, I read it through again and again make the needed changes. I do not release a manuscript until I can read it through without wanting to change anything.
Q: Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?
A: Oh, I use a computer. On rare occasion I have written with paper and pen, but the document becomes so unreadable in short order, that I find that enormously frustrating. Plus I can type more quickly than I can write by hand.
Q: Do you work from an outline?
A: I never use an outline. I did initially only to find that the characters took over and rendered the outline moot. I find I’m better off just allowing the characters to tell me their stories.
Q: Biggest Pet Peeve about the writing life.
A: My biggest peeve is that people fail to recognize writing as work and so feel free to interrupt whenever it suits them, thus breaking my focus.
Q: Biggest Career Surprise
A: Oh the biggest surprise and delight has been the people I have met along the way. Nearly every single person has been so kind and receptive and supportive. They have truly enriched my life in so many ways!
Q: Worst rejection you’ve ever received?
A: I am truly blessed. I have not experienced rejection.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: I am 65 years old and come from a family who doesn’t tend to live past 70. If I am alive in ten years, I shall be happy. And I shall be hunched over my laptop writing a book.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am currently working on the fourth book in my Forest Song series. After that I don’t know.
Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: I absolutely adore Gustav Flaubert for his purity of language. I used to enjoy Anne Rice too before she went into cut and paste mode. I also enjoy many poets, each for a different reason. I particularly love Sylvia Plath for her spare, concise use of words. On the other hand, I adore Paul Verlaine for his lush verse.
Q: What are a few of your favorite genres and why?
A: I love any book that has something to teach me. I don’t have a specific genre that appeals to me.
Q: In writing your book/novel if you could do it again what would you do differently?
A: Gee I don’t know. There are a few little phrasing changes I would make in each of my books, but the truth is I worked very hard on each book and am proud of each. I actually like the way I work. I suppose if I could change anything, it would be to be able to spend more time on my writing and less on everything else. But then every author says the same thing.
Q: Where do you write from?
A: I write in the living room at a laptop. That way I can look up and see the fire in the hearth in the winter. It helps me enormously to gaze into the flames and lose myself there, because the first rule in writing, from my perspective, is to get out of the way and let the characters speak. After all, it’s their story.
In the summer, I tend to gaze at the forest from the window. We have a glass wall in the living room that opens up onto the woods in which we live. Since daylight lasts so long in the summer, I can still catch the play of sunlight on the leaves or the drizzle or splash of rain against the glass. I can enjoy the activities of the birds and squirrels and rabbits and even the occasional deer.
I have a corner of the sofa that is mine. I rest the laptop on the arm of the sofa and the end table. I have a cat on my lap and another on each side of me and usually one draped across the back of the sofa as well. So I never work alone.
There I can relax and simply let the words come to me. I have tried writing in other rooms, but this is the only place where I feel completely receptive.
Q: Do you have a writer’s studio? Describe it for us and what is the view you see from the window?
A: I have an office in which I take care of the business end of my life, be it the business of promoting books or the bookkeeping required to keep a household running smoothly. It’s a no-nonsense kind of room. Nonetheless, there are windows on two sides of the room that open up to the forest. The trees and woodland creatures pay a role in everything we do in this house, which I find very comforting.
Q: Writer’s Block – If you have ever experienced it – how did you resolve it?
A: No actually, I have never experienced writer’s block. I usually just relax and let my characters speak to me, and usually they’re very obliging. As a matter of fact, Judy Baumann, the main character in the Forest Song series is ridiculously chatty. She talks to me all the time, even in the shower, even in my sleep.
Q: Have you ever abandoned any books/novels in progress?
A: Oh no. Once I begin a project I always see it through. I have made some false starts on short stories, however. I don’t so much abandon them as save them for future reference. I always end up seeing them through too. Sometimes I just have to put them aside and get back to them when I’m feeling less cluttered.
Q: Advice for the audience, first time authors, those choosing the writing life.
A: My advice to anyone who wants to write is by all means do it! What can you lose? Always, always follow your bliss. Life isn’t worth living if you don’t.
Q: Who or what was your greatest influence that made you want to be a writer/author?
A: My French professor Richard Boswell was the one who encouraged me the most. While everyone all my life has encouraged me to write, he liked the poems I wrote in French so well that he submitted them for publication in an anthology. And they were accepted. That was the first time I had ever seen my work in print. That hooked me.
Q: How did you feel holding your book in your hands for the first time?
A: It was surprisingly and disappointingly anticlimactic. I was pleased, of course, but I’d expected to be blissfully excited. However, I was already hip deep in writing the second book, and so I just moved on. While I was proud to have published a book, I was very busy with the new one.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to do this interview. It was a delight.
About Vila Spider Hawk
Vila SpiderHawk is taking a different view on the aging of womankind. Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is a collection of tales, some of which are interconnected, others which stand alone, all of which deal with women who are finding or already using the wisdom acquired from years of life experience.
Vila SpiderHawk and her husband share a log home of their design in the woods of Pennsylvania where they live with their five cats and enjoy frequent visits with their many woodland friends. SpiderHawk is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook.
You can find Vila at www.vilaspiderhawk.com
Follow Vila’s Virtual Book Tour at Pump Up Your Book
Watch the book video
Vila reads from Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
Purchase the book at Amazon in kindle or softcover