I am honored to have on my blog today
and her book Spirians
About the Author
Rowena is a multi-award-winning author who lost her sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. Though she is blind, she certainly does not lack vision. She and her deaf mate, Gregg, enjoy traveling the countryside, backpacking, scuba diving, and living a nomadic lifestyle with her guide dog, Skye-Bear.
They are both very active in the blind and deaf community, and love to volunteer their services to help others with similar conditions.
To Rowena, life is about experiencing everything to its fullest and appreciating every moment she has on this Earth. She enjoys wild foraging, making her own herbal medicine, and helping others heal naturally with what the Spirit provides.
In her words, “Life is what you choose to make of it. The only thing that limits you is your thoughts and beliefs.”
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Summary of Spirians: The Beginning
To see your true potential, you must look past your expectations
Earth has seen many changes. Archangel Armen has witnessed them all. Life coexisted in peace until Archangel Lucifer decided that he was more powerful than Spirit and wanted complete ruling over creation. It was a day Armen would never forget. His brothers and sisters were killed, chaos replaced peace, and the light that once radiated love now felt heavy and hollow.
If Earth was to survive this time of duality, it had to be balanced with equal light. Armen, and several other Archangels were sent to live among the humans as Spirians—gifted beings that would keep the fallen Angels, known as Shadows, in check. Through thousands of years, he witnessed the destruction the Shadows rendered.
It wasn’t until the eighteenth century in the Scottish Highlands that Armen saw the first spark of hope for the Spirian race. Shanuk, a young warrior entered the world with a fate born of tragedy. At barely five summers old, his clan was attacked by the Shadows. Shanuk’s father and mother were killed. Armen watched over Shanuk since the day he joined the Grandhun clan. As he grew to a man, he was filled with desire to kill the Shadows who murdered his clan and family. Though he was powerful for a Spirian his age, he harbored a dark side—a formidable ego and gifts beyond anything Armen had witnessed. If Shanuk allowed the darkness to rule his heart, he would become a Shadow monster—the very thing he had grown to hate. Armen must convince the young warrior to ignore his ego and use his gifts for the greater good—a task akin to calming a raging bull in a field of red banners.
Watching Shanuk suffer through one trial after another when Armen had the power to stop it, felt like daggers piercing his heart. The trials were necessary, though, to temper the strength that Shanuk harbored within. What transpired as the result would mean destruction of their race or much needed hope for the future. Would Shanuk rise a Spirian, or turn toward the Shadows? Add a female to the mix and emotions flair above the harshest storms. All Armen could do was wait and see how it all played out.
Tell us about your book?
This book was one of the most challenging books I’ve written so far—it is also the most intriguing. Spirians: The Beginning tells the story of how the Spirians came to be. It is a story I should have told years ago, but thought it would simply be too odd of a concept to introduce. Now that some folks have read my books and understand the Spirian ways, I thought it would be a good time to tell the story of their birth. I originally started the story with Armen who is an original Archangel and one of the very first Spirians to live on Earth. His story is an amazing one, but Shanuk is a pinnacle character throughout the entire saga. I simply had to include him. What transpired was a story that told both of their tales in a way that leaves the reader pondering the spiritual lessons that pulled Shanuk from the brink of a shadowy hell into a life of a legend.
Do you have a favorite character from your book?
Shanuk has been my spiritual mentor for many years, since the time I was a child. It was an honor to have been able to write his story. There are so many aspects to his character that it was difficult to incorporate them all. Given his spiritual wisdom, one would think he was a perfect guru. In truth, though, he had endured many kinds of hell and had to overcome impossible personality traits. I’m hoping he will be an inspiration to others as he has been to me.
How do you come up with the names of characters for your book?
It’s amazing what a mind can conjure when elated with dark chocolate and a piping hot cup of Lady Grey tea. I have always loved unique names—just ask my animal friends. Spirians, like their Archangel ancestors, are given one name. That name is unique to that soul and is always given by the child’s father. When the Spirians integrated their lives with the humans, they were forced to have a sir name with which the humans could associate. A Spiran’s sir name is the first name of the Archangel who sired their line. Because Shanuk’s grandsire’s name was Graham, that became Shanuk’s last name. Armen did not have a sire, since he was an original Archangel. Therefore, his last name, Grandhun, is the name of the first leader of the clan to which Armen belongs. There is more to this name business, but you must read the book to get the full skinny.
What made you want to write a book?
Writing enables me to live vicariously through my characters. I have been writing stories since the time I was ten years old. I have always loved to write because that is what my mother did. I would watch her for what seemed like hours as she hand wrote romantic mysteries, working out details and weaving them into the storyline like some magical literary alchemist. I have always admired her talent and she gave me the confidence to write my own stories.
I completed my first full-length novel when my daughter was nine years old. The story won second place in the Colorado Fiction Writer’s contest. Because I didn’t see too well, due to my blinding disease, my sweet little girl walked me up to the podium to accept my prize. The moment had such an impact on her, she wrote her first prize winning-story at ten years old. I was so proud. Today, she is a successful novelist who writes suspense thrillers.
Soon after winning the Colorado Fiction Writer’s award, I landed a publishing contract along with a New York agent. The year long experience was not what I had expected and I walked away from a large renewing contract because I felt what they asked me to do was immoral and against my spiritual beliefs. Discouraged, I didn’t write creatively again for thirteen years. Instead, I turned to technical writing and landed jobs with Microsoft and Osborne/McGraw-Hill.
After I was asked to retire from Microsoft, due to my blindness, I decided to write my biography. After some constructive criticism from my youngest son, I was convinced that no one would be interested in my life story, so I turned my biography in to a novel. The first three books depict my life, how I met my mate, and our adventures together. My character is Skye, while my mate’s character is Khalen. It was originally supposed to end after book three but my fabulous fans wanted nothing to do with having it end. The Spirian Saga was born.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I enjoy scuba diving and backpacking and camping. Cooking is a good pastime of of mine. It is something my mate and I love to do together. Taking long walks and riding our tandem bike is another activity I love. I was told once that blind people are boring. Those who know me laugh at that assumption. We blind folk still love doing everything that sighted people do. I even have some blind friends who love to drive go carts. It’s a riot. Me, not so much. For some odd reason, whiplash does not appeal to me—go figure.
Do you have any advise for aspiring authors?
Yes. Write what you love to read. Write about your passions, your experiences, and about people you know. Imagination is great, but experience forms your foundation. Your first draft should be sloppy and weak. It is the bones of your craft. Once the structure is in place, then you can add muscles that drive it forward and the skin that keeps everything together. Without the bones, however, the skin and tissue are wasted.
After you write your first draft, change things up a bit. If something is predictable, turn it around to add a few surprises. Offer the reader something they would never consider. This is where your creativity comes in handy—better break out the chocolate.
Set aside at least two uninterrupted hours for you to write. Don’t try to write the perfect sentence or prose. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to warm up the old imagination. Once it flows, let the flood gates open and the words will magically flow onto the page. Before you know it, your novel is complete and your characters are better for all they have endured.
Believe in yourself and in your story.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Well, being blind is a challenge in itself. Using a screen reading software is great, but it is not always accurate and asking the program to phonically spell every word is not practical.
Aside from all that, the most challenging thing about writing is promoting my work. I’m not a huge fan of social media, and for the most part, I’m an introvert. I keep praying that one day, the right person will stumble upon my books and instantly fall in love with them. They decide that the stories will make an excellent movie and offer to front the cost for a percentage of the profits. Yes, I do have an over-active imagination, but hey, it could happen.
Another challenge is convincing people that interrupting a writer while in their mad state of creation is not only rude, but dangerous to their health. My dear mate is very understanding of this now after I stated—in gruesome detail—how one of my characters would off him should he interrupt me again. He said it was something akin to Godzilla meets Bambi—whatever that means. Now, he approaches me with dark chocolate and bold red wine before he considers entering my writer’s garret. That is, of course, when I continue my writing well into the evening. Wine-o’clock does not officially start until 5pm.
Do you have a specific time during the day that you find better to write?
I’m a morning person. My imagination is on fire soon after my morning meditation and during my first cup of tea. When I’m on a roll, my writing continues into the evening hours. Thank God my mate knows how to cook—he’s really good, which is why I often write into the evening.
Where do the ideas come from?
My experiences with a dash of imagination. Every character I write about is a person I know. I just put them into impossible situations and watch them flounder their way through it. Sadistic to a slight degree, I know, but I can’t tell you how much money it saves me in therapy. Don’t worry, I give them something in return for their efforts. They always emerge a better person, unless they really tick me off. Then, I make them a villain from which there is no return. Yes, I do have a bit of a dark side. Thank God it only comes out in my writing. You know what they say? Don’t piss off a writer, they may make you a character in their book and kill you off.
When you read, what format do you prefer? (Hardcover/paperback/ereader) Why?
I prefer audio format. The voice over artists add another dimension to the story as they play the characters out with various accents, tones, and fluctuations. Also, I can read a good book while doing something productive like exercising, walking, cleaning the house, or cooking dinner. I do these things a lot, which explains why I go through several books per month. When a book I want to read is not available in audio format, the e-book version is the next best thing. I have a fine British gentleman as my screen reader—his name is Oliver—who reads the book to me in his charming accent. Because I read so many books, having these digital versions is a dream. I own over 500 books in my library. Can you imagine having to shelf this many books in a motorhome? We travel a lot and having the ability to store 50 or more books on my iPad is a huge benefit. I’m never without something to read and I can re-read my favorite books at any time without having to hunt to find them. I can even share my books with my mum—another avid reader.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
The thing that makes a review good or bad is merely your perception of the truth. Keep in mind that the person offering the review has their opinions, their likes and dislikes. Just because you didn’t knock their socks off with your fabulous story does not mean you suck as a writer. It merely means you missed the mark for that particular person. Some people can look at a huge white canvas with a single red dot placed strategically in the center and call it a genius stroke of art. Others say, “What the heck is that supposed to be?” Is the painting good or bad? That depends upon the viewer. Does their view of the piece reflect upon the person who painted it? Does it define whether that piece is bad or good? No, I think not.
When I receive a critical review, I try to read it from the reviewer’s perspective. Do they offer something valid? Something I can improve upon? If not, I silently thank that person for taking the time to read my story and offering their opinions.
Duality is what defines good and bad, but in truth, there is no such thing, since one cannot exist without the other. So what is bad can also be good depending upon how you choose to view it.
How do you relax?
I love Qi Gong, meditation, yoga, and a glass of spicy red wine. Listening to a good book while walking in the woods is another excellent way to unwind. Nothing, however, beats sitting in a hot bath with scented bath salts, a dark room, sandalwood candles, a glass of heated brandy, and a good book.
Thank you for stopping by my blog today to check out this amazing author and her book!
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