♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Backstory from Your Novel: Why you wrote it. How did you settle on this story? How’d you come up with the main characters? Why did you choose the setting you did? What research did you have to do before you could start writing?
Where do I even begin. Let’s scratch the surface on my third, fourth and fifth books…The Trailokya Trilogy.
Trailokya has such an odd story behind it. Before I get started, it should be known that I am not a deeply religious person, and often consider myself an atheist or agnostic. That said, spirituality has been more attractive to me than any form of belief and keeps me in the camp of agnosticism most days. My rational mind, besides, demands that I don’t make up my mind that there is absolutely nothing simply because I have slim evidence to the contrary. I also do not trust human beings to be altruistic, but instead, as they have historically proven, conniving and fearful monsters, who make up things to leverage power and safety.
Since I can remember, I have always been a lucid dreamer. I don’t just have dreams, I have adventures. Most nights I go to sleep and the things I see put our amazing world to shame—a black and white film, albeit a great one, but still not the technicolor amazeballs adventure wonderland I see when I sleep. So, of course I am paying close attention. It’s what feeds my art and keeps me going through the workday.
As a child, I had my first encounter with what I call The Three Doors. Hold onto your assumptions. This wasn’t pick a prize, or choice between. Oh, no. They are so much more than that. They were gates to some other place, away from whatever bad turn the dream I was having took me. I’d run. Run into a classroom that harkened back to the first half of the 20th century. The dutch-doors would only half close, and the trove of little monsters trying to chew my limbs were close behind. Spotting another door, I made my way through. The hall became more modern. It went on forever, gray with a gray carpet flecked in blue and red and yellow, industrial carpet tiles you see in public buildings. I ran. The windows high on the wall, squares upon squares, let in a white light and the sounds of those impish pursuers grew distant, but persisted. They were still coming. At the end of the hall, there were the doors. I stared, but the sounds behind spurred me in a panic to the blue door. Always, it was the blue door.
Behind the blue door, rife with symbolism that I would only understand in coming years, lay a child’s bedroom. The key to escaping this half nightmare—read the poem on the desk: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Why that poem? I have no idea, still. I just new that if I recited it, I would wake up safe and sound at home and it was the only way back. Maybe there was some magic in the cadence. Someday, I am sure it will dawn on me what that means.
Years later, I’m a grown woman. I’ve had that dream at least five times before. I become lucid in another dream and I’m screwing around.
Nothing is chasing me, but I recognize the path of the dream, regardless. I excitedly tell my friends to come with me, so I can show them. My best friend is there, she’s been versed in my uncanny dreams, so this makes sense: I am telling people about this strange phenomena I experience. Leading them through the corridor, the classroom, to the doors. This time, I hold my breath. In past dreams the first door has always inspired the deepest trepidation. I know I am not yet prepared for all it holds for me, and the energy of that door is strong. I cannot just enter there and survive. It could destroy me if I force myself through. So, I eye the other doors. Oh, Blue door, my familiar lovely thing. But, in my heart, I know I have to move on
from the safety you provided in years gone by. I try the green. The warm farmed hills scene beckons. Door #2. I try the knob, which was locked previously (yes, I tried it). And it opens. I find myself inside of a galley kitchen, and the wall at the back is incomplete, a white opening to something else about a foot high. I lie on the floor and peer through. It’s my old Junior High School. Disappointment washes over me as I panic. I know what this means. I’ve spent years taking these dreams seriously. After all the brain is quite capable of counseling itself. I was telling myself, or so I thought, that the way forward was going backward for a time. The panic crushed me as I accepted this fate in the dream. At the time, time was everything to me. I was in such a panic about time, like the white rabbit, careening blindly through the garden—I’m late, I’m late, I’m late. But my heartbreak and desire, my need to beat time, that was not going to win the day.
To this day, I have not arrived at the first door, the red door with flames in the window. The duality of meanings leave me unsettled. Could it be passion and energy and success; or would it be hell and destruction and loss? I have no idea what is behind it. I have no doubts I will visit this dream again when the time comes. It has been a long time since I have seen the doors.
In the time since starting the dreams and now, I have determined that the doors represent not only stages of life, but also correspond in meaning to chakras and states of being. I put that understanding of their symbolism to effective use in the third book and on the covers of all three (you’ll have to wait for summer 2016 and 2017 for books two and three). In fact, I use a lot of symbolism, so come prepared for some deep reading.
The Maps of Jahannam and Zion.
These dreams and so many others helped frame my curiosity about our world. The brain is such a powerful machine. They helped me realize so many things: religion is a form of control put upon us by others and to reach any higher plane of existence, you have to move beyond this material and base desire. Buddhism was the only thing that welcomed dreaming, well, that and Native or Pagan faiths. But, unlike the latter two, Buddhism doesn’t bog you down with rigid lines of you must do this and that, or you’re a bad (insert faith name here), and the retribution of titan gods for not doing as told. Boy does humanity have a daddy complex!
I have a dragon tattoo on my root chakra to symbolize my journey from dogma the of man to enlightenment of the self. If you’ve ever seen the film Stigmata (1999), you’ll get what I mean here: the Kingdom of God is inside you, and all around you, not in mansions of wood and stone.
You might ask why I abandoned the church (I was baptized Episcopalian, which is actually quite a reasonable church, despite being formed to provide Henry VIII with a divorce instead of letting him behead yet another wife)? I honestly believe that if evil lives anywhere on this earth that it is in the Church and other seats of power that men create. It shows in the way that individuals try to control other people. But, I digress. This journey is what helped to inform the meat of Trailokya. So many questions about the here, and if there is a hereafter what that is. I studied so many different theologies. I wanted answers about the dreams. The sense of there is more too it than my brain playing psychologist, just kept pushing. I soaked up topic after topic, wound them around and examined and tested them. They became a Rubik’s Cube.
What I had come up with was what framed the world of the Trailokya Trilogy. It remains quite personal, though it is out in the world. The work I present is only entertainment, though it might inspire deep thinking. Do what you will with it, because meanings will be different to each, though there may be similarities throughout.
With the frame set, I set about the details. My dreaming had continued, so the details in them are what populated the stories. At the time, as I was going through (I am still going through) all this dreaming and thinking and philosophy building, I didn’t think there was going to be a trilogy coming of it. Now, when I dream, and for a very long time I have realized in hindsight, I am Maiel. She’s the main character of the books. To be here is so comforting—she’s strong, nearly invincible, self assured—all the things I try to emulate in life. Yes, I dreamed her family as well. I dreamed of all the things you see in the books: the worlds and their people and how things actually are. It is a million times greater than the film we call life. But, I have always dreamed epic things that make the waking world quite plain.
Did you know OP-DEC: Operation Deceit started as a dream?
Do I believe this is real? Who am I to say what is real and what is not. But I am not a lunatic. I won’t claim that I will be sprouting wings anytime soon, or that I am the hand of God sent her to punish mankind. Good lord, that would be ridiculous.
However, Philosophy, not mine, but accepted taught philosophy, teaches that our perspectives are quite limited, and our arrogance to think we know everything and that only what is visible and measurable and touchable is real—that limits our reality. The science of perception is an intriguing one, which goes into great detail of how little we actually perceive of the world around us, and that the brain constructs it and we don’t actually know what our world really looks like. Now, recently, Physicists are theorizing that our world is a hologram. Have you ever look at theoretical physics? It’s fascinating. For instance, Higgs Boson was supposed to be the God Particle. Well, it appears there is yet another particle beyond that. It seems we drill up or down and it’s infinite. But what does that mean? Hell if I know, but if we’re creating our own perception in the brain and reality is actually a hologram—whoa. Right? Most of what I’ve had to say mirrors the discoveries and science just keeps running along the edge of my story, which fascinates me. It also makes the story I’ve written quite powerful. I often feel that it came about by its own will, though no one has really put it all together in such a way before.
Check out the Trailokya Trilogy Soundtrack on Spotify and YouTube.
Having sensed a pattern, I wrote this story about Ultraterrestrials (beings that live in a parallel universe) and the interplay of our worlds to make sense of a lifetime of bizarre dreams that have been interconnected. The science that exists behind it (yes, it’s a science fiction fantasy), just keeps getting stronger—well, until one day when it blows it out of the water as a fairy tale. That said, my background in intertext and the various subjects of science, history and literature, etc, have fed something a lot larger than I ever imagined. I think that strengthens the story, that not all of this just came out of my mind alone. It was a melding of past and present ideas into some kind of workable form. For me, at least, it makes a hell of lot more sense than anything I have yet seen used to control the hearts and minds of others. And, why not? Those things are just literature, and the ramblings of men and women trying to make sense of a world they know has meaning beyond what is readily perceived by the senses of our mortal bodies. And they peppered it with a good dose of selfish leveraging. That part, I left out.
I like the idea of asking the questions, not being so set that you think you know all the answers. When you become so assured of what you know, then you stop looking. Being an atheist or a deeply religious person is the end story—where you believe that x, y and z frame the reality and there is nothing else. Yes, believe. That word isn’t owned by religion. Proofs, whatever we claim those are, make us believe something is true. Proof isn’t solely owned by science either. Belief and proof are nouns with shades of ideas—like truth. What is truth? Truth is what you believe based on what you claim is proof.
See, when the truth doesn’t bend, it breaks. Trailokya bends like elastic. The loose ties don’t bind every aspect of the creation, allowing for the anomalies that are inevitable. Science itself teaches us that it depends. A great many factors must be in a certain order or presence for certain results. Now, take probability and the infinite number of things and try to make orderly sense of all that can be and is. Good luck. What the hell is facts and truth in the face of insurmountable mountains of it depends?
We humans have only just scratched the surface of knowledge, barely even understanding ourselves. I laugh when someone tells me they know for certain what is what. Okay, have your way, it makes you comfortable. Sure, it is a fact under the parameters set—I won’t change them on you and throw a wrench in your security blanket.
Trailokya is an exercise in personal ideas and connections that resulted in one hell of a story. I hope to continue the series with other worlds and other tales in the future. Dogma will never be its heart. It is an adventure in the infinite probability of one person’s perception of disreality. I look forward to seeing more artwork inspired by my work.
“There is no doubt that fiction makes a better job of the truth.” – Doris Lessing
Let’s check out what some of the other authors have to say about their books. As you scroll down, please learn more about the wonderful British Author, Stevie Turner…
Stevie Turner hails from East Anglia, UK, and attributes the countryside of her home with giving her the inspiration to write. She has found her unique voice writing the kind of novels women like to read. To date she has self-published seven books, mainly dealing with the darker side of relationships and always a bit of humor. You can find details of her books on the website:
Stevie is married, with two sons and three grandchildren. If she isn’t writing or working, then you’ll find her walking around her pretty country village.