It Saves My Soul

Caroline Allen
Caroline Allen Author Interview

Water follows a young woman that has felt unfilled throughout her life and doesn’t understand why. Learning about her spiritual abilities puts her on a path that will help her find her true self and heal. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Water is the fourth novel in a five-book series called The Elemental Journey Series (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Ether). The first four books are published and are semi-autobiographical, loosely following my journey of growing up in Missouri, living abroad for a decade in Tokyo and London, and finally in WATER repatriating to the U.S. and coming to terms with my mysticism. WATER is based in Seattle and explores my years reading tarot there. The novel isn’t memoir, though, and as fiction, I created characters and scenes to illustrate my main theme of fully owning who you are. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” In reality and in the novel, I am a mystic. I had to learn to channel my visions and did so using the tool of tarot. During the time period of the novel, I read for hundreds of people in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. (Today, that number is in the thousands.) I love the idea of showing in the novel how tarot brings forward higher spiritual truths to apply to the daily tribulations all of us undergo. There are so many unseen forces at work directing our lives in a good way, even when times are difficult. My protagonist Pearl was a journalist and was being called to give it up to become a metaphysical healer. She doesn’t go willingly. Even though the path was difficult, it really was the universe guiding her to a better, more fulfilling life, and one where she could be of greater services to the world. This echoes my own path, and the path of many of the people I now coach as a book coach and a metaphysical healer. So, I wanted the novel to convey this — the path to spiritual awakening may be difficult but ultimately it’s fulfilling especially with the direction the world is going now with pandemics and climate change.

I fictionalized it for two reasons, to help the real people in my life have privacy, and to give me more freedom to explore my themes. I have an active imagination and characters and scenes come to me by the hundreds daily.

I am compelled to write to understand my own life, without writing I don’t know where I’d be. It saves my soul. I hope my writing also informs, entertains and heals the reader.

What were some driving ideals behind Pearl’s character development?

I wanted to show, really show, how much despair we suffer when we don’t accept who we truly are. I show step by step my protagonist coming out of that despair into the light. I demonstrate the resistance and the difficulties involved with being profoundly alternative in mainstream society. I hope I show how owning our power transforms our lives and the lives of others. Pearl, my protagonist, owns her mysticism and takes her second sight — a gift that would have historically gotten her persecuted — and turns it around to help heal herself and others.

I didn’t want to pull the punches on how she resists her path. So, I have Pearl reject everything she builds again and again (this actually happens throughout the series). I wanted to show how long and arduous this path to finding purpose really is.

Gem, her nextdoor neighbor, is a radical on-the-edge artist who helps Pearl accept her radical self. I’m interested in developing characters who don’t fit into the mainstream. I’m interested in a mainstream that is crumbling, and how outsiders might be the wisest people of all.

What are some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Self-acceptance and self-love are the primary themes. As a coach for nearly 30 years now, I’ve found the single biggest stumbling block people have is that they simply don’t want to accept who and what they truly are. The ego drives them to be what society defines as successful, instead of what their soul is calling them to do. This is my life’s work — through writing, visual art (I’m also a visual artist), and coaching, I assist people in owning, living, and loving their authentic selves. It can be a long journey.

To me, the diversity of the human soul is like a tropical rainforest. Each of us is a unique and wild entity in this vast forest of the human experience, and we’re losing that diversity. Our eccentric alternative selves are needed now more than ever. Our creative cores are necessary so that we can come up with radical solutions to today’s problems.

Mysticism is another theme. I wanted to show how the mystical works for those many people who are unfamiliar with it or scared of it. Throughout religious traditions, there have been famous mystics. A mystic is simply someone who has a direct channel to the divine. I wanted to demystify mysticism in WATER.

Water also plays as a theme as the title of the book suggests. Set in the Pacific Northwest, rain and bodies of water permeate the book. More importantly, I’m interested in the notion of water in Jungian psychology. To Jung, water represents the depths of our untapped subconscious. How can we deep dive into our souls and stop skipping the rock over the surface of our lives? That is a profound theme in my work.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on three books now.

ETHER is the fifth book in the Elemental Journey Series. It’s actually a memoir. I’m calling the entire series “Four novels and a memoir.” I was called so strongly to go from semi-autobiographical writing to direct autobiography in this final book in the series. I write in my yurt studio in the woods, and the work is exploding. ETHER explores my further awakening as a healer, my veganism, and my coming full circle back to the earth when I gave up living in cities and moved back to nature. I now live on many acres in the woods in Oregon (after decades living in Tokyo, London, Seattle, and Boston). The memoir process is quite a bit different than writing a novel. As a book coach over the past 20 years, I’ve mentored lots of memoirists, but this is my first time writing the genre. I’m having profound epiphanies and just loving the process. ETHER will be available in 2024.

BLUE is a middle grade novel about a mystical 11-year-old girl named Maisie-Grace whose best friend is an old growth Douglas Fir named Blue. The characters include a Japanese American girl in a wheelchair named Jack who’s an artist, and Macon, a farm girl who’s bullied. The three girls come together to try to save Blue and the forest. This novel is finished and I’m shopping it around to publishers now.

And finally, I’m working on RED, a young adult novel that follows Maisie-Grace, Jack, and Macon as they become teenagers. Maise-Grace loses her magic and becomes embittered. Slowly, she finds her spirit back again through a horse named Red. This is slated for completion in three years.

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Facebook | Website

Winner of the 2021 Independent Publishers’ Gold Medal for Visionary Fiction. Pearl Swinton is drowning in a dark night of the soul. In the depths, she hears a cry to purpose, but to what? A former journalist who has spent years trying to outrun her psychic visions, Pearl meets a mentor in an urban mystic named Rayne, who introduces her to the concept of the Divine Feminine and sets her afloat on the turbulent waters of healing and self-acceptance. On a spiritual journey, Pearl finds herself navigating Seattle’s metaphysical scene, studying tarot, shamanism, and past-life regression. As a journalist, she gave voice to the voiceless, and in the transformative journey she’s now on, she is being asked to find her own voice. Accepting her new mystical calling finds her at the helm of a rickety folding table in the back of a bookstore reading tarot for the public. Daily she dives deep into the psyches of many, finding inside each person a lushness and a rootlessness, a poetry and a thirst. Still Pearl resists this life. Still she runs away. It will take a national tragedy to break through the walls of her resistance and show Pearl how desperately the world needs women to step into her power, to own the divinity of their feminine voices.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 16, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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