Creativity As A Kind Of Spirituality

Karen Michalson Author Interview

The Maenad’s God follows an FBI agent who, in the course of a drug bust, spirals into a complex conspiracy making him question what is real or not. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Probably a combination of too much rock music, coffee, and solitude. Which is a fine way to start questioning whether reality has limits. 

Pete likes to help people and plays by his own rules. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Pete is primarily driven by his longing for something beautiful and honorable in the cesspool of a world he inhabits. As an FBI agent, he only gets to experience the cesspool. So Pete’s in this horrible job, he’s living a life of utter disillusionment, to the point where when he nearly gets killed through another agent’s hijinks and his boss’s incompetence, he’s really not that angry about it. Then he meets Jade, a mysterious bass player who offers him a private world of fantasy and poetry and music and everything he wants and needs to feel joy and recover his true self again. Until everything goes horribly wrong. 

Toxic cultures thrive by making that kind of inner life cruelly inaccessible. You see and know yourself one way, and society slaps you down hard into becoming something else – maybe a kind of twisted stunted version of yourself, maybe something worse.

So the strongest ideal that emerged from that was the healing power of art, or creativity as a kind of spirituality, maybe even as a forbidden form of love put out in the universe. 

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

Art as a healing force, reality v. fantasy and the degree to which they inform each other, creating a private world as a subversive act against a toxic culture, the nature of divinity, creativity as way into some kind of higher reality, imagination as a sacred space. 

Also envy. Pete is a super sleuth who draws envy from his colleagues; Jade is a brilliant musician who draws envy from his equally brilliant bandmates. Envy is endemic in toxic cultures – and it’s something nobody likes to discuss because it’s associated with a sense of shame. But envy is always fueled by the battering of your true self. Like all pain, it’s an internal barometer that indicates something is wrong and needs to be paid attention to. And in the book it’s a handy weapon the toxic culture uses to divide people from themselves and from each other.

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

I’m working on the early stages of two potential next books. One is set in the ancient world; one isn’t. But I don’t want to divulge too many details yet because it’s so early in the process that a lot is liable to change.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

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 October 18, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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