I was totally amazed by the storyline, this is a unique story and the outstanding characterization and guiding glossary at the end made it even more comprehensible.
About Gerald R Stanek:
As a student of the esoteric teachings of various wisdom traditions, Gerald R Stanek’s focuses on the interplay between the mundane and ethereal worlds, and the effect of transcendental experiences on subjective reality. The characters of his novels, such as Rosa Mundi and The Road to Shambhala, seek to be active participants in the expansion of consciousness and the evolution toward a unified humanity.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by the little synchronicities and serendipities that we all experience, and most of us ignore. Each time we are nudged out of our routine by a ‘coincidence’ or a few seconds of déja-vu, no matter how insignificant it might seem, we are being invited to step into another world, to expand our awareness beyond the limits of our cultures and traditional beliefs. The moment we realize we are being touched by something outside ourselves, something out of the blue, we make ourselves available to the revelatory, the mystical, the new.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
My favorite authors include Faulkner, Tolstoy, Iris Murdoch, Vladimir Nabokov, Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner, Conrad Richter, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Dickens, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, James Joyce, etc.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a seat of the pants writer who has learned the importance of outlining. I hate doing it, but it’s necessary. A short story can be successfully written without an outline, maybe even a novella, but a full-length novel needs more planning to ensure a solid structure. I do minimal character sketches before beginning a novel, knowing I will change my mind as I go, but leaving anything too open-ended in a long work tends to beget self-contradiction, which leads to confusion for the reader. I don’t use any special software when outlining, but I’m sure it could be helpful.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Hearing a character ‘talk’ is crucial to getting dialogue right. When I’m ‘cooking’ a book—working out the plot, outlining it—I often find one or two characters hanging around, slipping their narrative voices into my mind during quiet moments in the day. It’s a delicate balance. If you’re writing in the first person (and it’s not autobiographical), being able to call on that voice is crucial to get the tone right. But paying too much attention to them when you actually start writing can lead to a lot of rambling passages that have to be edited out later. I have yet to talk to my characters. I suppose they will tell you what they want to do if you ask, but I’m old school—I think it’s the writer’s job to make the decisions. They do whatever I say without me talking to them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read good writing and lots of it. Even if you only intend to write in one specific genre, read great literature, as much as you can. Observe people, listen to them; learn how real people react, how they talk, and what really motivates them. Compelling characters don’t all have to be murderers and mad geniuses. At the same time, don’t be afraid to invent characters that are nothing like the people in your life. Don’t give in to the pressure to always ramp up the antagonism and conflict in a story. This common advice has been driven into the creative writing curriculum by those who seek only to profit from the lowest common denominator sensationalism. Real-life has enough of that. Be careful what you create. Every story does not have to be filled with angst to be interesting. Remember, you’re filling your own life and mind with what you create first, before it ever gets out there in the world. Is it beneficial?
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My latest novel, Rosa Mundi was published by VIZIA. The rest of my books were self-published. I have found marketing my work far more difficult than creating it in the first place. Finding a publisher takes just as much marketing skill as selling your own self-published books. You must distill your long tale into two sentences and make it irresistible. The savvy, financially successful author creates their 30-second elevator pitch first, perfects their can’t-miss book description, sells it to a publisher, then writes it. If you can master the spin, you’re ahead of the game. If money is what you seek, you’ve got to be able to sell yourself first, your idea second, and your actual writing third. If writing is an art to you, learn to be happy with being an artist.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
In the future, everyone will write at least one book. And they might even read one.
What genres do you write?: Visionary Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
Review by Aaron C. Yeagle
Do not, for even a moment, you’ll be able to zip through this deeply inspiring book. There are several interweaving storylines and shifting perspectives in this dystopian future that you will need to read slowly.
Gerald R. Stanek’s tour de force of Visionary Fiction primarily follows the story of Tanika, working for hospice, Tanika has become accustomed to deathbed scenes, but when dying self-help guru Orina touches her, she is changed forever. She becomes increasingly clairvoyant and joins Bennett on his quest to fulfill his grandmother’s dying wish. With the help of a centuries-old journal, an ancient navigational instrument, and a shaman from beyond the veil, they set out to find the place of conjunction and begin the world anew.
Thankfully, there’s a glossary in the back of the book with descriptions of the myriad characters – and I might even suggest reading it first! Trying to read too quickly, you will find yourself lost and wondering what happened. Taking your time will reveal innumerable nuggets of spiritual wisdom, truly emotive characters each with a story as deep as Tanika’s, and locations that felt to me like they could easily have been included in Robin Williams’ “What Dreams May Come.”
With all of this, Tanika’s story and that of her fellow travelers will keep you in awe … and yeah … you may shed a few tears. I’ve read this book 3 times already and each time a find something new and deeper meaning that somehow I didn’t realize.
I really enjoyed bending my mind with this visionary fiction novel, it was well written and I’m thankful for the glossary at the end! I was engaged in the characters’ journeys and my own, thinking about consciousness and the afterlife. There were a few surprises that I didn’t see coming, loved how it all swirled around & came together!
This is a beautiful book that explores the nature of death on one level and the desire to reach the highest level of incarnation whether it’s Heaven, Nirvana, Ascension, or the Pure Land. It’s a highly intellectual and spiritual book so a reader looking for fast, light, and entertaining might miss the connections or deeper meaning in the story of Tani, a woman who’s had a Near Death Experience and now is a doula for a hospice. Her first assignment is to help a famous seer and teacher transition.
As she works, we meet many of the woman Orina’s descendants and followers and learn of their own struggles in coming to grips with the death of this great woman.
Tani sees spirits, something she’s been able to do since her illness and after Orina passes away she realizes things about herself as well.
A secondary journey involves Orina’s son and grandson as they sort through her personal effects and argue over what has secret meaning and what is rubbish. Both men must come to terms with their own beliefs or lack of belief in these levels of spirit.
Among the artifacts are translations of a diary created by a group of religious cult members centuries earlier who were journeying through the American west in search of an interdimensional bridge to the Pure Land. Spirit guides appear to lead the reader through the story too: A Native American shaman and a big red-headed Scot who reminds me of a Falstaff-like pirate.
Tani follows their search and continues to learn more about her own place in the Universe. It’s a wonderful story worth a slow read and many moments of breakaway reflection about the nature of reality and what worlds or existences await us outside the one we know as Earth.
I gave it 5 stars, but readers who aren’t versed in New Age or Spiritual Lingo may find themselves pulled out of the story even though there is a glossary.
It is a great Visionary novel and a wonderful journey into realms outside our own.
“Rosa Mundi opens with a prologue that presents a spiritual mystery (and all mysteries are promises). With this short prologue set in the near past, you quickly discover you are in the hands of a storyteller who will take you to places beyond the mundane. Chapter 1 begins to fulfill the promise of the mystery as you follow modern-day Tani on her journey of spiritual self-discovery. Let this novel take you on a spiritual journey of your own as you follow the story it weaves.”
He knew since elementary school that writing was his talent and used it to score extra in class. Deciding to do more with his writings than receive extra credit, Gerald published his first book, “The Eighth House,” in 2012. I asked the author a few questions about his journey through the world of writing and publishing and he kindly gave the following answers.
David Coleman Interviews Gerald R. Stanek
Loved this book! So many new ways of thinking about “reality”. Some I had already discovered on my own spiritual journey, so this just expanded that for me. Thanks, Gerald! ~ Malainie
This epic tale had me totally enveloped in the pleasure of spirituality, mystery, fantasy, and believable quirky characters. Sometimes I had to stop and reread a passage just for the beauty of it.