Today, Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Vicki Matthews author of The Goddess Letters.

Vicki is a Naturopathic Physician who is passionate about re-establishing balance in the world. She has been an outspoken advocate for alternative healing and spiritual pursuits most of her adult life, and has appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show twice to share aspects of this message.

Never quite clear exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up, Vicki majored in English and was feature editor of her college newspaper one year, then changed to a psychobiology major, and finally ended up with a degree in psychology. Her graduate work includes an MBA and a PhD in Naturopathy.


Good day Vicki and thanks for participating in our interview

Norm:

The Goddess Letters won the top New York Book Festival Award for Romance and was a recent finalist in the New Age Fiction and Visionary Fiction categories in the 2013 National Indie Excellence Awards. Why have you been drawn to this literary genre? As a follow up, are there aesthetic advantages and disadvantages peculiar to it? Does it have a specific form?

Vicki:

Actually, I didn’t specifically intend to write in the New Age or Visionary categories. In fact, I didn’t even know they were official genres when I first started the book. What I did intend to write was a compelling book that shared ideas I think our world needs to know. So I ended up in these genres because some of the ideas I expressed in my book can certainly be considered visionary.

Are there aesthetic advantages or disadvantages to these genres? I do think there are. Because Visionary Fiction is, by definition, at least a step away (or one might say, forward) from the norm, one disadvantage is that you have to work a bit harder to make the ideas expressed in Visionary Fiction relevant to the readers and still comfortable within the structure of your plot and characters. But the advantage is that, if you can pull it off, you can share potent new ideas with your readers and hopefully, the world.

I don’t believe that Visionary Fiction has a specific form. First and foremost, fiction must be compelling; otherwise, no one will read it. What I do believe is that Visionary Fiction has the dual responsibility of both entertaining and educating the reader. But I think that can be done regardless of the form.

Norm:

What served as the primary inspiration for The Goddess Letters?

Vicki:

My primary inspiration for The Goddess Letters was a desire to help change the world. I feel the reason we find ourselves dancing so close to the dangerous edge of lost sustainability is that we are missing a dynamic balance our world used to possess. I wanted to share this idea in a way that people would want to read, and was greatly influenced by the phenomenal success of The Di Vinci Code. I believe if you entertain and educate you have the possibility of reaching more people than you would by writing a purely educational book. We’ll see if I am correct.

Norm:

What purpose do you believe your story serves and what matters to you about the story?

Vicki:

I hope that my story serves to engage the reader in a balanced way – at the level of both the heart and mind. I hope that they feel the love story and believe in the message.

And what matters most to me in the story is twofold. First, I want people to be drawn in and care about the characters and their messages to the degree that they are unable to put the book down. I hear that so often from readers and it always makes me smile.

But it also matters to me that people who read The Goddess Letters walk away when the book is over and look at the world in a slightly different way.

Norm:

Did you know the end of your book at the beginning?

Vicki:

Actually, no. Originally, I’d planned a very different ending. But because the journey Robert and Selena share is symbolic of the journey we all share on this wonderful planet, it became clear to me that the ending had to be happy. By nature, I really am an optimist. So, I let the characters take me where they wanted the story to go and, well, you know how it ends up.

Norm:

How did you go about creating the characters of Selena and Robert?

Vicki:

Here’s a little secret. Much of the beginning of the book is rather autobiographical. In fact, one of our best friends questioned my husband’s fidelity after reading The Goddess Letters.

So, I used my husband and myself as the starting point. Then, since we are told to write about what we know, I kept Robert in academia and economics (my husband’s interests) and placed Selena in acting because, while I’ve never been a serious actress, my father worked in Hollywood so I am familiar with that world. After that, it was just a matter of presenting my characters with the elements of the plot and letting them weave their stories.

Norm:

Is there much of you in your novel?

Vicki:

Oh, yes. A whole lot. Not only do I have an MBA from the U of C, I met my husband there (though not in the library; we met doing musical theater). The good news is that we are still happily married. Also, the sacred journey Selena takes is based pretty closely on a trip I took through the UK about six years ago. And of course, Selena and I see eye to eye on most everything.

Norm:

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Vicki:

I learned a great deal at many different levels. I learned about history and how slanted our current historical truths can be. I learned about balance and how out of balance we are as a culture. I learned the passion of watching a project close to your heart come to fruition, and the tenacity it takes to assure that it happens. And boy oh boy, did I learn about writing fiction.

I’ve always loved writing; I had my first poem published when I was 11 years old. But once I started college, most of my writing has been nonfiction papers for school and articles for journals, newsletters, or training programs. And while I could string words together in a serviceable way, I knew nothing about the details of writing fiction. That is the gift of The Goddess Letters for me; I learned to write in a whole new way.

I also learned that I will probably never write an epistolary novel again. What a challenge it was in terms of expression, accuracy, and finding the balance of detail.

Norm:

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?


Vicki:

Well, my father loved to write, so writing was something that surrounded both my sister and me as we grew up. Our family wasn’t exactly literary, but good writing and books mattered. And the fact that I grew up in LA and my father worked in Hollywood certainly colored The Goddess Letters. But I think the biggest contribution my upbringing and personal environment has had on my writing is my belief in a bigger picture, an unseen realm, a spiritual part of our world that transcends what we think of as life.

The other important environmental factor that has contributed to all of my writing, including my fiction, is my training as a Naturopath. The Oriental concept of yin and yang, the two opposing opposites that create every whole, is huge for me. Sustainability of anything is only achieved by maintaining a dynamic balance between the two. I go into that at some length in The Goddess Letters.

Norm:

Do you worry about the human race?

Vicki:

Yes, Norm, I do. I worry about the human race and I worry about our planet. I think we are on the brink of real disaster at so many levels. In fact, much of the ranting that comes from Selena on these topics is my worry put into her words.

We are out of balance as a world and a people. All of our dominant cultures are patriarchies where, by definition, the masculine has a disproportionate share of the power. All of our main religions have a male god at their head, too. It didn’t used to be that way, but we have moved away from the balancing aspect of the feminine principle. That is what I hope people will come to see as they read The Goddess Letters. And I hope they want to help change this.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and The Goddess Letters?

Vicki:

There is a WEBSITE devoted to The Goddess Letters. I also blog and Twitter regularly on topics highlighted in TGL. Both of those can be found by going to my other website, www.WeNeedBalance.com.

Norm:

What are you upcoming projects?

Vicki:

I have several projects in process. I’m working on a collection of short stories based on TGL tentatively called The Forgotten Queen. Plus, I’m almost done with a non-fiction book using an ancient oriental model called the Five Elements to re-frame how we look at relationships. In my private practice and my teaching, I’ve found that using this elegant model helps us better understand ourselves and others, which can revolutionize relationships.

And of course, since fiction is my passion, I have another novel taking shape . . .

Norm:

As this interview draws to a close, what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.

Vicki:

I wished you’d asked me how much of the information referenced in The Goddess Letters is true. If you had, I would have told you that, to the best of my ability, it is all true. I used over 100 nonfiction books in writing my novel. You can see them listed on The Goddess Letters website. There’s a whole lot of truth in this work of fiction. I wanted the book to be compelling and eye opening. I hope it is.

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

Thank you!

Follow Here To Read Norm's Review Of The  Goddess Letters

Follow Here To Purchase The Goddess Letters