Welcome to N Jay
Hi N Jay,
Please summarise Heart of Eternity in 30 words or less.
“I ask not for any crown
But that which all may win;
Nor try to conquer any world
Except the one within”
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
What inspires me to write in my case should be who inspires me to write! Naidah’s (the protagonist) suffering from a terminal illness and her unusual journey to salvation, Jay’s desperate attempts to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom, Zachrial’s experiences as a Nyas healer…all of these are relevant to me and also to those who have shared these experiences with me. These people and experiences in particular stimulated an insatiable thirst for expression that made me dip ink to parchment.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be?
I share a natural affinity with Naidah, consider her my prototype. I was also diagnosed with a life-threatening condition during teenage. Resilience is rooted in her tenacity of spirit and we mutually share that determination to embrace all that makes life worth living even in the face of overwhelming odds. She is in some ways two halves of a whole and/or in other ways aspects of my own self.
Did you do any research for your book? What resources did you use?
Yes, absolutely. It’s very hard to write a story with huge holes in your own knowledge; it’s like doing the work backwards. I had to divide my research into two separate sections; one logical and the other, personal. I started my preliminary research (pertaining to Nyas healing and the subliminal perception of the intuitive realm) six months before the formatted outline. Since my focus was on the seven energy centers (for Naidah’s cancer treatment and Jay’s ill-fated soul) I had to examine different religious traditions like the Buddhist tantra, Himalayan Bönpo tradition and Hesychasm; a form of Christian meditation. These findings were further delineated by Caroline Myss’s Anatomy of the Spirit (1996) Anodea Judith’s Wheels of Life and Mercier’s relation of Colour energy to the science of light spectrum.
For Jay’s lucid awareness of his innate darkness that comes alive in demonic form, my scope of study encapsulated Mysticism, Secrets of the Occult, the Freemasonry Secret Societies (that upholds the notion of children of light and darkness) and classic literature; Dante, Milton and Christopher Marlowe are a few examples.
On a personal level, as I mentioned earlier, I somewhat share similar experiences with Naidah. Whereas Jay’s character is fairly inspired by the man you see on the cover… the rest is too personal to disclose here but real life affiliations undeniably motivated me to write this story, the logical components came much later.
Do you have a favourite place you go for inspiration?
Not really. Jack London sums it up quite well for me when he says “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” For me, it is a journey deep within the recesses of my mind, not without.
Do you have a theme for your book covers? Who designs them?
For Heart of Eternity in particular, my publisher had to be in agreement with my cover image idea since it symbolizes both the face and the fundamental nature of Jay; the male protagonist. I have to say the photo-shoot for this particular dark look was an experience in itself which both Jay and I enjoyed. I think a book’s cover should evoke the true spirit of the story connecting the readers to the emotional aspect of its content.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
I admire Virginia Woolf. I can’t think of anyone who can write quite so well as she, where you feel carried along in a tide of beautiful words, and swept into the story without delay. To the Lighthouse has always been my favourite. I also admire Victor Hugo and Christopher Marlowe .I don`t think I have read anything as intense as The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, till date. As far as contemporary literature is concerned, I admire Khaled Housseini and Toni Morrison. I am also greatly inspired by Persian literature. Elements of Sufism seems quintessential to my writing. I personally love Rumi. Popularising translations by Coleman Barks has presented Rumi as a new age sage even in the western world. His poetry has seemed to transcend all geographical boundaries. He is a phenomenon in his own right.
Do you think movie adaptations do books justice?
It depends. The Twilight movies, for instance, fore grounded the romance, so that no matter how confused we were by the increasingly expansive plot, we still got the intense, everlasting vampire love that we came to see. By contrast, The Mortal Instruments failed to do what Twilight and Harry Potter did: it sacrificed both characterization and romantic oomph for splashy visuals and a tangled portrayal of an intricate plot. Books and movies are very different mediums, and you can’t expect all the books to work in the context of a movie. But you also can’t make a good movie if you don’t understand the demand of the resource material.
I am currently in the course of negotiating a movie deal with a prominent Hollywood producer who I came in contact with through a friend and colleague whose nephew happens to be a celebrated Hollywood star (Recent credits: The Boys Are Back(2009), For Those in Peril (2013), I am however, not going to sell the rights unless I have the satisfaction that my book will be filmed in the way I intended it to be; the essence and the spirit has to be preserved for I truly believe that a book has a life of its own in the way the reader imagines it.
Do you have a book trailer?
Yes, I do.
You can also find it on my book’s fan page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heart-of-Eternity/184194388437739
Being a writer can be lonely. Do you have a support network?
This does not apply to me, in all honesty. I have an extremely busy schedule to uphold. As I work full time in the capacity of a Language & Literature specialist, my workdays are often long and demanding. My weekends and late afternoons are set apart for my home and family; that is when my husband and three years old daughter takes priority over everything else. Amid all this, finding time to pursue my freshly discovered passions for writing usually keeps me up at night. I think time is the most valuable asset we don’t own but the takeaway is that I deeply love what I do! This feeling itself keeps me brimming with extraordinary level of vitality.
Who is your targetted audience? Would you consider writing for other genres?
Heart of Eternity is a ‘new adult’ novel but the story itself has universal appeal. My target audience for the future would preferably be adults as I don’t see myself writing for kids in the near future but it might change with the onward transgression of time.
What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
The best advice I can give to beginning writers, without delving into grammatical discourse, is: Read; read a lot, Learn; it won’t cramp your burgeoning writing style, but will add a glistening luster to it. Invest; you should be ready to invest not only in writing but also in promotion, and publicity. Continue to grow; by grow, I mean continue to live your life, be flexible in your approach to writing. Try new things and most importantly, toughen up; Drink a cup of concrete—figuratively, that is. You’ll need to develop skin thicker than a rhinoceros’s. When you put your work out there, you invite criticism, constructive or otherwise. I’m not saying you shouldn’t learn from criticism where you can, because you most certainly should. But resign yourself to the fact that no matter what you do, there will be some people who just won’t “get” your work. It doesn’t matter if you have three hundred five-star reviews; those three one-stars are the ones that will play on your mind. Don’t let negative feedback undermine your need to keep on writing, keep on learning, keep on growing, and keep on developing the carapace you’re going to need if you want to continue writing. Take heart from the knowledge that an author with a strong voice will often have trouble at the start of his or her career because strong, distinctive voices sometimes make editors nervous. But in the end, only the strong survive.
Thank you for sharing with us today.
When you are invited to dance with the muse of love, when you are driven to the edge by the pain of the past, when you hold the remedy for what ails you in your arms you will find yourself in the heart of eternity.
Set in the Blue Mountain’s town of Blackheath in New South Wales, Australia, the novel Heart of Eternity introduces two very different characters, Jay and Naida, who encounter each other at a challenging time in each of their lives. Their individual expressions of the feelings they provoke in each other give rise to a turmoil that could ultimately claim their lives. When two people understand so deeply the pain each other has faced will it force them into the abyss of darkness or will their combined need for healing allow love to enter both their hearts?