Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is joined by Helga Schroder, who is here to discuss her new book "Sacred Wisdom."
Helga Schroder was born and raised in Germany where she graduated from the Universitaet Heidelberg in Applied Linguistics before moving to the United States. She is a Fulbright Scholar and resides in Orange County, California. "Sacred Wisdom" is her first novel, published by Suka Press (2006), ISBN 9780978759308.
Tyler: Welcome, Helga. I'm glad you could be with me today. To begin, would you tell us a little bit about the story and promise behind "Sacred Wisdom."
Helga: "Sacred Wisdom" portraits the story of a young man, Lou, who seems to have a normal life trying to get ahead. While jogging one day, the Novemvirat appears to him and reminds him of a promise he made before coming to earth. He is to help the earth, the elderly and the children. Lou remembers no such promise but the Novemvirat is adamant. The story develops as Lou struggles to deal with the challenge of the promise he does not recall but must fulfill.
Tyler: Helga, the mysterious Novemvirat shows up in Lou's life and has other plans for him than that of achieving material wealth. Can you tell us a little bit about Novemvirat?
Helga: The name "Novemvirat" is derived from the Triumvirat, a council of three. Such council began to rule Rome around 60 BCE. Novem means nine, so there are nine of them. They are of varied ethnic backgrounds and symbolically appear in the book as children, adults, and elders. As a group, they hold the wisdom of the world.
Tyler: Helga, where did you come up with the idea of the Novemvirat?
Helga: I felt that an advisory group with a powerful messageought to have a powerful name. As I thought of historic leadership, the Triumvirat came to mind. From there it was just a matter of placing the right Latin words together.
Tyler: I understand the main character, Lou van Helden, comes to the United States from Holland as a boy, and then he sets about achieving the American Dream of having it all. Yet he ends up finding life may have other plans for him. What are you trying to say about the American Dream in "Sacred Wisdom"?
Helga: The book defines the American Dream as wanting to have a big house, a beautiful wife and lots of money. I believe it is a human dream of being in control of your life, living with ease, abundance, and perpetual happiness. But the big house, the riches and the beautiful spouse do not always bring that perpetual happiness. I feel that we need to look inside, scrutinize our values, our actions, our thoughts and emotions to develop fully our human potential. Sometimes we forget to look inside because we are too focused on the outside.
Tyler: Helga, you were yourself born in Germany, yet you chose to make Lou Dutch rather than German. Even so, are there similarities between yourself and Lou, particularly in your experiences as immigrants to the United States?
Helga: There are many similarities between Lou and me but my immigration experiences were different as I immigrated to the United States when I was 27 (this will be a story for another book). My link to Holland is my grandmother who grows up on a farm in the Netherlands. I have visited the Dutch seashore ever since I was three years old and love it. I have a strong emotional connection with the Dutch people.
Tyler: When Lou goes on his journey to find wisdom, he is taken to the depths of the Brazilian Forest. Why did you choose this place over others for him to find what he is seeking?
Helga: I chose Iguaçu Falls in Brazil because during my travels to Brazil, they stuck me as the most beautiful place on earth. The breathtaking beauty and the abundance of the Falls forge an intimate connection with nature – the perfect place for Lou to learn more about his soul.
Tyler: Our reviewer at Reader Views commented on how you integrate religions by stressing their similarities in "Sacred Wisdom." What is the role of religion in the novel, and could you describe for us why this is a spiritual rather than a religious book?
Helga: Religion through the ages has tried to find answers for supernatural phenomena. The characters in this novel discuss their various belief systems and thus we learn about the differences and similarities of some religions. From my own perspective, religions are based on dogma. Dogma segregates one religion from another, making its followers right and non-followers wrong. Spirituality on the other hand is universal. It unites. It looks at the mystical aspect of life trying to find answers. "Sacred Wisdom" does not make one religious group right and another wrong. It looks for the common ground, the need in humans to acknowledge and accept supernatural phenomena – mysticism. It also provides a look at ancient principals to live by that seem fairly universal. Therefore I feel that it is a spiritual rather than a religious book.
Tyler: Helga, how does "Sacred Wisdom" separate itself from other books about finding lost wisdom, such as "The Celestine Prophecy" or "The Da Vinci Code"?
Helga: The mission of "Sacred Wisdom" is multifold. It is not just an intriguing story to read that makes people wonder if such a thing could have happened. Being being entertaining, "Sacred Wisdom" is educational, motivational and inspirational. For example, it is a study of the human psyche insofar as Lou learns how to cope with the mystical component of his life. It teaches about essence, divine law, ethics and the Golden Rule. It presents current issues such as environmental destruction, elder care, and the needs of our next generation. It also has romance.
The main message, however, is that we all have more potential than we ever dream to realize. There are seeds planted through the book for seekers of truth to begin their own journey. As readers follow Lou's journey, they may find new goals for their own lives. I would say "Sacred Wisdom" is a novel and a motivational self-help book all wrapped in one.
Tyler: What Influenced You to Write "Sacred Wisdom"?
Helga: About seven years ago, I had a stirring dream. I woke up in the middle of the night, turned on the light, went to the bathroom, then went into the kitchen and drank some water. When I returned to bed, the dream continued. That's when it caught my attention. In the semi-darkness, I went in and out of the dream state taking notes. When I awaken in the morning, I realized I had written 18 pages. That dream became the basis of "Sacred Wisdom."
Tyler: That's an interesting description of your writing state, Helga. Could you tell us more – did you feel like writing the book was itself a spiritual experience, as if it were channeled, or as Harriet Beecher Stowe said of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," that God wrote the book? Do you think writing itself is in many ways being in an altered state of being?
Helga: I have been an avid meditator for the past twelve years, and during my writing phase, after quieting my mind, I would find myself in Lou's world, living his experiences so to speak. It became quite real. Many times it felt as though the text was dictated to me and I could not write fast enough. So I can very much refer to Harriett Beecher Stowe in that regard.
Tyler: Helga, I understand you have a background in linguistics and have also worked as a translator; Obviously, you write beautifully in English. Since English was not your native tongue, what challenges if any do you find writing in English?
Helga: I have lived in the US long enough to think and dream in English. German is a very structured and rigid language. Writing in English feels freeing. I prefer writing in English.
Tyler: Will you make your book available in English translation in Germany?
Helga: As soon as I find a German publisher interested in distributing it to the German speaking world.
Tyler: What kind of response have you received so far from readers?
Helga: The book speaks to people's hearts. Most feel inspired in one way or another. One may have gained greater appreciation for our environment and buy a hybrid car; another may spend more quality time with his kids; a third one may have more compassion for her aging mother. One man described Lou as a "very human human" – apparently he could relate to what he was reading. Readers have been astounded at the similarities between Catholic and Tibetan Buddhist principles. Overall the feedback has been very positive. For anyone interested, there are various reviews posted on Amazon.
Tyler: What message do you hope readers will receive after reading "Sacred Wisdom"?
Helga: We are all together here on earth in the same human experience. The more we help each other, the more happiness we will find. What we have is not that important. Who we are is.
Tyler: You mentioned you would write another book about your immigrant experience to the United States. What other writing projects do you have in the works?
Helga: I am currently working on a book on meditation and stress-management that will contain simple and easy guidelines for everyday living. After that, I will focus on my next novel. I have many more ideas stored up in my mind.
Tyler: Helga, what do you do with your time when you're not writing books?
Helga: I offer energy healing sessions and teach workshops in Reiki and Pet Healing. The integrative healing field has interested me for a long time. I also enjoy quiet, meditation, nature, the ocean, exploring different cultures and countries, music, books, my friends, animals, learning new things, and of course writing.
Tyler: Helga, where can readers go to find out more information or to purchase a copy of "Sacred Wisdom"?
Helga: "Sacred Wisdom" has its own website under http://www.sukapress.com . It contains a book summary, excerpts, bio, and a media kit. It offers free shipping within the United States. "Sacred Wisdom" can also be found on Amazon and is available at independent bookstores through the United States and Canada through New Leaf Distributing.
Tyler: Thank you for joining me today, Helga. I wish you lots of luck with "Sacred Wisdom" and your future writing.Immobilienmakler Heidelberg Makler Heidelberg