We welcome author Gerald R. Stanek to the BRUniverse with this exclusive interview where we talk about writing, Visionary Fiction, and his most recent novel, “Rosa Mundi.”
For some background, here’s the description for “Rosa Mundi.”
As a hospice worker, Tanika is accustomed to the unsettling poignancy of death, but when she finds herself at the bedside of visionary self-help guru Orina Baladin, she is changed forever. Tanika gets that “falling up” feeling and starts seeing things that others don’t see: auras, glowing orbs, the net of light underpinning all things.
Orina’s followers feel like their whole world is dying. Her grandson, biosystem engineer Bennett is taking it especially hard. Some say he’s just grieving, but even his beautiful childhood friend Willow Acharya worries his depression is so severe he is losing touch with reality.
Tanika sees something more in Bennett’s quiet manner, and he seems to see something in her.
Before she passes Orina gives Bennett a centuries-old journal and whispers something in his ear about “the crossing” and “the river.” Despite his father’s protests, he sets off on a mountain road trip to fulfill her dying wish. Tanika goes along, to keep him grounded.
Then a shaman appears from beyond the veil. The journal gives up its secrets. Tanika sees things she could never have imagined and finds herself in possession of an ancient navigational instrument, and a plan to populate a new world with a new species, Homo Spiritus.
Will Willow and the others keep them from finding the place of conjunction in time?
Rosa Mundi is a hopeful meditation on the nature of reality, consciousness, and existence.
Let’s get right into Gerald’s interview.
BRUbot: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
GERALD R. STANEK: I never set out to be a writer. I began writing out of boredom, and, in a way, because it was hard to find the kind of books I wanted to read—so I started writing them myself.
BRU: How long does it take you to write a book?
GERALD: That varies. Skirting the Gorge and The Road to Shambhala each took less than a year. A children’s book can be finished in a few hours. But The Eighth House took almost 10 years, and I spent 4 years on my latest novel, Rosa Mundi.
BRU: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
GERALD: When I began writing 40 years ago, early morning was always the best time. If the work started well, I could write for several hours. As I’ve gotten older, I tend to put off writing til the afternoon, and usually only work for 3 or 4 hours at the most.
BRU: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
GERALD: I tend to write with my feet up on my desk and a laptop in my lap. It’s not good for my back but seems to be good for my writing. When I sit up straight, I can’t focus.
BRU: How do books get published?
GERALD: Rosa Mundi is being published by VIZIA, a great new imprint for visionary fiction. My previous works have been self-published. I started writing before self-publishing was so easy, and in the ‘starving artist’ mode, I actually bound some of my early books myself, just for the satisfaction of seeing them in print, and being able to hand someone a ‘real’ book. This was before everyone read on their devices.
BRU: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
GERALD: Ideas and information are everywhere; the real problem is choosing. If you’re blocked, meditation helps a great deal. Once you open yourself up in a calm space, inspiration will come. It’s in the wind. It’s in the silence. I have often devised entire plots while taking a good long walk. My children’s book The Day the World Fell Away was based on a dream I had. Rosa Mundi was built on decades of interest in the interpretations of transcendental experiences by different spiritual traditions, as well as just wondering, you know…what comes next.
BRU: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
GERALD: I wrote my first book many years ago at the age of 18. It was about the space between lives, and seeing lifetimes as learning experiences, which was a bit much for an 18-year-old to tackle. It will remain unpublished.
BRU: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
GERALD: I play a number of musical instruments—not in a band or anything, just for my own personal enjoyment. I read. It’s important for writers to read good writing.
BRU: What does your family think of your writing?
GERALD: My family has always been supportive, but not necessarily enthusiastic. All art forms can be difficult for personal relationships. Don’t seek approval of your work from family, they know you too well. Get an outsider’s opinion.
BRU: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
GERALD: You learn so much by writing, it can’t be overstated. Each book leads you down another path, into another room of the library, so to speak. I guess the most surprising thing is that in the end, you realize you’re writing for yourself—you have the audience in mind, you hold that out as your motivating factor, but no one learns as much from a book as the author. Writing is a way to teach yourself what you need to learn in that moment, at that point in your life.
BRU: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
GERALD: I think I’m up to a dozen or so. Books are like children: you mustn’t admit to loving one more than another, they might overhear you. I suppose the most recent is always the favorite, so Rosa Mundi.
BRU: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
GERALD: 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?
BRU: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
GERALD: I have not heard from a lot of readers.
BRU: What do you think makes a good story?
GERALD: I think realistic characters are far more important than a tight, tense plot. If I can’t believe the people are real, what do I care if they’re involved in a global coup in the end? I also prefer different points of view throughout the book, seeing the story from different perspectives. And we all need happy endings right now.
A little bit about Gerald:
I have written several books in the relatively new genre of Visionary Fiction. As I write I seek to be an active participant in the exchange of energy and information between the mundane and ethereal worlds.
My latest works, The Road to Shambhala and Contact: and Other Impressions, and now, Rosa Mundi focus on the interplay between these realms and the effect of transcendental experience on subjective reality.
When I finished my first novel, The Eighth House, there was no such designation as Visionary Fiction in the publishing industry. The book didn’t fit the fantasy, adventure, or mystery molds, and so it waited on the shelf. It dealt with expanding awareness, meditation, visioning, divination, the return of the Divine Feminine, and evolution toward a unified humanity.
Since then I have studied the esoteric teachings of various traditions and worked to become a more conscious writer.
To celebrate the release of “Rosa Mundi” we’re offering a $25 Amazon gift card!
AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: htttps://geraldrstanek.com
AUTHORS FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Gerald-R-Stanek-199064106804897/
ROSA MUNDI BOOK TRAILER: https://youtu.be/kPfdbmBoOxI
AMAZON LINK: https://amzn.to/3eFw47q
PUBLISHER’S LINK: https://vizia-fiction.com