On September 25, Writestream Publishing released Cynthia Foster’s debut novel, The Seventh Symbol: A Modern Allegory, now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback, and in all ebook formats everywhere books are sold online. Recently, Cynthia took the time to answer a few questions for me:
1. You value three God-given components of this life experience on earth. Explain what they are and how you’ve incorporated them into your life experience.
As human beings, we are body, mind and spirit. Each of those parts of us needs nourishing and focus. At different stages in our lives, we may be more focused on one of these aspects of our being than another. For instance, in the early part of my career, I was more focused on how the Body functioned, what happened to it with various diseased states, and how allopathic medicine could possibly treat and heal those diseases. For eighteen years, I worked as a Medical technologist in hospital laboratories and found the work to be gratifying and rewarding. The next phase of my career became more of a Mind focus when I went back to school to earn a degree in English Literature with a minor in Spanish. I enjoyed reading great literature, both in Spanish and English. And, I really loved all the writing assignments, including the tests with essay questions. I know that’s a little weird, but those kinds of questions forced me to take apart the literature that I had read and try to understand the What, Why, How and When of the author’s possible intentions.
At this point in my life/career, I’m more focused on Spirit, as I write from the soul and continue my work in the healing arts as a nationally licensed Massage Therapist/Reiki Mater/Intuitive. And this spiritual focus has taught me that the first two foci, body and mind, directed by this last focus, spirit, equals one, not three.
2. The Seventh Symbol: A Modern Allegory has been classified as science fiction but in reality, fits into a variety of genres including what’s known as visionary fiction. Can you define that for us? How does your book fit into the visionary fiction genre?
One of the best descriptions that I have come across for Visionary Fiction is from Visionary Fiction author, Jodine Turner. She and a few other Visionary Fiction writers got together and created the Visionary Fiction Alliance to promote and support the genre. She writes on the VFA website:
Visonary Fiction is like the legendary Celtic Immram (the mythical heroes’ quest). The drama and tension of the characters’ adventures is one layer of the tale. All of the usual elements of suspense, conflict, even romance and mystery, are interwoven in the plot. The other layer, deeper and more archetypal, is that mystical inner journey of spiritual awakening. In Visionary Fiction, esoteric wisdom is embedded in the story so that the reader can actually experience it, instead of merely learning about it.
The VFA website lists the characteristics of Visionary Fiction:
*Growth of consciousness is the central theme of the story and drives the protagonist, and/or other important characters
*The story oftentimes uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal events, psychic events, and other metaphysical plot devices
*The plot (or story) is universal in its worldview and scope.
Given the above description and characteristics of Visionary Fiction, my book, The Seventh Symbol would definitely fit into VF genre. First, I wrote it as an allegory, which in and of itself, gives the feel of the two layers that Turner describes: the story layer and the deeper spiritual layer embedded in and woven through the story. Furthermore, growth of consciousness individually and collectively drives the plot. And finally, I mix in time travel, inter-dimensional travel, reincarnation, psychic events and other metaphysical plot devices.
3. Prior to writing The Seventh Symbol: A Modern Allegory, you’d written other manuscripts. Why did you choose to publish and release The Seventh Symbol as opposed to previous books you’d created?
A writer has to practice their craft and hone their skills. The first two books that I wrote were practice games for the world series that I’m currently writing. The Seventh Symbol is the first game in the series, and I foresee at least two other games.
The theme is classic Light versus Dark, but with a Sci-Fi inter-dimensional slant. Did God or gods create us with free will to determine our own destiny through the choices in life that we make? Or is life a stage and we’re mere actors or actresses playing out our role? These are possible questions provoked by reading the book.
5. Do readers ever discover the significance of The Seventh Symbol? How do you keep them guessing?
The answer is yes, The Seventh Symbol is revealed. Each chapter builds suspense towards the releasing of the Seventh Symbol and possible outcome for the earth and its inhabitants upon its release. I welcome conjecture and discovery. The significance of The Seventh Symbol will be open to interpretation by the reader.
6. Why the subtitle A Modern Allegory?
An allegory by definition is the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truth or generalizations about human existence.
The Seventh Symbol story contains familiar symbols that we see every day, such as stars on a flag, the Great Pyramid, the unfinished pyramid on the Great Seal, and the Statue of Liberty. Are they mere iconic symbols or are they the keys awaiting the right moment in time to unlock the mystery of human history?
7. You pose a very provocative question regarding the Statue of Liberty: Was it a gift from France of from an ancient advanced civilization? How does this drive the story and why did you choose this premise?
Without giving away too much of the plot, the Statue of Liberty, as an icon, was a gift from France to the newly formed republic, the United States of America. Did the artist who created her fashion her after the Liberty goddess, and did this goddess exist in a mythical advanced civilization? The US started with thirteen colonies and this ancient advanced civilization supposedly had thirteen colonies. I took these ideas and wove them into a story that reveals one possible scenario of modern human evolvement.
8. Your book also features an intergalactic romance. How difficult was that to portray in the novel?
I didn’t find it difficult at all. I created a story with characters that have both human characteristics and other worldly traits. Love is universal as a theme, and can be shown at different levels. There is physical love, spiritual love, and a transcendent love that we as spiritual beings having a human experience are just beginning to understand and remember.
9. Reincarnation also plays an important role in the book. Why?
If our soul is indeed immortal, and this flesh and bone that we are housed in is mortal, where does our soul go after we shed the worn out physical body? And what is the purpose of this mortal physical existence if it houses the immortal soul? The idea of reincarnation would afford the soul multiple opportunities of growth and advancement through lessons learned in this Earth school. Since my book deals with evolvement of consciousness, both individually and collectively, reincarnation makes sense. How evolved can one become in seventy or eighty years of one lifetime? And if time doesn’t exist in other dimensions or on the other side, that eighty years is like a snap of your fingers or a blink of your eye.
10. Is this book part of a series? If so, when can we expect the next installment?
Yes, I’m working on a sequel to this book now. I’m not sure if there will be a third, but I do like threes. I would like to have the sequel out by the end of 2016.