Interview with Deirdre Quiery
Let’s have another author interview. Deirdre Quiery’s debut novel, ‘Eden Burning’ was published by Urbane Publications in August 2015 and her new book, ‘The Secret Wound’ is out in June of this year.
Can you tell me a bit about ‘The Secret Wound’ please?
“The Secret Wound” is inspired by my love of why we keep secrets, the world of myths, the sense that every single person’s life is a mythical journey, taking them through a world of adventure to transformation and metamorphosis and my love of storytelling.
I have always been fascinated by the “secrets” which people keep and take with them to the grave. That made me think that perhaps what makes people really unique and interesting is everything that we don’t know about them and maybe will never know.
It is as if when we look at another person we see a door but it is locked. We don’t have the key to open it. The person looking back at us is holding the key in their heart. They are torn by this dilemma. One part of them wants to hand us the key and allow us to open the door and to walk inside and see who they truly are. They know that this will open to them the depths of intimacy and acceptance which they so desire. The other part of them is afraid that if they hand us the key, we will walk inside and run away screaming in horror at what we have discovered. This second possibility is terrifying – as it has the potential of totally destroying the fragments of identity which the person is so desperately clinging to. They choose to keep the key in their heart and most insist on the door remaining closed.
When I started writing “The Secret Wound” I had a dream of creating “a new myth” – which would allow me to tell a new story about the hero setting out on a journey, facing challenges and returning home transformed. I imagined making it “new” by having the journey take place on two levels – one is a real physical journey and the second a psychological journey into the heart, where the hidden key is discovered. The individual with great difficulty opens the door which allows them to see themselves as they truly are and rather than run away screaming – this revelation of what was hidden and distorting their lives will be the catalyst for transformation.
Gurtha – a key protagonist – goes to Mallorca after his mother Nuala is murdered and his life is in disarray. He does not know who killed Nuala or why she was murdered. He decides to spend 40 days on the beautiful Mediterranean island to take stock of his life and to find a new direction and meaning for life. He meets with a circle of friends within the ex-pat community; dark secrets are revealed which transform each of their lives within 40 days and the secret about who murdered Nuala is unlocked.
Where did you get the idea for it from?
By observing in real life people acting in ways which cause great suffering to themselves and others but they are unaware of what is driving their behaviour. It is hidden to them. It is only when they see what is hidden that they are released from their personal “prison”, are healed and liberated.
Did you have to do any research for your new book?
Yes. I adored it. I researched the origin of myths, remembering Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero of a Thousand Faces” and “The Power of Myth”.
I then began to read Bernard McGinn’s books on the “foundations, growth and flowering” of mysticism. Bernard McGinn is a Professor of Divinity at Chicago University and is considered to be the world’s expert on mysticism. The path of mysticism is very much like the hero’s journey. It is a journey to experience love, casting off the ego along the way. It has phases of awakening, purgation, illumination and union. Union is the experience of ‘resting’ in a love beyond human understanding.
I so much enjoyed this research that I am off to Houston in August of this year to attend a 3 day workshop run by Bernard McGinn on the subject of mysticism.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Yes. I am in them all in one way or another! When people have read “Eden Burning” they are quite shocked that I can create a murderer. However, I think a writer has to have empathy for every single one of their characters. If you have deep empathy that means that you understand how they feel, the situation that they find themselves in and why they are acting in ways which may not be understood by others.
When your level of empathy for your characters deepens, you find that you have compassion for them. For me, this means suffering with them. At that moment the writer and the character are one and the same. For that to happen, I have to be in them from the start.
When my friends say goodbye to me after a visit, they often say, “Don’t be murdering anyone today – well do it, only if it’s in your novel.”
Are you the type of person who wakes up in the middle of the night with ideas that you have to jot down straightaway?
No. However, I do awaken up at times in the middle of the night from a strange and wonderful dream which I always remember in the morning and which inspires my stories.
I love the dream world. I have experienced in my own life, dreams which predict the future, archetypal dreams presenting me with an insight into life and lucid dreams where I am aware in the dream that I am dreaming. In these dreams I can make the dream change according to my wishes. I remember one such dream when I realised within the dream that I could make anything I thought come true. I had great fun doing that!
Will you be having a book launch?
Yes. I am thrilled to be having my book launch on the 6th July 2017, at the Meditation Centre, St Mark’s Church Myddelton Square, London, EC1R 1XX – 1830 – 2100. At the book launch I will simultaneously be opening an exhibition of my art which will explore the theme of “The Secret Wound” in oils.
What do you want people to get out of your book?
I really want them to enjoy it. I love TV programmes like Agatha Christie – including Poirot, Criminal Minds, Inspector Morse, Lewis … I would like them to have a sense of reading a psychological thriller in which they are captivated. I also would like to give them a sense that life is really wonderful and mysterious. If they already feel this – then we can have a chuckle together about it.
Any pearls of wisdom for anyone wanting to write?
If you want to write – you already have the desire planted within you which is your gift. All you have to do now is to honour it and begin to write. Don’t judge your writing but be open to feedback from people you trust and especially from people who know the key to your heart.
How long have you been painting for?
Since moving to Mallorca – 15 years ago.
What’s it like living in Mallorca?
When people hear that I live in Mallorca, they think I am lying on the beach for a large part of the year. However, nothing could be further from the truth. I actually haven’t been into the sea in 15 years – even though it is only 10 minutes from home in the car.
What I love about Mallorca is its natural beauty – being in nature – living beside the sea, seeing the oranges change colour at sunset, watching the figs appear on the fig trees, the orange blossom in April turning into Christmas oranges.
For the first year and a half, we lived in an isolated olive grove, with no running water, no TV, no fixed line telephone, no internet. It was then that I felt myself a part of nature – at one with sheep, cats, eagles, bees, beetles and the olive trees.
I would say that what I have learnt living there, when I am not travelling with work, is that life can be incredibly simple and we have a tendency to complicate it.
Would you ever move to London?
Never say never. I love London. I know this is going to sound weird but I feel really at home in London – more than I do after 15 years in Mallorca. I also adored living in Oxford for 12 years. I am going to keep an open mind and who knows what might happen. What I might struggle with is cutting my umbilical cord to living so intensely now with nature.
Describe your life in five words.
I’m a seeker still seeking.
‘Eden Burning’ is available to buy from:-
Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/eden-burning/
‘The Secret Wound’ can be pre-ordered from:-
Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-secret-wound/
Author Page with a weekly blog – www.deirdrequiery.com
Twitter – @SupernovaQ
Link for the book trailer for Eden Burning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0v5Su7exVI