Ellena Ripley is a bookshop owner from a rural town in the south of England – or so she thinks. But lately, she has a growing sense that life is not as it seems. At night, she dreams of a serene man who appears to be trying to tell her something; In the day, she can’t shake a feeling of expectation. But of what?
Meanwhile Hector, servant of LIFE and the man from Ellena’s dreams, has a dilemma. How do you tell someone they are a goddess? His previous attempts have met with disaster so he must be cautious, particularly when his new trainee, Boudica, formerly Queen of the Iceni tries to help. The question is can they succeed before it is too late?
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A.F Firebird author of “The Reluctant Goddess” talks about her new novel and metaphysical fiction.
Q: You describe your new novel as metaphysical fiction, what is metaphysical fiction?
AFF: It is a form of speculative fiction which explores ideas prevalent in metaphysics through the medium of story and characters. This type of fiction strips away religious rhetoric and new age language, so that the reader can contemplate the ideas presented in a simpler and hopefully more accessible way.
Q: Give me an example of the type of ideas explored in the book.
AFF: Firstly, the story is written within the context of a benevolent conscious universe, where the inanimate and animate alike work to help Ellena. The books in the shop, that she owns, all have something to tell her if only she could hear them. Her pets, a dog and a cat, are her spirit guides offering gentle, loving encouragement. Through the eyes of the characters we see our planet and the universe from a perspective.
The second main theme, is the idea that the greatest work a person can do is to live authentically. To discover who and what they really are. The main character, Ellena, has lived a life full of the common distractions of life. By the time she reaches her late forties she still has not discovered her true self or a purpose which gives her life meaning. Throughout the novel we follow her journey as she is assisted by a conscious benevolent universe, to fully realise her identity.
Q: The Reluctant Goddess takes a non traditional approach to the idea of a goddess. Explain your take on what it means to be a goddess.
AFF: My aim has been to merge old ideas with new. Ellena is a reincarnation of Quan Yin, Goddess of compassion, who, rather than take up buddhahood, chose to stay on earth to help all humans reach enlightenment. Instead of showing the goddess as super human, the book explores the effect of fully realising the virtue of compassion in the world. And so the idea of a goddess being someone who lives their virtues or values whatever they might be.
Q: Now that The Reluctant Goddess is finished what next.
AFF: I want to continue working on metaphysical fiction. The next book continues to delve into the role of compassion in human evolution. I believe, as so many others before me, that fiction is a great way to open discussion and contemplation of ideas, so I am looking forward to feedback from readers.