I was born in New York in 1956 but grew up in Massachusetts in a Puerto Rican family, a nice little cross-blending of cultures, and enjoyed the rare gift of a happy childhood—short on drama but long on entertainment. Things really got interesting, however, at the beginning of my second year of college when I was initiated into yogic meditation. I was an eighteen-year-old psych major in a prestigious university, but from the moment I learned meditation all I really wanted to be was a yogi. When the school year finished, I freaked out my parents by selling everything I owned except my guitar and boarded a cross-country bus for a three-month intensive training in yogic practice (all things considered, they we’re pretty cool about it). When I was twenty I went to India to meet my guru, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, and that sealed the deal. Since then I’ve spent my life hanging out with saints and yogis and doing my best to navigate the spiritual path. Exactly how much of their luster has rubbed off is debatable, but it’s been a fascinating journey that has brought me into contact with some of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time and an endless parade of colorful characters in search of enlightenment, enough to people my novels for the next several lifetimes.
Along the way I’ve taught yoga and meditation in at least six different languages on four different continents, worked as a street musician in Europe and Asia, and even posed as an English teacher for a year when I was finishing up my MFA in the early nineties, but eventually I settled into my version of the writer’s life: half the year on my farm in Puerto Rico and the other half on my farm in Brazil, giving the occasional seminar and hosting spiritual retreats but mostly mining my imagination for the stories that have taken up residence there over the years, dramatic reenactments of our collective journey toward the awakening of consciousness. I’ve had several characters in my stories tell me that literature can be a real service to humanity. I hope they’re right. The only way I can justify spending all this time in front of a computer, wandering through the shifting landscapes of my imagination, is by taking it on faith that my books can make a difference in people’s lives, that in some small way they can help to spark the flowering of consciousness that is the real story of our race. If they can do that then nothing could make me happier. That’s what I’m here for.
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What inspires you to write?
Writing for me is both a journey into myself and a means of communication with the world of other human beings, and both the connection with my inner self and the connection with other people are endless sources of inspiration.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’ve tried both ways, storyboarding a novel scene and starting out with a character and a setting but no real idea of what the story will be until I am knee deep in it. Of the two, it is definitely easier to thoroughly outline the story first, and in general more productive, but there are some books that don’t lend themselves to storyboarding. It is good to be flexible and listen to what the story tells you.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Listen, listen, listen. Eavesdropping might be a better word.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read widely and deeply, write constantly, and bring the same passion to your writing that your favorite literature inspires.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Self-published and for most writers that is the way to go. The market has changed.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Less print, more electronic and audio media, an industry dominated by self-published authors and self-publishing coops.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Visionary & Metaphysical, Historical fiction, body, mind & spirit.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print