Rahima Warren is the author of Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy, a deep, rich novel of the healing journey. With Master’s degrees in Clinical and Transpersonal Psychology, she was in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist for over 20 years. In 2006, Rahima retired to focus on her expressive painting, creative writing, and spiritual studies.
In her work with clients recovering from abuse, she was awed by the human capacity to heal, and to reach new levels of forgiveness, wholeness and happiness. She also learned to trust the psyche’s own process. This enabled her to allow a dark and mysterious story to flood forth unhindered: Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy.
Rahima is a third-generation native of California and resides with her husband in Northern California, where she periodically chases squirrels off the wild bird feeders, and deer away from her roses. Her life-long love of fantasy is her parents’ fault: they left sci-fi & fantasy magazines with fascinating cover art lying around the house.
RW: Thanks so much, Susan, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, and for asking such specific and thoughtful questions. I’ve very much enjoyed answering them! I confess I took advantage of your kind invitation to be wordy.
DoD: All three of your books deal with spirituality and inner healing. How did using the medium of a fantasy novel to convey some of these ideas differ from your other books?
RW: The three books of The Star-Seer’s Prophecy are the only books I have written. Well, I have a half-written fantasy novel languishing somewhere on a disc. (Yes, it’s that old!) I was not planning on being a writer. My career was as a dream group leader, psychotherapist, and expressive arts therapist. I had thought about writing a self-help book, or a spiritual memoir, but the main character of this story had other ideas. I’ve written about how this character, whose name is Kyr, took over my life and turned me into a writer here.
DoD: You’re not only a writer, but also an artist. Have there been science fiction and/or fantasy classics that have inspired some of your art?
RW: Not that I am aware of. I do what’s called expressive art. The inspirations for my paintings come from my inner experiences: dreams, meditations, visions, emotions; and from transformative experiences I’ve had on my own healing journey. I’ve shared many of these paintings, along with dreams, poems, and gems from my journals on my expressive arts website: www.soulplay.com. Expressive art is focused on the experience or process of painting (or other art forms) rather than the technique or product. That’s also how I wrote this trilogy.
Writing a short story about Kyr opened up a torrent of passionate, creative energy, and I continued writing his story, allowing and following the flow for three years, until I/we reached a satisfying conclusion, three books’ worth later. So I think of my books as “expressive art novels.” This was the right-brain intuitive part of my writing process. Of course, I then I had to do the left-brain work of learning how to write fiction. I read many books on that topic, and spent several years working with an editor to revise and improve the trilogy, especially the first book, Dark Innocence.
RW: I’m glad you asked!
I love Nature and include descriptions of beautiful natural scenes throughout my books. At first, Kyr knows nothing of the natural world, having been raised as a slave in the dark labyrinth of the evil sorcerer-king called the Soul-Drinker. After he is rescued, he has to learn about many ordinary things, such as friendship, kindness, flowers, rain and snow. Here’s short scene of Kyr’s first encounter with snow.
“An alien landscape met his eyes. Pristine whiteness covered the ground, mounded over bushes, outlined the branches of the trees and coated the roofs of buildings. Stunned, he stepped back until he felt the door of his room at his back. He looked to the side and there was the familiar row of sleeping rooms, unchanged. He breathed a sigh of relief.
…Reluctant to mar the sparkling purity that stretched before him, Kyr stood still. A deep hush enveloped the world. However, in a short time, Winter’s fierce chill seeped through his cloak, and he stepped off the porch. His boot crunched through the thin layer of snow. Startled, he froze in mid-step.
Nothing happened. Stepping as lightly as he could, he crossed the courtyard and followed the path to the Temple, marveling at the silver and ebony tapestry Snow and Moon had woven.”
More importantly, it’s almost as if Nature is a character in the story: flowers teach Kyr a painful lesson; and the Great Tree called the Heart of the Forest is semi-sentient and works with the Tree Warden, Svahar, to heal Kyr of a terrible addiction. Also, the people in this world each have a soul-kin: an animal or bird spirit with whom they are bonded. Kyr’s soul-kin is the Eagle. The Soul-Drinker has devastated the land near his labyrinth, breaking the bonds between the people and their soul-kin by stealing their soul-energy in the terrible orgies he uses to sustain his powers and immortality. The Star-Seer has prophesied that only Kyr can restore the land, by bringing back their Goddess, Zhovanya, who was banished by the Soul-Drinker many generations ago.
DoD: You were a psychotherapist for a good chunk of your life, helping people struggle through their inner dark to become whole again. How do those decades of experience show in your book Dark Innocence?
RW: That is the main theme of Dark Innocence: Kyr’s journey of recovery, healing and transformation.
Kyr is not the usual intrepid hero of many fantasies. His is the hard path of the inner journey toward wholeness. Born and raised as the cold-heartedly obedient slave of the evil Soul-Drinker, he knows nothing but enduring and inflicting terrible suffering at the whims of his vicious master. Rescued, he begins to learn that there are such things as kindness, friendship and love in the world. This knowledge brings home to him the terrible things he has done as a slave. Overcome with remorse and self-loathing, he seeks to do penance at the hidden Zhovanaya Sanctuary. The most difficult part of his healing is when he has to face his own pain and rage, and has to learn to forgive himself. As one reviewer wrote: “While Kyr’s situation is an extreme one, … most people will find in the story a journey towards redemption which will touch on their own.”
Certainly, I drew on my experience with my own healing journey and those of my psychotherapy clients, though this was not my conscious intention. In hindsight, I realize that one of my main inspirations for writing this story is the amazing ability of my clients, and all of us, to recover from the worst abuse, given sufficient compassionate, wise help. Recently, in a meditation, I was shown that I was guided to write this story to help transform the culture of judgment and punishment toward self and others into one of compassion and healing, even for the worst offenders. As programs such as the Insight Prison Project have shown, this can be done.
DoD: Your novel career has started in the latter half of your life. How has your age been received in the fantasy literature community? A hindrance? Welcomed open-armed? Not even commented upon?
RW: I have to admit that I haven’t gotten very much involved in the fantasy literature community. To the extent that I have, no one has commented on this. I haven’t thought about much it myself since I don’t feel “old” yet. Well, except maybe when I look in the mirror. I tend to avoid doing that as much as possible. 🙂
DoD: On The Star-Seer’s Prophecy blog, there is a page for fan art. I love looking at fan art as I enjoy seeing what characters, scenes, or story location inspired people to create something. How did you react when you received your first piece of fan art on Dark Innocence?
RW: I was thrilled! It was such a wonderful surprise!
DoD: Being a writer, an expressive painter, and a mystic, what does your writer’s den look like? Neat & tidy or full of inspirational knick knacks?
RW: Oh, definitely the latter! I have an altar to the Goddesses of Creativity and Compassion, three of my most inspirational paintings on the walls, and mandala prayer flags over the window. Here’s the view from my writing chair.
ABOUT Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy by Rahima Warren
The “twin-souled dark innocent,” Kyr, is a youth born and raised to blindly carry out the Soul-Drinker’s brutal commands. At first, Kyr’s one desire is death, the only escape from the Soul-Drinker’s hellish rule. Just when he is about to get his wish, the secret Circle rescues him. Now he has to choose between the familiar easy path of despair and death, or the hard path of healing, living, and a greater destiny, about which he knows nothing. How can a slave who has known only evil, pain and obedience choose to become a man of courage and compassion, and fulfill the Star Seer’s Prophecy?
Rahima is giving away prizes, including an e-copy of her book at each blog stop on her tour AND a Grand Prize Giveaway of a Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with your choice of fan art, chosen from here: http://www.starseersprophecy.com/fan-art/, plus other goodies, including a signed copy of Dark Innocence for one lucky winner, shipped to anywhere in the world!
1) To win a book: Leave a comment on this blog post about your favorite healing fantasy novel to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.
2) To win the Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with Rahima’s fan art of your choice, or a signed copy of Dark Innocence, or other goodies, click the link to go to Rahima’s website here: http://www.starseersprophecy.com/blog-tour/ and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of that page, or click on the rafflecopter giveaway link just below. A winner will be selected on June 21st.
Places to Find Rahima Warren
Rahima Warren’s website- http://bit.ly/YDWLdo
Rahima Warren on Twitter: http://bit.ly/12dIIxc
Rahima’s Facebook Fan Page: http://on.fb.me/XZu15l
Rahima Warren on Pinterest: http://bit.ly/WBau8l
Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/11eiksn
Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy on Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/WTiwvA