Please welcome Rea Nolan Martin, Visionary Fiction author and contributor to the Huffington Post. You’ll find her books enlightening and entertaining!
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I live on the banks of the Hudson River overlooking Manhattan. Thanks to the vision of John D. Rockefeller, our home abuts 20 miles of protected parkland. Even though human activity abounds across the river, on this side we entertain a menagerie of wildlife on our portico every morning. It’s an inspiring place to write, which I’ve been doing here and at various other locations through four decades, 5 dogs (current one named Spirit), two children (now young men), and one husband who have all made space for my overactive imagination. I am also a lover of music, physics, world religions, and a deep, personal spirituality which I nurture daily through prayer, practice, and the writing of Visionary Fiction.
How did you become interested in Visionary Fiction?
Like most visionary authors, I had no idea I was writing Visionary Fiction, per se. I just wrote about the experiences that informed my life. My first published book, The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright, is about an ordinary woman in her sixties, a beautician, who answers her pastor’s simple suggestion to surrender her life to God. What follows is a carnival ride through the spiritual realm, complete with levitation, bi-location, teleportation, lucid dreams, and all the terror and hilarity those experiences infer for the average person. Vera is squeezed through her experience like toothpaste, which for me at least is a critical element of successful storytelling. By the end of her harrowing adventures, she is transformed into something entirely different. Transformation is the reason I tell stories, and also, I believe, the reason for our existence. Some of us enter into this sacred contract willingly and consciously, while others, like Vera, have to be squeezed through a tube.
My next book, Mystic Tea, is about a loosely held-together group of nuns on a monastery in upstate NY, who have gotten lost in belief systems that no longer apply. Through the alchemy of a recovering teenage addict who finds her way to the monastery, they find authentic spirituality that redefines their lives personally and collectively. The juxtaposition of this wild teenager with the older cloistered nuns provided me with months and months of comedy, as well as eye-popping opportunity for personal growth.
The Anesthesia Game, Visionary Fiction book # 3, is about a teenager with a critical illness whose treatments subject her to weekly anesthesia. Instead of sleeping under this influence, however, she is instead able to slowly expand her awareness into other realms. Through this perilous practice, she is eventually able to identify the ancient source of her illness, as well as the karmic conflict that has besieged her family for generations.
My most recent book, Walking on Water contains 32 inspirational essays, a collection of insights designed to illuminate a spiritual path in a confusing world. Some of these essays were previously published in Huffington Post.
I found out about the burgeoning (yet ancient) genre of Visionary Fiction when my second book, Mystic Tea won the Independent Publishers’ (IPPY) gold award in 2014. (The Anesthesia Game won the same award in 2016.) The VF designation made complete sense to me once I accessed the VFA (Visionary Fiction Alliance) website and saw the other books and authors identified in that genre. Personally, I define VF as a powerful means of interpreting the new world order, providing it with, among other things, a unique and much needed vocabulary. VF sees the world through an expansive lens concomitant with the rapid spiritual awakening of our times. Before VF I defined my books as Metaphysical, Spiritual, or Mystical. But Visionary is more precise, since some aspect of every story I’ve written has been prescient, manifesting a critical aspect months or years after its writing. And like many VF authors will no doubt tell you, the writing of these books is more than a little hair-raising for its creators. As our characters are pushed and pulled through the cosmic tube, so are we, forced like bulbs into early blooming as a result of our attempts to awaken others. There’s a price for going first.
If your book were chocolate, what would it be?
Organic dark chocolate with a jalapeno cream center. Lots of twists and surprises, including humor, which I think is unexpected in this genre, but shouldn’t be.
Does this book fit into a series.
No. My characters like to go it alone.
How did you prepare to write this book?
The central character in The Anesthesia Game is a critically ill teenage girl with a sweet nature and strong connection to the mystical world. Many years ago, one of my sons was extremely ill, and I was able to draw from that experience enough to create authenticity in the clinical (and family) environments. None of the book is remotely autobiographical, however. I just believe that an experience as deep as that cannot be adequately conjured through academic research. Since I knew the harrowing path it took, I felt it would help others if I expressed its essence in easy-to-absorb storytelling form, instead of a lecture.
How does this book fit into your real-life interests?
Aside from the particular experience of my son’s illness, I have an odd penchant for acquiring lots of medical information, both conventional and unconventional, and storing it. Some of it was acquired through years of intensive caretaking, but at this point in my life it would be foolish not to admit that I have a somewhat photographic memory for medical information. (A past life?) This would also apply to physics, metaphysics, and spiritual traditions. This affinity, combined with a hearty storyteller archetype, explains me and my career.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing a story about two elderly sisters in a confounding situation surrounding their family funeral home. They are cracking me up. Enough said.