Reviewer Bani Sodermark has posted her review of Written in Ruberah on BookPleasures.com.
Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on Amazon.com. Bani is a mother to two children.
A Love Story on Different Planes
This is not your usual love story where the main actors are paramount and conceive their life stories with decisions taken by themselves in the present, and many or most of the facts relevant to the story pertain to the existing lifetime. In this book, the protagonists live out decisions taken by them in another time and space. And we get to see a fine and entirely plausible interplay of the main characters with the river spirit of Cornwall, viz., Tamara, who not only provides a timeless link between the past and present, but also plays a major role from behind the scenes in influencing the lives and decisions of the protagonists as well…
…The text is fast and free flowing, a joy to read. It affirms the fact, more than many other books that I know of, that all we are, is flowing energy, that anything could happen at a moment’s notice, that all we think, say or do has consequences. The descriptions of the outer physical scenery as a reflection of the inner, is unusually detailed and evocative, almost like a fast, chemical reaction, once the right ingredients are administered.
This is a book that has been written on several planes. The main characters have their own agendas on the physical, which they put aside, willingly or unknowingly, after intervention by either by Tamara or Gwenellen. The author, Christina Greenaway has been very insightful and consistent about the principles that govern Life in this book, affirming that the reason we are here is to strengthen our spiritual muscles. This book is a strong and beautifully written testimony to the above…
…This is the first in a series of books called “The Age of Jewelled Intelligence”. Going by the popularity of the Harry Potter series, one can presume that the public response to this genre can only increase with time as more people explore their feminine side. Personally I enjoyed the book very much. Warmly recommended.
I wrote stories as a young child and dreamed of being a writer one day. For many years I traveled the world and worked in different careers. I settled into writing full time fifteen years ago.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
My habit is to write for about three hours in the early morning. I like to edit in the afternoon. When traveling, I write anywhere I can.
What is this book about?
A woman who feels hard-wired to be with the man she loves but who cannot realize that love because of a debt she bears from a previous life in ancient Ruberah.
What inspired you to write it?
I wanted to set a novel in Cornwall, UK, where I grew up. I felt the lush countryside, the moors, and the rugged coast would feed my imagination. They did. Lovers came to mind—lovers who must time travel to the ancient past to heal a rift that prevents them from being together. I needed an immortal—a guide who would help them. I turned to an old Cornish legend that fascinated me as a child: the legend of the beautiful nymph Tamara and the giant brothers Tavy and Tawridge. Tamara lives in a cave beneath the moors with her parents. Her father forbids her to meet the giants. Tamara disobeys him. Her father catches her with the giants and punishes her by turning her into a river of tears. Tamara forms the River Tamar. As a child, I traveled back and forth to boarding school by train crossing the River Tamar. I imagined Tamara as a water spirit who helped people.
“Written in Ruberah,” is the first book in my Age of Jeweled Intelligence series about people who lived in ancient Ruberah who made sacred promises to one day make amends for the disaster that brought about the end of that land. They tossed those promises into the River of Life. Many of those old souls live on the planet today. As their promises come due they float into the River Tamar. Tamara guides those ready to fulfill them.
Who is your favorite character from the book?
Miriam, who longs to be in a loving relationship with Mitch. Miriam fears aging and the possibility of growing old alone. A little overweight, she struggles to take the pounds off only to binge eat to feed her emotions and pack them back on. Miriam is strong, humorous, and painfully vulnerable.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
Long and arduous. It took many drafts to weave the history of the ancient Kingdom of Ruberah into the story of Tamara and the present day lives of Miriam and Mitch.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
I wrote the first two drafts of Written in Ruberah in first person from Tamara’s POV. My editor told me the story was too big for first person. If I had to do it over, I would take her advice earlier than I did.
What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
I’m at the beginning of that journey. Right now, I’d say having my website redesigned and going on this blog tour. I rather dreaded promoting my book but I find myself enjoying it—enjoying the connection I’m making with other writers and book lovers.
Is there one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
If you dream of being a writer, you can be a writer. The dream is telling you this. Let nothing stop you. Build the habit of writing every day. This tells your body, mind, and spirit you’re serious about this. After a while that something magical happens and you’ll find your imagination racing off, exploring possibilities you might otherwise never have considered. You’ll laugh, cry, fall in love, and kill whoever needs to be killed. Since you create all the characters you realize your protagonist could not complete his journey without having met and defeated a number of enemies along the way. This opens your compassionate nature and guides you to deal fate with an even hand. In Written in Ruberah I learned why Tamara’s father turned her into a river and how he did it. Yes, it’s just an old Cornish legend, but truth abounds in myths and legends.
I write by Rumi’s advice: “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
What is up next for you?
I’m writing the next book in my Age of Jeweled Intelligence series. This story features a new main character, a seventeen-year-old boy, Ib, short for Ibiza, (Ib’s mother names all her children after the place where they were conceived), a soul-searing love story, and another adventure in ancient Ruberah.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you for your kind interest in my novel. I bid you goodbye with the phrase used by those who lived ancient Ruberah. Foretune to travel well.
As a child I liked to climb onto the cliffs and gaze out to sea. Soon, a source as huge and wonderful as the ocean itself would stir inside me. Great adventures would unfold in my imagination. I’d choose a story, write it down, then stuff it into a bottle and toss it into the sea.
“I’ll write stories when I grow up,” I announced to my mother.
“Yes, you will, dear,” she replied.
An artist and his wife moved into the house next to ours. The artist trudged out to the great headlands each morning, lugging his paint box, easel and canvas.
“Can I come with you?” I pleaded, my tote bag already stuffed with paper, bottles and crayons.
“Yes, you can.”
The artist had travelled the world and told colorful stories of hiking in Kathmandu, Turkey and Peru.
“I’m going to see the whole world when I grow up.”
“Yes, you will.”
The artist painted a Parisian scene, and I became enchanted with the smartly dressed people sitting at small tables, drinking red wine and feeding tidbits of food to little dogs cuddled on their laps.
“I’m going to own a café in Paris when I grow up, Mummy. ”
“Yes, you will, dear.”
This new career goal dovetailed nicely with my recently discovered talent for changing water into wine. My father had sent me a pop-up book of Jesus performing some of his most famous miracles. I saw little of my father as he was posted in India with the RAF. I expect he thought my mother would use the book to tell me the story of Jesus. She didn’t. I lay on my stomach on the floor, staring into the scenes, enthralled by the magical man. Jesus was on a lever, so I could move him through the miracles. With a push from me, he shot up off the cross, clouds opened and angels filled the sky. I could also walk him across the water—a feat I tried to emulate. Obviously, I didn’t succeed or I’d be famous and publishers would be in a bidding war for my new novel. But I could turn water into wine. I simply switched on the tap and asked my mother, “Is it wine yet?”
“Yes, it is, dear.”
I created a make-believe café in our back garden. Jesus stopped by regularly for a glass of wine and a chat. He listened while I dreamed myself into careers as prima ballerina, orchestra conductor, and the ever-present writer.
The writer lay buried within for a long time. I worked in fields as diverse as advertising, fashion and real estate. I travelled the world over, hiking as opportunity permitted. I loved the feel of the earth beneath my feet and often fancied I stepped on the same soil as the artist who had inspired my adventures. Travel taught me many of the things I value most. Traveling equals being in a mini-version of my life’s journey. Everything is magnified. Free from routine, time seems to expand. People become more vividly who they are, probably because I’m truly looking at them. I notice how different or how similar they are to me. My eye roams over the details of each new place. I sniff the smells, marvel at the colors of the landscape and the particular swell of a foreign sea. I stride through the streets, measuring my step to the local pace of life, my ear tuned to the collective consciousness of the people. I am aware of myself as a member of the human family, and my capacity for compassion increases.
Between travels, I returned to Cornwall to visit my mother. The last time I stayed with her she had begun the long journey into dementia. One night she rushed into my bedroom, awakened me and said, “There are lots of people downstairs in the dining room and they’re very hungry. Will you come down and help me prepare a meal for them?”
In a split second our roles reversed. My mother’s question echoed in the chorus of the many I had asked her as a young child. The kindness she had invested in me resonated in the air as palpable as her breath. I inhaled deeply and took her hand in mine. “Yes, I will, Mum.”
You probably had a favorite legend as a child. The heroes and heroines of legends blend seamlessly with the supernatural, a jump made easily by the very young. Legends vary in structure, but most often the hero is called to adventure but resists until a supernatural power visits him and shows him why he must go. The hero ventures forth, fighting one battle after another until he wins his quest. He returns home a master of himself and the supernatural. He uses his power to help others.
Legends live on because we relate to the archetypical traits of their heroes. You’re drawn to a particular hero because the virtues you admire in him lie within you. This forms a powerful energy between you and a mythic character. Should you decide to create a character based on that hero, you’ll feel that heroic part of yourself stirring and inspiring your creative mind. Your protagonist doesn’t have to be a super hero. He or she might be a single mother juggling work with raising kids or an erudite detective being constantly outwitted by the criminal he chases. Attribute your protagonist with some of the hero’s strengths and some of his weaknesses; they all have those. Invent your character’s call to adventure, aka the inciting incident.
Unless you’re a fantasy or sci-fi writer, the visit by the supernatural does not have to literally be a supernatural entity. The supernatural is the heroic virtue within your protagonist. This could be awakened by a remark made by a close friend or a passing stranger, by a passage in a book or a lyric in a song. These words land on the protagonist’s inner hero with the precision of a dart on a bull’s eye, and the resonance of the message lingers on until he can no longer ignore his call to adventure. Once your protagonist ventures forth, he will undoubtedly become fatigued and disheartened by the many hurdles he has to jump to win his quest. This is when his heroic virtue arises in full glory and guides him to the end. Once home, the protagonist views his previous problems through the prism of his heroic self.
I write by this quote: ‘Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.’ –Rumi
A major character in my new novel Written in Ruberah: Age of Jeweled Intelligence is from an old Cornish legend about Tamara and the giant brothers Tavy and Tawridge. In my next blog I’ll share how I got inside Tamara’s head and where her legend took me.
“Greenaway juggles the many strands of her lushly descriptive book with ease, managing to bring all these characters, from all their separate time periods, together in a rousing climax that invests just as much energy in high fantasy as modern romance, with winning results. The richly imagined story of a modern woman bearing ancient responsibilities.” —Kirkus Reviews
New York real estate broker Miriam Lewis takes off for a brief getaway to a remote inn on the rugged cliffs of Cornwall. Rest and romance with her boyfriend seem like the perfect cure for a life that appears to be going nowhere, and too fast.
Entering Cornwall, Miriam crosses the River Tamar and glimpses a luminous girl floating in the river. A memory from long, long ago begins to unfold in Miriam’s thoughts—something about a promise she made to perform a selfless act of courage. Could it be true? Could she ever rise to such heroism or is it just a hallucination?
While at the inn, Miriam experiences a series of flashbacks from a life she lived in an ancient land called Ruberah. These startling images convince Miriam that she did write the promise and that she must keep it. But to do so, Miriam will have to let go of everything in her life and place her trust in a guide—the river girl—the wise and eternal spirit of the River Tamar.
“The richly imagined story of a modern woman bearing ancient responsibilities.”–Kirkus Reviews