the Triad of Being trilogy, the Ancient Future trilogy, the Celestial Triad and the Mystique Trilogy
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born at Ryde hospital and raised in Carlingford, Sydney. I went to primary school at St Bernadette’s at Dundas Valley and to high school at Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta; still, all that Catholicism only gave me a healthy interest in discovering how the universe was really created and about all those other mysteries that organised religion didn’t want to talk about. I’ve since read countless books on history, the esoteric, comparative religions, the ancient mysteries, earth sciences, future science and quantum physics in search of those answers.
Actually, I think it was about the age a twelve that I thought it would be good to be a writer – I told my friends stories all the time! I tried to start writing a story and didn’t get very far – telling stories was far more immediately gratifying at the time.
By eighteen the reality of leaving school with a D in English, being a terrible speller and very dyslexic, had shattered any ideas I’d had of turning my storytelling into a writing career. By then I was working in a music store and dating the lighting director for the Radiators, who I married two years later.
By the age of thirty I had published two books, and had my eyes firmly set on making some feature films. By thirty-three I was pregnant with my first child, so the film vision got put on hold and I just kept on writing.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I think the one that stands out to me the most is that I thought that music and my friends would always be the most important things in my life! I do still cherish my friends, and I find music very inspiring when it comes to writing, but my family and my writing rule now.
I could count on one hand the books I read before I wrote one – which rather explains the bad English mark and my terrible spelling at school. So my number one influence goes to a movie.
1. Star Wars. I was ten years old when I saw this picture at the movies and it rocked my tiny world! I saw it ten times at the movies because it took me away to somewhere I really wanted to go – space! And for the first time in a movie, the special effects of Industrial Light and Magic made it all appear completely real. I can’t say that any of the other films in the series had the same kind of impact, but I did like Yoda in the second one.
One of the books I did read before I actually wrote my first book, had a huge impact on every book I’ve written, for it sparked within my mind an amazing understanding of simultaneous time.
2. The Education of Oversoul Seven by Jane Roberts. This tale followed the stories of four different characters, in four different periods of earth’s history (pre-history, the middle ages, the present and the future). It demonstrated how one character’s actions in the present could effect the present of all the characters in the other eras at the same time – like the butterfly effect, only through time instead of space. This book also presented a different twist on the reincarnation theory for me too, by putting forward the notion that if a soul died in the present, they could just as easily reincarnate into a past era as a future one; another notion I have found incredibly useful.
My third and last great influence is more recent, and an author.
3. Lynne McTaggart – author of The Field and The Intension Experiment. I was so excited to discover the work of this author – it was a breath of fresh air in my quest for knowledge about how the universe and personal reality works. The research of the scientists in this book, have been influencing my own writing from as far back as the Alchemist’s Key in 2000. All the esoteric knowledge I had gleaned over the years, in an attempt to explain my take on the universal scheme, I found laid out in these books in fairly easy to understand scientific terms. These two books were the sole inspiration for my current trilogy – the Triad of Being.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Well actually I chose to write a feature film, four of them in fact! But my imagination proved a little too rich for the average Australian Film Budget – I knew that, as I was working for a couple of film studios at the time. So I decided to start writing a book – that book was The Ancient Future and I’ve never looked back.
I was wondering why I kept recognising the characters in Being of the Field as reincarnations of the characters from my earlier tales, when this story was unfolding in an entirely different universe? I had to wonder if this was just a lack of imagination on my behalf, or whether there was a deeper meaning, story-wise, for why they were doing this. Then, late in the pages of Being of the Field, a connection to those previous trilogies was revealed! In The Universel Parallel it becomes very apparent why my characters reinvented themselves and that their doing so was no accident. The presence of their old souls brings about a very meaningful development in the Triad of Being, and awarded me a chance to further play with time, space, reality and a few old friends – with some hilarious, heart-stopping and soul-warming results.
However, there is no need to have read the earlier books to enjoy the Triad of Being, the twist is just a little added excitement for those who have.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
If people emerge from my books with a sense of wonder and a yearning to explore the greater mysteries of life further, my job is done. I write to inspire others to respectfully take a look at the big picture, pursue their passions, follow their instinct and create their own reality, just as my characters do. There are so many mysteries in the world that I feel compelled to investigate and I love sharing my findings with others, with a good dose of adventure, fun, love and suspense, thrown in. Many readers have contacted me to say that my books have been life-altering in a very positive way, so if I can just keep doing that, I’ll be thrilled!
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
The person I admire most in the realm of writing, isn’t really a writer, although she has dabbled with a few publications of her own. That lady is my literary agent, Selwa Anthony, (although Selwa prefers the term author agent). I don’t know of anyone who has single handedly championed the cause of Australian writers more than Selwa has with her AVIP – Australian Voice In Print. So many of Australia’s finest writers owe their publishing success to her. She’ll always be the person I most admire, in any realm.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
That ambition to make big budget science-fantasy feature films in this country, has not gone away and having raised both my children to school age now, I fully intend to continue to pursue that vision with gusto.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Write because you love it and enjoy the process, without lusting after outcomes. Then the writing experience is rich and the journey you take will be a rewarding one. I wrote four film scripts, numerous short stories, poems and a manuscript before I was published – every writer has to do their internship. We all like to think that the first manuscript we write will be a masterpiece, because so much hard work goes into getting that manuscript out – but hey, you wouldn’t expect a medical intern to be doing heart surgery in his first year, so do give yourself a chance to develop a style and don’t be disheartened by a few knock backs in the beginning. Nothing you write will ever be wasted, you can always come back to past manuscripts once you’ve found your niche. Writing is the most fun job on the planet – I love it! And if it didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it anymore. Once you’ve written your tale, find a good editor you can trust. Edit, edit, edit. Then find a good agent and let them take you and your manuscript where you need to go.
Traci, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for the last twenty years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Head of Product and Chief Buyer at booktopia.com.au.