He describes the book as “a modern tale that harkens back to the myths of antiquity. It takes you on a remarkable journey, while exploring the themes of healing, redemption, forgiveness, sacrifice, and ultimately…peace within.”
The publisher summarises the plot thus: Joseph Connell is a gifted high school athlete from Montana, loved deeply by his family, yet tormented by nightmarish visions he can neither explain nor escape. He believes the answer to what threatens to crush him can be found in the knowledge possessed by a mystical old wise man who lives deep within the remote Himalayas of India. If Joseph is ever to find the peace he so desperately seeks, he must get this wise old man to reveal what he truly knows, but that will not be easy…for this sage knows far more than he admits.
Welcome Paul. Thanks for dropping by during your blog tour. Let’s get started, shall we?
How do you go about making the setting come alive for the reader?
PM: I literally read dozens and dozens of books on northern India, and the Himalayas in particular, but while that gave me interesting information, it didn’t help me bring it “alive”. To do that, I had to travel them personally. Truth be told, it was a gruelling experience. Over several weeks I would often spend up to twelve hours per day in the car, which wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I travelled to literally the highest mountain peaks in all of India, where the roads were more often than not narrow and filled with hairpin turns every fifty feet or less. In some places there wasn’t even a “road” in the traditional sense, and very often we had to navigate around cattle and Holy Men trekking to temples as old as the 8th Century A.D. So for me, travelling as my main characters did was the most authentic way to make the area come alive for the reader.
How do you introduce them to a place they may not be familiar with?
PM: I like to start with details and descriptions so that the setting feels tangible and real. Once the physical setting, especially such an unfamiliar and exotic one, has been established, it makes for a more powerful reading experience.
How do you transport them there through your writing?
PM: I made sure the reader felt as if they were traveling along with my characters, which is exactly what several readers and reviewers said.
Why did you choose this setting?
PM: I chose this setting to enhance the magical and mystical experience for the reader.
How is it a fundamental part of your overall theme?
PM: The setting of the Himalayas adds to the sense of spiritual journey.
What inspired you to write this book?
PM: I am often asked that. While I always knew I wanted to share with the world a deeply meaningful tale, I also knew I wanted to deliver one that recognizes that our lives are permeated and guided by forces beyond our control, forces more powerful than us, and very often with designs not of our choosing that will challenge us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I believe that Life itself is a spiritual journey, often a painful one, yet persevering through that pain can lead to powerful wisdom and healing insights. For me, the most engaging spiritual stories are the ones that tap into the mythical dimension that resonates deep within the collective unconscious of us all, which is why I chose to write a modern tale that harkens back to the myths of antiquity.
I was also most certainly inspired by the events of my own life, which gave my novel its singular sense of intensity and purpose. Sometimes I think I have endured more in this one lifetime than some people might endure in ten. I have been paralyzed from the neck down in a severe spinal compression accident, though fortunately I made a full recovery.
I was beset in the decades that followed with multiple painful joint reconstruction surgeries, Hashimoto’s Disease (thyroid), Gilbert’s Disease (liver), Crohn’s Disease (intestinal), and Addison’s Disease (adrenal). I still must take more medications each day than most people take in vitamins in a week’s time. I made a searing film about my life, A Life Unfinished, which screened in The Hamptons International Film Festival.
It was this lifetime filled with unrelenting hardship and penetrating adversity that severely tested my inner strength, resolve, belief system, and infused me with the creative drive to craft a novel that is a distinctive mix of enlightening spiritual journey with the intensity and power of the ancient mythological archetype.
I actually started writing Lifting the Wheel of Karma, 25 years ago while I was still in high school. To be candid, I tried repeatedly to abandon it, because it was so difficult and demanding and taxing to “get it right”. But fortunately for me, the work refused to be forsaken, and in time I realized that writing this story was my Dharma – my duty in life.
Thank you, Paul, for visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us a bit about Lifting the Wheel of Karma. The book is available in paperback and ebook forms from booksellers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Readers can learn more about the book and how to purchase it on Paul’s website and also on the book’s Facebook page.
About the Author: Paul H. Magid started writing his debut novel, Lifting the Wheel of Karma, twenty-five years ago while still in high school. It took him so long to complete because he tried repeatedly to abandon it, but the work refused to be forsaken. Along the way he has worked as a Wall Street financial analyst, a waiter (not a very good one), a Hollywood Agent Trainee, a real estate developer, a summer day camp director, an award winning screenwriter, and independent filmmaker—including his autobiographical film, A Life Unfinished, which screened in The Hamptons International Film Festival.