HOW DID MILAREPA ORIGINATE?
Milarepa was a famous Tibetan monk/poet who lived in the 12th century. While working on the novel, I instinctively knew that the snow leopard would play a pivotal role. I remembered a rice painting I had purchased from a colleague in Halifax. I wasn't sure if it was still in my possession, having moved from coast to coast and back again. When I found it behind a chair in my bedroom, I marvelled that it had not disappeared. The snow leopard painting was done by a Tibetan student to raise money for the Free Tibet cause. I began researching snow leopards, and their sad plight. The name Milarepa fit beautifully as legend has it that Milarepa, who lived in caves in the Himalayas in the latter part of his life, died and became a snow leopard. Milarepa, the chief snow leopard in "Fellowship", is both mystical and immortal.
HOW DID GREEK MYTHOLOGY INFLUENCE CHARACTER NAMES IN FELLOWSHIP OF THE SNOW LEOPARDS?
All of the names of characters were researched. I left them blank until the perfect one emerged. Athena, the heroine, I found on the back of a commemorative bench in English Bay while contemplating a name for the character. She was a strong warrior goddess. Michael represents Michael the Archangel who fought the dragon and cast him out of heaven. Madame Minerva, the wardrobe expert, was a goddess of wisdom and dyeing, among other attributes. Some were found in Greek mythology texts and other sources. Anyone who has an interest in names will be intrigued with discovery of their meaning.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW COULD THE CHILDREN OF TODAY REACH THEIR FULL LEARNING POTENTIAL?
The school that is set up on Shilough leaves food for thought. It allows the children to explore their own potential while introducing them to higher concepts. Music plays an important role. Freedom of expression is fostered. Physicality is encouraged. Meditation is part of the curriculum. Mediation is considered essential. The children are taught as global citizens and are schooled to become leaders on earth to improve the planet. Concepts of social justice, ecological balance, the value of each being and making decisions with the heart and not only the mind are taught in a powerful way. Some might think that children in grade school could not grasp these concepts, but these are the children of light. Far too many of them, particularly in North America, are dropping out of school from boredom before they reach their full potential!
WHAT "SNEAK PEEK" OF MICHAEL AND ATHENA'S CONTINUING JOURNEY CAN YOU OFFER US?
The first novel is subtitled "The Journey Begins". Michael is introduced to the planet Shilough, and most of the action occurs on that planet or on earth. In the second novel, subtitled "Meeting Their Destiny", Michael and Athena discover another world, quite different from Shilough. The story is in its preliminary stage, (one third completed) and who knows what adventure lies ahead for our heros? Only the muses know for sure!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE SYMBOLISM BEHIND THE CRONUSANS?
The Cronusans, in Greek mythology, were a warrior people who actually killed and ate their young. I evoke that image (with three heads instead of one) to symbolize the extent of greed in consuming the resources of their planet without practicing conservatism and with no regard for future generations. The regenerating limbs are a symbol of the power of the corporate elite who control the resources on our planet, and how they keep hammering back in different ways to achieve their goals.