Interview with author Laura Perry
What authors/ books influenced you in your early days of being a Pagan/following your spiritual path?
My first taste of Paganism came from the school library, with tidbits about the ancient Minoans and Egyptians (I read the Egyptian Book of the Dead before I really had a clue what any of it meant!). But I think the most powerful influence was actually fiction. Morgan Llewellyn’s novels really drew me very strongly, and at some point I discovered the book that’s still one of my favorites: The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea. Mary Renault’s historical fiction and Mary Stewart’s King Arthur trilogy were also big influences.
What drew you to your path?
Oddly enough, I think it was probably my Christian grandparents who pointed me in the right direction. They were farmers and they both got their ‘God fix’ from the land and the animals far more than from church, which they rarely attended. I spent a lot of my childhood with them, so by the time I was old enough to start exploring spiritual traditions, I knew I wanted something that connected me with the sacred in nature. It just took some time to find resources and people who could explain the actual Pagan traditions to me (this was back in the days before the Internet).
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
My Minoan-themed work is an outgrowth of my personal spiritual practice and my first novel was inspired by a trip to the ancient Mayan sacred sites in Central America. I’ve also written books because people requested them, believe it or not – The Wiccan Wellness Book was one of those. I have one in process right now about modern Minoan Paganism for the solitary practitioner because the folks in my Facebook discussion group asked for it. I feel like my writing is part of serving the gods, helping to bring them out into the world more so they can be acknowledged and appreciated.
How did you become an author? Was it something you intended to do or was it by accident?
The first book I wrote – not the first one I published, but the first one I actually wrote – was Ariadne’s Thread, and it’s the result of an assignment I had for my second degree in the group I was in years ago. I was required to choose a pantheon and write a year’s worth of seasonal rituals and a lifetime’s worth of rites of passage for that pantheon. So I wrote all those Minoan rituals – it seemed like so many, the assignment was almost overwhelming. We actually performed many of those rituals over the course of several years, tweaking them a bit as the gods made it known when they didn’t like something (objects being knocked off tables by invisible forces, people being tripped in ritual by ‘nothing,’ and other magical weirdness). By the time I finally had all the rituals in finished form, the collection looked like a book, and I realized I was a ‘real’ writer. So then I started researching the history and culture of the ancient Minoans so I could add that and make the book more comprehensive.
What do you feel makes a book worth reading?
I need to be able to connect with it in some way, whether it’s ideas that inspire me or characters that I feel for. Reading seems like such an intellectual activity, but I think there’s a gut/heart level to it as well, and the books I love most are the ones that let me connect on that gut/heart level. I like a wide variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction (I’m an avid reader of practically everything) but I think the connecting thread is being able to ‘feel’ the book as well as ‘think’ it.
Are you working on a new book right now and if so what is it?
I’ve just finished a Minoan Tarot deck and companion book , which was a major project – art plus writing. It’s available for pre-order now. At the moment I’m working on a book for the solitary practitioner of modern Minoan Paganism, which should be out later this year. It’s called Labrys and Horns, which are two of the famous symbols from Minoan spirituality.
Do you write part or full time?
I write part time. I wish I could write full time, but my bread-and-butter is freelance editing – that’s what pays the bills.
What's the hardest thing about writing?
Finishing the book! LOL I suspect a lot of writers have the same problem: We come up with so many great ideas. Some days, the ideas just pour out and I scurry to get them all written down before I forget them. But the hard part is taking a shiny idea and turning it into a full-length finished book. Whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction, there’s still research to do, and figuring out how to organize the book, then actually writing it, then editing it. So it’s a long haul to actually take a book through to completion, and sticking with it is hard work.
How can other readers discover more about you (website/facebook links etc)?
My main website is www.LauraPerryAuthor.com – you’ll find my social networking links on the bottom of each page for Facebook, Twitter, and several others. I also have a Facebook group for people who are interested in modern Minoan Paganism. It’s called Ariadne’s Tribe: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1502335483312496/ It’s a welcoming, safe community for people who are exploring Minoan spirituality and culture. We have a lot of different beliefs and practices and they’re all absolutely OK.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. The media make it look like it’s easy to write and get published, but even the big-name authors have had their share of rejections. Just keep on going, and always keep honing your skills – read books in the style you’d like to write, read books about writing, join writer’s groups, take workshops. Do whatever it takes to keep your fire burning.
There are tons of pagan books on the market, what do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?
Modern Minoan Paganism isn’t very well known yet. I’d say it’s about where Druidry was maybe 20 to 30 years ago, in terms of people knowing about it and it being ‘seen’ in the broader Pagan community. So Ariadne’s Thread is pretty unique and Labrys and Horns will also be a special kind of resource.
Which one of your books are you most proud of?
That’s a hard one. Writing each one has been a journey of personal transformation for me. I guess I’d have to say that Ariadne’s Thread is really the one I’m most proud of, because it represents my whole spiritual journey over the past two decades, as well as where it’s headed in the near future.