INTERVIEW WITH AUTHORITY MAGAZINE
Aspart of my series about “How to write a book that sparks a movement” I had the pleasure of interviewing Neil Perry Gordon.
In 2018, Neil Perry Gordon published his debut novel, A Cobbler’s Tale, followed by Moon Flower, The Righteous One, The Bomb Squad, and Hope City. He has received high editorial praise from the likes of Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, and others, as well as hundreds of four and five-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
Currently, Neil is introducing his new novel, Otzi’s Odyssey, which is set to come out this fall. Because he is such a popular and prolific historical fiction author Authority Magazine decided to get his take on “How To Write A Book That Sparks A Movement” continuing reading for an exclusive interview.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share the “backstory” about how you grew up? I was raised among the wilds of a distant suburb, where I built forts in the woods, swam with bullfrogs in muddy ponds, and played ball until my mother called me in for dinner. My school days were where I learned that music, art, theater, legends, and myths, were not courses simply to be studied, memorized, and tested, but lessons to be lived and experienced. Meanwhile, my father taught me the intricacies of owning and managing a retail business that supported a family along with serving the needs of a community.
When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or change your life? Can you share a story? The one book I attribute as the source of my writer’s inspiration is Shantaram. It is hard to find any author with the ability to transform prose into poetry like David Gregory Roberts. When in need, I reach for one of his memorable passages and relish in the marvelous ways he weaves our most sensitive emotions into his storytelling.
What was the moment or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that? On January 27th, 2021, my thirty-two-year-old son passed away. This moment had a big-bang effect upon me, which began my quest of trying to understand the journey of my son’s soul. I wanted to learn how to pierce the veil between our two worlds in order to maintain our connection. What I’ve learned is that my fiction writing is not only a wonderful way of delving into the metaphysical world, but it also became my spiritual practice. This examination blossomed into an idea that our biography is not limited to our time on earth, but continues on into our soul life, creating an infinite loop of an eternal story.
What impact did you hope to make when you wrote this book? It has been my desire to share with my readers my journey of dealing with the overwhelming grief of losing a son at such a young age. I did this by demonstrating an appreciation for the abundance of gifts he left behind and still continues to provide, while he dwells within the heavenly realms. In addition, the idea of replacing my grief with gratitude has had the effect of birthing spiritual wisdom, something I had no idea I was lacking.
Did the actual results align with your expectations? Can you explain? While I cannot tell if my words have an impact on another’s life, I remain inclined to share as I feel my experiences and subsequent novel — Otzi’s Odyssey, is a worthy tale to share.
What moment let you know that your book had started a movement? Please share a story. When I gave the first draft to a beta-reader and met with her to discuss it, she shared with me the importance of my book. She explained that I am on to something larger than just a well-written novel. The spiritual and metaphysical elements spoke to her in a profound way, causing her to reflect upon her own lifelong search in understanding the journey of the soul.
What kinds of things did you hear right away from readers? What are the most frequent things you hear from readers about your book now? Are they the same? Different? There have been other novels and a few movies about Otzi the Iceman. These stories have imagined what his life would have been like five thousand years ago, and how this Neolithic man ended up dead and ultimately frozen within a glacier. What I brought to this tale, was not just the man’s story while alive, but his soul life as well. This new imaginary element has resonated with my readers as I illuminated not only his time on earth but his soul’s journey over many millennia.
What is the most moving or fulfilling experience you’ve had as a result of writing this book? Can you share a story? The writing of this book has provided me with a vehicle for examining the life of one’s soul. This has been rewarding to delve into, especially after my son’s passing. There’s no better to learn something than to present it to others as I attempt to do in my novel — Otzi’s Odyssey.
Have you experienced anything negative? Do you feel there are drawbacks to writing a book that starts such colossal conversation and change? The only negative I can conjure would be from those who don’t believe humans have eternal souls. Profound thinkers and great writers have debated this for eons. In fact, the author Jack London once wrote in Who’s Who in Hell: A Handbook and International Directory for Humanists, Freethinkers, Naturalists, Rationalists, and Non-Theists. I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed.
Can you articulate why you think books in particular have the power to create movements, revolutions, and true change? Writing is a wonderful way of sharing one’s own thoughts regardless of the passage of time from when it was written until when it is read. It is in a way a channel opened up by the author that can move knowledge, thought, and ideas from one human to the next. Though there are only a few gems of writing that are worth sharing with an ability to create movements, revolutions, or true change. But when one does come along, there’s no better vehicle for communicating ideas, than in storytelling.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example? I have published eight novels in the past four years. To produce this amount of work, I must write every day. This discipline and obsession have allowed me to take great strides in the quality of my storytelling. Of course, if I hadn’t had many good reviews, I wouldn’t have persevered. It is truly satisfying to hear from readers about my books.
What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career? Can you share the lesson(s) that you learned? The greatest challenge in my writing career has been creating awareness of my work. There are so many books being written and offered, which is great as a reader, but difficult for the author to gain notoriety. Hopefully, with publications such as Authority Magazine, I can reach a wider audience. Many aspiring authors would love to make an impact similar to what you have done. What are the 5 things writers need to know if they want to spark a movement with a book? (please include a story or example for each)
1) Appeal to a universal theme — Movements require a common aspiration we all share. As a writer trying to cause an impact, it’s important to focus upon something that is not too narrow or hard to define. 2) Begin from an honest place — Of course, to have credibility, the writer must write from a place we truly believe in. We all have the ability to tell fanciful stories, but in order to move people to action, our tales must be birthed from the truth. 3) Does your movement call for change? — Unless there’s a need, no one will find the motivation or desire for taking chances in order to make changes in one’s life. 4) Be a good communicator. — The key to success for any writer is the ability to communicate our ideas to our readers. Leaving your audience confused does nothing to give shape to one’s cause. 5) In what form will you share your beliefs? — For me, it’s blending the genres of historical, supernatural, and metaphysical fiction. Whatever works for others, will be the most impactful way of sharing.
The world, of course, needs progress in many areas. What movement do you hope someone (or you!) starts next? Can you explain why that is so important? To re-wild ourselves with the natural world. Too many of us have become secluded within the cocoon of technology. Our ancestors, especially the indigenous, were constantly exposed to the earthly elements and consequently had no curtain separating them from the spirit world.
How can our readers follow you on social media? Facebook: NeilPerryGordon Twitter: @NeilPerryGordon Instagram: neil.gordon.12 Website: NeilPerryGordon.com For more information on Neil please visit: https://www.neilperrygordon.com/
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!