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Interview with Sandy Nathan

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Sandy Nathan is not a blazing new talent. “I’m a blazing old talent.  I’m a mother, a grandmother and someone who’s had several professional careers.  My first published book was in economics.  Unless you’re into cost/revenue analysis, you probably haven’t heard of it.  I’ve been around for a long time and have had experiences from the everyday professional/personal/family realm to the inner world of deep meditation.  I love both.”

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Stepping Off The Edge
by Sandy Nathan
http://www.sandynathan.com/

Buy at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Stepping-Off-Edge-Learning-Spiritual/dp/0976280981/sr=1-1/qid=1169859987/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-2196434-6553530?ie=UTF8&s=books

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice reads like a good novel, while teaching the great truths of humanity. A powerful tale of insight and spiritual unfolding, this book will take you to new realms of thought and feeling.

INTERVIEW:

What prompted you to write this book? How did you come up with the idea?
 
The idea for the book came up by itself. I was called to a Native American retreat called the Gathering in the mountains of Tennessee. The retreat knocked me over. I had incredible experiences there, writing-related experiences and more. I got home and started writing.
It felt like I was taking dictation. Couldn’t quit. And voila! A few years of intense work and Stepping Off the Edge was borne.

I didn’t intend to write Stepping Off the Edge. I was working a series of thrillers, had a couple of books about horses (I live on a horse ranch). Once I started writing I realized I was writing a soul maintenance manual for modern spiritual seekers. A book about how to survive in a world that would destroy you. That’s the book that emerged.
 
Is your spirit journey finished?

Definitely not. It will end when I do. I am finally pointed in the right direction. 
 
Who did you dedicate this book to and why?
 
The dedication of the book reads, “To the Power that created and sustains the universe, I offer my grateful heart.”
 
I dedicated the book to God––giving credit where credit is due. The least I could do. I couldn’t have written this book without God and it won’t go anywhere n the marketplace without God’s presence and blessing.
 
Perceiving the source of power and offering thanks and gratitude to it are the keys of success in the spiritual and physical world.
 
 
Who is your favorite author and why?

I have so many “favorites.” Pick one? Halldor Laxness, the 1955 Nobel Prize winner from Iceland. First, I’m half Icelandic. My father was a first generation immigrant (via Canada). His parents were both 100% Icelandic. I love anything pertaining to Iceland. I picked up Laxness’ Independent People, his masterpiece and the book that won him the Nobel Prize. It knocked me over. The subtlety and power of his writing. I’ve never seen the social class system laid out so incisively as he does. His characters. The scope of his work. The way he can change the psychological state of his writing from very mundane to exquisite poetry in a line. He’s a brilliant writer. Or was, he died a few years ago. 
 
Does your book have a hidden meaning that readers will have to deduce at the end?

I hope the book’s meaning whacks readers where they need to be whacked. I state it pretty clearly. Living it is another matter. But life has its ways of getting our attention: cancer, calamity. Global warming. 
 
How many books have you written and if you have written more than one book, what are the subjects?
 
I have drafts for about eight other books, metaphysical thrillers, combining the topics that I know about: business and business theory, spiritual and personal growth, wrenching action and the struggle between good and evil. The first book of the series, Numenon, is coming out in 2007. It’s a thriller about the richest man in the world meeting a great Native American shaman. It rocks. So do the rest.
 
I’m working on nonfiction books about dogs and horses. They center on humane treatment of animals and training methods, and what animals have given to me. 
 
If you could pick out anyone to read and comment on your book, whom would you pick and why?

Bill Miller, the Grammy winning, Mohican singer/artist/writer who is spiritual leader of the Gathering has already read my book and commented on it. He gave me an interview, which is included in Stepping Off the Edge. And his blurb in front of the book is pretty inclusive comment. That was a dream come true.
 
I think I’d like Anne Lamott to read this book. This is a very spiritual book. I talk about my spiritual traditions and experiences. The experience of Jesus Christ is basic to my inner workings, and I talk about that in the book. I’m not a traditional Christian by any means, so while I’d like Anne to read the book, I have some concern over whether she’d find me too unorthodox. I may find out . . .
 
What would you like to have your readers get from this book?

I would like my readers to feel a quickened experience of their own souls, and greater appreciation of themselves as human beings. I would like them to feel a heightened sense that they matter, that what they do matters, and that our world matters. I’d like them to act on those feelings. 
 
Have you received any special comments back from any of your readers and can you share them with us?

The reviewer for Natural Horse Magazine said, “Sandy's book has got to be one of the most fun to read books about spirituality ever written.”  I really like that. It’s funny. The hallmark of spirit is joy. The sound of spirit is laughter. I don’t take myself too seriously, and I must tell you, sometimes when I was writing this book, I sat at my computer and laughed out loud! Hard! A book about spirituality should be
fun!
 
Do you have any advice for other writers who want to author non-fiction books about their own challenges and successes?

The most important thing about writing is to write something worth writing. When you’re writing ask yourself:  Is publishing this worth killing a bunch of trees? Is the message I’m putting out worth my readers’ time, or my time? Am I piddling my life away writing about something that isn’t why I’m here? Here in the Big sense: Am I writing about why I’m on the planet?
 
If your writing meets the above criteria, good. You’ll have the inner drive to finish it. Expect to work hard. You’ll want to quit. You’ll want to whine. You’ll get depressed.
 
So what, keep writing. Your life might have been that depressing anyway, so keep going. Might as well write. Take classes in writing! Get in groups! Learn the writing skill. Always seek the best writers and teachers you can.
 
Also know that if you are dharmic­­­­––a Sanskrit word meaning righteous––something will support you and keep you going. But your writing has to ring with purity.
 
There’s nothing wrong with writing for money, either. But you should realize something. Go to the United States Census reports and look up income by occupation. You will find that people like brain surgeons make the most money. It’s true. Venture capitalists, medical specialists, those types haul in the bucks. With the exception of a few alluring and tantalizing authors that we’d all kill to be, writing is a low paying job.
 
You had to learn it somewhere. So, if you don’t make a lot of money with your writing, you might as well have fun with it. And unless you have deep pockets, you might want to consider putting the kids through school with a higher paying day job. Just a thought.
 
You can always write from 1 AM to 4 AM. 
 
Is this book part of a series? Any plans?

Stepping Off the Edge is not part of a series: It’s a freestanding book. I may do workbooks with it, or a sequel. I don’t know now.
 
At this point, I’m publicizing Stepping Off the Edge, working on Numenon, rewriting the other manuscripts in the series.
 
My plans are to mush on . . .
 
What is your favorite part of the book?

I like lots of it. The eBay addiction chapters. The ones about dealing with evil. And infatuation. But I really like Chapter 6 where I have that kid over and blow his mind about metaphysics and his real identity. I found myself with a single chapter in which to teach prayer, meditation, mantra, spiritual retreat, right livelihood, and more: eco-psychology, the presence of unseen or departed loved ones. I had a lot of ground to cover, and the ploy that my Inner Writer came up with was to write it like I was teaching it. To whom? Where? Read and find out . . .
 
 
Where can you buy this book?

The book is available in bookstores and online. You can get it on Amazon. And you can buy it from my website,
http://www.sandynathan.com. Please enjoy hanging out on my website. Lots of goodies and info are available there. 
 
Can you give us a 2-minute commercial about yourself so our audience can connect with you? (background – current life)

FAT, BUCKTOOTHED GIRL MAKES GOOD!
 
My mother wouldn’t like that headline. She always said, “Sandy you were not fat.” That’s how moms are. My daughters saw old pictures of me and said, “Oh, mom. You were so
fat.”
 
Hard to hear, but more accurate. If I was my mother when I was in third grade, I’d haul me to a therapist right away. I was way too tall, fat, and so shy I could barely talk to people. I was also very smart.
 
In those days, therapists had not been invented, so my mom took advantage of the available remedies: Girl Scouts, ballet lessons and piano lessons.
 
I hated all of these, lusting after a horse.
 
My life began when they finally got me one. I shaped up right away.
 
I am an improbable success: That really was me in third grade.
 
Given where I started, I have the credentials to write about success. All it takes is a compulsive personality and the ability to see the job in front of you. Do that job, do the next thing to come up, and then the next one.
 
That’s how I got two Master’s Degrees, worked on a Ph.D., had a bunch of jobs as an economist, and coached negotiation in a very prominent Graduate School. Worked my way through relationships and parenthood and really bad illnesses like breast cancer.
 
Life is like a tube of toothpaste. All you have to deal with is what is on your brush. The next bit will come out automatically.
 
I am an improbable success––and proud of it.
 
I wish you all that’s good. I hope and pray that the highest parts of you emerge and have their glorious day. Write on––or quit if it’s not for you. Learning is why we’re here.