Today I am hosting fellow Crooked Cat author Heidi Catherine, who’s here to talk about her Soulweaver trilogy of fantasy romances (of which the second book, The Truthseeker, was published on 19 March). Welcome, Heidi. I’m looking forward to hearing about the background to your trilogy….
Past lives and loves
A few years ago, I had a crazy idea to write a love story about life after death. I’m not especially spiritual, religious or even all that weird. I’m just a regular Australian mother of two boys, who’s occasionally wondered about what happens to us after we die. Where do we go? Are we reborn? Would it be possible to recognise the soul of someone we loved in a time gone by?
I really like the idea that there’s more to life than the here and now, even if it’s impossible for any of us to know exactly what that is. The story I ended up writing turned into a trilogy of books about reincarnation and loving the same souls over many lifetimes.
I was raised a Catholic and didn’t know an awful lot about reincarnation when I started the first book, although I saw this as a positive. After all, it is a work of fiction! I purposely stopped myself from researching the topic as I felt strongly that the world I created needed to be pure imagination and not restricted by any religious ideas. Curiously, a few reviewers have said that the book relies heavily on Hindu teachings – a religion I know very little about. I wonder now if perhaps I was Hindu in my past life… but that’s another story!
In The Soulweaver, we see three souls drawn to each other in ways they can’t explain. Lin spends her life feeling like she doesn’t belong, not realising it’s because she’s held onto memories of her past life as a girl who lived on the edge of a forest. Things start to get really interesting when she begins to remember the boy she was in love with– a boy who has grown into a man who still mourns her untimely death.
Here’s an excerpt of Lin as a young girl, trying to make sense of her world:
Lin looked out across the forest from her bedroom window, balancing her tiny frame on a stool. A possum scurried down the branch of a tree, making her laugh. She noticed the way the light fell on the highest branches, illuminating the leaves like torches. Other branches hung low with the weight of brightly coloured flowers that had burst into life, and small birds hopped along the forest floor searching for food to feed their young.
There was an abundance of beauty in nature. Lin felt so much a part of the forest, she was sure she must have roots of her own that had threaded their way deep into the earth.
‘You’ll wear out your legs standing on that stool,’ her father would tell her.
‘I’m watching over my forest, Ah-ba,’ she’d say.
‘Your forest is ugly.’ He’d smile, anticipating her response.
‘You are ugly.’
Her father would then lift her from the stool and tickle her until her sides ached from laughter.
Lin was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong, the only child of hardworking parents who ran a convenience store on one of the city’s many busy streets. They lived in an apartment building and from her bedroom window she had a view that unfolded for miles.
As a young girl, she thought of her city as a forest. The buildings were her trees. The colourful clothes on the washing lines that ringed the buildings were her flowers. The horns from the traffic were birds calling to each other, and she imagined the people below to be possums or wombats or wallabies. Her imagination supplied her with the view she longed to see and she’d spend hours staring out, lost in a world of her own creation.
She tried to share this world with her father, but where she saw a forest he saw the land for what it was – a city studded with concrete columns of life, stretching high into the sky.
As she grew older, her legs grew longer and she no longer needed the stool. She’d press her nose to the window and stare at her city. She noticed how people’s eyes remained focused on life at ground level, yet most of it was happening above their heads. Through the thin walls of her family’s apartment she could hear talking, laughing, crying and shouting. All evidence of lives being lived, relationships being forged and people growing and changing
She watched the people go about their day, and would wonder why she felt she didn’t belong. The pages of her sketchpad were filled with drawings of a forest she’d never seen and faces of people she’d never met. When she slept, she dreamt of bright lights, dark skies and a woman with golden hair. She’d wake, confused and sad. Did everyone dream like this?