Monday, November 15, 2010

Hidden Passages by Vila SpiderHawk

Guest post by Vila SpiderHawk
Hidden Passages; Tales To Honor the Crones

Q: Vila, your novel Hidden Passages; Tales to Honor the Crones is an anthology of eight beautifully crafted stories about women of different cultures and eras. Can you tell us was their one story that became your favorite and why, but please don’t give away the ending?

I’m not sure I have a favorite story. I love each for its own personality and for the lessons each has taught me. I can say, however, that the one I enjoyed writing the most was Lavinia. I simply adore Lavinia’s grit. She does not suffer fools. Nor does she waste her words on a character who’s not ready to hear them. Nonetheless, she’s a wise and loving old soul who has a giving heart.

I loved the Byzantine twists and turns Lavinia revealed to me as I was recounting her tale. Every time I thought I had her figured out, she’d shove me into a completely different direction. When I tried to force the story in the wrong direction, she would simply shut up and wait for me to listen to what she had to say. She was a tyrant. But she taught me to trust my characters. From her I learned that if I am having trouble writing a scene, it could be that I need to just relax, quiet my mind, just let the character speak. After all, it’s her story, not mine.

That lesson has served me well. Since experiencing Lavinia, I have learned to just allow my character to dictate the tale. If I don’t see the point of a particular scene, I write it anyway. Later I always learn why that seemingly meaningless incident is actually very important. Yes, this is a leap of faith. But aren’t all friendships?

Follow Vila’s Virtual Book Tour at Pump Up Your Book here
Book giveaway here.
Read an excerpt here.

Brimming with hope and beautifully written, these eight stories of women helping women and girls through the challenges and transitions of life will surprise you with every turn of the page. In the opening tale of Mima Po, a young girl overcomes her fear of a woman who is markedly different than the other women in the girl’s community. Gossiping women whisper that Mima Po is odd, perhaps a witch casting mysterious spells and incantations. Children are frightened of her, but little Kathleen is more intrigued than she is frightened, and she overcomes her fear to befriend the elderly woman, who turns out to be Czechoslovakian rather than demonic. The older woman teaches the girl something of her own beliefs and perspective, and the girl learns to “see with her heart.”

In Passages, a girl moves through a rites of passage into womanhood, both symbolic and literal, among her tribe of watching women, bonding with the other women as well as with the feminine in nature, bonding with the divine, and erasing boundaries between all.

In a trilogy of tales, Maiden, Mother, Crone, we see the passages of the girl-child, the adult woman who is her mother, and of the elderly woman, the grandmother. Each has her own unique perspective to offer the others.

Nanu’s Story illustrates the life-giving force in women, the biological drive, the unfaltering love of mother for child, unchangeable even by death. The woman, Tichu, is a kind of mother of all, teaching survival skills and passing on her wisdom to those who will accept it. Her femininity is lush and full, in all senses of the word, and she knows a pride in herself from which the modern woman could learn much.

Gita’s Journey delves deeper still into the mother-child connection, exploring the process of grief when one is lost to the other, from the deepest and darkest shadows of despair into the eventual light of acceptance.

Lavinia is something of a ghost story of women, where the reader wonders at times who is living and who is not.

What all these tales have in common, aside from the story of various life passages traveled by women over time and various cultures, is a language that is as vivid and rich as these women in their femininity. The author combines all the gentle kindness that is woman, unabashedly emotional, with the enduring strength and time-won wisdom that earns a woman the proud designation of “crone.” SpiderHawk makes a feminist statement in each one of her tales without being abrasive or didactic or challenging. Her women, her crones, simply are as they are, and by spending time with them in these tales, we realize ourselves enriched by the gentle strength of their distinctly feminine presence.

These are women as women should be: unafraid of living, unafraid of expressing their femininity, unafraid of aging, unafraid of facing up to their own fears and weaknesses and transforming them into strengths, unafraid to confront those who would deny them their place, simply – unafraid. We should all wish to be such terrific crones.

Vila SpiderHawk is taking a different view on the aging of womankind. Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is a collection of tales, some of which are interconnected, others which stand alone, all of which deal with women who are finding or already using the wisdom acquired from years of life experience.
Vila SpiderHawk and her husband share a log home of their design in the woods of Pennsylvania where they live with their five cats and enjoy frequent visits with their many woodland friends. SpiderHawk is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook.

You can find Vila at

Read an author interview here.

Watch the book video

Vila reads from Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones



Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This sounds so good - what a wonderful looking book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention:)

Vila said...

Oh Sheila I really think you'd love this book. But if you pick it up, be warned. Make sure all your chores are done, because this book won't let you put it down! ENJOY! Vila

Vila said...

Oh Sheila you'd love this book! But be warned to have your chores out of the way before you read it. This book will not let you put it down! Vila

Vila said...

Thank you so much for hosting me on your beautiful site! How very kind of you!

Linda Ballou said...

This sounds like a great book.

Vila said...

Oh Linda it really is. Let me tell you, if you pick this book up, be sure all your chores are done, because these stories will not let you put them down! Seriously!

Vila said...

Oh Linda it really is! But be forewarned. If you pick this book up. be sure your chores are done. Once you start reading, the book will not let you put it down!

apple blossom said...

I accidentally hit delete on this message when it came for moderation. I'm sorry so I've copied and pasted it from my email.

I am truly sorry I clicked the wrong button Vila. Here is her message.

has left a new comment on your post "Hidden Passages by Vila SpiderHawk":

Oh Linda it really is! Honestly! Let me tell you, if you decide to get this book, be sure al your chores are out of the way, because this book will not let you put it down! It really is compelling!

apple blossom said...

I wish I would have had time to do a review on this book, but it is a busy time of the year. I have four books to get read this week before my mom comes. I'm not seeing the light right now. YIKES!

Vila said...

Oh please don't apologize, apple blossom. We all hit wrong buttons from time to time (some of us more often than others, like MOI! LOL!)
As for reading and reviewing books, I completely understand. This time of year we are all going mad trying to stay afloat. Vila