Homeless and jobless following the death of his adoptive parents, Sebastian enrols at a college of natural medicine which boasts a sanctuary modelled on an ancient Greek healing centre. After a night in the temple, he dreams of Apollos, a young Athenian defeated in a pankration contest, suffering memory loss. More dreams follow, decrypted by Sybil, the lecturer who insists he keeps a dream journal. Seb is kept busy in the 21st century by a budding relationship with Fliss, which stalls when she tries to persuade him to search for his birth parents. Meanwhile, Apollos, in the fifth century BC, readies himself to attend the festival of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, to discover the secrets of how to avoid the perils of the underworld and make it to Elysium.
1. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?
When I go to London, I always take a book to read on the train. I like to travel light so if it’s a lunch date, rather than shopping, it has to be a slim volume.
2. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
That’s a hard one. I find that characters are rarely completely one or the other. I’d probably settle for a goodie with a few flaws, who smokes in bed, falls asleep and sets fire to the house! I’m actually planning on one of the characters in my next book doing just that. He’s basically a goodie but at the beginning of the book we find out he’s cheated on his wife and drinks too much. So plenty of room there for character development.
3. Where can I find you when you are reading?
On a train. Or in bed. There’s a pile of books ready to read. But I have just read ‘This Is All He Asks of You’ by Anne Egseth. I like it because it combines the spiritual with a regular story.
4. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
At present, joining Zoom meetings on book-themed subjects and Skyping my family. I’m also doing a 7-week Zoom course on Manifestation Through the Chakras. We each had to set an intention at the beginning. Mine was to sell more books to the target audience. I think my target audience is a person interested (if only vaguely) in mind, body and spiritual matters – someone who’s grounded: on a journey to find wisdom and truth.
5. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
Yes, I can. Of course, there are irresistible places like Daunt Books in Marylebone with its impressive skylights, beautiful arched window and a gallery where you can look down on a ground floor packed with travel books, fiction and all the genres. Doing booksignings made me slightly averse to bookstores, remembering the nervous feelings I had that the store might not sell all the books they ordered in. The stores are closed at the moment anyway, so I’m ordering from Amazon.
6. What are you most proud of?
My two sons. One is in the process, along with two colleagues, of producing an innovative interactive computer game featuring a female YouTuber. The other lives in Poland and writes humorous novels – very British humour, it has to be said. And I have to thank my younger son and his wife for producing our grandson, full of character and sensitivity.
7. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
Will it sell and if not, why not!
8. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Think of writing as a craft that has to be practised. Just as an art student has to study drawing, painting, etc., so a student of writing has to learn the ways and means of telling a story. That’s not to say writing should be formulaic. Once you learn the ‘rules’, like Picasso, you can bend them to allow your personal artistic self to come into play. I recommend ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron.
9. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Shakespeare. To find out if he had anyone to help him write his plays and who they were. (Experts are fairly sure other writers were involved in some of the plays.)
10. When and where do you prefer to write?
In my study, where my computer is. But when I get stuck, I go into the kitchen and sit at the table, looking out at the garden, where I write with paper and pen. I did a lot of this when writing my latest book, ‘Temple of Dreams: A Novel of Now and Then.’ Writing in this way seems to stimulate the creative brain cells we authors so desperately need to keep active. It’s a great way to unblock the imagination and let it flow freely again.
Thank you, Carolyn Mathews and Love Books Group
About the author
Carolyn Mathews is the author of the Pandora Trilogy, whose first instalment Transforming Pandora was showcased by The People’s Book Prize in 2014. Carol has an MA in Applied Linguistics and an abiding interest in metaphysics, both of which have profoundly influenced her writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, UK