Risingshadow has had an opportunity to interview Lena Chere.
About the author:
Lena Chere is passionate about religion and the occult and once studied comparative religion at university. She also enjoys scenic walks, outdoor concerts and internet discussions. She has worked in offices and more recently in an educational centre and she lives on the south coast of England with her husband and grown-up son.
About Platara Mountain:
Imagine magicians of the modern-day internet becoming involved with a parallel world where human beings are still in the Stone Age.
Imagine this involvement precipitated by a kind but much-feared Horse Goddess who was created on Facebook.
Alexandra has just left school and is looking for love and a vocation in life when that scenario becomes her reality.
She comes to care deeply about both the Horse Goddess and a young family in the parallel world; it dramatically reveals her past and changes her future forever, transforming her into a magician.
AN INTERVIEW WITH LENA CHERE
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
I have a burning interest in anything mystical or spiritual, and in the afterlife, and I’ve always studied these subjects. In 1984 I got a university degree in English literature and comparative religion; however, I haven’t had a literary career- it has been mainly clerical jobs. Now I write about the subjects I love, and for many years I’ve lived quietly on the south coast of the UK with my small family.
- How did you become an author? Have you always been in interested in writing stories?
When I was a child I used to write stories in notebooks. The earliest ones were about God, Jesus and Satan, characters I was fascinated by even at the age of six and seven. I retained my love for writing later on but composed mostly songs for a long time.
In 2014 I started to write novellas and short stories in the visionary and metaphysical genre, which means that although the characters are fictional they depict magic and magicians the way they are in real life. This is something I feel people should know about- magic is a subject that has been done a thousand different ways, but not so much in a way that’s true to life.
- Have any novels or stories been an important source of inspiration to you?
I still feel inspired by the novels CS Lewis and Alan Garner wrote for children: the Narnia Chronicles by CS Lewis and Alan Garner’s stories like ‘Elidor’ and ‘The Owl Service’. Other influences are ‘Siddhartha’ by Herman Hesse and ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull’ by Richard Bach, which nowadays are described as visionary fiction.
- You’re the author of Platara Mountain. What inspired you to write this novella?
In 2014 I belonged to a Facebook group of real magicians, and Eoss was created there just as I describe in the story. She was a servitor, which is what a familiar is called in chaos magic. Most people saw Eoss as a girl, but my vision was of a benevolent Horse Goddess who I wanted to make the central character in a story. The beginning of the story unfolded as if by itself, and it was exciting to work on the rest. It became a trilogy of novellas which I’ve now completed, and the other two parts are called ‘Mount Clexa’ and ‘Silver Manes’.
- Is there anything you could tell us about this novella and its story without spoilers?
Right from the start the story switches between two worlds, the Earth and a parallel planet where the people are still in the Stone Age. Eoss has been in both these realms and so has the main human character Alexandra. She is an American girl of sixteen, which gives the story a young adult flavour, and she is at the start of her journey to become a magician and a shaman. As time goes on links between the two worlds become stronger and the events unfolding in them gradually come together.
- Could you tell us something about the characters in your novella?
At the start of the story Alexandra feels incomplete, but she doesn’t know why. She is looking for love, and a vocation in life that is right for her, that isn’t too mundane. She finds all these things, although in very unexpected places, and this results in personal growth.
The family in the Stone Age society, Pedro and Shaya and their three children, are only trying to survive. Yet in their simple, unspoilt way they are quite heroic. Alexandra and Eoss see this in them, and take their side in a frequently hostile and prejudiced environment.
Eoss is strong and independent, She tries very hard to take into account the needs of the human beings she helps, but sometimes misjudges what the outcome will be, and then she becomes anxious and seeks help from other animal guides and from Alexandra.
- Do you explore any themes in your novella?
Themes are the most important part of writing for me. In Platara Mountain I particularly wanted to explore the theme of persecution and racism, which happens in the parallel world, and how these universal conflicts are expressed more simply by the primitive people in the story but are fundamentally the same as the ones we experience.
Also there is a theme of the role of shamans and how they are perceived, especially when they are female. I like to feature a different aspect of magic in each of my books, and in Platara Mountain it is shamanism.
The legend of the unicorn is a background influence, and even more so in the subsequent books of the trilogy.
- How would you advertise your novella to potential readers?
I’m looking for readers who enjoy stories about real magic, parallel worlds and portals, young adult and coming of age, and general fantasy.
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
Only to thank you for this opportunity to talk about Platara Mountain to your readers.