How I Accidentally Became An Author
An Interview with Beth Barany,
Award-Winning Novelist & Creativity Coach for Writers
BETH: Who are you and what inspires you to write?
I’m Rahima Warren, a psychotherapist (MFT), now retired, and the author of The Star Seer’s Prophecy trilogy. I had no plan to write any such thing, but Kyr, the hero of my trilogy, had other ideas. He haunted my dreams for many years. Then one day, I wrote a very short story about him in my journal, hoping that would shut him up. Wrong! That story opened the way for him to take over my life and turn me into an author. Eighteen years later, the three books of the trilogy are published, and he’s finally satisfied.
BETH: How did you get to this place in your life?
I followed a thread, seeking to understand myself and others in a deeper way. I learned to work with my dreams through writing dialogs with dream characters. Then I studied and practiced non-verbal forms of therapy: sandplay and expressive arts. All these taught me to trust and listen to my dreaming mind (the intuitive, imaginal right-brain). This prepared me to allow Kyr’s story to flood through me unplanned and unedited, in a passionate, creative torrent. I thought I’d never show it to anyone! But I realized that it is powerful, healing story that is needed in the world.
BETH: What are you most passionate about?
I have two main passions in life: creativity as a healing process; and protecting our beautiful Mother Earth. I love this amazing planet/goddess, Gaia, Who brought forth infinite varieties of life and Who creates so much beauty of earth and sky, water and stone, forests and deserts, creatures and plants! Yet I also see the endless suffering of humanity. My soul yearns to heal and protect both humanity and the Earth!
But the greatest danger to the Earth is us humans with our modern civilization and all its woes. On my own journey, I found much healing through inner work in therapy s, and chose to become a therapist. I worked with my clients with both verbal and creative methods for twenty years, as my contribution to the healing and awakening of humanity to greater awareness, compassion, and love.
I’ve now become an author of a profound story of a transformative journey from severe abuse and evil through healing and forgiveness to love and freedom. This is also part of my contribution to humanity, and several readers have let me know that reading Kyr’s challenging story has inspired and helped them on their own healing journey.
BETH: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
As I hinted above, I did not plot or plan Kyr’s story. Instead, I kind of listened/saw what Kyr told/showed me and wrote it down, uncensored. I had no idea where he was taking me and had to keep writing to find out what happened next. The first draft was quite dark and raw, and sometimes scary to write. But this intense creative flow kept me writing every chance I got. Not thinking of “being a writer” or “getting published” gave me the freedom to write whatever arose. After three years, I got to the end of his story, and then I understood what it was about – and that it was important enough to revise it, learn to write fiction, and hire an editor.
I don’t have much of a routine for writing. I write when inspired, whenever I have free time. My only ritual is to turn on my Writing Music play list and start typing. Editing comes later.
BETH: What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them?
I loved the creative process, including revising and editing. No writer’s block for me. I attempted to get published by the traditional publishers with no luck, of course. Luckily for me, my wonderful editor, Naomi Rose, by strange circumstances, became an indie publisher (Rose Press). She loves my books and agreed to publish all three. We work so well together that this was not a problem either. However, asking an introverted artist/writer to become an extroverted marketing and publicity expert is beyond me! What a challenge! I’ve tried a lot of things, including hiring marketing consultants and doing what they said – with little results. I haven’t found the solution to this one yet.
BETH: What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?
Actually, I am glad I didn’t know anything about writing fiction—except what I had absorbed from reading fantasy and sci-fi since I learned to read. I don’t do well with following someone else’s rules: tends to freeze me up. I’m also glad I didn’t think about being a successful author, because then I would have tried to skew Kyr’s story to meet market demands. That would have killed the creative torrent that enabled me to write this trilogy. It’s also a good thing I didn’t know how challenging marketing this unique and challenging story would be. That would have discouraged me from writing it to begin with. In my case, ignorance was bliss!
BETH: Is there anything else you wished I’d asked?
Can books have a purpose? Years after I’d finished writing my trilogy, I asked in meditation about its purpose. And I received that its purpose is to end the personal and societal culture of hatred, revenge, and punishment, and evoke an inner and outer culture of compassion, forgiveness, and healing. Thinking about it, I realize that this is also the purpose of my own inner work and my career as a psychotherapist. Quite a big mission! I can only hope that my work and my books can somehow make a contribution to this goal.
First published on Writer’s Fun Zone