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, a retired teacher, is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook.
About Hidden Passages
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 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.
Lavinia is something of a ghost story of women, where the reader wonders at times who is living and who is not.
Vila SpiderHawk is taking a different view on the aging of womankind. Hidden Passages 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.
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.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Vila. Can you tell us what your latest book, Forest Song: Letting Go, is all about?
A: Thank you for having me. Forest Song: Letting Go is the third book of the Forest Song series. In this episode Judy Baumann and her friends survive death-defying exploits along the Polish-German corridor during World War II, rescuing a family from Auschwitz and carrying out another rescue from the Warsaw ghetto. In the process they overcome betrayal and loss with courage, cleverness and humor.
Q: Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?
A: Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is my first book, though it is not a novel. It is a collection of eight stories about women helping women and girls to overcome the challenges of life.
Forest Song: Letting Go is my third novel. It’s different from Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones in several ways. For one thing, it is a novel, not a book of stories. In the Forest Song series, I have three books (thus far) in which to develop the characters and to describe the surroundings. The writing in Hidden Passages is much denser, since I had much less space in which to describe the people, the action, and the surroundings. I approached Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones more as I would poetry.
Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?
A: It’s not the act of writing that is difficult for me. It’s making time to sit down and write that I find challenging. I have very little time to devote to it. Therefore, my writing tends to proceed very slowly. Mercifully, I have never experienced writer’s block.
Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?
A: Actually, Forest Song: Letting Go is newly out. It hasn’t even come out in paperback form yet. Many of my readers have gladly embraced the Kindle version of it, especially now that they know they don’t have to own a Kindle device to read it. They’ve been downloading the free Kindle for PC program Amazon offers and reading the book from their computer screens. Others, however, are waiting for the paperback to come out. Thus far, however, the reception has been very warm. Those who have read it tell me it’s my best book yet.
Q: What is your daily writing routine?
A: I usually can’t sit down to write until eight or nine PM, and so I work until about one or two AM.
I am a retired teacher, and so I approach my writing as I did my teaching: with a review of the previous work each night and, once I’m satisfied with that, moving on to the new material. That seems to work well for me. Then, once I’ve finished a chapter, I do the same thing. I review the entire chapter, make whatever changes I feel need to be made, and then move on to the new chapter.
Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?
A: I brush my teeth and go to bed.
Q: What book changed your life?
A: A book of poems called The World Split Open. This is an anthology of poems written by women from all over the world and from the very early days of literature to contemporary times. It chronicles women’s struggles and triumphs, hopes, and disappointments in a variety of cultures and eras. I don’t know if it’s still in print, but if it is, I highly recommend it.
Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
A: Sheer Pigheaded Stubbornness
Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”
A: I am not Wonder Woman.
Thank you for this interview Vila. I wish you much success on your latest release, Forest Song: Letting Go!
Thank you very much. It was a true pleasure to do this interview.