1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
As a child, I loved writing poems for my mom and was often told that I had a wild imagination. Some of my family members even ventured as far as commenting that I had my head stuck in the clouds. And they were actually quite correct. I was infatuated with the sky, which lead me on a lifelong search of the secrets to our creation. Early on I realized that religion and science could only offer part of the answer and it was my responsibility to ask the difficult questions such as who we are and why are we here. Overtime, I amassed many bits of stories and experiences and they began to arrange into kaleidoscopic patters constellating in my head. While they were my own, they contained within them the common archetypes of humanity. It was at that point, around 2005, that I decided I wanted to learn how to write books in order to convey all those stories to those on similar searches. I was, and still am, hoping for a mind share of sorts, for the stories to add fuel to the conversation that questions our origins. “Moonchild” was my first thread in that lineage of stories, and it aptly so deals with the bit of our history that occurred before the flood, the repercussions of which we still feel today. The book was supposed to be a training wheel, a practice book, through which I would learn how to write a story that came to me in a flash a decade ago, which I am yet to write. But soon, I fell in love with the process and reliving the part of my teenage life when the story is set. Sharing it with a couple of friends, they encouraged I keep on working on it and that eventually led to its release. The craft itself became a transformational process of self-discovery. I know this is a long answer, so to sum it all up, I write because I have to. All these stories live inside me and they want to come out to again be reborn in other people’s minds. I write because I love it. I write because through the process of writing, I get to live an expanded life that otherwise would not be available to me.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
When I was about thirteen, I found first four books of a Norwegian saga on my mom’s bookshelf. The story was so captivating I read all four within a week, only to realize there were a total of forty-seven of them. It was quite a feat to get my hands on the remaining forty-three but when I finally did, I got so consumed, I would hold the book on my lap in my math class, not wanting to disconnect from the world the author, Margit Sandemo, had conjured up. The books exposed me to Nordic mythology, which I have great affinity for to this day. Simultaneously I was reading historical and archaeological books on Egypt and Sumer that were extremely hard to find in my little provincial town in the early 90s. But thanks to my friend, based on whom I model Ben in Moonchild, I was able to get access to a few unique pieces. Today I try to explore a wide variety of authors. The bulk of my library consists on non-fiction books exploring unification themes in theoretical physics (my favorite being Walter Russell), memoirs, such as “Initiation” by Elisabeth Haich, travel books and the occasional novel that grips me from the first page, such as “Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Zafon.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel Moonchild?
There were several. The biggest one that drives the plot is my fascination with the myth of the fallen angels. The Bible offers mere few teaser lines concerning who they were that leaves you, or at last left me, wanting more. Who were those glorious male beings who lusted after human women? What could their stories be like? After some digging, I was able to get my hands on the Apocrypha and Book of Enoch and the yarn began to unravel. Add to that a sprinkle of imagination and voila – the story of Moonchild began to come to life in individual scenes popping in my head at random intervals. A very significant influence on the story came from music. It was the catalyst and the cohesive glue that tied the pieces together – the mental bits of stories and myths that swirled in my mind got lined up and linked up via the successive unfolding of emotion that music so brilliantly coaxes out. Bands like Fields of the Nephilim, Love Like Blood and Tiamat were some of the biggest influences. I included the soundtrack to “Moonchild” on my website in case readers would be interested in supplementing my words with the melodies that inspired me to write them.
4. Will we ever see these characters again?
It is one of those sad moments for a writer when a story concludes; there is this emptiness you feel, this void. The characters still exist but soon they become more of a shimmering afterglow than substantial beings tugging at your mind, asking for attention, or wakig you up in the middle of the night to share their secrets with you. Evelina, Ben, Daniel, Punk, and of course Sariel have become immortal in the sense that their story once cast down, shall live forever, so they got their wish and they feel satisfied as far as I can tell. As to the question of continuing their saga, there is always a possibility. I have outlined eleven books I’d like to dive into and eventually birth, so unless I hit at wall at twelve and Eve comes knocking at my door, I think that the “Moonchild” story is complete.
5. Why did you decide to make a character an angel?
This goes back to my fascination with the myths of the fallen angels. Here I’d like to digress for a second and mention that what we call myths these days is something to be perceived as false, a mere remnant of history, more of a symbolic representation, if you will. But for old cultures and societies myths were the unifying factor, the only thing that was true in an ever-changing reality. Myths aimed at explaining the unexplainable, growing the spiritual or etheric dimension on early cultures. I can only imagine what thoughts were going through our ancestors’ minds as they beheld the glory of an eclipse, the terror of a thunderstorm or witnessed a rainbow appear before them. It is important to mention that here, because if we remember that myth comes from a true, authentic place, it is here is where the myth of the fallen begins to transform from some half-imagined legend to something that might be closer to reality that we may have thought.
There are so many versions as to what happened back thousands of years ago. But the fact that there was some form of foreign presence on Earth is a thread that seems to weave through many histories, from Mesoamerican through Arabic, European, African and Asian. As soon as you cross the threshold of biblical records and keep going back in time, you discover amazing things. But back to your question about choosing the angel… ever since I was young I liked exploring the dark. So anything that people shied away from, I was drawn towards. It was a form of escape perhaps but also a hunt for secrets. I figured that a good way to shield information is to make people afraid to look. But I loved the mystery of what lurked in the shadows and suspected that due to much fear that obstructed the view, a lot of unexplained phenomena must have gotten skewed and misinterpreted. Let’s add another dimension to the dark mystery – the alluring draw of innocent love. Because Eve is fifteen and at the point where her nascent womanhood is blossoming, there is this erotic tension underlying her search for truth. Her finding her way in the dark links with her discovery of what it means to surrender to a male force, a force I wanted to symbolize by light – the light of the Moon. Its dark side thus represents the feminine and it’s lit up side by the masculine. From an occult (which means hidden) and spiritual standpoint, the feminine is usually represented as deep, dark and mysterious, while the male is bright and radiant. And this is where I wanted her to go and what I wanted Eve to explore – the darkness representing her own inner, yet unexplored nature – and have that be touched by the light of an angel, a very different kind of angel than the one we meet in prayer. As far as I can remember, when I was her age, my idea of love was extremely idealistic and simultaneously tinged with a taste of the forbidden. What teenager hasn’t fantasized about meeting a vampire or a demon? As much as we might be frightened by the prospect, there is something alluring about it. It beckons us to step away from the circle of familiarity and explore our own boundaries, seeing how far we can go. So, I thought it would only be fitting to have Eve fall in love with the fallen, the one she cannot even touch, the one who comes to her in her dreams, carrying with him a cloak of that familiar darkness which at once fascinates and frightens.
6. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life?
Yes! [laughs] In fact, all except for Sariel, which was an amalgam of research and fantasy. Since “Moonchild” was my first book, I wanted to give it everything I had to make it come across as authentic, so I drew from my life a lot. It is interesting that some readers have remarked that some of Eve’s decisions seemed unrealistic. Well, I was her in many of the circumstances described, so that surely gave me a new way of evaluating myself as a teen – impulsive, rash and quite naïve, haha! Eve is actually at once a toned down version of my teen self in one way and exaggerated in another. While I was much more moody and emotional in real life, I kept my inner meanderings to myself, tucked deep within the shell of my private world. With her, I wanted her inner meanderings to have an outlet and actually take place. I didn’t want her to just hold the porcelain plate. I wanted her to smash it. Ben was indeed my best friend during my teen hood and someone who imbued in me the passion for diving deep into antiquity and questioning everything. He was someone I felt I’ve known for lifetimes when we met, and an avid supplier of awesome music tapes! Rock and Art were also my buddies and I tried to describe them in a way so that if they ever were to read the book, they could instantly recognize themselves. Punk was also based on a real character, but only in part. In real life, I’ve only gotten a chance at one conversation with him. But he left such impression I wanted to bring him back to life and journey with him for a while. Daniel as a nineteen-year-old was all imagined but Daniel as a boy in the hospital was completely real. What I describe as our first encounter when we were both children absolutely happened. Eve’s domestic situation was also reflective of my own. I grew up in a stormy household and while I am happy to have thriving relationships with both of my parents now (are not together anymore), there was much childhood trauma that needed mending, and actually writing “Moonchild” was part of that unraveling and re-stitching process for me. I realized that they did the best they could, regardless at how many people have gotten hurt in the process. I had a lot of fun growing my family legacy, most of which was built from scratch. It was actually mom who gave me the idea to make her father a Siberian shaman and I loved it from the first mention.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
I would like to try my hand at so many things. For me, it begins with the story and the genre becomes a frame, and it takes a bit of experimenting and adjusting before it’s set. I certainly love mystery – the hunt for truth can be exhilarating – and mixing it with a personal heroes’ journey. All of my protagonists in my future projects have a dramatic arc undergoing deep shifts in their psyches, the outside world mirroring their inner struggles. Next I am giving another coming of age story a shot, this one being more of an R-rated adventure, drama, thriller, however. The character is older than Eve and in a sense could be a continuation of Eve’s unfolding as a woman. In fact, in my next two books, the main character gets progressively more mature and could be seen as a growing female archetype. Up ahead I have plans to write a full on fast paced thriller featuring many exotic locales, sports vehicles, guns, futuristic technology and military jets. The frame has been set already. But I also want to write the trilogy that inspired me to write in the first place, and that will yet again, though more explicitly, tackle the themes of our origins. Once that is complete, my dream is to write one more trilogy for children, revisiting shadowy realms, as well as the means to redeem our innocence though our communion with nature.
8. What would you do if you were Eve?
I think I would do exactly as she did. Looking back at that period of my life, as I was writing the story, I kept thinking that if I had any regrets, they would be about the things I didn’t say or do rather than the things I actually did. If I could go back and had another chance, I would try to live more boldly and fully. I would doubt myself less and initiate more. I would take more risks. This is how I choose to live my life now. It’s like I can’t get enough of life; it passes so quickly! This is why the story goes the way it does. This is how I would’ve lived it out if I could bring the supernatural to manifest in my world, while keeping the true essence of my actual experience that shaped me to be who I am today, intact.
9. How did it feel to be picked as one of Amazon's best books of 2014?
I was? I didn’t even know until you mentioned it! Wow, it feels absolutely amazing. In fact, just yesterday (March 5, 2015) I was notified that “Moonchild” was a winner in the BookBzz contest in the Young Adult category. The feeling one gets when their work gets acknowledged at such scale is indescribable. To give you a hint, I was jumping and screaming with my mom in my living room like a little child! I was breathless afterwards, and so so grateful.
10. Would you like to see Moonchild as a film? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters?
I would love that! In fact my sister is a young film director and she reserved her rights for it already, haha. For character casting, I would love to see a cast of new faces with Sariel perhaps coming from the rock star world, with his long jet-black hair and chiseled chest. My goodness, I’m getting giddy just thinking about how cool it would be to bring this story onto the screen and work on such project. Yes, it would be absolutely awesome!
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
Hopefully my books would have found their way to many bookshelves. The most rewarding thing for me to experience in the coming decade would be to connect with my readers and understand how the stories impacted their perceptions and lives. So, in an ideal world, there would a community forming around the discussion of our origins, perhaps involving other authors as well. As for me, I would love to have the ability to travel more to those remote places that still contain the spirit of the old and be able to swathe the old stones with fresh stories to honor the past and bring back their essence.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
Living half of my life in Silicon Valley, it is difficult not to be drawn into the whirlwind of innovation and technology that’s so prevalent here. This place is teeming with genius. I’m one of these odd people who in order to feel fulfilled, needs to grow both aspects of my brain – the analytic and creative – the structure of the first and the flow of the latter supporting and nurturing one another. So when I don’t write, I am engaged in growing businesses. But if I were to craft a whole other career for myself, perhaps I could be an archaeologist.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
Yes, I am working on an adventure-drama-thriller story titled “Venus” whose protagonist is also a female. The story features the most dynamic year of her youth, her personal journey cast on a backdrop of a show that takes place in a remote location and challenges her still young and forming values and beliefs. Beside a myriad of colorful characters, the story will also feature clandestine group of individuals with deep knowledge of astrology and the occult.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
I would love to have a coffee chat with Carlos Zafon in a Barcelona cafe, spend a weekend strolling through nature and picking Einstein’s brain and enter the mind of Walter Russell, even if for a nano-second. As to writing a book with someone, I would certainly love to explore that. Writing is a bit of a lonely craft, but all in good light. It requires digging deep and unearthing parts of ourselves we never knew we had, and blending that with the amorphous imagination unfolding in the moment. It is about facing inner obstacles and fears and pushing our limits in order to know ourselves better. It is also a tremendous discipline. It would be very interesting to share that journey with someone, some day. If I were to team up with someone, I would love that person to really understand and be able to explicate that internal aspect of the art. Having said that, I can’t think of a person than Julia Cameron, the author of “Artist’s Way,” whose book launched me on my own journey.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
One might be that I am a total health fanatic. Most of the work I do is not physical so I need to counter it with heavy and ever-growing physical fitness routines and paying close attention to what I eat in order to be able to focus properly. I used to teach raw food preparation classes and retreats, I’m a certified personal trainer and hold a yoga teacher certification but never pursued either as a full on career. Another thing might be that I used to play bass in a goth band back when I lived in Poland. I was the only girl. I still like to listen to the dark music, including some death metal bands. I find these musicians incredibly precise and fast, what might sound like noise to someone, to me is an apex of creative speed. And finally, I love hula-hoop dancing and used to study circus arts and perform, through that part was short lived due to time constraints. I still dance and find movement to fuel my creativity and inspire new ideas.
Thank you Kelly so much for your wonderful questions and having me. I feel deeply honored by this invitation and wish you all the best in your current and future endeavors.
Find Ms. Zwonarz online via:
Official site (has all social links)