Q&A with Kevin Fox
You created a world with two parallel plots - Michael's experiences that the reader learns about through his journal, and Sean's journey twenty years later. How did you keep your characters and storylines straight while writing the novel?
Actually, the two plot lines were rather easy to keep straight, as they were thematically the same story and were designed to complement one another. In my mind, it was an easy way to compose a story dealing with the elements of karma and multiple lifetimes, as it was similar to a round in musical composition. The two voices were essentially singing the same melody at different times, but still harmonizing, still operating in the same register. The plots and characters were on some basic level the same, operating in different eras, changed by time, and place, and circumstance, but with the same foundation.

The book is primarily set in Ireland. Why did you choose that setting? How much did you intend to use Ireland as a character?
While I believe the characters and ideas in the book to be universal and relevant to the present moment, the underlying philosophies and belief systems that inform the novel are ancient, and Ireland is a place that has a unique and continuous connection with its own past.

It is the one corner of Europe where the Celts were never truly conquered and assimilated, and because of this there is a deeply ingrained culture that bleeds through the overlying modern one. It also has a sense of magical realism, where all things are possible and where spirituality has never been completely replaced by modern cynicism. Even the government, as corrupt and rational as it can be, builds roads around raths for fear of disturbing the spirits of the place. The Irish culture also understands layered complexity, where nothing is as simple as it appears on the surface, where stories don't need to be factual to be considered emotionally true, and where "Celtic knots" are considered to be simple designs.

I couldn't imagine a better place to set a multilayered story full of love, loss, philosophy, and ancient beliefs that didn't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Have you experienced or seen any of the ancient Irish rituals that you describe in the book?
The rituals in the book are based on bits and pieces of family tradition and phrases that are inherent to the culture, such as "in another lifetime" or "he's an old soul." It is not something that is on the surface or even admitted to in my own family but seeps out in unexpected moments. The eyes of an infant bring out the old beliefs as the baby's soul and "soul's age" is weighed by the depth of expression in its eyes. <next page>
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