I am once again thrilled to be taking part in a blog tour hosted by Royal James Publishing. Unfortunately my internet connection was not as enthusiastic at the idea so I’m running a few hours behind schedule with the posting. My apologies!
Let’s not delay any further. I chose a character interview for this novel, because the characters are unusual, to say the least. I truly struggled with choosing my questions for Chandra, not least because of spoilers (and also, even though I’m a writer myself, it felt quite odd to be directing questions towards a fictional character.) Luckily, J.D. Woodson stayed in character, and Chandra’s responses are on point.
You can read the interview below:
The love Chandra has for Shanti is familial, and throughout the book it’s mentioned that they share a mother/daughter relationship, yet their ages are never quite given – they both seem to be young women. The roles people play in their lives is often dictated by their age – children listen to their elders, and parents guide their children. In A Space Between Worlds, Chandra seems to act as both parent and child depending on the circumstances. How does she feel about having to be a ‘mother’ to Shanti, who often seems to act like a child?
Does she really feel this way about me?! This is a shocker! Aren’t I usually a bother to her? The Songstress…she doesn’t have anyone else besides me. Even though I can’t do much, I see myself as her closest connection to the world. Without me, she’d be truly alone. I’m able to see what her followers can’t. The songs she sings for them, they take it in a vastly different way I do. All I can do is make sure she is loved, even when she refuses to love herself. Mask or no mask, Shanti is Shanti. I can be honest? You’re not going to tell the Songstress of all this are you? No? Pinkie swear and lock it in! I think the roles should be reversed, between she and I. The reason? I’m not certain why, I wish I was. The fit would be just right; Shanti as a mother. I need her more than she needs me. She proved it way back when…
Chandra’s relationship with Reno seems to be every bit as complex as the other relationships in the story. She sees him as a gifted florist when they first interact, but her focus is on uniting him and Shanti. Chandra seems to be far more aware of their circumstances than they are. Does she truly understand what she’s doing in manipulating their meeting, or is she going on instinct?
Manipulation, I’m not good at doing something like that. Takes a lot of plotting and scheming. This sound like someone else I know. He isn’t someone I want to mention. The guy shouldn’t exist. But he and Reno share the same heart as far as I understand.
I went off topic didn’t I?! Disregard what I said please. The Songstress and Reno, they had similar circumstances. Both of them were lost. Why not bring them together? Maybe I crossed my bounds in doing so but when I did, we were all happy. We’ll have to see how long it will last, though. When it runs dry, maybe I’ll have to try again. I’ll try over and again until it sticks. I’m acting by what my heart told me.
Butterflies seem to play an important role in the story, specifically with Chandra. What is it about their symbolism that is important to Chandra in particular?
Butterflies are beautiful! The way they flutter about is entrancing to say the least. I wish I could be like them. Aside from their appearance, I find their lives to be interesting. They are born twice, it seems. Imagine if people worked the same way; being born more than once in a single lifetime? I wish I was as eloquent as the Songstress and Reno! I can’t find the right words to explain it. Now that I think about it, if they are born twice, doesn’t it mean they die the same number of times? I wonder if they can remember anything past the time they break away from their cocoons?
Chandra’s first memory is of the moon, but Shanti is frightened of the moon. Near the end, the importance of the moon is revealed, but by that time, Chandra is gone. Will she be as pivotal in Shanti’s new world, as she was in Cauraaha?
The Songstress’ world, what kind of place will it be? I’m sure she’ll be seen the way she longed for. But if it’s hers alone, would there be anyone else there? Time for yourself, everyone needs such a time. I know one thing is for certain; wherever the Songstress goes, I’ll be with her. I can’t allow her to be alone for long. This could be what she wants, to be detached from me. I won’t force myself on her. My promise and his, does she value it?
Thank you to J.D. and Chandra for being such great sports in the interview.
Onwards then, to the review!
A Space Between Worlds Vol. 1: Conception – Review
Songstress Shanti’s final performance is no different than any other. Gazing into the mirror, the Songstress laments her faceless curse. To hide her unsightliness, she dons a beautiful mask. She knows she doesn’t belong in the darkness. Her desire is to live in a world of eternal light, to be seen for who she truly is.
An enigmatic man who calls himself Avidia beckons Shanti, claiming to know how to conceive the world of light sleeping inside of her, and escape her current world of darkness, Cauraaha. Avidia poses the question that will be the key to her desire, as well as an unresolved pain:
“What is your first memory?”
Reno, a gentle florist, has his own stigma, a translucent coil of thorns wrapped around his arm, draining him of life at the utterance of the word “Promise”. Hidden away in his heart is the knowledge of a past he doesn’t wish to face, one that connects to Shanti, Avidia, and her curse.
A dual narrative of introspection and self-discovery, A Space Between Worlds eloquently questions the truths of life and death, timeless bonds, and regret through lyrical imagination, philosophy, surrealism, and a journey through the unconscious mind.
I loved the visual images the author managed to create in this book. He took several abstract concepts and put them into words which is quite a feat in itself. Having said that, I opened the book expecting a coherent story line, and while the story does eventually emerge among the descriptions, my expectation stifled the enjoyment of the novel.
I never really got a clear impression of who the characters were as individuals. Granted, the necessity for that became apparent as the tale unfolded, but my confusion as I was reading it made it difficult to continue long enough to find that out.
It was only when I forced my brain to stop thinking about the story, and just enjoy the pictures his words generated, that I was able to relax into reading it. Perhaps a lot of this has to do with my own personal expectations of a novel – J.D. Woodson certainly manages to break a lot of the preconceived notions of a fantasy.
Once I managed to shut the thinking side of my brain off, it was easy to appreciate the metaphysical aspects of the story he was telling. It was actually the mention of Ayahuasca in the novel that made me realise that this book needs to be read the same way one would go into an Aya ceremony – with no expectation, only a willingness to go with the flow. Unfortunately the reference came quite late into the book, so the majority of the story was lost to my thinking brain.
There are places where I felt that the story could have been tighter and still got the message across, but ultimately the novel does a fair job of depicting the strangeness of worlds we create internally without ever realising it.
J.D. Woodson was born Chicago, Illinois in 1992. He grew up in Palos Park, a quiet suburb southwest of Chicago. During his early years, J.D. gained a fondness towards poetry and continued to writing it through primary school and high school, winning small awards for his work. He would attend Columbia College Chicago with intent to major in poetry, however he shifted his focus and major to Fiction Writing due to his love for storytelling. After his sophomore year, he would take a leave of absence to study outside of the workshop method he was taught and gained experience as a ghostwriter which his projects spanned from fiction to non-fiction. To read more about J.D., you can visit him on his website or visit him on his social media links below:
Royal James Publishing is holding a giveaway to celebrate the release of A Space Between Worlds.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here.