Thursday, October 13, 2011

Interview with Stella Vance, Author of Dancing with Duality

Joining us today is Stella Vance, author of Dancing with Duality.

Betrayed at the age of 21 by the first love of her life, Stella Vance embarked on a life of fearless adventure. She traveled the world, adding notches to her lipstick case with lovers from all over the world, and surviving harrowing experiences, including abuse, addiction, abortion, date rape, and cult involvement. Along the way, Stella underwent a spiritual transformation. Once awakened to the reality of nonduality, she gradually realized that life is just a game, that death is just another dimension, and that nothing “out there” can really hurt her.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Stella. It's great to have you here.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing at age 14, inspired by Anne Frank’s diary. Then a very traumatic event occurred at age 21 and I stopped writing for over a decade, just when I should have been journaling the most! I devote an entire chapter to this event.

What is this book about?

Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit is about the 30 tumultuous years of my life from 1970 (age 14) till 2000 mostly – though there is a bit after that, mostly of some of the characters’ deaths. My life included whirlwind relationships, world travels, and many adventures. But the book also details the confusion as well as excitement we women experienced while pioneering the sexual revolution, the pain of abortions and date rape, eating disorders, sexual harassment, and more. The tone, however, is one of adventure, healing, humor and discovering that life is a game to be enjoyed, with the ups and downs of a roller coaster. As I am in my 30s I discover more of who I am, thanks to spiritual teachers. Having parted ways with religious dogma, I finally discover a spiritual philosophy I can live with and thrive on. But this happens after being involved in a cult! The story has a very happy ending, however, with an optimistic view of freedom for humanity. The theme of the entire book is FREEDOM, but my view of freedom evolves from “freedom to indulge in pleasures” to “freedom from the mind with all its worries, fears, and judgments.”

What inspired you to write it?

I read Eat, Pray, Love---and though I enjoyed it, I thought, “You know, I could write a better spiritual/travel adventure book than that!” I had traveled to 20 countries as a single woman. I had also been on a spiritual path since age 15.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Well, since it is a memoir, obviously I am the main character, and one of my favorites! But the others include Alex, my husband. This true story includes me dating men from all over the world in search of “the perfect man.” I finally break through the Cinderella complex and illusion of romance that our society encourages women to nurture; it’s pure illusion! But the plot builds up to my discovering Alex, who in many ways is even a better husband than I had imagined. It’s just that I don’t expect him to fulfill me: only I can do that!

My mother is also sprinkled in each chapter, prodding me on with words of wisdom.

And then there is Michael, who in many ways was my animus, and the love of my life in the sense that he was my male counterpart (whereas my husband is my complement).

Who is your biggest supporter?

My mother, I feel, from the other side has encouraged me to write this. She always felt I had an exciting life, living fearlessly and craving adventure, pursuing my passions. She didn’t know the half of it, though!

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I am a member of two writing groups and they have helped me immensely with their feedback on this book.

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t really have a favorite author, but rather favorite genres (ie: spiritual, inspirational, health, spiritual memoirs, dreams, astrology, reincarnation, etc.) However, there are some authors that I buy ALL of their books. These include Stuart Wilde, Don Miguel Ruiz, David Hawkins, PhD, Brian Weiss, MD, Byron Katie, and Michael Newton, PhD. These are spiritually inspirational books.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

For this book, everything just flowed! I hired only the best to help me with editing. I am deeply grateful for all the help I received.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Nope---it all just came together with wonderful synchronicity!

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?Not yet, but I plan to have a blog soon.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

They can get it on or request it at bookstores.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

The best investment is the time: putting in four hour days on the computer seeking reviewers and bloggers who will read my book and post reviews.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I have enough advice to writers to give a workshop! But the main one is to save everything you write because you never know when you will use it. Parts of my book were written in 1999! I am so glad I saved those writings. You might write something now and use it years down the road in an article, blog, or even a book! Just keep writing. The more you write, the more inspiration that comes to you. Don’t worry about who will read it. Years later it may come in handy!

What is up next for you?

I plan to market this book heavily for at least a year. I never know when writing inspiration will come, or what direction it will take. But I love to write. However, it is also fun when people read what you write, which is why marketing is so critical.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I encourage everyone to write their memoirs. Just take the highlights of your life: the trauma, drama, comical events, intense relationships, adventures, emotional experiences, etc. It’s like having a life review, the kind people have in near death experiences! It clearly gives you a chance to forgive others, and most of all, to forgive yourself. You certainly benefit by doing all of this before you die.

While writing my memoirs, I was especially surprised to notice all the psychic experiences I had. I don’t consider myself a particularly psychic person, but as I wrote, I recalled all these inner voice prompts, prophetic dreams, etc. Each of us experience these things. We just don’t realize how much till we take the time to write our memoirs!

Thanks for spending time with us today, Stella. We wish you the best.

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