Interview with Joscelyn Godwin and Guido Mina di Sospiro, authors of The Forbidden Book

Publisher: Disinformation Books

Publication Date: April 1, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: This gripping page-turner has something for every fan of occult fiction: a murder mystery set against the conflicts of Islam and the West with symbolism, alchemy, and magic fueling the action. The evocative setting of Venice and the Veneto dominates the plot, along with vivid scenes in Santiago de Compostela, Provence, Washington, and the Vatican.

"The Forbidden Book" delves deep into esoteric knowledge and practice, thanks to Guido Mina di Sospiro's extensive knowledge of Catholicism and Joscelyn Godwin's authoritative studies of the western esoteric tradition. Underlying the fast-paced action, the reader will find a profound treatment of moral and political dilemmas, the conflict of religions, and the frightening possibilities of the occult.

Interview: Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release.

It began with a not-quite Forbidden Book, but one which had no business getting the Approbation of the Holy Office in 1604. That is "The Magical World of the Heroes" by the otherwise obscure Cesare della Riviera, and it's about how men can become gods. We wondered what would happen if someone took this seriously in the present age.

Q. How did writing this book affect you?

It was a wonderful experience of long-distance collaboration and friendship. We enjoyed getting to know our characters, who once on stage showed a will of their own. We may have become a little wiser, but we still find Della Riviera's work enigmatic. The imaginative adventure into foreign settings has changed those places permanently for us.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Not the actual writing, but the selling and marketing of the product. That demands a quite different talent, and we are grateful to those who have helped us into print and into the public forum. The writing itself is only hard when one is on the wrong track, trying to describe an episode or write a dialogue that one thought should belong in the work, but doesn't. Then it's a relief when it goes in the trash.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Working together has been rewarding in itself, and also we’ve enjoyed the attention of critics and readers alike. So, yes, there will be a second novel by the two of us.

Q. What are you currently reading?

JG is reading books about William Beckford, once the wealthiest man in Britain who spent his money collecting beautiful things and building the biggest folly of his time, Fonthill Abbey. He and his students are reading Rupert Sheldrake's "Science Set Free," which is about how stupid it is to equate science with the dogma of materialism.

GMdS is reading Alfred North Whitehead’s “Adventures of Ideas,” a Platonist’s cosmological perspective. Because of the Aristotelian slant western culture has had for many centuries, it is always refreshing to hear the counterpoint of an authentic Platonist, and a brilliant thinker to boot.  At the same time I’m reading Lin Yutang’s “The Pleasures of a Nonconformist,” the thoughts of an individualist/iconoclast but expressed ever so wittily and graciously.

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

JG has just finished a book called "Upstate Cauldron: Eccentric Spiritual Movements in Early New York State" (SUNY Press). It's about Spiritualists, Mormons, Shakers, Perfectionists, sexual revolutionaries, utopians, Theosophists, and many odd cults and illuminates that few have ever heard of. Why Upstate New York was such a hotbed of them, no one knows for sure, but it was.

GMdS has just published, in the UK, “The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong,” (Yellow Jersey, London, an imprint of Random House UK) in which he uses competitive table tennis as a vehicle to introduce readers to many strains of the Philosophia Perennis.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

JG greets them as fellow players in this game of fiction, where the reader's and the author's minds meet. The characters are like chess pieces: the expectations on one side are fulfilled or denied by the other, causing artificial emotions of sympathy and antipathy, enjoyable because in the end none of it matters.

GMdS reading, I believe, is about experiencing life vicariously. Much as I read an inordinate number of books so as to experience things, or times, or locales, that I could never know first-hand, I likewise hope for our readers to find in our work elements, ideas, places, etc. they have never encountered before.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great interview! I love the premise of taking an old esoteric work and using that as the jumping-off point for a modern-day story. And I'm a sucker for anything set in Venice. I'll have to check this book out!


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