The Swallow and the Nightingale
(Strong Voices Publishing)
by Thea Iberall Ph.D., Dedham Massachusetts, United States
Ecological Spirituality Fiction
Tell us about your book.
While trying to save her scientific reputation, Dr. Deborah Wright discovers that the swallows at San Juan Capistrano are singing a human song. And her daughter, Rachel makes an impossible request. Against today’s backdrop of environmental decay, Deborah risks her life to find answers and heal her family and the world. Unaware, she follows a 12th-century Sufi poet who becomes her guide as she realizes the real moral issue of today.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by my love of The Swallow Song by the late Richard Farina, especially after I met his wife Mimi Farina. I started researching the song and discovered it has ancient connections to a nightingale song. When I found a Greek myth that involved a swallow and nightingale, I knew I had the essence of a powerful story. It took me 20 years to expand a love story into a spiritual journey as I explored science, myth, patriarchy, the Goddess, morality, and religion. I began weaving four stories together across 4,000 years, think The Celestine Prophecy meets Sodom and Gomorrah. The backdrop for the story became climate change because that is the true moral issue of today. Ultimately, the novel is showing the metaphorical birth and hope for the death of the patriarchal system that is killing us. I connect racism, sexism, homophobia, and climate change, exposing their underlying common truth: it’s not a moral issue who you are or who you love but how we treat each other and what we are to the planet. And I show that the visions of Gandhi, religious mysticism, and Native Americans are a more sustainable solution than the patriarchal system under which we live.
What’s next for you as an author?
I am working on a prequel to The Swallow and the Nightingale called The Mind and the Star. The main character Rachel is a hypnotherapist and she hears something strange during a session with a client. Searching through ancient religious texts and values, she learns the profound reason we have consciousness and learns the true meaning of Gandhi’s seven social sins which are basically actions and thinking devoid of empathy. Will she be able to share her research before people are being turned into non-thinking beings by governments and corporations?