Stephen Paul has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Missouri and has taught, researched, counseled, and consulted at the University of Utah. Until five years ago, Stephen maintained a private practice while he and his wife, Jackie, owned and operated a metaphysical bookstore and a vegetarian restaurant, providing an oasis for the Salt Lake community. He currently writes and speaks about how to ride the inevitable waves of change by living more simply, harmoniously, and respectfully–more in line with Spirit. Interested readers can find more information about them at etched
Stephen collaborated with artist Gary Collins to publish “Illuminations: Visions for Change, Growth, and Self-Acceptance,” “Inneractions: Visions to Bring Your Inner and Outer Worlds into Harmony,” and “In Love: Visions for Growth and Harmony in Relationships.”
Tyler: Welcome, Stephen. “Hollow Bones” is a very intriguing book. I’m afraid if I try to describe it, I won’t be able to do it justice. Would you please summarize for us what kind of book it is and what it’s about?
Stephen: Let me start by putting “Hollow Bones” in its historical context. In 1993, Native American prophecy was fulfilled when a delegation representing the North American indigenous peoples addressed the Cry of the Earth conference at the United Nations. Hopi spiritual leaders had instructed messengers to knock four times at the doors of the UN in an attempt to deliver their message to the people of the world. It took forty-five years, but on the fourth–and last–attempt they finally gained access. The elders took that opportunity to deliver the prophecies of their spiritual leaders to the world.
The elders warned that a long-predicted time of purification was already under way. They urged that we heed the Creator’s original instructions to the indigenous peoples, and voluntarily return to living in simpler, more respectful, and more harmonious ways. The elders warned that should we choose to ignore this message, erratic weather patterns, earth movements, starvation, violence, and war would occur with ever increasing frequency and intensity.
“Hollow Bones” takes place in the not-too-distant future, at a time when those predicted changes and disruptions are well under way. Matthew’s life has unraveled since the death of his wife. Now, with his friend, Hope, and her young daughter, Lily, he commences a journey in search of a new beginning.
Along the road, the three travelers face the harsh realities of a failing culture, the sheltering kindness of strangers…and a string of startling revelations. Vivid dreams trigger memories of a shared lifetime with Chief Joseph, long-forgotten Spirit ways, and a two hundred-year-old oath they had made to return. The dreams mark the beginning of a startling series of encounters and events, leading to the long-awaited fulfillment of ancient Native prophecies.
Tyler: Stephen, “Hollow Bones” focuses on spirituality, and many of the ideas will probably already be familiar to people interested in spirituality. But what made you decide to write a novel to express these ideas?
Stephen: In retrospect, I’d say there were two main reasons why I chose to write “Hollow Bones” in novel form. First, I’ve always personally enjoyed reading spiritual fiction. In books such as “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho or Dan Millman’s “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” an unfolding story transports the characters–and the reader–through a series of intriguing adventures that result in important personal realizations. As a reader, I can be caught up in the engaging adventures, while at the same time benefiting from the insights the characters gain along the way. A novel can bring insights to life in ways that non-fiction simply cannot.
The second reason I decided to write “Hollow Bones” as a novel is that the central theme of the book–the relatedness theme–first came to me as a visual image: I saw and experienced the possibilities of relatedness literally playing out before my eyes. That compelling vision had a built-in narrative that could easily be expanded and elaborated into story format. This is a story that told itself.