Children’s Books, Picture Books
Welcome to my guest blog series:
Success in the Arts – Touching the Lives of Children
This week I’m featuring author, yoga master and world adventurer, Muz Murray.
Can you tell us briefly what Ifflepinn Island is about?
The unwitting hero, Iffleplum, is an ifflepinn—a slightly Moomin-like character – full of fantasizing and bravado, who loses the spirit of his heart because of his wild fancies. As a result, he is hurled high into the sky on a raging waterspout and carried away in the nets of a ghostly flying Ship of Light. From the he’s carried to strange and mysterious realms, where he encounters bizarre beings such as Dream-herders, trolls, and an ogre, then captured by goblin-like creatures known as ‘Ghòrs.’
It sounds exciting! Is this aimed at any specific age-group?
No. It’s basically for everyone who loves stories like The Hobbit and the Chronicles of Narnia. It appeals to children from seven upwards, as well as to teenagers. I also find many adults are buying it for themselves, as it teaches many secrets of life sprinkled amid the adventures.
You have a uniquely poetic style of writing. How did you come to write this way?
I can’t take the credit: that’s just the way it comes through me. As a poet, I naturally developed a rhythmic prose. I just enjoyed playing with the words because of having no specific plot when I started to write the book.
How did you manage to develop your story without a plot?
I didn’t. It was years before I found out what the story was going to be about. I created a mysterious owl-eyed character as a ‘hook’ but had no idea what he was there for. Having to figure a reason forced the story on. Once I discovered the theme of the hero’s quest I kept creating cliff-hanger ‘hooks’ at the end of every chapter. Then I had to spend several months wondering how to get Iffleplum out of the predicament I had put him in.
What guidance would you offer to someone who is trying to enhance their craft as a writer?
Immerse yourself in the protagonist’s situation and make sure you live in his head, so you stay in character and are true to his reactions and not yours. Characters grow in your mind and gradually take over. They will tell you how they would speak or react.
My own revisions went on for nearly 60 years, in between my painting, travelling the world, leading workshops and the obligatory efforts at keeping the wolf from the door.
Is there a message you hope readers will come away with?
Well, the basic theme of Ifflepinn Island is—“Follow your heart”—and avoid losing your spirit by negative thinking and foolish desires.
My hope is that the spiritual teachings that are slipped into the adventures of the hero will colour the consciousness of children and give them greater understanding of how to deal with life, as well as making their creative imaginations soar.
Here I am in my Gandalf or Dumbledore mode!
I started out as a surrealist painter, then a writer, actor and theatrical and film designer during seven years of vagabondage around the word. I hitch-hiked down the length of Africa, spent 3 years as a wandering monk in India; became founder-editor of Gandalf’s Garden magazine and Community and co-founder of The Open Centre for spiritualized psychotherapy in London. For the last 50 years I have quietly travelled the world as a spiritual mentor and Mantra Master, teaching Mantra and Advaita Vedanta workshops in many countries.
Because of my many hairy years on the road—trekking down Africa, crossing deserts, living with the Dervishes in Turkey and Iran, and clinging to the outside of an express train for 10 hours through the night in India—the Mind-Body-Spirit journals have called me ‘the Indiana Jones of Yoga.’
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Guest blogger host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer. He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment. For more info please visit his website at: