Virtual Book Tour: Tales of a Spiritual Sun by Paul Kiritsis #blogtour #interview #historical #fiction #shortstories #rabtbooktours @RABTBooktours - A Life Through Books

Monday, November 20, 2023

Virtual Book Tour: Tales of a Spiritual Sun by Paul Kiritsis #blogtour #interview #historical #fiction #shortstories #rabtbooktours @RABTBooktours


Historical Fiction / Short Stories

Date Published: March 20, 2023

From the Sphinx communicating through a Ouija board to Narcissus's traditional, terrible fate morphing into his first glimmer of hope, Tales of a Spiritual Sun re-writes the Greek myths as never before. The tales of the familiar are tackled, such as the stories of Medusa, King Midas, and Pandora. Yet, Tales of a Spiritual Sun also includes those that are, perhaps, less well known such as Orpheus, Proteus, and Psyche.

All the stories are viewed from new angles or written with modern twists. They take on new lives, with fresh locations and messages at their heart. These include a scientific experiment ready to change the world on the night it is set to end and a personal detective who must decide if a man, claiming his wife is a nymph, is delusional or about to commit an awful crime.


Tales of a Spiritual Sun allows readers to discover ancient myths in a bold and original way, in both contemporary and traditional settings.



Introduce yourself and tell me about what you do.



 I am a licensed medical psychologist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. I provide mental health services and assessment/capacity services to residents of skilled nursing facilities.  I have authored eight books, including the creative compendium Confessions of a Split Mind (2017), the award-winning titles The Creative Advantages of Schizophrenia (2019) and A Critical Investigation into Precognitive Dreams (2020), and the collection of short stories Tales of a Spiritual Sun (2023). Tales of a Spiritual Sun hit #2 Bestseller in the category of short stories-historical fiction on the 6th of May, 2023, and #1 Bestseller in the same category on the 7th of May, 2023. I am also the recipient of twenty-two awards and was recently included in the 2023 Doctors edition of the Best of California Magazine for excellence in medicine. 



Tell me more about your journey as an author, including the writing processes?


Writing has been a vehicle of deepest meaning-making for me, and my collected works serve as something of a chronicle of my most intimate experiences, conflicts, and concerns.  The process itself is nonlinear and very dynamic. I go through periods where I am quiescent (not writing at all) and periods where I’m actively writing. When I am writing I try to do it as consistently as possible, even if I am not in the mood for it. For example, I will block out 3 hours between 9pm and 12 midnight (Monday-Friday] to do it and adhere to it conscientiously. It is high on my list of priorities and I sometimes must make personal sacrifices as to see the writing project to fruition. Concepts and ideas for writing usually come from my primary job or vocation–I am a clinical psychologist by trade and exposed to a lot of very compelling real-world scenarios, and these sometimes find their way into my fiction. The humus of any good fictitious story is derived from real world incidents. My non-fiction works, on the other hand, are heavily researched. To be blatantly honest the writing process has taught me so much -I have learned about how persistent and diligent I can be in suppressing personal gratification for the intrinsic rewards that are felt by completing a book project –one can compare writing, editing, and revising a book to a month-long marathon rather than a day-long sprint.




Tell me about your Book


There are two major influences which led to the birth of my current book, Tales of a Spiritual Sun. During my formative years, I attended Greek Orthodox Church sporadically and became acquainted with that great patriarchal Father ruling the supernal heavens above which we all loosely refer to as God. The Universal Craftsman is usually painted onto the church’s dome or conch and stares down at his subjects in an authoritative manner. Below him in the apse are the frescoed saints and evangelists. Often, Mary is strategically placed between heaven and earth as principal mediator and merciful intercessor between the divine and earthly dimension of existence. In the Greek Orthodox tradition, Mary can only claim the honor of hyperdulia, or superior veneration. Even though Christianity and the early church fathers demoted her from her position as the seat and source of all life, I connected with her instantly. I recognized her as the numinous ‘archetypal mother,’ my spiritual mother. It was she to whom I knelt and prayed, night after night, when I came down with a malady of unknown origin in my early teens. It was she who I re-membered when I wrote Shades of Aphrodite: In Search of the Golden Apple (2011) and Tales of a Spiritual Sun (2012). The other influence is much more obvious. Being a voracious reader in general, I happened to stumble upon some very fascinating contemporary retellings of classical myths. I read Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad and Jeanette Winterson’s Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Hercules sometime in 2009-10 and thought to myself, “Well, you know the Greek myths so well - why don’t you reinterpret some of the Greek myths yourself?” That is how the concept for this short story collection was born. Naturally, I was not content with just a “retelling.” I wanted to rework, remold, rebirth, breathe new life into the myths. These had to be contemporary stories with literal or symbolic allusions to their classical counterparts, but they had to reflect modern-day concerns and societal issues. For example, the Proteus short story works through the sci-fi and thriller genre to illuminate the dangers and pitfalls of human genetic engineering and pioneering artificial intelligence systems that may one day overwhelm us. The AI phenomenon definitely comes to mind here. Entrapment with its literal allusion to the Trojan Horseand constant switching between two different character perspectives revolves around issues of radicalization and extremism, religious zealotry, indoctrination, and cults. Others like Mind Games (about a Ouija board) and Nymphomania (story of a man who is convinced that his wife is a nymph) exploit the realities of dreaming and waking cognition and the porous boundary between the two–what is actually real? Some stories remain faithful to the original plots and others veer very far from the original plotlines. Some myths are very recognizable while others are more abstruse and quite obscure/esoteric.

 Another question I get asked a lot is, “Where did you get the idea for the title?” Well spiritual sun is a reference to a heart-center–as we all know the physical sun is the center of our solar system. A sun can be construed as either a child or an astral body. Phonetically the title reveals my love of puns, allegories, and multiple meanings. Why “spiritual sun?” Well, I’m a student of spirituality and esotericism–I have been for a long time –and I’m immensely concerned with how the nomothetic sciences and empiricism might reconcile with esoteric spirituality and beliefs that currently lie outside the purview of the orthodox scientific disciplines. In fact, many of the stories in the Tales book mirror these concerns and the theme reverberates in many of my other works too (precognitive dreams or dreams of the future, which are a form of psi or extrasensory perception, the origin/source of creativity).

The FOREWORD CLARION REVIEW, for instance, has this to say about the book: “Greek myths are revitalized via the modern additions of psychology and science in the involving short story collection Tales of a Spiritual Sun.”This is a very accurate appraisal; I have used the Greek myths as a vehicle to convey modern-day and real-world concerns and many of these concerns are intimately entwined with the philosophies and theories of modern psychology and biology. Attempting to make sense out of conflicting information and worldviews/collective perceptions and work through one’s own “fears” -whether real or imagined- as to nurture a place of inner equanimity is, for all intents and purposes, a “spiritual” affair–hence Spiritual Sun.

There are 13 retellings in this short story collection. There is a preface followed by a creation myth set in Cnossos entitled “To Propitiate the Earth” which is essentially about birth, death, and regeneration –the ending of one world and the beginning of another. This is followed by stories about the Fates and King Midas, and psychological interpretations of love stories like Eurydice and Orpheus, Pygmalion and Galatea, Eros and Psyche, and Narcissus and Echo. This is followed by modern-day encounters with villains like the Minotaur, the Theban sphinx, the Gorgon Stheno, and the shape-shifting water deity Proteus. The final two stories are very dramatic and allude to the Trojan Horse and Pandora's Box.



Any message for our readers


 If I can offer any piece of advice for becoming a better writer, it would be read as much as you can. Read, read, and read more –fiction, nonfiction, poetry, anything you can get your hands on. Moreover, read widely–psychology, self-help, history, politics, science, fiction, whatever. It will improve your written expression, lexicon, and your general repository of knowledge.



About the Author

Paul Kiritsis, PsyD, MScMed, is a medical psychologist, poet, and artist. His seven published books cover contentious topics in psychiatry and clinical psychology, mind-matter interaction, literary studies, and poetry, and he is the recipient of twenty-two book/literary awards. He was elected for inclusion in the 2023 Doctors' edition of the Best of California Magazine for excellence in medicine. Paul's diverse academic interests straddle cognitive neuroscience, psychology/neuropsychology, and philosophy of mind on one end of the spectrum and esotericism, comparative religion, and history on the other. He enjoys cycling, weightlifting, playing the keyboards, and scuba diving in his spare time.


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