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Author Interview Press Release
JUNE 19, 2017
What inspired you to write this novel?
I had no intention of writing a novel or novels. I was just journaling some of my philosophical ideas over a couple of months. I thought the ideas to be rather boring so I asked my muses for some illustrations and a little humour to lighten things up. Immediately I got an allegory that turned into someone's dream. Much to my surprise, I suddenly was writing a novel.
Prior to this, it never occurred to me to do this since I assumed I couldn't. Almost five years later now, I have four novels, three of which require another few rounds of editing. Elysium's Passage is one long story and I still have no idea where it will end. I've never known what was going to happen next and still don't. The narratives seemed to have written themselves from beginning to end, however, the editing and revision process has been long and gruelling.
How would you summarize the novel in a few sentences?
Fantasy, adventure, philosophy/spirituality and intimations of pending romance: a story about a young philosopher who enters an alternate reality after falling down a long precipice while climbing a mountain in Chile. His body remains in a coma for the next year in London, but his spirit body's consciousness remains on the mountain summit with two men he once knew before they died. They know him, but remain incognito and don't tell him who they are. The discussions they have are an examination of life's meaning whereby the hero must unlearn all that he thought he knew about life and reality.
What is the overall theme?
In sum, it’s about life's meaning and the nature of everyone's ultimate destiny. The ongoing dialogues examine questions about body, soul, mind and consciousness; what is spirit and material; what is God; what is life, reality and purpose; free will vs determinism; the nature of love and romantic relationships. These questions are considered within the plot of the hero's ongoing spiritual transformation.
What are the key messages?
1. We are spirits, not bodies.
2. We live after physical death and so how we live and develop our conscious awareness matters.
3. The nature of love as itemized by the four Greek loves, being: Philia, Storge, Eros and Agape.
4. The nature of heaven.
5. Spiritual transformation and enlightenment.
6. The ego illusion vs spiritual truth.
7. Relationships of spirit and matter.
8. Necessity of uniting heart and mind
Where does the story take place?
On a mountain summit somewhere in the Andes of Chile, although there are several allusions to events in London and elsewhere.
Who are the main characters and why are they important to the story?
James, the philosopher, is the hero and first-person narrator. Mo and Eli are the two companions he meets in this new dimension between Earth and Elysium. He eventually acquiesces to their mentoring, but not without resistance.
Why do you think this book may appeal to readers?
It speaks to the meaning of life, the nature of the soul and the mystery of the afterlife. I trust the reader will find the narrative inspirational, entertaining with plenty of humour and adventure.
What book makes your book different from others like it?
I honestly don't know of other books of fiction quite like this. I don't wish to overstate its uniqueness, but I haven't seen any modern novel that involves this depth of spiritual and philosophical dialogue, except Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Depending on the reader, that may or may not be a good thing.
Essentially it’s about other dimensions of life, not just on earth, but in the universe including what we call heaven or, as the characters refer to it; Elysium. There are about 280 footnotes with quotes, many by physicists and philosophers, along with several references to historical events, etc.
The dialogues provide much depth of thought for the serious reader. Though some of the dialogue in the book may seem rather cerebral for some, I have endeavoured to use plenty of humour and adventure to offset this.
How did you learn about this topic?
My life of living fully, while encountering many challenges along the way, has taught me much of what the story's hero is learning. My ongoing reading in philosophy, physics and a wide assortment of literature has proved me an excellent orientation for the subject matter.
I have studied Emanuel Swedenborg (the 18th Century Swedish mystic and scientist) for many years, which has given me unique in-depth insights into what may be expected when we move on from this plane of existence. Also, I've been influenced by my philosophical thinking by various Russian writers such as P.D. Ouspensky, G.I. Gurdjieff and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Is there anyone special in your life that influenced you to write this?
There are many, but I must make special reference to my late friend and mentor, Dr Jan Merta, sometimes referred to as 'the world's most accomplished man.' I don't want this to sound too weird, but he influenced me not just in the past as a scientist and mystic, but he still does as I write of him as one of the main characters. Let's just say, there's more intrigue to the story behind the story than I'm prepared to discuss now, but many of these elements show up in the plot.
Currently, I'm writing a book on the strange occurrences that brought Elysium's Passage into being, but am undecided releasing this information to the general public at this time.
Is there any quote that conveys what the book is about?
'As within, so without' is an oft-repeated ancient Hermetic phrase along with C.S. Lewis's 'come further in, come further up.' Also, my quote from Carl Jung sets the tone: 'Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens'
What other books have you written?
This is it, along with the three sequels yet unpublished. They will be released over the next two to three years as part of the Elysium's Passage series beginning with Surreal Adventures next spring, then Mystical Romance, the Elixir and The Return, (still uncompleted).
Could you give an autobiographical outline of your life?
I was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1949. My father passed away from cancer at the age of 33 in 1951, six years after serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Britain during WWII.
In 1952 my mother and I moved to Whitehorse, Yukon where she worked at a native school for a few years. There was little pay, other than being provided room and board for us. However, that was sufficient since she wanted to get away from her grief by surrounding herself with wonderful people while helping others.
In 1956 we moved back to the farm in Alberta, I attended a one-room country school that I walked to each day. There was no indoor plumbing in either our home or school and heating was by coal and wood.
In 1957 we moved not far away to a town about 50 miles south of Edmonton that I graduated from in 1967. I was active in almost all sports including hockey, baseball, football, gymnastics and track and field, etc.
After graduation, I decided to travel without any firm destination in mind. Eventually, I ended up in Clearwater, Florida in 1968 where I lived until 1971 as a student at Trinity College and St. Petersburg Junior College.
After I moved back to Alberta, I settled in Calgary to attend university over the next six years.
I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Philosophy/English in 1975) and then a Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1977. Later I took a few graduate-level courses because I intended to enrol in graduate studies one day. In total, I have 10 years of post-secondary education.
I married in 1976 and by the next year, we decided to move to Edmonton where I began my commercial real estate career. I was qualified to teach high school, but instead, I decided to get rich quick in real estate – which I did, at least for a time, beginning as a broker.
I began my land development company in 1979 with several holdings across the province before expanding into Midland and Austin, Texas. After having little or nothing as a student, and then rapidly becoming relatively prosperous, I lost it all in the early 1980s primarily due to the federal government’s National Energy Programme that decimated the local province’s economy. With my land assets depreciating to just a fraction of what I paid, I lost most everything, including my home. By 1984 it was all over.
I closed my business and moved back to Calgary to start over again by returning to commercial real estate brokerage with Colliers International. This time it was a tough grind after the big crash in the old patch, but I slowly built my assets up again while leasing downtown office space.
My first son, Daniel, was born in 1982 and my second son, Andrew, was born in 1985. Throughout the years, I’ve maintained excellent relations with both sons and see them regularly.
I took a few years off real estate in the early to mid-90s to work for a humanitarian organization, hoping it would take me in a new direction and career. However, due to lack of funding, it was not possible to continue. And so, in 1997 I returned to real estate, joining CBRE (formerly CB Richard Ellis), as I focused primarily on land sales.
A few years later I joined with a few former real estate colleagues in a small ‘boutique’ brokerage in Calgary. I remained licensed with the company until recently when I decided to invest my energies into writing.
I was divorced in 2001 due to significant differences in values and perspectives and have remained single ever since. Over the last number of years, I have travelled to various parts of the world. I’ve visited Germany, Scotland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Taiwan, Turkey, Russia, Austria, Cuba, Bahamas, Haiti, Mexico, along with several trips to the southern areas of the United States.
Unfortunately, I got caught in a couple of disastrous tech investments, and then, most recently, a real estate initiative with several houses and an apartment building in Southern Alberta. Due to the cancellation of a government project at the last minute, values crashed and I lost much of my savings over the last few years while writing the Elysium’s Passage series.
I first began to write in early 2013 and haven’t stopped since. I have revised and rewritten the first book, The Summit, at least 12 times over. The other three novels still continue to undergo revisions as I generally work very long hours each day. (This has been both the most exhilarating work I’ve ever done, but it has also by far been the most difficult).
As for other activities, I enjoy spending time at my cabins in the foothills with friends. In 1990 three other partners and I purchased 14 acres of land which has been the source of much fun, partying, hiking and solace. You may see some pictures of the cabins on my Facebook site.
I have also enjoyed climbing in the Rockies nearby and through the years I have ‘peaked’ several dozen mountains. This has also involved plenty of camping. However, due to problems with my knees, while descending the steep slopes, I no longer climb, although I still ski occasionally.
Another formative activity for me in the past was being part of a book discussion group with up to six men of various ages. We would meet early Sunday morning for a few hours at a restaurant to discuss whatever book we agreed to discuss. On average, we spend 12 weeks discussing a book, (four each year), meeting each week for close to 25 years. The books were generally classics with authors such as Dostoyevsky, Tillich, Niebuhr, Lewis and Carroll.
At this time in my life, I enjoy the simple pleasures of hiking and meeting with friends and acquaintances in my home for various meetings and discussions each week.
SUMMARY OF ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE SUMMIT
This the first in a series of five Elysium narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.
After experiencing a near-fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding about life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed or could believe.
An engaging and sometime surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality and our ultimate destiny.
The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of existence.
VIDEO INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES
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PENDING PUBLICATIONS IN THE ELYSIUM PASSAGE SERIES
With the exception of the last novel, the other three have been written but still require more editing before publication.
The following titles in the Elysium's Passage series are projected to be released as follows:
THE SUMMIT now available
SURREAL ADVENTURES late 2018
MYSTICAL ROMANCE mid 2019
HE ELIXIR late 2019
THE RETURN sometime in 2020/21
E L Y S I U M ’ S P A S S A G E
The following comments are among the first Amazon reviews of Elysium’s Passage: The Summit. All are Five Stars! Others reader reviews are included below, along with excerpts from two professional reviews. To read full reviews, go to READER REVIEWS on www.elysiumspassage.com
"Quietly, gently, and without imposition, the Author unfolds the pages, creating an intricate, interlocking bridge spanning the chasm between mind and heart. Renewing, refreshing, restoring. In my bereavement, it was vigil and light…"
"A delightful mix of fantasy, reality, conjecture and humour; Mr. Meyers draws the reader into the story with a gentle narrative that captures imagination, leaving one anxious to get to the next page drawing you into his exceptional world.”
“Excellently written with an exceedingly deep understanding of this world and the next. The characters are very well written and engaging. I can't wait to complete this book!"
“Takes the reader on both a philosophical and spiritual journey, a journey that at times is both disquieting and tranquil. James, a British Philosopher can be irreverent and caustic, traits that should have left me cringing, but instead made me laugh out loud. Elysium’s Passage is a fun, enlightening and remarkable book.”
“This is a masterful fantasy, becoming a real possibility, as the reader is drawn into the story. The Summit leaves you anxious for the next book in the series, yet also leaves you totally satisfied with the world you have just visited. Genius! An exciting, yet calming, experience that is not to be missed."
"There was hardly a page on which I did not find at least one sentence worthy of hi-lighting for future reference. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, James, whose personality and passionate verbal exchanges with the other characters, kept me coming back for more. I am reading the book for a second time while I wait for the next one in this series to be made available."
“N.G. Meyers has clearly put a great deal of research and thought into what the afterlife may look like and I like his perspective. It’s an altogether welcoming and exciting vision. The book gives one a great deal to think about and a reassuring confidence that the end of our lives is truly the beginning of life in the next. I highly recommend it."
“The humour interjected into a serious discussion makes me laugh out loud. Totally unexpected....l may be in the presence of at least a master, if not a genius. A fair ride into reality... seeking that which is unseen, yet absolutely real.”
“An engaging story of adventure embracing man's deepest desire to search for meaning and purpose, N.G. Meyers takes the reader on an adventurous thought provoking journey. This book has substance. It is a perfect blend of adventure and fantasy combined with spiritual philosophy. It ignited my imagination. The author magically weaves a good story laced with wit and humor together with deep philosophical wisdom. This book has it all!”
“An evolution in thought is triggered by many fresh philosophical themes which could inspire readers to re-think their reality and former ideologies that have dictated their lives… the author fires readers’ imaginations to view what could be possible when spirit vacates the body.”
“This is the book spiritual seekers have been waiting for. For me, it granted a great read as well as increased inspiration to live every day with a heightened sense of purpose. I highly recommend it.
“The Summit is capable of hooking readers and luring them to search for Book 2 to discover more about Dr. Philip’s surreal trek into the mysterious unknown universe. This thick book is well worth the read and to share…”
“Mind-blowing statements and speculation (‘…everyone is a non-physical thought form conceived in the Mind of God, preserved for all eternity because God’s thoughts never die…’). Many will find Meyers’ journey up the Mountain intriguing—and possibly even life-changing.” (BLUEINK REVIEW)
“In its effort to grapple with fundamental questions about the meaning of life, it raises questions that have echoed throughout the ages, including about where we come from, where we are going, who we are.” (CLARION REVIEW)
FACEBOOK: Elysium's Passage Novel Series, Elysium's Passage Public Group page, Elysium's Passage Author's Page, or to my personal page Neil Meyers
LINKEDIN: Neil Meyers
BLOG POSTINGS: https://digitalbloggers.com/articles/elysiumspassage or by way of the Elysium's Passage website
AMAZON: Purchase details of Elysium’s Passage: The Summit, are available online from the web and blog site
PRESS REVIEW: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/05/prweb15515775.htm
Also... if you wish to read about the series' intriguing Back Story, I invite you to email me at email@example.com and I will send you the free ebook How it Came.