Exclusive interview with author "Shanon Lyn Harwood"
Shanon Lyn Harwood is a seasoned author who has been practicing shamanism for over thirty-five years.. Her new novel Currency depicts an alternative society where poverty, hunger and inequality are resolved through a phenomenon called ‘The Network’. In this fast-paced engrossing novel, Harwood draws on her on her experience in shamanism and other spiritual practices to tell a compelling story. The book also challenges readers to confront their belief systems and ideologies around money and power.
In this exclusive Writer’s Life interview, Harwood talks about her new book as well as about her journey as a writer and shaman.
Tell us about your background as a writer.
My first exposure to writing was one semester of Journalism. I hated it. I found answering the 5 WH words tedious, to say the least. A good newspaper reporter I would never be. My next endeavor was far more appealing. I was working in Dubai for Sedco International Drilling as the Office Assistant to the Branch Manager and still I found far too much time on my hands. So, I approached the Dubai TV Times Magazine to see if I could pick up a part-time job on the side; perhaps they had a column I could write. In 1974, this magazine was the only English publication in Dubai. I loved working there. The layout of each weekly edition was so fluid, I could have anywhere from ¼ of a page to 2 full pages of copy. They let me pick and choose my stories and my editor was extremely accommodating. It was a dream job. After my return to Canada, for many years my writing would take the form of business documents for our HR company and then, eventually would evolve into content and promotional material for our Shamanic School. In 2007, I began writing the on-line multi-media book entitled, It Depends on Who’s Looking - The Archetype Project. In many ways, that book led to the writing of Currency.
What inspired the title of your book, “Currency”?
On the literal, the title does refer to “currency”, that legal tender we all use to get what we want in the world today. More importantly, as the story unfolds, the reader is encouraged to ponder what our lives might be like if that legal tender were exchanged for a commodity far more valuable; i.e. our own personal time on this planet and how we each choose to spend it. Then ultimately, when contemplating the overarching theme, the bigger picture the novel is suggesting, the reader will encounter the true meaning of the title of the book. In the end, no matter what story, what narrative, what experience we dissect — it was always all about love, and it’s not money but munay (unconditional love) that needs to be mankind’s true currency.
How would you describe the book?
Currency is a “what if” book. What if The Network could put an end to poverty, overpopulation and hunger? What if all cultures could be celebrated equally? What if The Network could save our struggling planet? What if money and power were no longer the international currency of exchange? We, as mankind, have the means to do all of this. All we need to do is examine our current values and be willing to let go of greed, power and status.
Why did you choose that title?
This one word, Currency, had the ability to hold the multiple levels of meaning that I wanted the novel to convey.
Is any of the story autobiographical?
You and your husband are also practicing shamans. How do you think your work influenced your book?
Currency was powerfully influenced by Shamanism. The concept of balance is key to the book. In Shamanism, we call it Ayni. Ayni means being in right relationship with ourselves, our neighbors and our environment. In Ayni, life moves forward in harmony and synchronicities become the norm.
What do you feel are some of the greatest misconceptions about shamanism?
There are many. Here are a few of the big ones:
- Shamans have lost touch with reality.
- A person can’t be a Christian and be a Shaman. The truth is, you can be any religion and still be a Shaman.
- Shamanism is “woo-woo”. Okay - maybe we’re a little woo-woo. Lol
- Shamanism is in conflict with Christianity. Not!
- Shamanism is a religion - no it’s not.
- Shamanism is a philosophy - it’s much, much more than that.
- Shamanism is just a spiritual practice - hardly.
The closest definition to Shamanism that I have heard is: Shamanism is the way you walk in the world.
What would you like readers to take away from reading your novel?
Money, power and position are at the root of all world ills today. One or more of these three can be found in any situation where there is conflict. Currency is saying: think outside the box. There is a better way where everyone can enjoy a better life — and we don’t have to experience a global revolution to get there.
What other books or projects are you currently working on?
Right now, the customization of the project "It Depends on Who’s Looking" is underway. Also, I’m writing 22 articles for Medium, (one for each of the Archetypes). These articles are based on one-on-one client work that we do and how the Archetypes work with people to help them get beyond wounds, conflicts, traumas and themes in their lives.
For further information, visit: https://www.currencythebook.com/