What is the title of your book?
Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine. It will be published by SkyLight Paths Publishing in March 2013.
Where did the idea come from for this book?
I’ve had a variety of experiences of Spirit, including mystical visions and nature-based revelations, and I was curious to learn about other women’s experiences of the Divine.
What genre does your book fall under?
Definitely nonfiction, although I crafted the interviews into narratives so that they read like stories.
How long did it take to write the first draft?
A year and two months. My goal was to interview 50 women by International Women’s Day. By the time I was done, I had interviewed nearly 60 women in total.
What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?
Hhhmmm. There’s 40 women’s stories, so I’d have to think of a lot of women actors: Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, Michelle Yeoh, Ellen DeGeneres, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Vanessa Redgrave…
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In Birthing God, 40 women relate spirit-filled moments: a grieving pastor walks a labyrinth and rediscovers the Rock of her existence; a human rights advocate re-encounters Allah in an intensely visceral moment in the sun; an educator, moved by an ancestral vision, launches a global tree-planting project to heal the wounds of slavery; a revolutionary awakens from a coma and realizes that all of life is infused with Spirit. Each woman’s story invites readers to deepen and enliven their own spiritual practices. Oops, that was two sentences!
Will it be self published or represented by an agency?
My publisher is SkyLight Paths Publishing (www.skylightpaths.com).
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My own mystical encounters and a craving to hear other women share their experiences since most spiritual accounts are authored by men.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
While spiritual memoirs abound, not many showcase 40 women’s spiritual stories in one book. The closest cousin to my book is the anthology, Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership (SkyLight Paths 2011), where 30 women contribute their thoughts on women’s spirituality and the imperative for women’s transforming leadership in the world.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The stories sizzle with insight and intensity. For example, a Korean theologian and dharma teacher describes feeling the inexplicable consolation of God’s hands while she was being tortured in a South Korean prison. In another story, a Salvadoran under fire discovers within herself the God who gives her courage. (If it sounds like I’m totally jazzed by these stories, I am!)
Thanks to Lindsey Crittenden for inviting me to participate in this blog chain!
Ayesha Mattu’s first book, ‘Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women’ was featured globally by media including the New York Times, NPR, BBC, Washington Post, The Guardian, Times of India, Dawn Pakistan and The Jakarta Post. She is working on a family memoir about three generations of Pakistani Sufi women, and blogs at Love InshAllah. http://loveinshallah.com/contributors-2/