The launch date, 17th of February is now marked on the calendar, and naturally I have been reflecting on how long it has taken to get to this point. My brother first mentioned the idea that life on earth was an alien experiment, over 20 years ago.
At the time, it struck me as a great concept for a film script—extraterrestrial originators of life, coming back to check up on the results. I had some experience writing screenplays, and so tried a couple of times in subsequent years to jot down ideas, but never seriously. The story was left on the back burner, almost forgotten.
Then, in 2015, it came back with a vengeance, and I could not get it out of my head, no matter how many times I pushed it away. I was lying in a hammock in a small hut surrounded by wild nature on our land. It was meant to be a week of solitary retreat to recover from the pressure of building and running a small healing center in Peru. When a series of clear visions of how the story would unfold began flashing into my mind, it literally forced me to grab my pen and notebook to write all down.
I had worked as psychic for many years, so I was used to seeing internal visions. As I initially conceived Startoucher as a film, I started to write a detailed scene by scene film treatment, including snatches of dialogue. Over the course of the next four weeks, in a mad creative burst, the whole story was birthed.
The initial draft was completed in May 2016, and I spent the next year doing a couple of rewrites. In August 2017 I decided to invest in a professional editor, assuming somewhat naively only minor revisions would be needed. The edit I got back from Jim Thomas was a revelation, and forced me to dig deeper than I would have thought possible to rewrite it again. I can see now, just how much input a good editor can have on a novel, and I will always be grateful to Jim for opening my eyes to many aspects of the craft.
It took an intense seven weeks of writing up to ten hours a day for the final rewrite, and then another editor gave it a proof read and light copy edit.
The finishing of the text coincided with the completion of a long six-year building phase for me and my wife with our healing center. We had been holding retreats and working with ayahuasca and other plant medicines, but it felt like the right time to take a break from this and reassess what we were doing here in the Jungle. The plant medicines themselves told me to concentrate on writing at this point, and to see what would unfold through it.
The overriding sensation is that of the book having its own volition, its own impulse into being.
Now, after the final stage of polishing the manuscript and transforming it into a book, it will be great to share Startoucher with others in February!