☆☆➹⁀☆ 3 stars☆➹⁀☆☆
The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire is a work of fiction that is heavily based on the author’s life. Ms. Saint Claire has clearly poured her heart into this story, and I imagine it was a cathartic experience.
Ms. Saint Claire’s writing is very descriptive–at times overly so for my taste. I don’t need to know what the characters wore for every encounter, nor do I need to know the brand names of those articles of clothing. However, the descriptions do give the reader a strong sense of the characters’ focus on physical appearance even as they allegedly seek to focus on spiritual growth and inner peace.
Nico, the wine importer turned self-proclaimed shaman, is a self-center, egotist. He is a man-child who believes he should be the center of every woman’s universe. Sadly for society, he easily finds insecure woman who foolishly make him the center of their universe in exchange for a little of his snake-oil treatments.
The various female characters in the book all seem to be successful, good looking, and ambitious. Which begs the question, why–aside from his good looks–do they tolerate Nico’s persistent verbal and emotional abuse. It was sickening to read of their fawning, easy forgiving, and one-sided gift giving. Thankfully, I have never met a woman who is so insecure that she would tolerate all that as well as slavishly tend to his business affairs (i.e., phone calls, bookkeeping, etc.).
Although I didn’t care for the reliance on graphic sex scenes or the play-by-play yoga sessions, I did appreciated The Sleeping Serpent as a symbolic release of the author’s painful experience with her own yogi.
In a previous interview you said that this story is a fictionalized account of what you experienced with a spellbinding yoga guru. After writing this book did you feel free in a spiritual level?
Suffering is an opportunity to grow emotionally and spiritually. A sociopath targets your vulnerability—the inner wound formed in childhood. They possess an ability to quickly identify the weakness and hook you by mirroring want you want to see and hear. In truth, we unconsciously call these relationships to us to heal that wound.
Nico recognized Luna’s gap, her need for external validation, and provided just enough to keep her addicted to him. Through her suffering Luna divines that her value, her self-worth, has always been within her. The story is a journey of elucidation and self-discovery. I experienced it along with Luna the character.
How often do you think we come across these sociopaths?
I think that at some point in our lives we have all crossed paths with a narcissist or a sociopath. If you possess something they need, and they find your vulnerability, it will be difficult to escape their seduction. It is not necessarily a sexual seduction. They are charismatic and magnetic. They don’t have to be physically attractive. They draw you in by offering you something you desire.
I am curious to know if some of these women are based off someone you know? I know as a writer you can find muses for characters.
The characters in my novel are all fictional. Many have characteristics of people I have met in my lifetime. I have done extensive research on the nature of sociopaths and there are several books I have read that inspired my story. Heathcliff, in Wuthering Heights influenced Nico’s anger and abandonment issues. Anna Karenina’s boredom and desire for passion in her life inspired feelings that Luna experiences.
Talking about Luna’s marriage, why didn’t her husband play a bigger role in this story?
Tyler’s scenes in the story have great significance. He is the “Greek Chorus.” He tells the reader what Nico’s disorder is and about the myth of Chiron, the wounded healer. He, unlike Nico, does not control Luna, but guides her. He explains her addiction to Nico—he can’t make her quit by forbidding her to see him because an addict has to want to be free. He shows her through his unconditional love the higher truth within her. He, as a philosophy professor, is the spiritual voice. What Luna seeks is not to be gained by searching elsewhere. There is no Wizard of Oz. True love, is a higher love than flattery. Desire is a longing for illusive outcomes. Passion is fleeting. Only unconditional love is eternal. This is illuminated by a verse from the Bhagavad Gita that I chose as the book’s epigraph. “All is clouded by desire: as fire by smoke, as a mirror by dust…through these it blinds the soul.”
This book is dark. Do you think that readers will fully understand the story?
From the reviews that I have been reading, I believe they do. The Sleeping Serpent is layered. There are erotic scenes which titillate some readers, and other’s gloss over because they are drawn to the deeper story. Some readers are horrified by Nico’s manipulation and control while others recognize his pain as they do Heathcliff’s. Some yell at Luna, as they might yell at Scarlett O’Hara or Anna Karenina, while they read and are relieved when she recognizes the imposter behind the curtain.
Alright, let’s have some fun questions. It was said that you are a successful Hollywood costume designer. Do you have any fashion tips for me *cough* *cough* I mean us?
A character’s wardrobe is based on many factors like what they are doing, where they are going, the time period and location. But, their personality, is the most important factor to determine their style. They have to feel comfortable, and “own it” so to speak. Otherwise they look like they are just wearing something that belongs to someone else. The same thing applies in real life. You should wear what makes you feel like you. Anyone can buy a trend. And all the money in the world will not buy you style.
Last but not least, in closing this interview. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I think I am too new at this to give any advice. I wrote the story I wanted to write and I know it will not be appreciated by everyone. The only advice I can think of is to be fearless.
About the author: Luna Saint Claire is a costume designer and author residing in Los Angeles with her husband, a philosophy professor. She loves blues rock and Indie music, often setting her Pandora station to Damien Rice. Her personal style can best be described as eclectic bohemian. Though she now enjoys running and yoga, she spent years of her youth in the ballet studio. Her part Native American heritage informs her work as a designer and influences her storytelling.