FROM ASHES INTO LIGHT by Gudrun Mouw

I am so delighted today to welcome author Gudrun Mouw to my blog.

Gudrun MouwI met Gudrun through her editor, Erika Lunder at Raincloud Press. Erika contacted me about a year ago, wondering if I would be willing to beta read one of the titles they were preparing for release. The book was From Ashes Into Lightand I fell in love with it within the first few pages.

This story moved me on so many levels, I’m even tearing up now as I write about it! A novel that interweaves the fates of three characters, From Ashes Into Light speaks to the cycle of souls, the terrible wheel of human suffering, and the ultimate capacity we all share for hope and healing.

I’m compelled to add that when I first read this book a year ago, I had no idea just how relevant this story would soon become. Back then, I would have recommended From Ashes Into Light for all readers interested in history, World War II, Native American culture, and themes of spiritual renewal. Now, I’m recommending it to everyone. From Ashes Into Light is a timely reminder of the spiritual and human cost of hate, oppression, and authoritarianism. It is, as we have unfortunately learned in recent months, a must-read for modern times.

This week only, From Ashes Into Light is available FREE on Kindle. Please take advantage of this generous gift from Raincloud Press and download your copy today.

Gudrun has kindly agreed to answer some questions on my blog, so please read on to learn more about her remarkable work.

Please tell us about FROM ASHES INTO LIGHT.

From the time I was about one year old, I came to understand that my family’s strategy to survive an extremely difficult war and post war environment was to keep moving. Now, I have learned there are many different approaches to transcending authoritarianism, and I wanted to tell a story about three such journeys.

Your novel draws together three principle characters from very different backgrounds: Ruth, Saqapaya, and Friede. Tell us a little bit about these characters. What inspired you to weave their stories into a single novel?

Ruth, an Austrian Jewish girl, Saqapaya a California Coast Native American and Friede, an East Prussian Seventh Day Adventist are shown in very difficult circumstances in order to reveal a common humanity.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing?

I would wish to inspire a unifying vision of compassion, understanding and a sense of the transcending power of love over hate.

What do you find most challenging about the writing process? What do you enjoy most about crafting a story?

I enjoy the natural unfolding process of writing. I find it more difficult to work with preconceived structures.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I yearn for those moments of recognition and insight that often come when I am breathing forest air.

Any projects in the works right now? Tell us what we can expect in the future.

I am writing notes for a new story right now. However, in the near future I may focus more on editing existing manuscript drafts.

Everyone has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is. What does success in writing look like to you?

I love this question. What would seem like success to me is to know that something I’ve written is personally meaningful to a reader.

More About From Ashes Into Light

Ashes into LightPages: 240
Genre: Literary/Visionary Fiction
Publisher: Raincloud Press

From Ashes into Light is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the haunting story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in World War II Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.

Friede is born during WW II to a Bavarian soldier and an East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, young Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times helping her family members escape atrocities.

With war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father and ex-refugee mother, struggle with reverberations of trauma, suspicion and prejudice. Upon leaving home, Friede meets her spiritual guide and confidant in her fiancé’s Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from her past are teachers and the horrors of history also contain beacons of light.

For More Information

  • From Ashes Into Light is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

 

About the Author

Gudrun Mouw was born in East Prussia (formerly part of Germany) in 1944. At the age of 7, she arrived in the United States as a displaced person. Mouw moved many times in the US before ending up in California in the 60s. There she studied at San Jose State University, receiving her Master’s Degree in English Literature in 1969. Mouw has worked as a college English teacher, a Stanford librarian, a columnist, a California poet-in-the-school, as well as a yoga and meditation teacher. She lives in Santa Barbara County, California and has for over thirty years.

Mouw wrote From Ashes Into Light beginning with a research trip to various locations in Eastern Europe, Germany, Austria and Switzerland (in the 1990s). Her research took her places like Dachau, the concentration camp, a Jewish graveyard in Prague, and the streets of Salzburg.

Mouw is a prolific and award-winning poet and her poems have appeared in literary journals such as Praire Schooner, Practical Mystic, The Chariton Review and others. Her collection of poetry called Wife of the House was published in April 2014. Mouw won first place in a short fiction contest at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference in 1992. From Ashes into Light will be her first published novel.

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