Author: Daniela I. Norris
Publisher: Roundfire Books
Genre: Inspirational/Women’s Fiction
Amelia Rothman, a foreign-rights editor from New York, has a turbulent personal life. She juggles a divorce and two teenage kids, and decides to seek hypnotherapy to help her deal with insomnia and anxieties. But when during the session an unexpected event emerges, she tries to understand how it is relevant to her current life and why it suddenly triggers a series of synchronicities that take her on an unexpected personal journey to the depth of her subconscious.
At once a spiritual and psychological novel, Recognitions explores the concepts of past lives, recognition of people and their roles in our present lives and life lessons.
Praise for Recognitions:
Think Cloud Atlas, a classic story of rebirth, many lives, and reincarnation on a level that involves protagonists in other lives – but take it a step further in Recognitions, the first novel in a trilogy, which presents a woman under hypnosis who sometimes encounters a French girl on the cusp of marriage and sometimes an African shaman facing a village’s struggles with illness and slavery.
Then take these diverse lives and weave them together in the story of a modern-day woman, Amelia (who must deal with these other lives and her own daily challenges, and who faces her own struggle to understand the connections and messages that lie in her dreams and hypnotic state), and you have an emotionally charged saga filled with three threads that lead back to one tapestry of wonder.
Under a different hand, this saga of birth, death, and afterlife could have easily proved confusing: it’s no simple matter to create three disparate, very different lives, and weave them together with purpose and discovery; no easy venture to bring all these pieces to life and then meld them into one… a story that is quietly compelling: a moving saga highly recommended for any reader interested in predetermination, past lives, and how three disparate worlds weave together.
— Midwest Book Reviews
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I was still considering cancelling it all as I entered through the building’s gate and stepped towards the door. I took a couple of deep breaths and looked around for clues, to help me decide whether I should go ahead with this craziness or not. I could hear my own heartbeat, which I thought was a bit weird, as I’d never noticed it before. Not like this, thumping in my ears like a distant drumbeat.
There was no name on the door – just a sticker of a dragonfly, and her initials. It looked as if it were the door to a student’s apartment, or to the practice of some dodgy manicurist, certainly not a door to another state of consciousness. When Lauren, my editorial assistant, first suggested hypnotherapy, I laughed. Lauren is the spiritual type, taking three yoga classes a week and constantly talking about meditation, energies and karma.
It isn’t that I don’t believe in these things. In fact, I don’t really know what I believe in, I just know that between my teenage kids and my day job and my attempts at finishing my never-ending novel, I hardly have time to explore all sorts of strange mind-body-spirit connections or whatever they call them these days. But since Don left I pretty much lost it, in more than one way.
I couldn’t focus on the books piling up on my desk, silently filling me with guilt for letting them sit there for so long. I was supposed to be spending my days securing foreign rights for American books, mostly working with French-language publishers. But I couldn’t do my job properly. I suffered from sudden anxieties during the day, and at night I couldn’t sleep. It’s not that he broke my heart or anything, it’s more like he somehow managed to crack the fragile confidence in humanity 1 that I’ve managed to maintain over the twenty years of living in New York City.
But I couldn’t spend the entire day in front of that door with the stupid dragonfly sticker, so I decided to knock. If she turned out to be some kind of witch with missing front teeth and hair coming out of her ears, I could always make a run for it. A woman in her late thirties opened the door, and all her teeth were intact. In fact, she had a pleasant smile. “Come in,” she said as she shook my hand, and then signaled towards a coat hanger by the door. As I took my coat off I felt a knot of anxiety in my throat, but I just swallowed it.
There was no way back now. Taking my coat off made me feel vulnerable, as if a dice had been thrown; a decision had been made, one I couldn’t go back on anymore. I wasn’t used to feeling vulnerable; it was a recent state-of-being that I still didn’t wear well. “So why are you here?” she asked. I was seated in front of her in a black leather armchair, and noticed that both my hands were clenched into tight fists. I had to choose my words carefully because I didn’t want to let the wrong ones out. Even though I didn’t know her, even though she was supposed to be able to help me with my fears and my worries and my questions, still – I wanted to make a good impression.
“I came because I can’t sleep well,” I said. “And I’ve kind of lost interest in things. I’ve been working on an historical novel for three years now, and it’s not progressing. I also have some…I suppose they’re called anxieties. About the future. Also about the past.”
I stopped there. I didn’t want to sound too neurotic. “Have you gone through any major life changes recently?” she asked, noting down my words. She stopped writing and looked at me with gentle eyes. I then noticed that she was perhaps somewhat older than I initially thought; at least her eyes seemed old.
So then I had to spill it all out. I told her how Don decided one day he’d had enough and how I was initially relieved he left because by then I’d had enough too. We’d been at each other’s throats for years and now that the kids were a little older there was no need to pretend any longer. But when he almost immediately moved in with some woman called Claudette, that’s when the anxieties started. What if I had made the wrong choice? Was it too late to change it now? Besides, what kind of name is that, anyway, Claudette? Sounded like some granny from a bad fifties movie.
But Claudette was no granny. I saw her when they came to pick up the kids together one Saturday morning about two months ago, shamelessly sitting in the passenger seat of our car, or what used to be our car, not even bothering to come out and introduce herself. She wore a little black halter-top despite the fact it was a cold day, exposing skinny shoulders and a big red pendant of some kind draped around her neck like a hangman’s noose.
Maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part, but I was more than pleased when Tom and Jen came back and said they didn’t like her at all. “She’s trying to be funny,” said Jen. “But she isn’t.”
“Yeah, she tried to bribe us with ice cream as if we were little kids,” said Tom. He was now a tall, slim teenager, his voice breaking as he spoke. But none of that mattered now, for I was lying on the therapist’s couch as she started counting backwards in a slow, monotone voice, instructing me to relax, breathe deeply, let go of all my worries and put them in a small imaginary box which – she assured me – I’d be able to pick up mentally when we finished the session. It felt nice knowing that I could put away all my worries for a little while, but then get them back if I wanted to.
I was quite attached to my worries and anxieties by then, they even felt comfortable and familiar. I could not help but wonder if I was truly and honestly ready to get rid of them.
About the Author
Daniela I. Norris is a former diplomat, turned political writer, and with age and wisdom – inspirational author and speaker. Her award-winning stories, articles and essays have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.
Published books include –
– Crossing Qalandiya – Exchanges Across the Israeli Palestinian Divide (Reprtage Press, 2010)
– On Dragonfly Wings – a skeptic’s journey to mediumship (Axis Mundi Books, 2014)
– Collecting Feathers: tales from The Other Side (Soul Rocks Books, 2014)
Recognitions, part of a trilogy, is her first novel.
Daniela lives with her family near Geneva, Switzerland, and is co-director of the Geneva Writers’ Conference and part of the International Grief Council panel (www.internationalgriefcouncil.org).
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