Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Writer's Inspiration by Vila Spider Hawk author of Hidden Passages Tales to Honor the Crones

About Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones

Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is a collection of eight stories about women helping girls and women through the inevitable challenges and transitions of life. Reading this book, you’ll nod in recognition. You’ll laugh out loud and also weep with abandon, sometimes virtually simultaneously. This book will surprise you with every turn of the page.

Writer’s Inspiration - Where did you come up with your idea for book or novel? Was there a person that was your inspiration for this book/novel? Who would you like to thank for getting you where you are today?

While I was following a course of study, my teacher suggested that I write a story about an old woman who had influenced my life. I’d grown up in the company of old women, and each had had a hand in shaping me. My problem was not what to write. My challenge was to choose one particular woman to be the star of the show. I struggled with that decision for much too long before I realized that I could write about them all if I just took my time. Nonetheless, the assignment loomed, and I had to make a selection. I opted for an ancient neighbor who befriended me when I was very young, and the story “Mima Po” was born.

The original story was two pages long. Though my teacher was thrilled with it, I was not. It felt incomplete. So after handing it in, I went back and filled it out. In the process the tale metamorphosed from a memoire to a yarn whose basis was fact but which had been deeply fictionalized. And it had grown to 25 pages.

I filed the story and went on to the next, using a composite of women for the elder. The second tale, set in Canada during the Ice Age, was pure fiction. Yet I discovered that the wisdom of the crones in the tale was timeless.

I realized that there are certain human experiences, certain human needs that simply have not changed. Regardless of the culture, or of the era, the basic human experiences of searching for food, clothing, shelter, love, recognition, and hope remain the same. That insight freed me to explore people of different cultures and eras while remaining true to the women I had set out to honor.

Then I thought about my peers, those whose friendship I treasure now that I’m an old woman. The story “Lavinia” came into being. I had eight stories, each written from a different point of view and in a different voice, most set in different times and cultures, but all peopled with the delightful women of my life. I was satisfied.

The collection of tales would have moldered in my file if my teacher and a friend hadn’t read the final drafts and hadn’t nagged me into publishing them as a book. I had never considered publishing. However, those two women were merciless. My teacher put me in touch with a woman who had recently published her book. I sent her the first three stories, and she loved them so much that she put me in touch with her publisher. That was five books ago. My entire writing career sprang from a single writing assignment. I shall always be grateful for that simple assignment.

About Vila Spider Hawk

Vila SpiderHawk and her husband share a log home of their design in the woods of Pennsylvania where they live with their five cats and enjoy frequent visits with their many woodland friends. SpiderHawk, a retired teacher, is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook.

Buy Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones in both Kindle and paperback forms at . The link for the Kindle version is

and for the paperback, the link is

Visit SpiderHawk at her website,

Visit Vila's tour page at Pump Up Your Book:


  1. Vila,
    Thank you for visiting Writing Daze during your virtual book tour.

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Rebecca! I really appreciate your hospitality!


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