Friday, August 24, 2007


It’s her 9th novel, and M. J. Rose’s The Reincarnationist is being showered with accolades. Starred Library Journal, Starred Publisher’s Weekly, Booksense, praising reviews in Entertainment Weekly and People (three and a half stars and the most they ever give is four!), and film interest. Plus, even better, it’s a truly hypnotic book. I carried the arc around with me for days because I was unable to stop reading, and because I loved the book so much, I wanted M.J. to answer some questions.

1. What drew you to reincarnation?
When I was three years old, I told my great grandfather things about his childhood in Russia that there was simply no way I could have known.He became convinced I was a reincarnation of someone in his past. And over time, after more incidents, my mother – a very sane and logical woman -- also came to believe it.So reincarnation was an idea I grew up with. That my mom and I talked about and researched together. At some point, the idea to write a novel about the subject, was just there. The way ideas seem to suddenly appear. And then for years I flirted with the idea of writing a novel about someone like my mother – who was sane and logical – who started out skeptical but came to believe in reincarnation. But I kept putting it off, afraid if I did people would think I was a “woo woo weirdo”Until a few years ago on the exact anniversary of my mom’s death my niece said some very provocative things to me about my mother – things she really couldn’t have known – and the pestering idea to write this novel became an obsession.

2. What astonished me was that there wasn't one wrong note in the whole novel. How did you achieve that?
I worked on it non stop for years in this life and I'm guessing I wrote it at least three times before in previous lives.

3. How is this novel different from your other books? Was the writing process different?
Not really other than the historical research I did for the book. I've never had to do that much research before for any of my other novels.* What are two of the most amazing, interesting things you learned about reincarnation through your research?1. The story of Dr. Ian Stevenson, s doctor who spent his life working with children… over 3000 of them… documenting their past lives.2. The correlation between birthmarks in this life and scars from past lives. There are many people who have marks on their bodies now that when researched prove to be the site of the bullet or knife wound that killed that person in a past life.

4. And finally, just for fun, if you could go back to another lifetime, what meal would you have and where?
Great question. I'd go back to Paris in the late 1880's and have hot chocolate at Angelique's on Rue de Rivoli when it was first created... or I'd go Paris in the 1920s and go to Cafe Deux Maggots when Hemmingway and Fitzgerald hung out there and have red wine with them.

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