Photo Content from Victoria Lilienthal
Victoria Lilienthal has studied and practiced body-based work and been certified in sound healing. Long captivated by myths, symbols, and rituals, her studies and mentorship with cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien, helped to inspire this book. A San Francisco native, she lives in Northern California along with her husband, and their senior citizen dog. The T Room is her first novel.
WEBSITE | GOODREADS
WEBSITE | GOODREADS
What inspired you to pen your first novel?
While studying symbols and rituals with cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien, I became inspired by the archetypal path of the hero and healer. Learning that symbols have the power to change a point of view, and/or perspective, fascinated me. As I undertook the adventure of decoding symbols, myths, and rituals, a loose scenario for a funny romance novel about a fledgling healer with mystic tendencies evolved.
Greatest thing you learned in school:
School is a wonderful place to learn how to develop good friendships. I have close friendships with women going all the way back to elementary school. I have friends from every school I attended, and this network supports me in all parts of my life. I feel incredibly blessed.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published:
My most rewarding experience has been the opportunity to work with countless wonderful women along the way. Just read the acknowledgements in the back of the book and you will see! I love collaborating with them and gaining from their perspective and all the experience they bring.
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
No! I never fantasized about being a writer. I had an idea for a novel but it’s only since I began writing the book that my goal has been to learn how to be a good storyteller.
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Trust your characters and try your best to get out of their way.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’ve been working on the next book in The T Series titled, The T Garden. The T Room’s protagonist Vera West’s mentor, the aristocratic Grace Sloane Watson is the new main character.
In your newest book; THE T ROOM, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it:
When her charismatic mentor, Ernesto, publicly chooses her as his professional work partner, all indications are that Vera’s bodywork career is about to ignite. There is just one glitch—no make that two. Vera—single mother of savvy, smart teenage India and her scruffy mutt, Francisco—is fucking Ernesto. As for her new promotion…Ernesto took it from his wife, Jean, in order to give it to her. As Vera becomes increasingly embroiled in Ernesto and Jean’s dark shenanigans, she quickly realizes that what seemed like an exciting opportunity is more like a dance with the devil. Confronted with her own yearning for male validation, it takes India, a glamorous and aristocratic client named Grace, and the mystical Tara, Goddess of compassion, to teach Vera the virtues of a sustainable path to self-authority.
A fast paced, humorous tale, The T Room is sure to prove irresistible to every adventurous woman familiar with that Saturday-morning-bookstore trajectory that starts with Self- Help, diverts into Romance, and falls heartfirst into Spirituality.
What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Some of my readers might relate directly to Vera’s journey. Others will be amused by her antics. Hopefully all will be inspired to examine their own career, relationships, spirituality, and desire. But not too seriously! This book is supposed to be fun.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
I had no idea how much fun it would be to watch them develop. They surprised me at every turn.
What was your unforgettable moment while writing THE T ROOM?
Realizing that I was going to finish it! One day, after so many endless revisions, Vera finally just sat down. At that point, I knew the book was done. Thank goodness she has a host of women, including a mystical goddess on her team.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
It would be great fun to introduce Vera to Hermione and her magic bag. Vera is pretty cynical. The concept of a magic bag isn’t something that she believes in initially in The T Room. If Hermione could show her that a bag could contain so many good tools, Vera could learn a lot.
What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever given someone?
My most memorable gift was to my daughter. It was a road trip across Rajasthan, India. Before returning to Delhi, we ended up visiting the inner sanctum of the Taj Mahal. The sanctum is one of the most sacred and remarkable places that we have ever been. Our visit was actually a gift to us both.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Spend a moment truly enjoying whatever it is you are doing. Whether it is eating a meal or being in nature. Even if just for an instant, if possible, connect with the luxury of being alive.
What is your happiest childhood memory?
Pretending to be mermaids with my girlfriends. We spent so much time in the pool that my hair turned green.
When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
Five minutes ago. My husband, my daughter, our dog, my friends, I tell them all the time. Love is the deal.
What is your most treasured memory?
Watching my daughter embrace an octopus while snorkeling. She was so gentle and completely without fear. Crying in full snorkel gear while underwater is not recommended.
TEN CHARACTERISTICS OF A GREAT FRIEND
- Ten characteristics of a great friend
- Funny and fun loving
- Team player
- Good listener
- Shared values
A Favorite Scene
As I pass Polk Gulch Books with its faded sign claiming, “Herein Lies the Metaphysical,” my boot catches on that same sticky edge of broken sidewalk that the city never seems to fix—this feels like a sign. I push the door open. Inside, a guy sits on a stool in back of the cash register. Despite the clatter of a cowbell hanging from the doorknob, signaling my arrival, he does not bother to look up from his phone.
What a place. Shelves are stuffed with crystals and pendulums, everything covered in dust. I gag on the scent of sandalwood. It doesn’t look like anyone has run a rag over this joint since before I was born, in my father’s summer of love. And of course, there are books on subjects arcane and esoteric that, in spite of my interest in metaphysics, I have neither the time nor the inclination to read.
The Bay Area may still be ground zero for the New Age, but I’m really just a single mom trying to cultivate some professional leadership skills. My problem? My attachment to my massage therapist teacher. Who in this relationship is leading whom? I wonder a hundred times a day.
As I take a few more steps into the inner sanctum, something flickers in my peripheral vision. I turn to my left and look. Sitting on a shelf next to a bunch of tarot cards is a goddess with a little blue oval tag stuck to her base. Rimmed in silver, her tag reads Made in India.
I’m about to turn around and leave when another flash catches my eye, this time from the side of her nose. I lean in closer but can’t find anything to account for the tiny spark; sunlight igniting a random piece of glitter?
Intrigued by the goddess, I pick her up and turn her around in my hands. Small but heavy, she is about eight inches tall, made of clay, and hand painted. Golden necklaces dangle between white breasts. Low-slung, neon-hued harem pants drape her crotch and lower extremities.
I turn back to Metro Man engrossed in his book beside the front door and ask, “Do you know the name of this goddess?”
When her charismatic mentor, Ernesto, publicly chooses her as his professional partner, all indications are that Vera's bodywork career is about to ignite. There is just one glitch—no, make that two. Vera—single mother of savvy, smart teenage India and her scruffy mutt, Francisco—is having an affair with Ernesto. As for her new promotion . . . Ernesto took it from his wife, Jean, in order to give it to her. As Vera becomes increasingly embroiled in Ernesto and Jean's dark shenanigans, she quickly realizes that what seemed like an exciting opportunity is more like a deal with the Devil. Confronted with the consequences of her own yearning for male validation, it takes India, a glamorous and aristocratic client named Grace, and the mysterious goddess White Tara, Tibetan Goddess of compassion, to teach Vera the virtues of a sustainable path to self-authority.
A luscious, propulsive, humorous romp, The T Room is sure to prove irresistible to every yogi and yoga mom familiar with that Saturday-morning-bookstore trajectory that starts with Self-Help, diverts into Romance, and lands heartfirst in Spirituality.
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