Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Interview with Alan Joshua, author of The Shiva Syndrome


Title: The Shiva Syndrom
Author: Alan Joshua
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Kindle

 A secret Russian mind research laboratory in Podol'sk erupts, annihilating thousands and leaving a monstrous, one-mile deep crater in its wake. Beau Walker, parapsychologist and reluctant empath, is coerced into joining a research team, code-named SHIVA, to investigate the enigmatic event. Walker must fight his way past political and military deceptions and a host of deadly adversaries to unlock the riddle of the SHIVA syndrome. Will he have the physical, emotional, and spiritual strength to defy the dangers he faces…or will they destroy him before he can come to a new, challenging understanding of the nature of reality?

To Purchase The SHIVA Syndrome

amazon BN

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Alan Joshua. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A:  Thanks for inviting me. To begin, Alan Joshua is my pen name. In addition to writing, I’m a clinical psychologist with a background in parapsychology. Originally, I intended to go into art and studied at a local college where I majored in sculpture and design. Art didn’t satisfy my scientific interests, so I moved in the direction of biology with medicine in mind.

I became fascinated with Psychology as it addressed my long-standing interest in the paranormal. I earned degrees in Psychology at Temple University. Then, I completed my doctorate at Saybrook University, because I wanted to work with Dr. Stanley Krippner, an internationally known psychologist and parapsychologist.

My dissertation research focused on an analysis of the psychology of “psychic” or “spiritual” healers, a form of biopsychokinesis (BioPK). Immediately, this posed many challenges. Research of this type was unlike an ordinary research project, making it necessary to develop my own methodology. The study was well received. The results were published in numerous journals and as chapters in two books. 

But what was most unexpected was that I seem to have chanced upon the psychological processes used not only in the healers I studied, but also in  individuals who produced paranormal abilities in and out of laboratories. It  also applied to the altered consciousness found in certain spiritual practices.

I’ve been writing for many years, without the desire to publish. However, I published my first article on creativity and consciousness during the Eighties and a variety of other nonfiction publications since then. The Shiva Syndrome is my first serious attempt to write and publish fiction.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: The Shiva Syndrome grew out of the need to exercise my imagination after writing hundreds of limiting, detailed, fact–based psychological test reports--many having been forensic cases. The book was inspired by ideas originating from my research. It extrapolates information gleaned from my readings into parapsychology as well as firsthand contacts with “psychics,” sensitives, healers, Tarot readers and other diviners. I was also motivated by psychotherapy clients—children to adults--who spontaneously reported incidents of telepathy, clairvoyance, seeing apparitions, and out-of-body experiences. I was the first, usually the only, person to whom they revealed this information.
But the central focus of The Shiva Syndrome is the significance and power of human consciousness, its potentials, and the weaknesses that prevent us from accessing and/or using these abilities in beneficial ways.

I found a paradox among my private practice clients. Many believed in paranormal abilities, either through their reading, seeing “psychics” or astrologers, or events described in the Bible. There, the prophets could be seen as precognitive; Jesus demonstrates precognition and healing. 

However, when I asked patients if they had the capability of using these same abilities, all denied that they could. Most were completely unaware of the large body of scientific parapsychological evidence for the existence of PSI, from Rhine’s Duke studies to the present, yet all were interested in reading about it in fiction or seeing it in films.

So, SHIVA was born out of many factors. I intended for it to be entertaining, personally involving, and thought provoking. It challenges the idea that what we call “paranormal” is really beyond normal, or abnormal. It suggests these abilities are latent in all of us, but raises the question of whether we, as a species, are evolved enough to use them wisely.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: One of the greatest struggles, from the beginning to the end of the writing was in finding ways to translate abstract, complex concepts into forms that could be more easily understood by readers. When you use terms like “mythic consciousness,” or “collective unconscious,” there are many instances when words fail.

Another challenge impacted the evolution of the book. Having an art background, I tend to have strong imagery associated with storytelling. I elected to try my hand at a screenplay first. After partially completing it, an acquaintance suggested that I send it to an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles. He reacted very quickly, and sent me an exciting email telling me how interested he was in the story. However, as I moved ahead on the screenplay – learning while I wrote – I realized that the partially finished product was already four times the length of the average script. At that point, I saw no other alternative than to turn it into a novel.

This led to another set of catastrophic circumstances. When the manuscript was complete, agents and publishing houses – although intrigued by the story – would take it no further. It was far too long for a debut author. As in the case of other publishers, Champagne Book Group suggested that I split the story into two books. After this was done, I found that the fabric of the story had been torn and lost momentum and evolution, both in plot and character development, that was found in the complete manuscript. Fortunately, Champagne held a conference over this issue and agreed that it should move forward as a complete story.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A:  Not at this point. At this time, The Shiva Syndrome can be pre-ordered, but will not be published until April 6, 2015. I have started to develop an internet presence and have hired a promotional company to assist.

I’ve been invited to be interviewed in a 90 minute podcast, approximately one month after publication. I’m anticipating the possibility of other opportunities of this type.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A:  I don’t have an agent. My understanding is that an agent becomes a necessity if one of the major publishers or someone in the film industry expresses an interest in your book. I sent out a mass mailing to many agents offering The Shiva Syndrome. While most may have looked at the word count and dismissed it out of hand, some requested partial manuscripts. The process of trying to engage an agent was more difficult than having a doctoral dissertation accepted. I have considerable sympathy for the many aspiring authors who have run the same frustrating gauntlet.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: At the recommendation of other writers, I have hired a promotional company to assist in launching the book and promotion.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  Tentatively, yes. I’ve developed three concepts for follow-up books,  including a sequel to The Shiva Syndrome. 
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Alan Joshua. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Thank you for inviting me. I’ve provided a list of websites and other means of finding me on the web above. At this time, The Shiva Syndrome can be purchased directly by visiting Burst, a division of Champagne Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Apple iBooks.

I sincerely hope that readers will contact me at alanjoshua.com to leave feedback on the book. There is also a comment box where visitors may describe any paranormal events that they have experienced.


The Shiva syndrome, his debut fiction novel, is a science fiction/paranormal mystery and thriller. Always curious about the unknowns of human experience, he is fascinated with creativity and paranormal abilities. This led to his involvement with Psychology and research into Parapsychology. He has explored paranormal abilities using hypnosis and in-depth interviewing of a wide range of practitioners. Among his prized possessions are a shriveled, mummified banana (a product of one healer’s biopsychokinesis) and a small, curled Austrian teaspoon produced by a German healer while six people sat around him. (see http://alanjoshua.com/biopsychokinesis )

The Shiva Syndrome incorporates his knowledge of Parapsychology and experiences with healers, intuitives, “psychic” sensitives, etc. Unsurprisingly, he is a science fiction fan and has been influenced by such writers as Asimov, Bradbury, Crichton, Heinlein, Serling, and the extraordinary genius of Phillip Dick. As an avid Star Trek fan, he is fond of contradicting Gene Roddenberry, believing that human consciousness and its potentials are “the final frontier.” If you have questions for me, I would be glad to answer them–time permitting. I’d like to hear from you if you’ve had any paranormal experiences.

  For More Information Visit Alan at his website  
As a native Philadelphian, Alan Joshua (pen name) has the appropriate fondness for soft pretzels and cheesesteaks. He is married, has two grown children, and lives in the suburbs. He is currently a practicing Clinical Psychologist with a background in Forensic Psychology. His diverse background includes working in a State penitentiary and mental institution, a sleep laboratory, and a pain management center. Joshua has published many nonfiction journal articles.