Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Shanti and the Magic Mandala by F. T. Camargo Excerpt & Interview

About the Book:

Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups - one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician's final plan.

Read an Excerpt:

Shanti was the first to smell the smoke. She paused in her frantic packing. “Do you smell something burning?”
“Yes, I do,” Lelê said, worried.
It was getting noticeably hotter in the room. “Look, there’s smoke coming in under the door!” Antônio cried. Black smoke was slowly seeping beneath the door and into the room. Lelê ran to the window.
“The door won’t open,” Shanti said, struggling with the lock.
“Neither will the window.” Lelê was close to tears.
“Let me try, Shanti.” Antônio grasped the doorknob, applying his strength to it. Even as he fought with the lock, the smoke and the heat were rising.”
“They did it. We're stuck in here,” Helena said, coughing.
Antônio hammered on the wall. “Nasir! Itai! Tadao! Help us!”
“They want to kill us,” Lelê cried, shaking with fear.
Looking intently at Helena, her voice ringing with determination, Shanti declared, “But we’re not going to let them succeed!”
“Get away from the door,” Antônio said, kicking at it.
Hearing Antônio's call for help, Nasir and Itai had rushed to the door, only to find it locked. Tadao tried the window. “It won’t open,” he said, fearful. “The window's locked.”
“We can’t get out. What’s happening?” Nasir said, with an edge of panic.
“It’s black magic,” Itai said, trying to help Nasir break down the door.
Just then, an image of the book came into his mind. He ran over to his backpack, still on top of his bed and upended it shaking everything out.
Suddenly there was a loud noise, like an explosion — the door swung open. Flames and gouts of heavy, black smoke poured into the room. The whole hallway was on fire.
Tadao pushed at the window again, but it defied his efforts to open it.
Itai reached for his book. It was illuminated once again. He stood up and held the book with both hands, opening it. A bright light shone forth from the page it had opened on and he saw another name, formed with three Hebrew letters. Seitel, another of the 72 names of God. Itai knew that the Angel Seitel was able to create a protective shield. He closed his eyes, forming an urgent prayer, reaching out to connect with the angel, shutting out the mayhem around him for a few moments. Opening his eyes he gazed at the three letters from right to left for a few more precious seconds. Then he closed the book, replaced everything else in the backpack and hoisted it on his back. He picked up the book, holding it in his right hand. “Grab your backpacks and follow me.”
Nasir stared at him with an expression that clearly showed concern for his sanity “Itai?”
“Follow me,” Itai repeated with certainty.
“What? What do you mean?” Tadao almost shouted.
Nasir took his backpack and positioned himself behind Itai. “May Allah protect us!”
Watching Nasir, Tadao did the same. Itai took the closed book in both hands, pointing it towards the fire, as they approached the door. The book emitted an increasingly intense light. Gradually, a large shield began to form, surrounding the three boys.
“Wow! It's a light vehicle, a merkaba!” Nasir said, reverently, his gaze locked on the intense white light of the forming shield.
“Incredible!” Tadao said, forming his own silent prayer, Thank you, Lord Buddha.
Steadfastly Itai moved towards the door now engulfed by large flames. He advanced out of the room, into the hallway, the light shield in front of him, and as he moved, he created a clear path, the shield pushing away the flames, heat and smoke. He stopped in front of Shanti’s bedroom door. The wood was charred and blackened and the ancient lock had popped free, leaving the door swinging brokenly. Their friends had crowded at the back of the room, near the window, trying to get away from the thick, choking smoke. “Grab your backpacks! Get behind Nasir and Tadao!” Itai shouted.
“We’re coming!” Antônio said, grabbing his backpack and walking swiftly towards the door.
Lord Ganesha, please open those paths, Shanti prayed, putting all of her faith into the prayer.
Within moments, the three were in place. The light shield began to grow sideways, eventually forming a large cube of light, protecting all of them. They crossed the hall, safe from the flames. As they went down the stairs, they heard the roof collapsing behind them. The reception area had been completely destroyed by fire, but again they passed through the devastation completely shielded from the heat and flames. They reached the door leading to the outside. Itai wasted no time in pulling it open and they poured out of the burning building.
As soon as the last one of them stepped onto the street, the old pension began to collapse, turning into a huge bonfire.

About the Author:
F. T. Camargo is an Italian Brazilian living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. An award winning architect and author, he also studied Arts and Media and has a post degree in Economics and MBA in e-commerce. He is a vegetarian because of his love for all animals and has been deeply involved in causes for their protection and freedom. He is a world traveler adventurer, outdoor sports lover, speaks 4 languages and has published a travel book “Rio, Maravilha!”
For many years he has been practicing yoga and meditation and studying the Kabbalah. His exploration of spiritual teachings motivated a commitment to self-development which in turn created a new path and goal in life. Shanti and the Magic Mandala was born from his inner journey.


1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I have always had the dream of being a writer. 
I had been asking for a new goal in my life for more than seven years through my meditation and spiritual practices. One day I had an insight to write a book in which I could express myself and also share my experiences… 
Since I was a child, I liked very much to read stories, like fantasy stories, also adventure books and I was a fan of the cartoon Tintin, the French adventurer boy, fan of Julius Verne, and also mysteries and thrillers like Agata Christie. Bringing all these memories to these days, I wished to write for young readers, writing an interesting book, like an adventure book, a fantasy book, and which could also bring some important things, such as spiritual aspects, compassion, human rights, animal protection, and all these things. 

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

It took me two years to write considering all the research and the time spent of writing.

3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I prefer to write after my spiritual practices at the end of the day, when I’m more inspired for that

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

It is a multicultural adventure with mystical approach where fantasy and reality mingle… I think these ingredients and this mixture are interesting…

5. How do books get published?

It is a long and difficult process…. After the novel is ready we must try to find a publisher or an agent who could be interested in your idea / book. Once you have found somebody, have to wait for the evaluation and only after this we may get a contract offer in case it comes from a Publisher. Otherwise it will be a literary agent, he will offer the book to publishers… This process could take more than one year…

6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I did a huge research and I have personally visited all the places I have mentioned in the book, and also I studied about all the esoteric, religions and spiritual aspects which are in the book

7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Shanti and the Magic Mandala is my first novel. I was 49 years old. 

8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love adventure travels, cycling, running, horse riding, trekking, reading and cooking 

9. What does your family think of your writing?

They are very proud of that because they agree that my story inspires tolerance, compassion and freedom among the readers. 

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I think it is the fact that I discovered that we are here for a reason and we must find our real purpose in life: mine is to inspire tolerance, compassion and freedom through my writing… 

11. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

One novel. I love Shanti and I will turn it into a series. 

12. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I think inspiration and creativity are not rational processes… They are something that we can reach once we are connected to a higher level of consciousness. I usually become more creative after my spiritual and meditation practices. I suggest yoga and meditation as great tools for inspiration… 

13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I’m very glad because I have great readers' feedbacks from different parts of the world… They have been touched by my story and they are changing their lives for new goals and purposes…

14. Do you like to create books for adults?

No I don’t… I like to write YA novels. 

15. What do you think makes a good story?

I think it's the balance of spices: adventure, action, cultural variety, different places and spirituality; fantasy and reality...

16. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I have always dreamed of becoming a writer.

17. What would you like my readers to know?

I have the desire to inspire young readers to be proactive caring about the planet, as well as supporting them to live freely and have compassion for their fellow man, while accepting other people’s options, religions and cultures.
I think I wrote a book I would have been amazed to read if I were a teenager… 
In my opinion, young people are the ones who will be able to change the world. That’s why I decided to bring them something, to plant a seed in their lives, to be able to germinate good feelings related to the planet, related to human rights. I decided that it would be a good idea to use a playful approach with these themes that are so important for the planet. We are talking about freedom, we are talking about human rights, we are talking about planet protection, about animal defense, about love, about all these subjects that are fundamental for the health of our planet. That’s why I decided to write an adventure, which is a fantasy as well, but also there are many mystical and spiritual approaches. 

Contact the Author:

Awards & Recognition for the Book:
- Winner of 2014 London Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
- 2014 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards: Bronze Medal at “Young Adult Fiction – Spirituality” category
- 2014 New England Book Festival in Boston:  Honorable Mention in the category “Young Adult”.
- Winner of 2015 Paris Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
- Winner of 2015 International Book Awards in the category “Fiction / Young Adult”.
- Winner of 2015 New York Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
- 2015 Los Angeles Book Festival – Runner-up in the category “Young Adult”.
- 2015 San Francisco Book Festival – Runner-up in the category “Young Adult”.
- 2015 DIY Book Festival in Los Angeles: Honorable Mention in the category “Young Adult”.

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