Ann Zachariah and Peter Berlin - a Modern Retelling of an Ancient Idea
Ann Zachariah, M.D. is a renowned psychiatrist, educator, clinician, and author based in Houston, Texas. Mr. Peter Berlin is a publicist and author and lives in LA, California. As our Author of the Day, Zachariah tells us all about their latest collaborative book, The Invisible Red String.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Invisible Red String is about
The novel is a thoughtful exploration of fate, self-discovery, loss, and healing, The Invisible Red String by Peter Berlin and Ann Zachariah is a modern retelling of an ancient idea. The four members of a therapeutic meditation group find themselves subtly bound to one another in unexpected ways as they journey through their own wounds and weaknesses. As their most personal stories are gradually told, including revelations of abuse, abandonment, hope, and desire, the connections pulling them together become harder to resist, as if by destiny. Weaving together relevant themes of wealth inequality, cultural clashes, childhood trauma, forbidden love, and more, this slow-burning slice of philosophical exploration encourages readers to look deeper, pay attention, and free the locked-away parts of our hearts and minds, for a truly liberating story that deftly mixes self-help with visionary fiction.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
Just as the ink flowed, destiny introduced Peter to me, a maestro of publicity, who breathed fresh vitality into my beloved tomes. Our partnership outdid mere professionalism, as we ventured into profound discussions.
Though oceans and cultures separated us, our bond defied all geographical and societal limits. An extraordinary friendship bloomed, soaring beyond continental boundaries and perceived disparities. We harmonized like yin and yang, merging our creative sparks. Amidst our carefree banter and ceaseless conversations, knowing Peter's incredible writing talent, I proposed the idea of blending our creative energies, giving birth to 'The Invisible Red String.' Much like our friendship, which effortlessly traversed racial, cultural, and continental divides, this timeless love tale stands as a testament to the force of breaking barriers. Through our words, we shattered the constraints of time, space, race, culture, and class, birthing a literary masterpiece: 'The Invisible Red String: A Love Story That Transcends Time, Place, and Circumstance.' It's an epic of boundless love, etched into the threads of destiny."
Why did you title this "The Invisible Red String?
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." – Chinese Proverb
Like the proverb, I believe that we will meet those who are destined to cross our paths. Destiny plays a role in bringing certain people together, and these connections can have a profound impact on our lives. They may teach us important lessons, help us discover new aspects of ourselves, or guide us towards our true purpose. These predestined love stories often require us to confront our fears, overcome obstacles, and make difficult choices.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I am a Geriatric Psychiatrist and apart from being a clinician, I teach and train Residents.
I also love dancing and cooking. Peter, my co-author, is a senior publicist from LA.
Tell us more about your four main characters - what ties them together?
John, an advertising executive, carries the scars of a turbulent past, a product of the foster care system, now striving to provide a loving home for his son, who has Down syndrome. When his supermodel wife abandons him, he finds himself at a crossroads, searching for healing and redemption.
Anna, hailing from a conservative background in Kerala, India, knows the pain of forced arranged marriages and the depths of physical abuse. As a divorcee, she's determined to break free from her past and discover her own path to happiness.
Jake, a successful cardiologist, appears superficial on the surface, but beneath his polished exterior lies a longing for something deeper. He embarks on a journey of self-discovery, encountering a love that transcends time and space.
Lilly, a young African woman who once endured the cruelty of corporal punishment, arrives in a foreign land to pursue her education, with no family to guide her. She finds unexpected solace in the warm embrace of a gay couple who become her chosen family.
As these four souls converge at Soul Haven, a place where personal stories are shared, and meaningful bonds are forged, they embark on a remarkable journey of growth and transformation. Through profound experiences, they confront their traumas, explore unconventional therapies like past life regression and shadow work, and break down the barriers of race and culture.
Anna and John's love story emerges as a beacon of hope, proving that love can heal even the deepest wounds. Jake and Maya's connection transcends the physical realm, leading Jake on a quest to understand the depths of his own soul.
Your four protagonists come from very different continents with very different backstories. Why did you create them this way?
The message Peter and I aim to convey to our readers is a simple yet profound truth: at our core, we are all human. We all experience the joys and challenges of falling in love, we learn and grow from our life experiences as we share the limited time we have on this earth.
It is important to recognize that the divisions we perceive, such as appearance, race, and geography, are often self-imposed barriers born out of insecurity and fear of the unknown. We are all interconnected by a common consciousness, bound together by an invisible red string of love.
By emphasizing the power of love and connection, we hope to inspire our readers to look beyond these superficial differences and embrace the shared humanity that unites us all.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Absolutely, yes, and yes!! We were fortunate to have characters who took us on a journey and shared their stories with us. There were no challenges in bringing them to life; they seemed to have a life of their own, guiding us through their experiences and revealing their deepest thoughts and emotions. It was a privilege to be a part of their world and to witness their growth and transformation.
Destiny plays an important role in this story. Do you believe in destiny?
The concept of free will versus predestination was a topic that Peter and I often debated. We both acknowledged that there are certain people we are destined to meet in our lives, but we also believe that how we choose to approach these encounters is a matter of free will and personal choice.
Readers say the story evokes different emotions and is sad at times. Why did you take this approach?
Human emotions are complex, but they provide a gateway to our subconscious self. My message was, we don’t have to fear a negative emotion like sadness or shame. I believe all emotions are powerful and we should embrace them with courage. Once we are do that, healing will set in.
You chose a poetic style when writing The Invisible Red String. Why?
I didn’t plan on it. It just happened.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
The books come to me as downloads, massive ones. I am only able to keep them in some secret compartment of my brain for a limited time. Then I have no choice but bring them to life.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I write at dawn, like 3 am in the mornings. I like to go outside and watch the sky, the infinite universe out there and connect with the divine or the universe or maybe even my higher self before I write. My furry babe frequently joins me on these early morning strolls.
What are you working on right now?
Planning a sequel to the Red String and a historical novel.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website - https://annzachariah.com/
My email – [email protected]
The Invisible Red String is a soulful odyssey where an invisible red thread of destiny weaves a tapestry of love, growth, and transformation across continents. Join four extraordinary souls as their lives intertwine in the most unexpected of ways, transcending the barriers of race and culture to create profound and meaningful connections.