Again, Nadine Laman introduced me to June Austin and her work. I visited June’s website and when I read about the subject matter of her book, I know I wanted to interview her. Without further ado, I have great pleasure in introducing you to June Austin …
Aneeta: June, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
June: Thank you for asking me! It nice to talk to you and hopefully your readers will find what I have to say interesting.
Aneeta: Let’s start with something about you. Tell me, please, where were you born, where did you grow up, what do you do for a living and where do you live now?
June: I was born in a small town just south of London (England) in June 1965. My parents couldn’t decide what to call me, so they named me after the month in which I was born. My named turned out to be quite appropriate given my love of words, and I am often mistakenly called Jane, after my more famous namesake. There are connections between Jane Austen and the village of Box Hill, in Surrey, where I now live, as the setting for the picnic scene in Emma. Several other famous authors are also connected to this area. I live in hope that I may one day join them.
I have done quite a few different jobs over the years – secretarial, general retail, but currently work as a housekeeper in a nursing home. At the moment I am also working on a casual basis as an exam invigilator at a nearby school. It is a nice contrast to work with young people during the week and the older folk at the weekends. Both are very worthwhile jobs, helping those who have helped to shape my own generation and the new up and coming one, who one day will be paying my pension! In addition to my paid work, I also act as Editor of the village newsletter, a job which is immensely satisfying, and helps me hone my writing skills in a slightly different way.
Aneeta: Since it’s now June, I assume your birthday must be sometime now. Let me, therefore, wish you, “Happy Birthday!” I understand, from your website, http://juneaustin.co.uk, that you have travelled to more than 26 countries. Please tell me which three countries were your favourite and why.
June: I have never been a city person, preferring to get off the beaten track, away from the crowds and the tourists. I love wild and rugged places, where you can explore by foot, savouring the atmosphere and the wildlife. I am fascinated by islands and would one day like to live on one – islanders are a special breed, a bit like me, independent and good at multi tasking. There is also definately something about being near water, especially the sea – I can spend hours just listening to the waves. People think I am mad travelling to places like this, in the middle of nowhere when I can’t even swim!
Generally speaking, the further north I go the more I prefer it. Out of all the countries I have been to, my favourites I would have to say are Iceland, Finland and Canada, because of the wonderful outdoor lifestyle and the ruggedness of the terrain. I have been to Iceland five times now and hope to go back next year, funds permitting. Canada I have been to twice – once in 1990 when I visited the Rockies and Newfoundland and Labrador. This is a part of the country which is seldom seen by visitors. Given my fascination with Icelandic history, I wanted to visit the national heritage site of L’anse aux meadows where the evidence suggests, the Vikings landed in around 1000 AD – this may well be the site of the famous Vinland, as detailed in the Vinland Saga, where the Vikings landed and formed a settlement 500 years before Columbus.
My second visit to Canada was in 1994, when I stayed on Vancouver Island for a week watching and studying killer whales, and then spent a week in the city of Vancouver itself. I would love to go back some time. Vancouver is one of the few cities I enjoyed, as it has this amazing backdrop, surrounded by mountains and sea with an abundance of wildlife almost on the doorstep.
I have also travelled a lot within the UK – to various offshore islands, such as Shetland, Orkney and the Isles of Scilly, for the walking and the bird life. My favourite place is the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel. The island has a long and tempestuous history and is famous for its natural beauty and wildlife, as Britain’s first marine nature reserve. I first discovered the island in 1995 and have been going back ever since. My next visit in July of this year will be my 27th.
Aneeta: I read, also, that you have an interest in astrology. Why astrology and how has it helped you in your work now.
June: A lot of people think that astrology is nothing more than the horoscopes that you read in the newspapers, but this is really just scratching the surface. Properly used, in the hands of a professional astrologer (which one of my best friends is, whom I have studied with for a number of years), it is a fantastic tool for personal growth which helps us to understand the different parts of ourselves.
I would not say that it has directly affected my work, but it has made me much more aware of the subtle energies of the different planets and how to work with them and understand the different forces within my life.
Aneeta: I understand that you have a book, Genesis of Man. Please describe this book for me.
June: The publishing industry loves to categorise things so that they can understand how to market different types of work and know where to place books within retail outlets – my book is one of those that cannot be categorised, as it falls into many different genres – mind, body and spirit, religion and/or alternative history. The phrase I use to describe it is spiritual history, because that is what the book is about – the history of our planet, or to be more accurate, the history of humanity, written from a spiritual perspective.
I didn’t set out to write a book, it just seemed to creep up on me. After my mother died at the end of 1999 (I can’t believe it is almost 10 years), I decided to take a year out in order to train as a crystal therapist. This is a type of complimentary therapy that involves working with crystals in order to affect healing.
About halfway through the course, we were asked to write a thesis on a crystal related subject to be presented to the rest of the group. I chose crystal skulls as my subject, as I was (and still am) guardian of several of these fascinating objects. As I started to write, I found that the more research I did on skulls, the more links I found with other areas of interest, until it became clear that this was to be book, linking all these different subjects together. I never did end up practising as a crystal therapist, and looking back, I now believe that the only reason I ever did that course was in order to write this book.
Little by little, I began to piece the links together, managing to draw in several other topics, such as Atlantis, the Cathars and Gnosticism, as well as the origins of Earth’s two oldest civilisations – Mesopotamia and Egypt, with a particular emphasis on the Amarna period. This is marked by the reign of Akhenaten, the so-called heretic Pharaoh, and the boy king Tutankhamun.
As part of my research I undertook two evening courses via LondonUniversity in order to further my knowledge – one on human evolution and one on the archaeology of Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Given the books esoteric slant, I felt that this was necessary in order to for it to seem more credible, so that my work would be taken more seriously.
There are many books on the lost continent of Atlantis, but little information on the origins of the Atlantean people. I discovered that Atlantis, along with earth’s oldest civilisations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mexico, China and Peru all had one thing in common – there were colonies of the earlier continent of Lemuria, sometimes referred to as Mu, meaning motherland. Where though had the Lemurians come from?
A clue can be found in the fact that all of these early peoples believed that gods came from another planet and gave them the information that was necessary to form their civilisations. This planet is clearly shown on cylinder seals and other objects from ancient Mesopotamia, and is sometimes referred to as Nibiru. It seems likely that this is the missing Planet X. These were the same beings who founded the Lemurian Empire and many of the ancient mystery schools, including many of the beliefs that later evolved into the religion that we know as Christianity, which had more in common with modern spirituality than with the religion that we see today.
Not surprisingly, the book took five years to complete. It was and continues to be a fascinating journey, as you can no doubt imagine.
Aneeta: Yes, I can imagine. I too have an interest in this and you put into words what I’ve thought but never dared to voice: that the missing Planet X might quite likely be Nibiru. Am I correct in saying that you self-published Genesis of Man? If so, why did you choose to self-publish this book and what has the experience been like so far?
June: You are correct in that I did indeed choose to self publish, as more and more authors are these days. In today’s climate it is incredibly difficult for an unknown author to secure a publishing contract, and even if you do, there is still no guarantee that your work will be published.
I went through the usual round of submissions to agents and publishers, but with little success. I had some very encouraging feedback from some of them, but most of them said that the work was too esoteric for their lists, so I began to look at self publishing.
There are two different ways of self publishing, the traditional way, which I call short print run, and print on demand. Short print run is where you have a set print of anything up to several thousand copies. You do everything yourself, from commissioning the printer, to doing the internal lay out, to designing the cover. With print on demand there is no set print run, it is exactly as the name suggests, that the books are stored as a digital file by the printer and copies are printed literally on demand, in small batches or as single copies as and when the orders come in. Print costs are a little higher, but the main advantage is that it removes the need for inventory, so you do not have to store huge amounts of books; you also know that any books that are printed have already been sold, minimising the risk of returns. It has then worked very well for me. The whole process is overseen by a print on demand publisher, who manage the ordering and fulfilment process for you, taking a small percentage of royalties in return.
The self publisher has to continually market their work in order to raise awareness. Among other things I have done talks for various groups and festivals, book signings and radio appearances. It is nice to sell books direct to the public, as you can get more direct feedback and also earn more money, but the majority of books are still sold through book shops.
Most print on demand companies sell books only on a firm sale basis, but my publisher managed to persuade the wholesaler to accept my book on a sale or return basis making it much attractive to retailers. Largely because of this, and my own hard work at telephoning retailers, I managed to get the book into almost a third of Waterstones stores (the largest book chain in the UK), where it continues to sell in slow but steady numbers.
Aneeta: Clearly, there are several aspects of storytelling in your work. Please explain what is the most important element you use and why?
June: It is difficult to pick out particular elements, as the book covers so many different topics, from the prehistory of Atlantis and Lemuria through to the present day. I did not write to a particular plan, and so re-arranged the information as I went along, into different sections and chapters forming a time line, in chronological sequence.
The one theme that runs through the entire book is the idea that we as human beings have both a light and a dark side (sometimes known as the shadow). The light is the side that we present to the outside world, but the dark is the hidden side of us – where we hide our deepest fears and loathings about the world and about who we are. This is the angry, destructive side that lashes out, often at the most inopportune moments. It contains the aspects of ourselves that we wish to deny and suppress, sides that to many can seem frightening and shameful.
The darkness is though an important aspect of who we are, that cannot be suppressed, as sooner or later it always finds its way out. It has often been said, that change is the only constant in the universe. For current to flow in an electrical circuit, there must a potential difference. This difference is created by a positive and negative charges; the greater the difference between these two, greater the current that will flow. So it is with life. Darkness and light are simply two aspects of the same coin that enable change and transformation to take place. Without change there would be no evolution or progress. It makes us who we are. The trick is to welcome the darkness and work with it in order to foster this change and to help us realise our true potential.
Aneeta: As you know, this website caters for storytellers. What advice would you give those who would like to become storytellers?
June: There is really only one piece of advice that I can give – write your story as truthfully and as honestly as you can in a language that others can relate to and understand.
Aneeta: June, this is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?
June: Only to say once again, thank you for inviting me for this interview and how much I have enjoyed it. I hope it has been of interest. If anyone is interested enough to obtain a copy of my book (ISBN 978-07552-02362), it can be ordered through most book stores in Britain and North America and the usual online retailers. I also sell signed copies via my own website at www.juneaustin.co.uk, where you will find a variety of different articles relating to the book. Click on Genesis of Man and then ordering information, where there are links to the various different retail outlets.
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