Gort woman’s first novel explores the search for love

A novel written by a Gort based former home e conomics teacher will hit the bookshelves later this month.

Love & the Goddess by Mary Elizabeth Coen is based on a search for love and is the perfect read for St Valentine’s Day, according to the author.

It will be launched by author Ferdia MacAnna at Charlie Byrne’s bookshop on Friday January 25 at 6pm. It retails at €14.99 but will be available at a special introductory price of €9.99. The book will also be available from Hughes & Hughes and Dubray Books and on Kindle from February 7.

Mr Mac Anna describes Ms Coen’s debut novel as “funny, informative, heartwarming and wildly enetertaining.

“This novel takes the reader on an exhilarating roller-coaster ride though modern romance, internet dating, Peruvian gurus, wannabes, has-beens and Lotharios and brings them home safe and almost sound. This book rocks.”

Illness changed the direction of Mary Elizabeth Coen’s life. Originally from Athlone, she also previously worked as a fashion stylist and public relations consultant. However, she had to give up work when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition characterised by chronic widespread pain.

She became interested in holistic medicine, personal development and writing in an attempt to cope with her illness. She went on to train as a reiki practitioner and as bio-energy therapist.

“In the process, I developed a passion for mythology, philosophy and the study of ancient spiritual traditions. As a spiritual seeker, I travelled to Mayan sites in Mexico, visited a famous healer’s ashram in Brazil and undertook a shamanic journey through Peru. More recently I went on a trip to China to do tai chi and visit the temples of the Buddhist Goddess Quan Yin.

She says people who liked Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller Eat, Pray, Love - a memoir by the American author which chronicles her trip around the world after her divorce and what she discovered during her travels - will love her book. It is set between Ireland (mainly Galway ) and South America and deals with both a quest for love and the nature of love itself.

“I’ve read almost every self-help book that was ever written,” says Ms Coen. “But while you’re reading them you think you’re learning how to become enlightened, how to deal with suffering and pain. But once you put them down, most of the stuff seems to have passed over your head. At least that’s how it was for me. Whereas I could read something like The Shack and I’d feel somewhat transformed afterwards. That’s why I decided to tell a story and hope it would impart wisdom as well as providing a few laughs along the way.”

Kate, the main character in her novel, attracts different types of men and situations, she explains. “Through the book she moves from wallowing in victimhood to becoming a more empowered woman who learns to think for herself.”

Mary Elizabeth Coen says there are many lessons to be learned from her novel, especially the importance of forgiveness.

“The main lessons Kate learns are as follows:

(1 ) Seeing oneself as a victim is disempowering.

(2 ) Being alone is different to being lonely.

(3 ) A crisis can become an opportunity for personal growth.

(4 ) A self reliant woman does not need a man to validate her. We need to learn to love and accept ourselves first before we attract a loving partner.

(5 ) Life does not run predictably along straight lines - make peace with uncertainty and have faith that all will be well. Worry is a waste of energy.

(6 ) It is good to surrender to a higher power/universe or whatever you conceive God to be.

(7 ) The past is over, our power is in the now. Present thoughts and actions determine our future so it is important to keep our thoughts positive.

(8 ) We are all powerful co-creators in our lives - when we accept this we learn how to work the law of attraction.

(9 ) My favourite lesson is when Kate explains the Mayan saying ‘In Lak’ech’ – it means I am you and you are me. In other words it means that what I see in another person is an aspect of myself.

(10 )The biggest lesson of all is forgiveness – something Kate learns is necessary in order to practice all the other lessons.”

She says Ferdia Mac Anna acted as her mentor and told her she had a gift for writing comedy. “This was the best thing anyone could possibly tell a debut author with a nagging inner critic. It gave me the confidence to use humour throughout the novel and keep the subject matter light. Humour is a necessary part of enlightenment.”

Anyone interested in attending the launch of Love & the Goddess should telephone Charlie Byrne’s bookshop or contact Mary on Facebook - FB – Goddess MECA.

She shares her love of cookery, fashion and mythology on her website www.goddessmeca.com

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