GALO: In your opinion, is coming to an understanding of Renaissance art an important step to understanding the contemporary art of today or is it more based on interpretation rather than knowledge?

TS: In my opinion, learning about and appreciating Renaissance art is an important step to becoming a literate human being, period. The problem with contemporary art — one of the myriad problems — is that so few artists have the education in Renaissance art, so their aesthetic and their technique suffer. Renaissance art is a springboard and a foundation to be appreciated, but many contemporary artists either don’t know that, or are too lazy to learn it. An artist should be at least as well trained as an attorney or an executive, and should be constantly working to learn and improve him or herself. But many contemporary artists are just looking to “express themselves,” not to create something beautiful and enduring, something that stands the test of time.

GALO: I read that your novel, Immortal, which was published in seven other countries outside of the U.S. (inclusive of Brazil, Russia, and Poland), will soon be turned into a major motion picture by Twin Star Entertainment. Could you share some details with us on the film; have any cast members been selected; will you yourself be a large part of the decision making process (perhaps you are writing the screenplay)?

TS: Immortal, the movie, has recently come under the purview of Capolavori Classics, and has a new executive producer. I am working on the screenplay even now. We approached famed actor Franco Nero to play the role of Rinaldo Rucellai, older husband to young Maddalena who is beloved by Luca Bastardo (the protagonist). Mr. Nero is reading the novel and the synopsis.

GALO: When will production begin?

TS: We are hoping to be filming by spring 2013, at least partly in Italy, with a mix of Italian and American stars.

GALO: Besides writing poetry and novels, you are also a healer. People with various ailments and illnesses inclusive of cancer and HIV as well as migraines come to you for help. You’ve called this a “spiritual unfoldment.” On what requisites do you pick patients and what does the healing process consist of? Is it all done inside your home?

TS: I was a healer for many years. I never advertised but people would find their way to me. One week in 2003, all of my clients stopped coming to me. Something was communicating with me. Something was telling me that it was time to stop being a healer and start writing.

GALO: Was there a case that particularly touched you and that you could share with us?

TS: Healing isn’t curing, though I always wished it were. Sometimes there are physical miracles and sometimes there are spiritual miracles, when a sick client dies, but feels more resolved and peaceful about it. I sat at some deathbeds and experienced that as both sacred and painful.

GALO: Have you considered writing a novel about your experiences with your patients or relaying their stories?

TS: I have recently made a distinct break from the healers’ community. I have a problem with how so many healers pretend to be enlightened when they are not. Specifically, I take exception to the way some healers pretend that we live in unity consciousness all the time. They are actually living in “healers mask.” In truth, we live as incarnated human beings in duality, and we’re not going to get to unity by pretending duality doesn’t exist. I tried to explore this in an online healing community and I was roundly attacked — those healers would fight viciously to prove how peaceful and loving they are in their unity consciousness! It has felt to me as if the healing world has been dropping deeper and deeper into hypocrisy. Also, there are too many cult-of-personality healer schools out there, with high profile healers who are simply not living in integrity. Of course, there are healers who have enormous personal integrity and who operate with love, clear intention, and good faith. They’re not the famous ones.

GALO: Lastly, what might readers and fans of your novels expect in the near future — a new book, perhaps?

TS: I am currently working on the sequel to Fallen, which is called Cold Light. I am also working on the Immortal screenplay and on a romantic comedy called The Year of Loving a Younger Man. I am taking notes on a WW2 book and a retelling of the King Arthur legend.

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