Interview with W. Bradford Swift, Author of Rainforest Shaman

30 Jun 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Rainforest Shaman?

The story behind my book, Rainforest Shaman, finds its roots in an interview I conducted in 1995 with John Perkins, who co-founded The Pachamama Alliance. His tales of immersive journeys into the Ecuadorian rainforest left a deep impression on me, igniting a spark of longing to embark on a similar adventure. However, life took me on different paths, and the dream was tucked away as I settled into a new phase in North Carolina with my young daughter.

Decades later, while doing research for my next eco-fantasy novel that I wanted to take place in the rainforests, I stumbled upon my old article about John. The timing was poignant, as I had recently been diagnosed with cancer. This wake-up call reignited my yearning for the rainforest and spurred a newfound determination to live my dream. Embracing a holistic approach to healing, I finally undertook the transformative journey that had been calling me for years. This convergence of personal healing and creative fulfillment is intimately woven into Rainforest Shaman, making it not just a book, but a testament to transformation and resilience, inked with my very heart and soul.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Rainforest Shaman, what would they be?

Love Song To The Earth which was written by Paul McCartney And Natasha Bedingfield in 2015.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

It’s always been a combination of science fiction and fantasy since I was introduced to reading for pleasure by my next door neighbor who was a children’s librarian. Most recently that has evolved to include visionary fiction and eco-fiction or eco-fantasy. And yes, these are the genres that I write in.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

The Forever Sea, Greenwood, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. Oh, and The Artist Way. I pulled an old copy off of my bookshelf and started reading it again.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Wow! Good question. There were many. I have to be careful to not include any spoilers.

The two that jump to my mind, is when teenage shaman-in-training, Iya, accompanies her grandfather shaman to the sacred waterfall in preparation for the start of her visionquest. The other one is what preceded it when Iya is at the river washing her hair when Matita and Namia discover her secret.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

Up until very recently it was taking breaks to walk with my dog around the neighborhood communing with the trees. It’s a great way to clear the mind and recharge. Unfortunately, Argos, my constant canine companion for the past twelve years passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on May 24th so I’m presently walking alone.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Yes, a few. One related to health is ‘first do no harm’ which I learned my first day in veterinary school at the University of Georgia.

The second is that ‘anything and everything can be resolved through communication.” My wife and I have practiced that for the last 33 years. It’s worked well so far. And what shapes me as a person and author is my desire to inspire people to experience the sacred interconnectedness of all life.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I hope the book in some small way helps to inspire the reader to pause and notice the incredible life all around them. That could be the first step to them experiencing the sacred interconnectedness of all life.


W. Bradford Swift is the author of the new book Rainforest Shaman

Connect with W. Bradford Swift

Author Site



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