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This week on BOOKCHAT we welcome an old friend, Dr. Victor Acquista, MD-turned-novelist. Acquista spent some years heading up Fort Bayard’s medical facility before moving to Rio Rancho and then Florida. Serpent Rising, Acquista’s new novel, is set partly in New Mexico, and is the follow-up to his 2017 sci-fi debut, Sentient.

When were you happiest?

Years ago I had a session of Noetic Field Balancing. This threw me into a state of altered consciousness that lasted about three days. I experienced profound peace in this state. I view unhappiness as an unwillingness or resistance to acceptance of the present moment. While external circumstances tend to enhance or diminish happiness, I view my happiness as an internal state of affairs. The peace I experienced following that session was associated with deep happiness.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Guilt seems to me to be an unhealthy response to the self and almost a willingness to pass negative judgment on actions/activities associated with pleasure. I enjoy goofing off but rarely feel guilty about it. It’s often the case that when I am “wasting time” I experience moments of creativity.

What’s the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I have a close friend that likes to answer these questions by calling attention to some positive attribute such as, “I’m too loving or too forgiving.” That’s very clever. For myself, there is nothing I would go so far as to label deplorable, but I am prone to seek validation from others about my writing. When I am “singing my song,” should it matter whether or not someone is listening?

What’s the trait you most deplore in others?


What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?

Be true to yourself. As others have said, our challenges in life are first to discover your song and then to sing it. We are each unique and I think it’s important to live authentically.

What book(s) are you reading now?

The Kybalion. It’s a short book about the Heremetic philosophy of ancient Egypt and Greece.

I’m also re-reading Manifesto for the Noosphere, a book about the next stage in the evolution of human consciousness.

Which writers working today do you admire most? Why?

I admire writers who can communicate with depth and clarity about spiritual and philosophic topics. Eckhart Tolle, David Hawkins, and Ken Wilber are good examples.

I also like complex narratives with believable characters and elaborate world building in the science fiction and fantasy realms. Frank Herbert’s Dune, and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones are examples.

Which genres do you read? Which do you avoid? Why?

I enjoy science fiction and fantasy primarily because they expand my imagination. I never read romance and tend to avoid horror. I have no interest in the former, and the latter gets my imagination working in ways that give me bad dreams.

What book(s) “should” you have read but haven’t, or what “classic” couldn’t you finish?

The list here is TNTC as in too numerous to count. Recently, I started Foucault’s Pendulum, because I had always wanted to read it, but I couldn’t finish it. The writing is marvellous, but too dense for me.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Plato, Nikola Tesla, Kahlil Gibran.

Tell us about your latest book in no more than 50 words.

The protagonist is a 21 y.o. pill-popping dysfunctional who has an unknown destiny as a champion for truth. Her heroine’s journey to fulfill this destiny incorporates myth, mysticism, and suspense. Fans of The Da Vinci Code and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will enjoy it.

Where can we find this book?

It’s available in hardcover, softcover, ebook, and audio book. See this link: to connect to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, Kobo, and Apple Book.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

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We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.