Many of us believe that our soul will continue to exist long after our earthly body perishes—that it will have a future that extends beyond our death. But what if our soul also had a past? What if, prior to our birth, our soul already had a “life” in which it was free to make choices and decisions that directly impact our current selves? This is the fascinating, thought-provoking question that Bethlehem based author John Consalvo explores in his fantasy book series Earth & Evermore.
“Do you ever wonder how it is that you can meet someone, and after 5 minutes, feel like you’ve known them forever?” Consalvo says. Earth & Evermore explores that very concept. Fantasy might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Earth & Evermore transcends genres. “It’s more than just fantasy. It deals with spirituality, theology, mythology, true love, psychology, and the power we all have in our choices. At the end of the day, many of our favorite bedtime stories and fairy tales are beholden to such elements,” he says.
The inspiration for this soul-searching journey came several years ago, when Consalvo was confronted with the death of his grandparents. As he struggled to cope with his grief, he found himself at a crossroad. “I was looking at what the purpose in life was,” Consalvo says. “And I said to myself, ‘It’s not like I had a choice to be born.’ But when I said that, I felt a small voice within my heart say, ‘Are you sure?’”
That small voice sparked a revelation. Immediately, Consalvo was flooded with thoughts that changed the way he viewed not only his own life, but all life in the universe. “I began to ask myself, ‘What causes déjà vu? What if life is much bigger than we think?’” Consalvo explains. “I started to think that maybe we’ve been around for a long time and maybe we make choices to go through this. And so I built on those thoughts.”
Consalvo’s work resulted in the book Earth & Evermore: The Lighted Blade, which he began in 2012. The first volume in a planned seven part series, The Lighted Blade introduces readers to a fantastic universe known as the “Galaxy of Souls.” Comprised of ten great worlds, it is inhabited by thousand-year-old human souls, enchanted owls, beautiful seraphs, and other magical beings.
Following the story of three souls named Jovan, Bethany, and Queen Amana, the book takes readers on an emotional journey to discover how the choices we make are important not only to our future, but to the future of the entire cosmos. Through richly detailed imagery, Consalvo paints a vivid picture of life in the universe and the ways in which it is interconnected. His descriptions of the different planets—like Gardenia, which is known for its beautiful, rich flora, or Fricto, which is characterized by vast, sparkling ice caverns—help readers easily visualize the reality he has created. His characters, likewise, come to life through powerfully crafted scenes that not only advance the narrative, but also provide insight into their personalities and motivations.
For Consalvo, much of the process of writing involves allowing the characters and story to develop naturally. “Even though I created the characters, they kind of have a life of their own,” he says. “I spend a lot of my time getting to know them, whether it’s during a workout or a meal or just taking
Consalvo’s skill in crafting this imaginary reality comes in part from his career as a musician and songwriter. Having spent several decades writing original material, he is no stranger to the creative process. “There is definitely an influence,” he admits. “My first album, called ‘Choose This Day,’ is comprised of thirteen songs. If you were to listen to it cover to cover, you’d find a common thread. So I’ve always loved the idea of story albums or
To help build the Earth & Evermore brand, Consalvo plans to draw heavily on his musical talents by creating an epic, full-length soundtrack for the book. This album will include a main theme and approximately thirteen additional songs that will each be based upon a specific chapter. The idea is to capture the book’s atmosphere, moods, and emotions in music. “I try to see how each specific chapter feels to me,” Consalvo explains. “But with art it’s also in the eye of the beholder. So the listener can see for themselves however they want to see it.” After writing the songs on his guitar, Consalvo works with an arranger, Victoria Beits, to create a final orchestral version. These tracks will be available on the book’s website and social media along with original artwork.
By creating music and artwork to support the book series, Consalvo hopes to develop Earth & Evermore into a fantasy brand that is different from anything currently on the market. “I want to pique people’s curiosity, and also have people identify with it,” he says. “Music is a big part of that because we always remember what we hear musically.”
Currently, Consalvo is writing the second book in the series. Tentatively entitled Courting Dreams, it picks up on the more intricate details of soul mates and the potential for destiny. These themes occur in The Lighted Blade, but the sequel promises to delve a bit deeper.
“I’m letting the story take me, rather than putting restraints on it,” he says. “My initial plan is to cover the storyline that I developed in seven books. But if it’s done in five or six, then I won’t stretch it out. Once it’s complete, it’s complete.”