Expect surprise. This is what I have learned. One surprise in my life, the one that occasioned this website, is The Sati Trilogy. It happened like this: I was happily going along offering spiritual teaching, leading a generally quiet life when, as I was attending a meditation retreat, inspiration struck.
Although I’d been writing for years, a historical novel had never been part of my plans. But on that evening, as I was sitting in a beautiful meditation hall listening to a fine teacher, the nucleus of a story tapped me on the shoulder, grabbed my heart and said, “Write!”
Where did that come from? I resisted. I knew nothing about writing novels. I knew nothing about ancient Indian history and culture. My objections however collapsed like trees before an avalanche, and I timidly jotted down a few ideas for the story even during the retreat where meditation was supposed to be the sole focus of one’s attention.
Afterwards, my sense of inadequacy slowly gave way to excitement and my ignorance led me into a dense forest of historical material where I found richness. I fell in love with young Sati, a monk who is mentioned only once in all the thousands of pages of Buddha’s teachings, and with those around him who were caught, as most of us are, in their surging longings and schemes. And so The Kosambi Intrigue was born.
And I’m still loving and still surprised, because the novel has turned into triplets—The Sati Trilogy! While writing Kosambi, I realized that the full story, the one I had initially envisioned, couldn’t be told in a single book. Thus was born The Jealous Heart, which occurs in 433 and 432 B.C., thirteen years after events in the first novel. The Jealous Heart was published in 2016, but the tale still wasn’t finished. Pindola’s Revenge, novel number three, which opens in 419 B.C. and which I’m writing at present, will finally complete Sati’s story—in a surprising way.
And so through this website, I share my excitement about these books. Little else like them exists in the world of historical fiction. Hermann Hesse’s beloved masterwork Siddhartha was published in the middle of the twentieth century, but since then, few novels have been situated in the Buddha’s era. The Sati Trilogy is a groundbreaker. Now that you know about it, I hope you’ll travel with me and enjoy and maybe be inspired by all three.
Long engaged in meditative spiritual practices, Susan Carol Stone is ordained as a lay priest in the Zen tradition and has lived in Zen and Theravadin Buddhist monasteries. She teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Virginia and is a teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville (Virginia). She leads meditation retreats focusing on nonduality, mindfulness and compassion. She has also taught mindfulness in prisons and at middle school. Susan has a Ph.D. in international relations and is a Reiki (energy healing) master who has worked with AIDS patients. As an author, she is currently engaged in writing The Sati Trilogy, the first two volumes of which have been published: The Kosambi Intrigue: A Tale in the Time of the Buddha (2012, This Breath Press/Amazon) and The Jealous Heart: A Hundred Hues of Green in the Time of the Buddha (2016, This Breath Press/Amazon). The third volume, Pindola’s Revenge is forthcoming. See this website for an excerpt.