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By far the biggest theme in my stories, the one that prompted me to write in the first place, is that of belief and spirituality.

When telling people about my books, I often describe them as a blend of fantasy and spiritual fiction. The term “spiritual” sometimes leads people to conclude that my books are religious. Few things could be further from the truth.

I use the label “spiritual fiction” only because it defines a category of books roughly similar to my own, books that inspired me to write this series: The Alchemist, Life of Pi, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and Siddhartha, to name a few. All of these stories contain elements that extend beyond reality as we know it, and yet they challenge us with the notion that there just might be some truth to them.

Within each of Bobby Ether’s adventures is a search for answers. During his time at the Jade Academy, he struggles to discern friend from foe and uncover the truth about the Core. The Temple of Eternity contain similar mysteries. But below the surface of both stories is a deeper journey. To prevail, Bobby must first uncover truths within himself.

In book one, Bobby has to figure out what he believes in: hatred and revenge, or forgiveness, friendship, and love. In book two, he must learn to trust himself, his instincts, and his training. In many ways, these tasks are more daunting than the physical challenges he faces.

Discerning right from wrong, good from bad, is a lesson perhaps as ubiquitous and yet perplexing as the concept of morality itself. As it was in The Alchemist, where the protagonist embarks on an epic journey only to find that what he seeks was there at the start, Bobby has the answers within him all along. The key is to know how to search.

Each of us is given one life to decide our goals, our purpose, and what we stand for in this world. What motivates you in life? What lessons have you learned the hard way? How did you find your path?

Please note, this is not a discussion about religion. It is about the process with which we all grow, mature, and learn about ourselves. I invite you to share your thoughts on techniques and tools you use.

Introspection has always been my main tool. I have spent my entire life analyzing past actions and asking myself how I can do better. Some of that search has translated directly into my desire to write and my passion for working with kids. My ultimate goal in life is to be the best possible version of myself. I would like to challenge you all to do the same.