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Here are a few thoughts gleaned from the experience of writing my occult novel Return of the Tetrad, published by Mandrake of Oxford (http://mandrake.uk.net/the-return-of-the-tetrad/).

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A lot depends on whether one is writing for a general audience or for esoterically minded readers. If the former, then the difficulty is to know how much suspension of disbelief one can demand of the reader. Dan Brown’s stories, although full of extraordinary events, are less about the supernatural than about secret societies, conspiracies etc and so involve less suspension of disbelief than the kind of story that postulates a supernatural order of reality. In the latter category are the works of J.K. Rowling and Philip Pullman. Both of these take the reader into another world with its own laws and logic. Because of their skill as writers, we willingly suspend disbelief as a child does when listening to a fairy tale. All of the above authors have successfully established themselves in the mass market.

A different challenge is presented by the niche market – i.e. those readers who already have an esoteric mind-set. These readers are already prepared to accept the premise of a different reality, but this brings its own difficulties. In a world where everything is possible there can be no story, as a story demands limitations. So which limitations is one going to introduce? In Return of the Tetrad, while I ask the reader to accept certain out-of-the-ordinary phenomena such as reincarnation, I have tried to create a tension between a supernatural and a mundane perception of things. But I mustn’t give too much away. Those who read the book will judge whether I have succeeded.

Christopher McIntosh (http://www.ozgard.de)

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