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James Redfield

When author and therapist James Redfield self-published his first novel in 1993, the immediate ground swell of enthusiasm from booksellers and readers made The Celestine Prophecy one of the most successful self-published books of all time.

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Since 1994, when Warner Books published The Celestine Prophecy in hard cover, this adventure parable about a spiritual journey to Peru became one of modern publishing's greatest success stories. According to Publishing Trends, The Celestine Prophecy was the #1 international bestseller of 1996 (#2 in 1995).

In 1995 and 1996, it was the #1 American book in the world. This phenomenal novel spent over 3 years on the New York Times bestsellers list and appeared on lists around the world. In 1996, an eagerly awaited sequel, The Tenth Insight: Holding The Vision, which also became an instant bestseller, joined The Celestine Prophecy. The two books spent a combined 74 weeks on the New York Times list, making James Redfield the best-selling hard cover author in the world in 1996, as cited in BP Report (January 1997).

James Redfield was 43 when he published The Celestine Prophecy, which chronicles Nine Insights into a greater spirituality. He has been keenly interested in human spirituality all of his life. Born on March 19, 1950, he grew up in a rural area near Birmingham, Alabama. From an early age, he was motivated by a need for clarity about spiritual matters. Brought up in a Methodist Church that was loving and community-oriented, he was nevertheless frustrated by a lack of answers to his questions about the true nature of spiritual experience. As a young man, he studied Eastern philosophies, including Taoism and Zen, while majoring in sociology at Auburn University. He later received a Master's degree in counseling and spent more than 15 years as a therapist to abused adolescents. During this time, he was drawn into the human potential movement and turned to it for theories about intuitions and psychic phenomena that would help his troubled clients. All along, Redfield was forming ideas that would eventually find their way into The Celestine Prophecy. In 1989, he quit his job as a therapist to write full-time, synthesizing his interest in interactive psychology, Eastern and Western philosophies, science, futurism, ecology, history, and mysticism.

Using an adventure parable approach that has been called "part Indiana Jones, part Scott Peck," The Celestine Prophecy created a model for spiritual perception and actualization that resonated with millions of people and focused on the mysterious coincidences that occur in each of our lives. Disdaining the spotlight himself, Redfield proclaimed in The Celestine Prophecy that each of us must intuit his own spiritual destiny.

As he writes in The Celestine Vision, his non-fiction title published in 1997, "The actual writing of The Celestine Prophecy occurred from January 1989 through April 1991 and was characterized by a sort of trial-and-error process. Quite amazingly, as I remembered earlier experiences and wrote about them, lacing them into an adventure tale, striking coincidences would occur to emphasize the particular points I wanted to make. Books would show up mysteriously, or I would have timely encounters with the exact sort of individuals I was attempting to describe. Sometimes strangers would open up to me for no apparent reason and tell me about their spiritual experiences." Feeling "kind of stuck" at one point, Redfield went to the high-energy vortexes of Sedona, Arizona-an area that he and many others regard as a sacred place. As he recounts in an interview in Body, Mind, Spirit magazine: "I was sitting on a ridge near the Chapel Vortex and trying to work with the notes for the book. It was not coming easily. All of a sudden, a crow flew out of the canyon and right over my head and then flew back into the canyon. I continued to make notes. I was having some trouble getting the story to flow out. The crow came out of the canyon again and flew over me, then back into the canyon, so I went into the canyon, and when I sat down the book just came pouring out." The flow halted, however, when Redfield began sending The Celestine Prophecy to publishers in 1992. He did receive a few offers, but they did not seem right. "The companies all wanted to take between a year and 18 months to get the book out. I felt the book was timely and that we should get it out right away.

"All the coincidences stopped, and I felt dead in the water. I was interpreting the complete lack of publishing opportunity as a failure, a negative event, and that was the interpretation that had stopped the coincidences that I felt had been leading me forward. When I realized what was happening, I snapped to attention and made more revisions to the book, emphasizing this point."

Within days, Redfield heard about a publishing consultant from New York who had just moved into the area. Driven by intuition to seek him out, the two met, and the coincidences began again. Redfield quickly decided to self-publish the book. Just as he went to print, he met Salle Merrill, who brought with her a timely emphasis on the importance of giving. Now husband and wife, James and Salle filled the trunk of their car with copies of The Celestine Prophecy and drove to bookstores, meeting readers and talking about the book. "Of the first 3,000 copies we printed, we mailed or personally gave away 1,500 to small book shops and individuals in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia." James recalls in The Celestine Vision, "Word of mouth recommendations took care of everything else." In six months, the book had over 100,000 copies in print, was in all 50 states, and was appearing in countries around the world. "It sold not because of any publicity I did, but because others began to give it to their friends everywhere."

After the self-published book was brought to the attention of Warner Books through a perceptive sales rep, Warner Books bought the rights and published the hard cover edition in March 1994. The book quickly climbed to the #1 position on the New York Times bestsellers list. It remained on that list for more than three years, joined by The Tenth Insight, which built upon the Nine Insights revealed in the first novel.

In October 1997, James Redfield was awarded the highly prestigious Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Senate at the XXIII Pio Manzu International Conference in Rimini, Italy. Pio Manzu is a nongovernmental arm of the United Nations headed up by Mikhail Gorbachev.

James has been widely involved in saving America's last wilderness areas. He has lobbied officially and met socially with Senators and Representatives to promote the Act to Save America's Forests, legislation written by the Washington-based environmental group, Save America's Forests. In early 1999, James Redfield became involved with the Global Renaissance Alliance (GRA), an organization founded by Marianne Williamson and Neale Donald Walsch. GRA's mission is to reawaken people more to the principles of non-violence and the need to infuse spiritual values into the political system.

In the spring of 2000, James joined Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat For Humanity, as the only two recipients of Humanitarian of the Year honors from their alma mater, Auburn University. Two months later, he was honored by the International New Thought Alliance with another Humanitarian of the Year award.

The Celestine series of adventure parables continued in 1999 with the publication of The Secret of Shambhala: In Search of the Eleventh Insight (Warner Books). Set in modern day Tibet, Redfield continued the inspiring journey of The Celestine Prophecy and The Tenth Insight -- carrying readers to a new adventure in a sacred place where truths that can affect all of humanity await. In 2002, James joined author Michael Murphy and filmmaker Sylvia Timbers in a collaborative work entitled God and the Evolving Universe (J.P. Tarcher).

In March 2004, James Redfield was honored by the Wisdom Media Group with the World View Award for engaging the discussion on the nature of human existence and for his ongoing efforts and contributions to the bettering of humanity

James is currently writing The Twelfth Insight, tentatively scheduled for release in early 2010.

Interview with James Redfield

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