Friends and fans, it is my great privilege to share with you that we have a new interview today, this time with a fellow whose imagination took off like a bolt of lightning and set his writing journey afire in one of the coolest stories you’ll read about. You’re in for a comprehensive look at what makes Waldman and his new books tick, so please, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Tellest: Hello Dr. Waldman and thank you for taking some time to talk to me a little more closely about your book. You and I have been in contact for a few months now, which is just another indication of how prepared you are when it comes to your projects. It also probably signifies just how busy you must be in research and in loving labor for your work. To that end, I really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about you and your book, and to introduce you to some new fans.
Dr. Clifford Waldman: Thanks, Mike. Right off the bat, I can see you’re trying to understand & relate to me as a real person–to understand what I’m about. I like the search for honesty over staged entertainment. I’m happy to meet some new fans. I’m looking for more than book sales…I’m looking for my new family–the family of people who want to live by the values Emperor Qin and his followers are fighting for.
T: It’s typical for my interviews to begin with a question about influences and inspiration. In your case, there might be two questions that we’re trying to get to the bottom of. First, who did you have in your life that set you on your writing journey? Did you have a favorite author, or a family member that aimed you in that direction? And second, what inspired you to perform such painstaking work on an ancient Chinese dynasty? And I suppose a tertiary question to both of those is how you managed to bring them together?
CW: My goodness, Mike. If you’d gotten past your tertiary question, is there even a word for what comes next? The stories of the Bible came to life for me when I saw Charlton Heston playing Moses. All cultures have their heroes who at least eventually become great humans who proved best able to ‘stand closest to God’ and then to tell us humans—what we weren’t yet developed enough to already know.
The stories of the Bible have everything you could ever want in the best novel, book, or TV series. These stories show the best and worst of what humans are capable of with tons of lessons to be learned. Much wisdom accumulated from the trials and tribulations of so many generations…as human life struggled to develop a spiritual collective conscience that could free the world from dark primordial times when the savage and ruthless dominated.
Carl Jung showed me a wonderful role model who struggled to take his inner voices seriously—even divinely. Freud aimed to cure psychological problems and establish psychology as a new branch of science. Jung sought to show where we can fly when we’re not crippled by pathology. They were both great.
The TV shows, books, & movies that had the greatest impact on me—or resonated with some innate mission I’d always sensed I was on—were ones where the fantastic, impossible, or unbelievable was happening and believable. I loved Encounters of a 3rd Kind, E.T., the T.V. series Star Trek, Happy Feet, the Twilight Zone T. V. series, Avatar, the Kung Fu T.V. series, Star Wars, Toy Story, Pokemon, and the recent re-make of Wonder Woman.
So—Mike—now you ask what was my inspiration for this sort of book series.
I was reconciling my new identity having married my 2nd wife in 2006–I’m Jewish from the N.Y.C. area and my wife is from Zhengzhou, China. I requested that when we visited her family in China for a half month we should ‘go off by ourselves for a few days’.
The next thing I knew the entire family created a caravan of several vehicles & we traveled to several cities–the most interesting of which was Xi’An where we visited the place of the world-famous Terra cotta Warriors. Thousands of these Warriors were buried around Emperor Qin who was the 1st Emperor of China—or ‘land of Qin’.
I was blown away. I immediately imagined this army returning to our world today and my mind hasn’t been the same since. I asked the guide,
“Why did they bury so many thousands of Warriors to guard Emperor Qin? I can think of 3 reasons.”
“That’s strange,” he replied, “I’ve only heard two theories.”
I replied, “Well, first it would be to guard his mortal remains.”
“Second, it would be to guard him as he traveled from here to his next existence.”
The guide said, “Yes, those are the two, now, what’s your third theory?”
I replied, “Perhaps they were buried with him to return to our World—and help Qin complete a great mission.”
The guide’s eyes opened wide.
Finally, Mike, you asked how I put together my motives for becoming a writer with my exhausting research of an ancient Chinese Dynasty. Fairy tales often end by saying “and they lived happily ever after.” We all know that when actually lived, life is never that perfect for too many minutes or hours before something happens to remind us of how helpless or threatened we may actually be.
So, whether it’s having marital partners co-exist—or integrating long-term motives with specific project demands, for the best solution that sets human evolution to where we are today, we should look to King Adamm.
King Adamm—leader of the Homo sapien armies—chose to marry Princess Shoopay of the enemy Neanderthal Royal Family–rather than kill the enemy as had always been done, he chose to marry them—& struggle to accept her differences.
T: Earlier, you indicated that you were looking for your new family in your fans, based on some of the embrace you hope they’ll have for the values that your titular emperor embodies. What are some of those virtues you are looking for in those you want closest to you?
CW: Recently, I decided to hire and train several Emperor Qin Enterprises staff to help develop my book series and website—mostly by being creative artistic witnesses. These witnesses will give me emotionally intuitive feedback about each word, page, & chapter by fully expressing their thoughts, experiences, & emotional reactions—with NO judgement or critique offered.
From this witnessing, I will learn where my books engage the reader & nurture learning & where they could do better. I may learn things I was expressing in my stories I wasn’t aware of. I pioneered ‘artistic witnessing’ in the 1980s and 1990s when I taught it for 45 consecutive semesters at the New School for Social Research. This alchemical tool will now assist Emperor Qin’s Mission.
To answer your question, I would like those seeking the Emperor Qin Books or the Emperor Qin’s Empowerment Place website to have the same exact virtues as my beginning Army of Artistic Witnesses. They should be open to total emotional truth—be able to articulate their experiences effectively, face their shadow, & seek the path of enlightened empowerment.
By the way, it isn’t only the tortuously developed values & virtues of Emperor Qin I hope will engage—or resurrect—this new family—it’s also the story. What other major characters do and say around him generates some of the magic—though their relationship with Qin is central to their unique empowerment. And—there’s more to the magic-making—Nature does certain things at certain moments—things that could happen, albeit infrequently—events like those that occur in many of the stories of the Bible…that have a critical timely impact that tips the balance of history.
T: Emperor Qin certainly has his hold on you, but you’ve touched on other things in your last response as well. While the emperor is the first conduit you’ve had into a massive historical-slash-contemporary fantasy universe, you’ve also got the tools and the mindset to set off in any other direction if you so choose. Have you ever had any temptations to write anything decidedly different, like a science fiction?
CW: To be honest, I’m not sure what the difference is between my ‘modern historic fiction’ and science fiction.
Over the first 3 Qin books we: visit life after death in the Spirit World—humans and spirits talk with each other–animals and some humans talk via mental telepathy with each other—we travel to other galaxies—we have events take place that most would call supernatural—we come to see the stories of the Bibles as living dramas that are very much happening now as they did way back then—Qin is advised often by his deceased father—Qin, Yang, & 100,000 of his Terra cotta Warriors are resurrected—and many other similar events.
So, what does science fiction have that the Emperor Qin series doesn’t have? NADA.
T: It is clear from the first few pages of your work that you performed an extreme amount of research to bring this book to life. How does your passion drive you, and how do you avoid things like burnout and roadblocks in your studies?
CW: I’m cursed and blessed with looking at things differently from most—often the opposite way. Let me show you what I mean.
You ask about roadblocks in my work and research. Normally, we think of a writer being stuck in ‘normal reality’ while they’re blocked from accessing their ‘inner creative resources’.
I’m at home and at peace when I’m writing my stories while immersed in my spontaneous guided fantasies. My blocks have to do with a reluctance sometimes to return to this ‘normal world’ where I’m only a fraction as empowered as when I guide readers through the inspiring life, adventures, & growth of a resurrected Emperor Qin.
You ask about burnout. I only get burned out from having to live when my heart and soul are not into what I’m doing. For me, living falsely and not through my true self is the source of exhaustion and depression.
In the world of Emperor Qin, my only limits are when I can’t keep my eyes open—I go to sleep. There are also times when after several hours of doing so, I can’t create new parts of the story anymore—so I switch over to more mechanical chores like editing, advertising, recording audiobooks, or website development.
If I’m present regularly enough with my family, friends, and career–then I’m at peace with swimming in the universe of Emperor Qin and will never run short of passion to reach my readers so we can all swim downstream together. I must find my new family so we can all take the next step together. I welcome all ‘old family members’ who want to hop on Emperor Qin’s arc if they’d like to join the journey.
Finally, much of my research was already in place by researching creative psychotherapy in my clinical psychologist training & my studying the Bible and Torah under a wonderful Rabbi, Debra Hachen, for six years. I’ve learned about the Chinese Culture through my Chinese wife of 17 years—and of the NYC & U.S. cultures from a lifetime of living and working here.
I’ve also learned of democracy & the functioning of, or dysfunction of, the government via 30 years as a community-park advocate in Jersey City—& absorbed knowledge of historic things when I served 4 years as a Commissioner on the J. C. Historic Preservation Commission. Yes, I’ve researched many additional things to be as accurate as possible in all story details—but there was a powerful foundation of knowledge there from the start…collected by my true self across a lifetime.
T: What do you think it is about you that has given you a perspective that not many people generally have? Was it something innate that you were born with, or was it something that you acquired over many years of living your life?
CW: Whenever somebody asks you: “Was it ‘A’ or ‘B’?—the answer is, “Yes.”
There are some people that when you look at them you just think of the word ‘spiritual’… Perhaps you might think of the phrase, ‘wonderful human being’. But sometimes a man or woman is so striking in their ability to ‘feel & care about the pains of the world’—to touch & heal society’s wounds—that we need a stronger word to capture this person’s unique ability to lift the human spirit when it is most fragile & doubting. Spiritual figure is the most general or lowest level of Divine influence or presence. From there we move up to prophets, Saints, and Messiahs.
That ‘spiritual look’ that seems to reflect a person’s deeper psychological ponderings comes, in part, from a great deal of exploring and learning through all kinds of life experiences. As I just passed age 70, I’ve come to believe part of our spirituality also comes from when we were (mostly) calm & serenely growing in our mother’s womb.
Those that could feel fairly comfortable, explorative, & contemplative simply retained that state after birth. That’s the other layer of what goes into being and appearing to be spiritual. There are those that believe we speak with God as the only other at that time. Others believe we have consciousness even three months before conception as we prepare for our…reincarnation.
I was one of those contemplative babies… I believe I could sense many other still unborn souls. Now, I must find them—I must find my lost friends. I hope these books & website find them.
T: Creativity is at the foundation of who you are. Not only have you pursued it in your own life, but you’ve made it a mission to help other people find their own inner creative side. What ways do you find that people seem to get in their own way when it comes to unleashing their imagination?
CW: To answer 1st as a psychologist, there are two opposite problems that artists or writers tend to have. Either they have trouble accessing their deeper emotions and fantasies—or they can access their emotions and imagination fine, but they can’t discipline themselves and learn to effectively focus and use this rich material.
Ernst Kris described the two stages of creativity: the work stage & the inspiration stage. So, many artists & writers are swimming in the unconscious already…they need to develop their structure, such as income, savings, shopping on schedules, keeping normal wake-sleep cycles, scheduling exercise, socializing, etc.
For those who do need the doors to their creative imagination opened…let’s look at each individual case to see why the doors are closed. Have they been open recently? Is the person looking to reopen creative self-expression he or she has already enjoyed in the past? Are they seeking to have their creative self-expression witnessed for the 1st time? How much do they share their work with others to be witnessed in a mature way?
I’d need to have these details to understand the particular resistance before I came up with a strategy to overcome it. Usually, the person is afraid of something. Simply understanding the fear may release the resistance. But sometimes the fear is valid and there may actually be a good reason why—at least currently—the person should not write or not write that kind of a book.
T: You certainly have a tremendous amount of imaginative ingenuity. You’re a creative tour de force. But when it comes to looking outside of the influence you have, what’s the most impressed you’ve ever been with someone else’s creativity?
CW: Actually, Mike, the most amazed I’ve ever been was when I began to read and answer your interviewing questions. NO—-only kidding!
I see a hailstorm of diamonds—not entire works of art.
But each diamond profoundly transported my soul for at least a moment—where I truly existed in some other time & place and for the moment didn’t even recall where I’d left my body.
Sinbad the sailor fighting the one-eyed cyclops; Jason & the Argonauts going for the Golden Fleece; Charlton Heston as Moses holding the ten commandments; Richard Dreyfuss happy to board the UFO with the aliens to go back to their world; The shark in Jaws ripping out of the water and crashing off the back of the boat; The knife killing the beautiful woman in Psycho’s shower scene; Woody Allen neurotically talking himself out of bed with a beautiful woman; Nearly everything that Forest Gump (Tom Hanks) said, like the box of chocolates scene;
Matrix; IP man; Saving Private Ryan; Star Wars; Happy Feet; Kung Fu; The Great Wall; Toy Story; Battleship; ET; The Alamo; Lone Ranger TV series and recent remake movie; Russell Crowe was a great warrior in Gladiator & Cinderella Man…
But, if we had to pick one, it was the TV series Star Trek and several movies especially the most recent one. Kirk and Spock, two wonderful Jewish people, ushered an entire generation into the space travel era giving us a brand new vantage point from which to understand what being ‘human’ entails. They prepared us to go where no man has gone before. God bless Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner.
T: I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence as an interviewer if I didn’t stop to talk to you about your books, The Emperor Returns and The Emperor Visits. What was it like not only performing all the research to see what life was like in ancient China, but to also have it begin to mesh with our own world?
CW: The second I saw the Terra cotta Warriors lined up by the thousands in front of me—most standing neatly assembled in rows where they’d been unburied—I already saw them as standing in the modern world awaiting orders.
Ancient things began to tug on me. My Chinese family thought I was joking when they left to climb to the top of the mountain the next day and I said that I was going to stay in the room and write a book. I’d never written a book before.
I wish I had Qin’s physical power and could kill as easily as he—so I’d always feel ready in case terrible dangers threatened. That aside, I too am resurrected. Anyone who goes through a divorce with children and human sensitivity—and tries again with another partner will tell you resurrections do happen…but they’re never easy. Qin and I have the same purpose moving forward—just radically different pasts. So, Qin is already more than meshed with my own world. I hope soon the world can draw as much benefit from him as have I.
The research was very interesting and done in spurts as the story development required. Many times when I cornered a captive audience to read to—my Chinese wife and nieces would correct my emotional sense of Qin. They bruskly explained that I was westernizing him too much & making him more like Santa Claus.
Many edits drew a more intimidating, ruthless Qin out of which grew the more loving spiritual one. This clash led to the story development of the genetic war between Neanderthal and Homo sapien going on within him & all of us to this day.
T: Now that these massive two books have released, is there a plan for any sort of follow-up, either within the same universe, or to try and scratch some sort of new itch?
CW: For sure this is only the beginning. I’m more than halfway done with Book # 3. Its title is “Aaron’s Prophesy”. The 1st 3 book trilogy sets the stage for the entire series. Audio Books #1 and #2 will be released later this summer. Visit Emperorqinreturns.com for more information.
I’m amazed in the past two weeks since I began an international campaign advertising my books—daily visits to Emperor Qin’s website are up 1,000 %. Most striking is that citizens in Ukraine have skyrocketed in their visits to Qin’s website which promotes empowerment and his book series. The majority of the remaining swarms of new visitors are from two dozen countries very near this War.
I want to test the theory that those countries most wanting democracy but feeling most threatened by tyrants are the ones who want to read about Emperor Qin the great killer of armies—and in my books—later the healer and promoter of real peace and empowerment for all.
So I’ve just sent off a series of ads to the people of Ukraine asking if they’d like the 4th book in this series to have Emperor Qin and his Terra cotta Warriors entering into the War in Ukraine. If so, I’ve asked them for volunteers to help me rapidly understand their peoples’ history, geography, emotions, and historical legends.
After audiobooks and e-books, I’m hoping for a large publisher to help me distribute real books. I’m also seeking a T. V. series and movies.
T: China clearly has left a significant impression on you, and for many reasons it seems. You stand close to it, and I’m sure the emperor has certainly left an indelible mark on you. Do you ever feel tantalized by other historical figures, wanting to tell their story in much the same way as Qin?
CW: You and I have talked about my surprising findings that the Ukrainian people are flocking to my website at a faster rate than the entire U.S.A. since we began international advertising 6 weeks ago. In this time, over fourteen hundred Ukrainians have visited our website to view & buy the Emperor Qin books & to check out related stuff there. 70% of the rest of our web visits came from countries within five hundred miles of the warzone caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It seems that those countries that most cherish Democracy—where it is most threatened—those hold the people who most want to read about a powerful Emperor Qin with his Terra cotta Army who could crush tyrants who seek to squash empowerment and freedom for all. It doesn’t matter that they have far superior numbers and weapons—he has something they don’t have.
I’ve put out a call to these Ukrainian citizens & asked if they would like the 4th Book of the Qin series to involve his arriving there to help win the war for Democracy. If so, I asked them to help me learn the history and legendary figures of their cultures so I could do justice to the story. I also asked President Zelensky if he could assist my effort to help win the war with a book the world could read but have not yet heard back.
The core of the magical synergy will always be the uniting of the values & temperaments of East and West through Emperor Qin’s China and the Hebrews who live in or who’ve migrated from the Promised Land of Israel. Each country has it’s time when it urgently requires spiritual & military help.
So, I’d love to see Emperor Qin fight tyrants wherever they’re killing innocent women & children, denigrating the sacred, & crushing hope even for their own people. To accomplish this, a team of us will study each culture’s & country’s unique: history, legendary characters, myths, and the secrets of the country’s geography & cities. This is how one can use dream language to tap archetypal wisdom.
T: When it comes to paperbacks and hardcovers, are you considering something like Amazon, or are you looking more to something like Print Ninja, which, if I’m not mistaken, is actually based in China?
CW: Mike, you may have sensed I’ve been taking it easy on you so far.
Actually, you’re a nice, clean cut kid—easing his way into an imaginative creative career. I really didn’t want to rock your boat. I felt you needed just one more moment of innocent, blissful, sleepy youth.
O.K. Mike, wake up. It’s over now. Life is here.
Your imagination is a tool of God meant to help the world—it’s supposed to do more than help writers write & readers read. As a growing friend, I must inform you of several sobering real-life truths.
Our world really IS in perilous danger. The forces of destruction of the sacred really HAVE passed the gates of our most sacred edifices of Democracy. This is NOT just a fiction story. Finally—Emperor Qin really IS coming because we really DO need his help.
Now, Mike, don’t blame me as I’m a mere conduit of the creative forces of the universe.
But—I CAN say that I’ve been asked to inform you that Emperor Qin needs YOU personally. While he may need more of you later on—for starters, he needs you to represent Emperor Qin Enterprises to Print Ninja—which if I’m not mistaken, is actually based in China!
You will have some tea and Beijing chicken with them as you discuss the desirable synergies between what they seek and what we have to offer.
You will report back within the week how you’ve done. Please know that the emperor is watching closely—and that he is most generous in rewarding those who help to build his great Empire of Empowerment. We look forward to hearing your report…so that we can give you your deserved reward.
T: It sounds like maybe Emperor Qin is rubbing off on you, Dr. Waldman! Or perhaps you’ve had some of him in you the whole time.
The good news is that I’ve already had my hand at researching Print Ninja for projects of my own in the past. I can certainly share what knowledge I have, and would be delighted to help.
CW: The Emperor is pleased you’ve chosen wisely—he’s asked me to make sure of two things. First, you shall be amply rewarded. Second, any thought of ending your life should you decline to assist is no longer under consideration.
Yes. Emperor Qin is who I would have been had the ideal conditions allowed my soul to unfold fully. I am practicing being him in the books. I hope to step more into the world as he—as I build up Emperor Qin Enterprises, LLC—especially our Empowerment website.
T: Dr. Waldman, you have a lot to say, and this interview is only going to cover the tip of the iceberg. If fans of your books, or new readers of your work who are learning about you for the first time here wanted to learn more about you, where could they find you on the web?
CW: Check out my website at: Emperorqinreturns.com
To reach me directly, email me at: Clifford.firstname.lastname@example.org
T: Dr. Waldman, this has been a real treat. I know that you’ve been incredibly busy—it’s not easy finding your lost family and finding a way to rule the world the way you have! I just wanted to say once again that I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me to learn more about you and your books!
CW: My good sir, my teaching and your learning have just begun. You have a long adventurous journey ahead of you. Your interest in fiction has always been the releasing of the magic of that world into this world.
The Emperor does not seek to rule the world as he did when he was younger, he seeks to empower the world so all humans rule together with no Earth Kings.
T: Once again, I’d like to thank Doctor Waldman for taking the time to talk to me about his work. This creative and assertive workforce is, quite literally in some ways, building an empire, and that’s no small feat. If you’d like to see the books that he’s working on, you can find them on his aforementioned website, emperorqinreturns.com, and you can also check out The Emperor Returns (The Emperor’s Return Book 1) on Amazon today!
By Yaohua2000 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=776110
By Gary Todd – https://www.flickr.com/photos/101561334@N08/9897054723/, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=101614027
By Gary Todd – https://www.flickr.com/photos/101561334@N08/14183751838/, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=101614029
By Gary Lee Todd, Ph.D. – https://www.flickr.com/photos/101561334@N08/9894225556/, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=101654461
Additional images provided by Dr. Clifford Waldman
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