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The Summit: An Interview with Howchi Kilburn, author of Fragrant Heart

Howchi Kilburn

As an author whose formative years were spent as a hippie in San Francisco, Howchi Kilburn continues to chart the course of those who experienced dramatic and simultaneous openings to the sensual/sexual and spiritual sides of human nature. His themes include explorations of gender identity, the ongoing discovery of True Self, and new understandings of relationship and sexuality. Sacred pleasure is a concept which provides a departure point for a long exploration of the potential for ecstatic reverential unity in human relationships and communities.

He writes about the evolution of people and their conceptions of a different set of realities, so colorfully revealed through exposure to many paths of Spirit. What do one-time hippies do in subsequent decades with the visions and wisdom they opened up to?

You can buy Fragrant Heart here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.


Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It just came to me while writing.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I had just made to the summit of a tall mountain after a long hike.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

Initially inspired by the Beat Generation: Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allan Ginsberg, then by Native American women such as Lousie Erdrich and Leslie Silko, and mythologists like Clarissa Pinkola Estes and Martin Shaw.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Howchi is a wilderness guide for vision quests, who has traveled to Ukraine seven times to foster wilderness quest practices among our new friends in Eastern Europe. His personal practice includes meditation, Tai-Chi, ceremony, and cultivating a mutual accord of veneration with deified Nature. His understanding of relationships is informed by thirty years experience as a marriage and family therapist, and as a participant in sacred ceremony drawing from Native American, European pagan, Asian mystical and other sources. He hopes to continue exploring the potential for ecstatic reverential unity in human relationships and communities.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Knowing that my message may now reach a wider audience.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

“Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, “Round About Midnight” by Miles Davis, “Boulder to Birmingham” by Emmylou Harris, and “Rivers of Babylon” by Jimmy Cliff.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

There is a spiritual reality, a spiritual world parallel to this one. There are many ways of moving in and out of that spiritual world. Ideal reader: open mind, spiritual orientation.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

Putting together a poetry chapbook. Spending at least one day a week with my grandchildren.

How was working with Atmosphere Press?

Pleasant, cordial, harmonious.


You can buy Fragrant Heart here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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