About Shadows of Sylvaheim:
Sixteen-year-old Jack thinks he’s a failure. Living with aches and nausea, hearing voices and disconnected from his friends, he wonders if crystal meth might take the pain away. But when his mother ends up in a coma, and his father can’t cope, Jack runs from home with his younger sister Emily.
As the siblings shelter from a violent storm, goddess Freyja appears. She says they must travel to the realm of Sylvaheim to defeat the malevolent Lord Batu Glass and his partner Morgana. Growing in power, they now threaten all the realms.
But the ultimate challenge lies within: Can Jack and Emily conquer their deepest fears to stop druglord Batu Glass and his henchmen, the traitorous ravens, before Jack’s soul is lost too?
“Many people come to Jung little by little, with the seeds planted early in life that later grow into rich and mature comprehension in the second half. Through the storyline and characters in this novel, such seeds are sown, planted amidst a world of myth and dream … a vital understanding of what it means to pass through levels and relationships of real, lived experience.”
Kerry Petherbridge ~ President, C.G. Jung Society QLD
“Toula’s is a novel approach to improving the psychological health of young people. She cleverly interweaves ancient Stoic philosophy and Jungian psychology into a fantasy fiction text to appeal to a wide variety of young people.”
Dr Paul Williams ~ Senior lecturer and award-winning author of Soldier Blue; Parallax; Playing with Words; Fail Brilliantly; Novel Ideas: Writing Innovative Fiction and others
“Dr Gordillo has created an exceptional teaching and learning tool. Shadows of Sylvaheim cleverly combines fantasy, mythology, spirituality, philosophy and meaning-making for modern youth.”
Professor Maria Raciti ~ Adjunct Fellow, Professor of Marketing and Director of Indigenous and Transcultural Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast
“It was a pleasure to work with Toula in the creation of her young adult novel during the Doctorate in Creative Arts research degree. The end result is an innovative blend of ancient myths, Jungian ideas and philosophy with a clear message of health and well-being.”
Dr Clare Archer-Lean ~ Author, Senior Lecturer and Discipline leader, University of the Sunshine Coast
“Dr Gordillo’s narrative is an imaginative work that will no doubt prove engaging for young adult readers. Story has an enormous power to capture the minds and hearts of youth. Toula’s attempt to harness this power, in a positive way, is a credit to her.”
Dr Eileen Herbert-Goodall ~ Author; Field of Words Director, Co-Judge and Editor-in Chief; University of the Sunshine Coast Creative writing program
“Shadows of Sylvaheim is a thrilling tale of adventure that arouses curiosity and interest by marrying fantasy and symbolic imagery to explore complex themes of psychology and philosophy. Written for a young adult audience, Dr Gordillo captures the imagination, offering an avenue for the reader to better understand their sense of Self.”
Dr Angelique McInnes ~ Author and Curious Entrepreneur, Financial Planning Lecturer and Researcher, University of Central Queensland
“As a writer of young adult fantasy books for more than 20 years, I am conscious of how stories affect young adults. My school-age readers have told me how they see themselves in the roles of the heroes and villains, how they recognised themselves in the feelings and actions, in the friendships, the families, the loves, the losses, and the ideals these stories conveyed. Toula has done a fantastic job with her Sylvaheim novel. Filled with adventure and history and subliminal advice, I absolutely loved this book!”
Marianne Curley ~ Australian Award-Winning Writer of Young Adult Fantasy Fiction, notably, The Guardians of Time Series, published in more than 20 countries
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Dr Toula Gordillo was born in Brisbane, Australia. She grew up travelling the country with a nature-loving father narrating stories, songs and poetry, and a mother who taught her music and distance education. The family eventually settled on the Great Dividing Range—a city called Toowoomba. Toula’s own life, in many ways, is as diverse as the protagonists in this book. Like the characters Jack and Emily who also ‘lived’ west of the Range, Dr Gordillo followed a dream. She escaped to an alternate reality through fantasy fiction to cope with adversity during her teen years.
At seventeen, Toula and her mother moved to Katherine in the Northern Territory. Here, Toula attended Katherine State High School and was exposed to the storytelling method of the Territory’s First Nation’s population. Living, studying and working in one of the most remote regions of Australia, combined with her father’s connection to ‘self, spirit and nature’, Toula came to appreciate the value of mythic fantasy to pass on important knowledge traditions.
As a young adult psychology student, Toula was briefly introduced to the work of Dr Carl Jung. Years later, while studying a Doctor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) research degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast, she understood Jung’s premise. That is, myth-based fantasy, particularly one that describes the legendary hero’s journey, can be a helpful reframing and illumination tool. Moreover, it can be very important for health and healing.
Having worked as a former teacher, Guidance Officer Intensive Behaviour Support (GOIBS) and acting Head of Student Services in some of Australia’s largest schools, today Toula is a practicing Clinical and Jungian psychologist specialising in children and youth. Dr Gordillo continues to develop her innovative, creative and nature-based Universal Psychology method: Story Image Therapy (SIT)®. She has dedicated the rest of her life to helping to improve young people’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. She does this through combining ancient and modern stories and images.