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Interview with Christian Hageseth III on his book Let’s Pretend: A Tale of Mind, Imagination, and Healing

Author Name: Christian Hageseth III

Book Title: Let’s Pretend: A Tale of Mind, Imagination, and Healing

Book genre: A blend of Fantasy, Romance, Psychology, and Humor.

Author Bio

Born the last child to older parents during the cold winter of ‘41, young Christian embraced his Norwegian heritage and accepted his duty as a North Dakota native: expect bland food, distrust tropical sunshine, and conserve subcutaneous fat for insulation.

After graduating with a BA from Northwestern University, he chose to study medicine; receiving his MD from the University of Rochester. Prior to specializing in psychiatry, he volunteered for military service, serving as a Marine Corps Flight Surgeon during the Vietnam War.

With five years of military service behind him, he studied psychiatry in Southern California and then moved to his permanent home in Colorado. During the eighties, almost by accident, he began teaching “Humor and Health” workshops throughout the United States.

He published his first book, A Laughing Place, the Art and Psychology of Positive Humor in Love and Adversity; it sold 17,000 copies over the next decade. Subsequently, he wrote a second book which won a Benjamin Franklin Award at the 1992 American Bookseller’s Association entitled: A Thirteen Moon Journal, A Psychiatrist’s Journey Towards Inner Peace.

Throughout the nineties, Dr. Hageseth focused on treating the most severe forms of mental illness and as a consequence began to provide electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) for his most depressed patients. Dissatisfied about how ECT had been practiced, he sought to develop a more compassionate approach. He produced an award-winning video entitled, Beyond Stigma, the Compassionate Application of Electro-Convulsive Therapy. It received two Telly Awards and was featured at the World Psychiatry Meetings in Madrid, Spain in 1998.

After thirty-two years, Dr. Hageseth left clinical practice and reconnected with his early love of the out-of-doors, producing and hosting a national television show on The Outdoor Life Network entitled Bird Dogs Forever. For four years, it was the most fun a guy could have and make a few pennies in the process.

Since television production freed up his time, he made medical trips to Honduras to help an isolated, indigenous people called The Tolpan. He continued similar work as recently as 2018 when he traveled to Uganda where he taught holistic medicine to a population lacking access to physicians or medication.

His first symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appeared in 2005; his formal diagnosis made in 2012. Focusing on vigorous physical exercise, yoga, and varieties of mind work, he has not used Parkinson’s medications. For six years he directed a Parkinson’s support program in Northern Colorado and maintained an educational/inspirational website: www (dot) shiftpdmind (dot) com.

A year ago, an extra-terrestrial implanted an app in his brain forcing him to write his first novel, Let’s Pretend, A Tale of Mind, Imagination, and Healing.

Book Blurb:       

Dr. Peter Andresen is a broken man. Once a highly respected psychiatrist, he lives alone, suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder that he steadfastly denies. Unable to practice medicine, he survives on modest VA benefits. Ten years earlier, his wife died in a freak bicycle accident. Soon thereafter, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He has managed his Parkinson’s for nine years without taking medication.

As the story begins, Peter walks alone on a deserted beach. He doesn’t know where he is or what he’s doing until he encounters a beautiful young woman named Holly Be. She knows his story and it is her assigned mission to restore meaning to his life. But she fails to maintain the emotional distance required to prevent them from falling in love.

Holly lives in the realm of imaginary reality; a state of mind in which material realities are optional. What is real is whatever Peter and Holly can imagine. Their experiences range from existentially profound encounters to lighthearted play. Peter’s stated mission is to understand the bodymind and how managing it can arrest the progression of Parkinson’s. His PTSD is a different story. It is buried so deeply; he lives as if the trauma never took place. Terrifying memories must become conscious and reexperienced in florid detail if he will ever be free.

By the end of his stay, his brain’s disorders are resolved; but his safe return is not guaranteed—he may die during re-entry. Even if he returns safely, he will continue to be alone if Holly cannot leave imaginary reality . . . maybe.

What was your process of writing the book? 

It was fun, all-consuming, and meaningful. Written between five and eleven in the morning.

Why should people read your book?

Entertainment, inspiration, and new insight into the mind.

What is so special about your story? 

The variety of scenes and settings. The existential, e.g. meaning of life; romantic love without sex; exploring the capacity of the human mind; crazy fun.

Who is your ideal reader?

Thoughtful, reflective, philosophical and playful (and never-trumpers)

How did you celebrate finishing writing your book?

My wife and I enjoyed four pieces of Dove dark-chocolate and two glasses of Korbel Champaign.

Who is your favourite character in the book?

Holly, for sure. She is beautiful, playful, wise, strong, and loving.

If your book would be made into a movie – what actor would you want to play your main character and why?       

 Peter – Tom Hanks      Holly – Natalie Portman  

What is your favourite book? 

The Hunt for Red October

What author do you look up to?  

Ernest Hemingway

What would you do if your book became an international bestseller?    

Travel and hang out for a few months. Create my perfect place for writing. Continue study into the capacities of the human mind.

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