The Black Tail – Freehand Interview with Erostes

1.      Who are you, Erostes?

I am Aëllo, Calæno and Ocypete’s humble human servant.

2.      Why will we immediately empathize with you? Why will we identify with you when we meet you for the first time?

Despite my obvious undeserved “Cinderella” mistreatment at the hands of abusive harpies, I am tenacious of life. I slave away to meet the harpies’ never-ending demands, thread on eggshells whenever they lose their tempers to survive. My gaunt and scarred appearance should draw sympathy. Maybe I have human qualities you admire – like kindness. I visit prisoners in the dungeons and show them some humanity.

3.      Where are you at the beginning of the story, before anything new occurs to get the plot going? What is the everyday life you’ve been living, and how does the story show that?

Aëllo AKA The Stormy One goes ballistic and throws me through three different levels of Casa Harpies because she realizes an earring is missing. She abuses me physically and verbally, threatening to end my life. As a slave, I get kicked around a lot, even for mishaps I am not responsible for. Aëllo is violent, temperamental, bipolar.

4.      What is your longing (deep desire) or emotional need (you’re unaware of)?

To overcome the harpies (somehow) and lead a life where I get to make my own choices freely. I have a deep need for real affection/love, a sense of belonging, and joy.

5.      What opportunity is presented to you at the first key turning point?

The merman Triton overpowers the harpies and abducts me, freeing me from slavery/captivity.

6.      What new situation are you placed in as a result of that opportunity? Is it by choice, or are you forced into it? What will you have to figure out, or adjust to, in this new situation?

Triton turns me into a mermaid against my will and then the underworld Council of Rulers sentence me to three Herculean Labors.  If I tell them who I really am (human), they’ll kill me just for knowing of their existence. If I don’t, then I might die just going through these impossible Labors.

7.      What specific, visible goal or finish line do you want to reach by the end of the novel – in other words, what’s your outer motivation?

I just want to survive intact.

8.      What’s the outer conflict — what makes that goal impossible to achieve?

My new body, my new underwater environment, and my new tormentor are incredibly difficult to adjust to —  the odds are simply stacked against me.

9.      What is your greatest emotional fear?

That I’ll never be worthy of living.

10.  What wound – what painful event or situation in your past (usually in adolescence) – led to that fear?

The opening scene where, believing I stole her earring, Aëllo opens an old scar and tells me she will eat me slowly in the Meadow of Bones.

11.  Why is the romance character your destiny? Why do you choose each other, out of all the other people you’ve been involved with?

Triton is my destiny because he is so passionate about vengeance that he loses perspective of his mission statement. Mistaken for someone else, I am the only one who can overthrow Triton’s hardcore principles by showing him that in fact, he has major blind-spots that need checking. This opens his eyes to new possibilities in understanding the world around him — and this completely dovetails with what I am trying to do post Casa-Harpies.

12.  What is your real identity – what protective persona keeps you from facing and overcoming your emotional fear?

Your typical slave, I am trained to think that if the job ends, my life ends. I believe my life follows whatever direction my masters/captors give it.

13.  What is your essence or truth? Who would you be if your identity were stripped away? In other words, who do you have the potential to become, if you were courageous enough?

The first human to ever be in contact with, and overcome both species, the Nereids (merfolk) and the (airborn) Harpyrai, at their own games.

14.  What is your arc or character growth? How do you gradually make the transition from your identity to your essence? What gives you the courage to do that?

My motivational driver switches from “needing” to get through the Labors (to survive), to “wanting” to impress Triton, because I’m in love with him. I also figure out that Melusine and I are connected somehow – I need to know where I came from.

15.  What is the story’s universal theme – how does your character’s arc provide the reader with a prescription for living a more fulfilled life?

Living life meaningfully gets us through the drudgery of day-to-day odds and helps us make good decisions.

16.  What deeper issues – political or social — does the novel explore?

Politically, identification with nations. Socially, class conflicts.

17.  What are the successful antecedents for the film — recent, successful novels similar in market demographic, genre, style, tone and/or story, that you can point to and say, “Because those made money, this one will make money.”

Twilight, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Clash of the Titans…

18.  What is the passion for this project – what do you love about it?

Mermaids! Revocalizing sirens… from a postmodern perspective, a la Margaret Atwood!

19.  What are the biggest weaknesses in the story right now?

No subplots and I have no idea what happens yet in Books 2 and 3.

20.  What makes this a novel – why will thousands of people want to spend their time and money to read it?

This could be a marketable franchise for production in video games, movies, children’s books, merchandise, theme park, even. It ties many different well-loved Greek myths together, with a modern twist.

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