If Eva knew Seven was half-vampire, she might never have fallen in love with him at all. On the other hand, if Seven knew that Eva’s subconscious was actually a symbiotic spirit in part responsible for haunting all his life in the form of Faye The Silverskin, then certainly he would not have fallen in love with her either. However, here they have found themselves tangled together, neither quite sure whether the other is lover, friend or foe, and the tragedy of their story’s unraveling is only balanced out by the salvation of their seed of truth: that true love will guide them through it all.
Seven set out into the woods on Olin’s Harley, cruising the twisted trees through a warm lit morning, trying to shake off the pressure of everything.
He knew it was wrong to bring Eva to French’s Forest, in light of Faye’s twisted ways.
He knew it was un·con·scion·a·ble to allow her to continue to live in the dark as she did.
Yet there was a fourth wall or a final obstacle that prevented him from disclosing the truth.
He did not want to sacrifice their relationship just to set things straight in case the Silverskin became enraged.
The wind tussled his hair as he wound around the snaking lanes taking in the cool morning mist in a somber mood.
The last thing he would have ever wanted was for their relationship to end up like this, where his ex could ruin everything.
Yet she had pressed him for this return to his familial woods, and in the end there was little he could do but comply with it.
Just then up above the rise there came into sight a fawn of supernatural bent standing in the middle of the road just ahead.
He slowed to a stop hardly believing his eyes when a flash of lightning crashed down out of the overcast sky all of a sudden.
The fawn disappeared in the blast leaving but a black stain on the highway and a trail of smoke rising up toward the grey dawn.
Seven rubbed his eyes and tussled his hair, looking all about him, but there was no sign of any other disturbance, nothing off sync.
So he pressed pedal to the floor and carried on with his morning tour, still more rattled by the thought of losing Eva than seeing Faye.
The Silverskin did not scare him anymore, he had gotten over that long ago, but what really ruffled his surety, was her meddling ways.
Eva was the most dear, sweet, kind, loving and gentle person he had ever met, and Faye wanted nothing but to take his new love from him.
When Seven finally pulled Olin’s Harley back into the garage at Bane House, he felt a little bit lightened, yet still fearful of the new day ahead.
He knew by no subversion of the imagination, that they would be lucky to make it out of French’s Forest alive, and if they didn’t, it was all his fault.
Shock of shiny black hair, tight black leather jacket, tight white t-shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, tiny fangs, slightly pale, very slightly pointy ears (he is half-human half-vampire). His family who he & Eva are going to visit are all full vampires (Seven’s folks Godwin, Marietta & his brother Olin). Seven is human enough that Eva never notices his vampire traits much. He has explained to her that his family are albinos to explain their pale skin.
Seven is an ‘every man’ with hints of the vampire beneath. There is one pivotal scene where he nearly loses it to his vampire urges with Eva in his arms, but he regains control and for most of the novel he is more human than vampire. He grew up adventuring French’s Forest as a young half-vampire boy, only finally to be ensnared by Faye’s evil web. He ultimately escaped however, from his crazy family & from the wood, to find sanctuary in Old York where he built a new life acting as a normal human being, and where he finally met Eva and began a new life. It is only when Eva insists that she meets his parents, and they return to French’s Forest, that the story begins and their lives unravel.
Eva – (Picture a touch of Faye)
Red Hair, Black Lips, Green Eyes. Freckles on the cheeks. Punk style. Piercings (Nose ring. Tongue ring. Ear-rings.) Shiny silver tank top and black leggings, black leather boots. Suede jacket. (Resembles Lady Faye otherwise – except Eva’s ears are not pointy -, as Faye is partly the manifestation of Eva’s subconscious. Faye is also partly the ghost of a dead wood elf from long ago, partly possessing Eva as well as being controlled by Eva’ subconscious. The Silverskin is a supernatural parasitic seductress feeding on Eva’s soul. The two are one.)
On Relationship –
There is a tension between the two, balanced by an intense love of each other. Seven hides his vampire side, while Eva does not even realize she is hiding her subconscious control and will over The Silverskin. On a deeper level Eva understands Seven’s heart is partly owned by Faye, for she is herself partly Faye, and so her subconscious fueling of The Silverskin’s jealous rages are in fact in turn fueled by Eva’s very own jealousies.
Theirs is a twisted embrace, much like the twisted trees of French’s Forest.
The action really gets underway after Seven & Eva go for a walk in the woods. At one point a big storm is coming along, so perhaps a full moon, a lot of lightning and silver clouds, with silver mist as the two are standing on the forest path, clasping each other as thunder claps, looking brave and sexy, yet vulnerable and shaken. Faye is beginning to show Her fury.
Sheriff Trollope is one of those minor bit players that you introduce to provide foreshadowing and act as a necessary fulcrum toward a new leg of the plot, where Seven and Eva eventually are chased by ‘Hellbear’, as is so coined the name of the beast by the Sheriff himself. While the Sheriff never appears again in the story in any very significant event, it being left up to the reader’s imagination as seeing him going off after the bear, to keep the community of French’s Forest safe, it has to be here mentioned that this is not by direct contrivance. Often what happens in the evolution of a tale, through revisions over time, is one introduces new characters in small ways, unsure of how they might be expanded to fit into the fuller picture of the narrative, but with enough certainty that they belong for the time being even as a preliminary cut-out. In other words I could see a future revision of The Silverskin expanding upon the Sheriff, perhaps detailing some aside action scenes with him in it, in order to round out his character arc and flesh out that angle of the tale further. Many of the characters in this novel started out this way over 14 years ago, only to be expounded upon and brought to life in future revisions. To do this all at once is too forced and creates an inorganic flow to the narrative. Each character reveals him or her or itself in their own good time. -RT
There is a fable of lore from real history written by Dylan Raine about the Legend of The Silverskin. This can be located in the Epilogue to the book. There is a detailed description of the history of the haunting of French’s Forest by Lady Faye, with some action sequences and a bit of a mini-story, self-contained, for reader’s interest that touches on much of the backstory to this novel. The spoiler alert is that this extra fable to which it seems The Silverskin was based on and written around is in fact also entirely fiction contrived by the author as a companion piece to support the structure of the main story and to give it a through-line of authenticity that might allow one to lose themselves more readily in the plot. -RT
Old One is the Werejaguar incarnation of Midnight, the large black cat that appears on Evan’s bedroom wall mural of the Forest. Old One is as one might expect a tall muscular werewolf-like jaguar beast that acts as an altruistic-heroic interventionist in the story toward the end. Everyone loves when a stranger comes to the aid of an innocent victim, yet neither Seven nor Eva understand how Old One is in fact Midnight, nor to that end who even Midnight is, and to them it is just a miracle that this intimidating monster has come to their aid, specifically in his duel with Faye’s Draca in the River Payne. No human form of Midnight / Old One ever appears in the book, however, this cannot be ruled out by the author in future revisions.
Old One first animates for young Evan long ago, in the werecat’s pure panther form, on Evan’s bedroom wall mural (which Evan painted himself, unwittingly bestowing a power portal upon the picture), soon leading Evan into the dimension of French’s Forest, then later leading a future occupant of that same bedroom, Eva, sleeping beside that same mural, along that same Ruddy Stroll into her heart’s forest of dreams. ‘Midnight’ as Old One is known to them, acts as a reluctant guide to both of them, to those haunted, dream-time woods. He wishes them no harm, yet they plead and long to explore those dangerous woods. Midnight eventually feels he fails Evan, losing him forever to the Forest, thus, the were-jaguar then finally goes the extra distance to protect dear Eva, ultimately dueling with Draca to the bloodthirsty end in the River Payne.
Rhythm and meter in fiction is interesting. In this novel, you have many events rapidly happening over just a night. It is a delicate balance to play off a high action and drama evening, against a well developed and intricate backstory, while not dragging too long for flashbacks. I wanted to keep things moving, however, anytime in writing, when you begin to sense the words becoming inauthentic, then you put the brakes on and relax. It has to come from the heart. It has to mean something to you, and offer something to somebody else. There has to be subtext and there has to be action. There has to be metaphor and there has to be meaningless detail and trivia. It has to be an organic, authentic, spider-web world of mayhem and miracles weaved up, where the reader gets caught out for a time, enlivened by enlightenment and escape. I believe writing is the highest form of art.
Nearing in on their final escape, when Seven & Eva close their eyes and jump in unison, landing in the snow, it is meant to be a reminder of their bond. This is a metaphor for all of those relationships out there that began so innocent, yet then scattered to dust and ended so sour. If you can remember how it started, why it began, why it was so good, maybe you can return to those tender entrances to your romance. I would like to think in that moment Eva is finally beginning to disengage from Faye’s influence and remember why she loves Seven so much. She is finally beginning to shed Lady Faye. For the Silverskin is not just Eva’s subconscious, but also a supernatural entity, a paranormal parasite, a ghost from beyond, and from long before, that lurks in French’s Forest, looking for a spirit to become Her host. So In French’s Forest is not just about subconscious sabotage of a relationship, but also, about external, evil forces, actively interested in sabotaging your relationship. Remember your loving heart. RT
The name of Seven’s home woods actually comes from a suburb I once visited and stayed at down under in Oz. Australia is a beautiful country with much to explore and I enjoyed 4 months working and traveling up the coast all the way to Cairns with my girlfriend at the time. This was back in 2002, in the wake of 911 and before the world sort of lost its innocence to the Age of the Internet so to speak. It was a great adventure to go down there chasing after my love and I will write about it one day, but more to the point, I took that name French’s Forest back with me, not knowing at the time it would end up being the centre-piece of this supernatural tale The Silverskin.
I have no plan to write a sequel to The Silverskin at this time, however, in the future things can always change. Until then I will try my best to avoid even thinking about it, in order to allow my subconscious to drum up some ideas. After my marketing campaign for Silver is finished, I plan on revising and republishing my four other books.
It is an interesting thing for the writer, to discover that they are writing about something entirely other and deeper than the surface themes to which they had originally subscribed. After some time, it begins to dawn on him or her that their subconscious ideas about the story are on an entirely different level than their conscious ones, and therefore, upon revising and reinvigorating the tale, they are able to add extra layers and expand on those more profound and internal through lines.
When I was four years old, my family moved from the country to the city. I used books to escape the big city life. I studied novels in university and read a great deal. Eventually I tired of reading and began to write exclusively for myself.
The Ruddy Stroll represents a bloody trail that is meant to lead Seven and Eva to the truth of their relationship and reality. I think of it similarly to following the money or the gold brick road in Oz. The horrifying truth, however, of Eva’s existence is in fact what Seven’s subconscious refuses to embrace.
I first began writing this as a short story around 2005. My then girlfriend at the time was a firecracker. She was sweet as candy if you met her as a stranger or acquaintance at arm’s length, however, when one would get close to her, one would see another side. Perhaps you know someone just like this? Sometimes we tend to hurt the ones we love most, simply because on a deeper level, we know they will not leave us. Perhaps we are testing them. Perhaps we are pushing them to see if they will stick around despite our faults and flaws. Perhaps our insecurities drive us to sabotage our relationships or we simply take our cherished ones for granted too easily.
I eventually broke it off with her after a few years of drama. Afterward she said I was lucky because she would be ‘nice to me now’ that we were just friends. Well needless to say we did not stay friends. But in hindsight many years later I gained a greater perspective from that relationship. I learned that the reason I was putting up with her as long as I was, was because others in my life had treated me similarly prior. I won’t get into that here just yet, but rest assured I eventually realized the entire book was about those who are seething with anger underneath, while putting on a sweet front.
The black cat Midnight that appears in Evan’s painting on his bedroom wall is his supernatural guardian. He plays a more prominent role toward the end of the novel, especially in some closing action scenes. The concept that Midnight is in fact a manifestation of Evan’s mind also calls into question how much of the entire French’s Forest story is a part of Evan’s dreams.
I leave it open. Faye may still exist in Eva’s mind. Seven may yet live to see the Silverskin again. -RT
Aly & Evan were late additions to the story, however, their presence in the narrative tied up some loose ends nicely, balancing out the backstory and giving some supporting roles to the main through line. -RT
Draca represents the masculine side of Faye, and perhaps deserves further exploration in future revisions. I plan on revising and expanding most books about every five years or so. Hemingway said he needed to step away for three months to get a new perspective on his writing. For me I find it takes years to get my head out of the Forest! -RT
French’s Forest symbolizes the subconscious, that inner realm where our deepest, darkest fears lurk. (Extra Secret: The name is based on a suburb in Oz I once visited.) -RT
Seven and Eva are main characters in The Silverskin, however, Faye is also definitely a central figure. The true question is which of them is protagonist / antagonist. I look forward to hearing who you think is which. -RT
The central theme of Silverskin is the monster within. Let me know what you think this story is about. -RT
Thank you for visiting … This will be the home base for all things Silverskin. Please come back to follow the serialization. I will be posting new illustrations to accompany the story, by artist QRS whom I have known and whose work I have admired for over a quarter century. More to come soon. -RT