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…
Seven – (Picture Sam Rockwell) 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…
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.