Ever Wondered How Those Stories Get Started?

Happy Werewolf Wednesday!  Instead of Instagraming/Facebooking/Twittering werewolf jokes today, as usual, I decided to address some reoccurring questions that readers had about my novel Syrenthia Falls.  For those who haven’t read my novel, don’t worry, my answers shouldn’t give away any major spoilers, and if you like what you see, Amazon links will be provided at the conclusion of my blog.  If you have never read Syrenthia Falls, this is what you can expect:

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Syrenthia is a teenage misfit who has never tasted friendship or romance. She has always been typecast as a wallflower, black sheep, and bookworm. Near the beginning of her senior year, she is befriended by Sarah who introduces her to a group of classmates that accept her as is.

Syrenthia quickly learns that this group of free spirited teenagers shares her strongest interest, urban legends. Each day, she learns more and more about a place called “The Falls” where someone or something has terrorized the land for years and only those with a death wish dare to venture out.

Upon arrival, the friends see that “The Falls” is nothing more than a swimming hole, a sandbar, and a waterfall. All is fun and games, until night falls. Once the full moon shines overhead, they are faced with a monstrous beast that is savage and extremely hungry. Only two people survive, one escapes unharmed, the other, Syrenthia, is not so lucky. However, over the passing weeks, Syrenthia grows to be a powerful and dangerous force. One by one her enemies are subjected to her wrath.

Now, the questions:

 “What makes your werewolf novel stand out among the rest?” 

I hear this question frequently.  Even when I pitched Syrenthia Falls to Dark Oak Press, I had to quickly explain why this book should be published, and how it differed from other novels.  I started my pitch with a mistake.  Nervous, I took a deep breath and blurted, “This book is the first in a series and the main character is the town itself.”

My publisher replied, “Yeah, that hasn’t been done before.”

Still, I had the floor. I agreed with him, and admitted that having a town as the main character was a common theme among the genre.  Since the ice was now broken, I felt like I had nothing left to lose.  I continued, “Syrenthia Falls is a werewolf novel set in suburbia.  In a sense, it’s like Stephen King’s Carrie meets An American Werewolf in London.  The werewolf is a metaphor.  It regards the beast that dwells within each of us and how that beast can become provoked.  That’s why with my novel, I have manipulated the werewolf subgenre so that it is presented as a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

With my publisher’s interest piqued, I now felt more confident.  I continued, “To avoid the werewolf cliché, I researched Voodoo, Satanism, and European superstitions.  In my research, I have found unique folklore and philosophies that I have used to construct my modern day beast.”

Although he wasn’t entirely sold, he did say, “Send it over and I’ll look at it.”

Months later, after emailing Dark Oak Press my manuscript, I received my acceptance letter.

“What fun facts can you tell me about your book?”

Some people who have read Syrenthia Falls, might wonder why I have described some characters who don’t show back up in this volume.  Trust, there is a reason for this, they have their own story.  In time, they will have their own book.  Again, the town is the main character and this town (Havensburg) has many residents and many dark secrets.  In the following Havensburg books, I plan to introduce new characters, lifestyles, scenarios, and classic creatures while breathing new life into them.

As I earlier noted, my werewolf was inspired by Voodoo, Satanism, and European superstitions and philosophies.  Prior to writing Syrenthia Falls, I had read a book called Voodoo Secrets by Heike Owusu.  This book had a segment in it, where it spoke of how werewolves detested bitter blood, and the two elements that made the blood bitter were coffee or tea.  It noted that by purging oneself with coffee or tea, one’s blood would gain a bitter smell that would act as a repellent against the werewolf.  When utilizing this information, I decided to go a step further and make the tea a weapon, such as silver.

I researched Levayan Satanism when I decided to dive into Syrenthia’s thoughts.  When I was surfing the web one day, I stumbled upon an interview that Bob Larson provided to Zeena Levay and Nikolas Schreck.  In this interview, I learned what their fundaments were and I found it interesting on how human based they had made their commandments. These are the fundamentals that I loosely elaborated upon in her thought process.

For the final touch, I returned to the root of werewolf folklore – Europe.  In my research, I learned of a formula that occult practitioners would concoct when wanting to transform into a werewolf.  So that I could birth my physical monster, I read of how these practitioners utilized herbs, wolf skins, salves, and chanting to create something bloodthirsty.  What I found most interesting is that opium had been used in their transformation spell.

“I thought the book was young adult, but it ended up being adult.”

This was a complaint that I received in a review.  Things like this happen.  However, just because a novel features teenagers, doesn’t mean it is young adult related.  But, truth be it, this was a concern I had when writing the novel.  When creating the characters, I couldn’t see them being anyone other than a group of teenagers, as I wanted to focus on peer pressure, child abuse, bullying, and coming of age.  Yet, although I focused on these subjects, the book is intended for adults only.

Who are your favorite characters?”

Each of my lead characters are based off of people I know, so I favor all of them.

Sarah is one of my favorites, as she grows from being an abused child, to being a fighter.  Writing Sarah was a touchy subject.  I based her off of a high school friend who suffered sexual abuse while we were in school.  During our school years, I watched her go from being a victim, to becoming a heroine.

My favorite character, of course, is Syrenthia.  The reason being is because I could identify with her as a person who was once a shy outcast.  The emotions and feelings she experiences make her a grey character and someone that people can either sympathize or empathize with.  The fact that she is the embodiment of good and evil, makes her more interesting.

“Why did you name your book Syrenthia Falls when the character is named Syrenthia and there is a location called Owen Falls?  The two don’t go together.”

I have been asked this on occasion and actually, the two go very well together.  The title regards Syrenthia descending a downward spiral.  As the reader progresses in the book, they see how she slowly unravels more and more until there is very little of the real Syrenthia left.  The waterfall also plays a great factor in this novel, as this is where Syrenthia begins her downward spiral, and in many cultures, water is seen as a symbol of transformation and rebirth.

“Why should I buy your book?”

Syrenthia Falls is a novel that I feel won’t disappoint you and I feel it is something that will renew the age old legend of the werewolf.  It is a piece of literature that has currently inspired artwork by Courtney Vice and tea by Kimberly Richardson.  Links are listed below so you may purchase my book and the inspired art and tea.

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Click each name to be redirected to the page of your liking.

Courtney Vice’s Facebook Page

Viridian Tea Company

Dark Oak Press (Free chapter of Syrenthia Falls Here).

Syrenthia Falls purchase link.  Available in paperback, hardback, and ebook.

Alexander S. Brown Facebook

Alexander S. Brown Instagram

Alexander S. Brown Twitter

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