Download *Chapter One of Somewhere Beyond The Sea »
Beyond typical prose, I have a passion for bringing visual aspects of my writing to life in order to enhance the power of the story and draw the reader in. As literature moves into the digital, I see a window for embracing new forms of media that have the potential of broadening the possibilities of creative work. Though I do feel that literature should be able to stand on its own, I believe that when used properly, additional media can add a unique personality and color to the piece.
You will note that in this first chapter, I have incorporated a modest use of visuals. This chapter comes from a novel I am working on entitled, Somewhere Beyond the Sea. The title itself alludes to a song by Bobby Darrin, which holds much meaning to the overall direction of the novel. Without giving the reader too many clues, I place specific references throughout the story that are meant to encourage them to be curious and to research what they are not familiar with. These references add immense depth if engaged with and understood.
When I approach a new project, I aim to create characters that have unusual circumstances in their lives. In this excerpt, the reader will find themselves in the perspective of Henri Carolina on the day of his and his twin sister’s sixteenth birthday. The unusual circumstance in their lives is the permanent absence of their mother and the short-term absence of their father. This absence of parental authority opens up the realm of possibility for this duo, made trio with their three-legged dog Tripod, and it gives these young characters more responsibility and agency for the events that will unfold.
Within the first five pages, the context of the story is set and the stakes are raised as an anonymous package from France arrives. Through this chapter, the reader becomes aware that Henri is a very inquisitive, and somewhat devious boy. He decides to open the package, which is addressed to his father, unearthing a mysterious letter and an old camera with the name “Carolina” stamped underneath. He then proceeds to hide the camera from his sister. The meaning of this camera will become the driving force for the novel as it moves along, slowly revealing a secret that could entirely change the lives of the Carolina family.
At the same time as this exterior journey takes place, both of these characters will undergo an interior journey towards self-discovery, as they learn the truth about their past. Presently, they are driven by the pursuit of adulthood. With the lack of parental or sibling role-models, they seek guidance from movies, literature, and history. The icon Henri attempts to replicate is James Dean, a hip, sly, and handsome 1950s actor. He also measures his manhood against the headstrong character Holden Caulfield, from Catcher in the Rye. Sam, on the other hand, sees Jackie Kennedy Onassis as the ideal type of woman. It is not surprising that she would have a slightly older role model since she has not grown up with a mother figure.
Having a father that constantly travels, a lazy young uncle, and Grandma with dementia as their only surviving family, Henri and Sam exhibit more maturity than the typical teenager, and nearly become the parental figures to the rest of the characters.
There are many objects in the story that encapsulate meaning and reveal the values and characteristics of this family, such as records, antiques, furniture, pictures, plants, etc. There are also many repeating “inside jokes” that build throughout the story. These jokes are intended to make the reader feel that they are in on the humor, such as looks, words of the day, music, names of objects, times, actions, the dog, etc.
The ultimate purpose of this novel is meant to cause the reader to realize that his or her own life can be artistic, unique, and intellectual; they simply need a healthy dose of curiosity to find out the story their life is meant to tell.
*This excerpt is still in progress.