Q. What kind of research went into your Silhouette Lost series, especially as the 8-book series progresses?
A. It seems that at the beginning, most of my research was for the other characters eventually introduced in Silhouette Lost. I had to find Italian names for girls and one I realized later had more of an appropriate meaning for what happened to the character. Since Silhouette Lost begins moreso as a paranormal science fiction novel, I researched some of the likely careers that Yamaria, the protagonist and others would have as scientists. One other thing I researched was the intersection of time and space. This is a crucial moment in Silhouette Lost in which Yamaria and the others must endeavour to save the earth. Afterwards, it inspired me to go back to a portion of the novel and add what exactly was Yamaria's gift and how it manifested.
Q. Do you have any scientific background which contributed to your addressing the intersection of time and space in Silhouette Lost (book one)?
A. Absolutely not. This was part of the research I had to do. I remember at one point, thinking of a movie, which I quickly dismissed because I wanted the story to be based on my iteration of the scientific possibility. So it was not just having time stopped and being able to traverse cosmic bodies, but also being able to exist within the folds of existence and time, yet still being present although unseen to the world known.
Q. You have currently written eight books in the Silhouette Lost series, do you think you will write any additional novels to the series?
A. I have lightly considered it. There are one or two characters whose earlier or interconnecting lives I think are worthy of exploring, but at this point I could not say definitely. The Silhouette Lost series already has a novella and a full-length novel that is a prequel (as well at the rest being full novels), so the subject matter has to be worthy of exploring and clarifying matters in the background of the series that can serve as a tie-in.
Q. Who are some of the authors that have influenced your sci-fi/fantasy writing?
A. I do not have any authors who have influenced my sci-fi/fantasy writing. I wrote these books just on my imagination and cursory science research. I actually prefer magical realism fantasy as my leisure reading as well as some classics. However, I am learning more about author Neil Gaiman's body of literary work.
Q. Who do you think is the primary hero in Silhouette Lost?
A. At the offset it would be easy to say that Yamaria is the primary hero in Silhouette Lost, but as the story progress, she not only has the support of Salvatore; but the couple work as a team with beings reared in other worlds. Surprisingly, I would also say the winged creature that first visits Yamaria as a child, what Yamaria refers to as a sparrow. She appears in a small and innocuous form of a bird. Sometimes she is present with Yamaria without her even knowing, other times she helps Yamaria without being seen. It is at the end of Silhouette Lost where she makes her full radiant appearance. Yet her name is not revealed until book two, Rising Shadows. This other worldly being is the one who guided Yamaria as a child while she was in an ethereal state of wonder. This creature saved Yamaria while she hung off a cliff in the Amalfi Coast while on vacation with Salvatore. Had this being not saved Yamaria, the central figure in this cosmic rift to defeat a mortal enemy, their world would have been lost.
Q. How did you come up with the title Silhouette Lost?
A. So when I began writing Silhouette Lost, I thought I was to write primarily a contemporary romance novel with paranormal elements. There was the typical, modern day version of a girl coming of age. I identified this as Yamaria reminisces over her cotillion. Incidentally, the crown she wears to the cotillion is the key in which another character later on in the book series, understands her true identity and place in the kingdom-world they are to discover, the Kingdom of Erinamdi. Silhouette Lost was to provide the basis for Yamaria to understand her powers, not just as forces which she can solely wield or whom her mother or father may be, but because of who she was as a person. She was destined to harness power. Yamaria was ordained even as a child to show forth powers in which her physical self would be able traverse the unknown and meet and see creatures who served her. This was not to be an appeasement due to ego, but because of the heart she had, the energy she drew and her interconnection with the worlds beyond. Silhouette Lost is the title of book one, but as the series moves forward, each one of the characters show forth who they really are as beings, as vessels chosen from a time unknown to manifest their gifts and powers and as circumstances elicits.
Q. Can you talk about the process of creating a fantasy world?
A. This is a difficult question. In the literary world this is generally referred to as
'world-building'. I think I started the same way I do with writing the story that
takes place or begins in our world. I began with the characters. From Silhouette Lost to its sequel, Rising Shadows, the mystical winged creature links the two. In Silhouette Lost, Yamaria at a young age has the gift of manifesting a sort of light that allows her to connect beyond her world and through this universe. When she, and eventually Salvatore "enter" the Kingdom of Erinamdi, they are only at the cusp. Yamaria can see darkness, a sign of thrones and platforms. She is physically present in our world, yet a part of her is now present elsewhere. Even after she awakens from this unconscious state, she wonders if she was dreaming, a pseudo-hallucination. The Kingdom of Erinamdi is calling for her to enter, yet she resists. So I had to build the world slowly, starting with Yamaria's perception. From there, the characters from that world are what coax her and Salvatore further into Erinamdi. These creatures are called Pheawentherites (yes, I made up these creatures and their names). From their interaction with these small feathered ones, they meet a man whom they only know for a long while as the advisor. These people appear nearly as you and I, they live in homes, but their world is quite different. They have a different creation story. They have a monarchy yet a council of higher power watches over all and even beyond this is an Unseen Hand. I had to build this fantasy world in tiers like an onion. The process of creating it was parallel to the process of Salvatore and Yamaria exploring and learning more about it.
Q. One of the characters die and then somehow is resurrected. What purpose did her
A. At the onset, Livianna's death did not serve an overt purpose. She could be considered an ancillary character. I wrote her return because I tend to write good people as being triumphant over seemingly insurmountable odds. Livianna had made her peace. She was not the only one who died in Silhouette Lost. However, her journey back to this life was for her to acknowledge the winged creature, the same one that had always guided Yamaria since she was a child. It is unclear whether Livianna's resurrection was due to the creature, but at some point she encounters her. Livianna's name means "light". Oft-times when people have a near death experience, they speak of seeing a light guiding them, yet Livianna was not guided away from this world but back to it. The purpose and effects of her death will become more apparent several books later in the Silhouette Lost series.
Q. Science or its possibilities seem to be the center of some of the characters' discoveries. Yet Yamaria, Salvatore, and the others do not rely on science to save the world or to escape from harm. Was your writing the plot in such a way intentional?
A. I think their scientific background allowed for them to mesh their rational thinking with the realm of the unknown. Science is based on theory. Scientists use observation of given variables or events and analyze them to prove or disprove the likelihood of a theory. When Salvatore is held captive in the folds of time, Yamaria does not panic. She can still hear him though she cannot see him. Her patience, and their working together allowed for Salvatore to be pulled from the concealed existence from where he was temporarily imprisoned. Salvtore and Yamaria in Silhouette Lost had no time for elaborate thinking at different junctures at the interstice either. Though they worked together with Gidadina, Livianna, and Basilia, only Salvatore and Yamaria's background are known. They had to rely on the data provided from these other worldly strangers, guidance and what little scientific help their knowledge provided. I would consider it an unintentional holistic approach in resolving an unparalleled cosmic event.
Q. The Silhouette Lost series is not only paranormal and science fiction, it becomes
a part of the fantasy genre as well. Did you know when you were writing the series that it would morph into this multi-genre inclusivity?
A. No, not at the beginning. As I explored this other world and powers, it made sense to have more creatures a different origin story, especially since the Kingdom of Erinamdi does not fall within any of the known universes. It became a natural progression to solidify the characters' travel was truly "elsewhere".
Q. Do you think you will ever write another series?
A. I do not know at this time. When you write a series you are proud of, you wonder
if there is more of that sort of creativity within you, regardless of the possible genre you could write the potential series for in the future.
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
A. I learned from writing Silhouette Lost about resilience. Silhouette Lost is one of the first novels I have ever written, but I not only learn this from the writing process, I learned it form the characters in the book. Yamaria had the degrees and breeding, but she was lost. She was abandoned as a child. She focused on her studies. Yamaria was focused on research when so many years later she and Salvatore met again in Italy. Salvatore had a different sort of resilience. He had it in his mind that no matter how much Yamaria feared and suspected their encounter, that she was to be his. He was not aggressive. His resilience was in his patience, in showing her how much he cared. He observed her in her small moments of discovery and literally stood beside her when she had to use her powers. Their resilience created a formidable bond which made imposing forces retreat for them. Salvatore and Yamaria's resilience resulted in the marriage—and the beginning of their future together.
About the Author: Patricia M. Muhammad is an American multi-genre fiction author of crossover contemporary romance/science fiction, science fiction/fantasy, mystery/detective and historical romance genres. She has written 20 novels. Patricia is currently based in the United States.
Connect with Patricia:
Social media: @pmmuhammadbooks
Press: [email protected]