Q. What is one thing you can tell us about Silhouette Lost that most people would not have guessed?
A. Silhouette Lost (along with Love Captured) is one of the first novels that I have ever written. In the novel's preface, I explain in detail what prompted me to write this sci-fi/paranormal book.
Q. Silhouette Lost pulls from multiple genres. How would you best describe your first novel in the Silhouette Lost series?
A. Silhouette Lost is Book One in the currently 8-book series. It has contemporary romance, science fiction, and a bit of paranormal. I sometimes refer to it as fantasy, though none of the characters explicitly travel to another world. However, Yamaria and Salvatore along with new characters introduced, encounter each other at the interstice.
Q. Can you share an excerpt from Silhouette Lost that you haven't published before?
A. “Cute. So, I must carry you away to a distant shore to see more of the inner you?”
“Only time will tell.” Salvatore found her response a bit cheeky and was completely enamoured by it. After checking in they ventured for a walk along the town soaking in the historic scenery. For some, the broken stairways indicated a lack of repair. For this couple it was tale of Amalfi’s history; of how many locals in decades and perhaps centuries past have trekked along the concrete pavement taking their local wares and foodstuffs to and from the market before the advent of modern amenities.
“This is so picturesque, like we are standing in time,” Yamaria softly said.
“In a way, but it is here for all to make their own personal histories,” Salvatore said.
“I wouldn’t accept any other way, except with you.” The tides were heightening their reach but would never extend beyond halfway of the cliff that Yamaria and Salvatore stood upon. She walked only a few feet away from the upward sloping edge, careful not to get too close. The cliff’s earthen trunk was a haven for the rejected greenery of the cliff’s surface. A few birds perched daily on the random branches which protruded from it; inviting the winged fowl for a day of frolic in the light of the sun.
“It’s like a dream, and please do not wake me if it is so,” she said. The wind was
toggling her carefully crafted fishtail pony. The wind was so brisk it flowed straight through Salvatore’s loose linen button up shirt.
“This is real and there will be so much more I hope to show you, not just today or
tomorrow…” Salvatore said. A flock of birds caught his eye. He had not noticed Yamaria was gone until he turned back around and heard her yelling his name. Yamaria had stumbled and fallen backwards over an embedded stone. She continued falling from the cliff which had a rounded tip and dipped inward throughout its rugged descending contours to its based below the somewhat still waters. Yamaria managed to grab right underneath the rugged surface and held on dearly calling for Salvatore. Her legs dangled for a few seconds before she tried to kick her left leg closest to the cliff. Yamaria realized that all she was doing was losing energy and causing her fingers to lose her grip. “Yamaria! Yamaria!” Salvatore yelled. “Hold on!” He went to the edge of the cliff and reached out his right hand, the span of distance was too great that their hands met only halfway. “I cannot lose you, not ever! Just stay calm and I’ll get some rope, a raft, and help from the locals. Just do not let go, ok?!”
“I am trying but the rock is too rough and it is hurting my hands!” Yamaria cried. She felt a surge of force behind her which she concluded arose from her inner strength awakened by extreme circumstances. Yamaria was lifting upward, and stretching her legs forward focusing on the terrain closest to her. She fell forward but felt no real pain, only a bit embarrassed. By the time Salvatore returned with gear and help, Yamaria had already recovered and was safely back on top of the cliff. Salvatore rushed towards her and lifted her off the ground.
“How did you even…are you alright? Was someone here already?” Salvatore asked.
“Calm down Salvatore. I’m fine, I think,” Yamaria said.
Q. When you began writing Silhouette Lost (Book One) did you already know that it would morph into a series or did it develop organically into this as you continued writing?
A. Silhouette Lost was one of the first books I have ever written. I did not know what direction it was going in for a long while. I struggled just to complete this book manuscript. As I was developing the storyline, I realized that I had become inclined towards the characters. That is, I was not ready to bid them farewell. As an author, I noticed that I have this solemn feeling when I am close to completing a novel. For Silhouette Lost, I realized that just because a novel ends, does not mean it is the end of their story. Since I already hinted that more was to happen by using Gidadina's text, I left the door open if I wanted to write more—and I did. Even after writing the sequel, Rising Shadows, it was not until I completed that novel that I decided to continue. I could have stopped as a duology or even as a trilogy, but I accepted that these characters had much more development to be had. This is when the reader can see how although Yamaria and Salvatore are the center of nearly every major event or ethereal unfolding, they could never achieve what was necessary without the help of the others. From there, a character or two that may see ancillary or unimportant will be transformed, show forth great power or even reveal him or herself to be a great enemy. As the storyline unfolds, the other characters must step forth and share their understanding of what they have learned from their respective worlds, inevitably discovering greater gifts that lie within. Varying worlds, manifestation of abilities and a history unfolding of this kingdom-world could only be explained in a multi-book series. Thus, the series grew organically as I furthered and intertwined various storylines—and so did the characters.
Q. Can you explain to us why you chose the title, Silhouette Lost?
A. Initially the title was to reflect what a silhouette is, a darkened shape to reflect the outline of a person. The first half of Silhouette Lost focuses on the protagonist, Yamaria, and her natural development from girl to a young woman. Every person goes through expected stages of learning and development. John Locke promulgated the theory of table rasa. A silhouette is a blank canvas of a person needing to be filled with the experiences, reflections, exploration of the exterior that allows one to understand the nature, personality, and strength of who they are. This develops in time. The brain/mind develops certain responses to external stimuli (good or bad) over time. One's personality may be influenced by trauma or a series of joyful experiences. So it is not just the physical form, that is the color of the eyes, changes in hair, voice through puberty that begin to truly define who an individual is to become as a fully developed adult. This silhouette is a representation of the natural form. Yet this is not the full expression of who a person is. It is only a part. One who considers the matter fully would understand that a different dimension exists for the individual. Thus, if we were to go back to her youth where she first encounters the winged creature, there is a level of immaturity, which is natural for her age at the time. However, Yamaria's inner self, this portion of ethereal grace is inquisitive and sees within and without herself with the guidance of the winged being. At this point it is not so clear how her ability to be conscious within an elevated state with help her and others in the future. However, it demonstrates the necessary awakening that would catapult her and her love interest, Salvatore in their quest in the kingdom-world. This becomes clear in Book Two of the Silhouette Lost series, Rising Shadows.
Q. You chose Italy/Italian heritage to serve much of the background for the characters for Silhouette Lost. You have mentioned before that you never visited Italy, but what of the characters, was there a particular reason you chose them to have Italian heritage?
A. Yamaria is half-Italian, as well as some of the other characters. Salvatore is of full European Italian heritage. Though the protagonist is American, she in many ways had a traditional upbringing. One instance in which this is outlined is Yamaria's attendance to the prestigious cotillion. Although Salvatore had similar education, he had a grooming background that was more socially elevated. It is not just his ability to speak Italian fluently that contributes to his natural charm, but his father is a great businessman. He had expectations for Salvatore to fulfill a powerful role in their family enterprise. Salvatore was exposed to the sort of etiquette of the wealthy elite at a young age. Those who were much older, in a space that was likely reserved for men of great influence. He easily fulfilled the role that his father had now opened for him. Even with this, his cultural heritage, with a focus creating one's own family as the foundation of prosperity would remind him to remain grounded in his later years. To juxtapose Yamaria with Salvatore who is from across the ocean was a literary tool to demonstrate how two people from two different countries could easily mesh well together and become one. It is not just the similarity in education, or even the expectations that their respective socializations provided them, but I wrote their characters with the understanding that there is a sense of destiny. Salvatore and Yamaria could not be with anyone else. A greater force, more powerful than her gift was at work.
Q. The two primary characters, Yamaria and Salvatore have scientific backgrounds, yet it is Yamaria who steers the helm of resolving the conflict regarding time and space. Is there a reason you focused this ability on her rather than Salvatore?
A. I consider them both scientifically apt, especially when he introduces her to a specially made laboratory within his mansion. However, Yamaria is the one with the gift to manifest. Her ability emanates from within, but variables with respect to space and time are necessary for her to navigate them and eventually enter into another world. Salvatore is her partner in this respect. His scientific background can help them understand what is happening once they appear at the interstice. Yet he knows that Yamaria must be at the fore and is willing to stand as her protector as well as her lover. His background complements both hers, innately and scientifically.
Q. Death is a recurring theme in Silhouette Lost. Were you using this as a literary device or is it something that happened to reoccur as you wrote the storyline?
A. When writing about Yamaria's childhood, she meets trauma at an early age. She is orphaned, her parents presumed dead. Because of the way she interacted with the winged creature and being an only child, I wrote her character to possess an inner strength that would allow her to focus on whatever was necessary to be done, in spite of death. Yet, it is in her mother's and father's death that she is able to look within even further—with the help of the winged being. As the storyline progresses, there are two more deaths. One of a good person, and one quite deserving of a great demise. It seems that Yamaria would lose all that she assumes is of benefit to her and her life. However, death can be considered the great balance. It separates the breath of life to stillness. It may remove an unknown harm to one closest to it or it may be the path in which a new life springs forth. For one person's death in Silhouette Lost becomes a sort of renewal in which all who witness stand in awe. Yet, the eventuality of permanent death no one can ever evade. As the series continue, the readers will understand that death is eminent, especially for those who think that they have escaped it. So I included the concept of death multiple times in Silhouette Lost to delineate good from wickedness, from expectations to doubt, from certainty to hope.
Q. You spend some time incorporating Yamaria's childhood memories after she relocates to Italy, why was this?
A. Yamaria's gift to manifest initially occurs when she is a young child. There is an expectation that most children are resilient to heartache and trauma. The protagonist's ability, however, is something that at this stage in her life, she can only perform while unconscious. There is a belief that people bury memories, thoughts or reflections when traumatized. The death of her parents is considered a trauma. As she ages and doesn't have much interaction with the winged creature, could be another trauma, such as the loss of someone dear. Her childhood memories, of her father especially, is due to her need for the familiar. Her Italian aunt and uncle are cordial and friendly but she only had bouts of spending time with them, namely the summers of her youth. A part of her then was mature (inner self). This aspect of who Yamaria was needed to meld further to the surface as she becomes an adult. Yet, throughout the series, at times it remains within her and compliments the material, that is the tangible form of who she is evolving into.
As a practical matter, Yamaria's childhood memories provide clues as to what she must do to help save the earth. She must search within the vicissitudes of her mind to uncover clues that her father, Tomasso, left for her, both in heirloom and photos as well as what he considered practical advice.
Q. If Silhouette Lost was ever made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
A. That is a difficult question. I think I would still be stuck on the part that Silhouette Lost was made into a movie.
Q. Thus far, the Silhouette Lost series s an 8-book series, do you have plans to write any further novels for the series?
A. I would not say that I plan to, but as with any of the previous books, if there is an opening for an addition, I would not rule this out. I have yet to bid a final farewell to these characters, so just maybe…
Patricia has provided a prelude to her science fiction/fantasy series, Silhouette Lost, an eight-book series encompassing life death, the ethereal, and the limitless ability of the mind. Two worlds exist, the one we know and the kingdom-world. Yet there are a few who are chosen with special gifts who will be called upon to help save the other. Their abilities will also save another part of themselves, but this they can only discover in due time.
About the Author: Patricia M. Muhammad is a multi-genre fiction author who often incorporates interracial relationships and multi-racial characters as a part of her storylines. She has written 22 novels.
Connect with Patricia:
Social Media: @pmmuhammadbooks
Press: [email protected]