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WHAT . . . WHY?

Above: A visual reference to a moment in Book Three, MEMENTOS FROM THE ATELIER, where severity was required.

An Ounce Of Clarity:

The BACKSTORIES section was a natural addition for this site once the author began to be riddled with questions after the very first sets of eyes were laid upon the manuscript...questions about various characters, choice of phrases, motivation behind some chapter titles, etc.

As an example, someone's name "written in chalk" has to do with Julian's tolerance for pettiness, drama, hatred and bullying running low to the point of needing to isolate someone just before cutting every ounce of their existence from his life...permanently. Walking away was a rare measure but once made to do so, it was done quickly and in every case, with some horrible fallout to later follow; it's what comes from people bringing out the worst in him: they get his absolute worst (and it comes just when they get comfortable, perhaps thinking they got away with their mistreatment). It comes...ALWAYS.

Though the line was revealed in Book Three, a number of incidents were highlighted in Book One and Two, clearly putting a fine point on him having his way. One such incident is visually referenced at the bottom of this page: the matchstick.
It's a metaphor that speaks to the character burning relationships down when trust has been broken.

As to other curiosities you may be harboring, we were able to pin the author down for some answers—to lend clarity—but be aware, he chose to avoid one in particular; we're told he will never speak to it, at least, not in polite company. Read on.


The Monk Straps

Julian's fascination with Monk Strap shoes (its first real point of focus being Chapter six, THE MONK STRAPS): it goes back to his Grandpa Harold and was carried over to his dad. For the pair of them, the choice of buckles over laces was a hygiene thing; laces being soft and often touching the ground, was viewed as a germ magnet. Julian evolve the choice of buckled shoes (like the one above) into one of his fashion icons but its personal origins may explain a lot about his germophobe tendencies.

As to other curiosities you may be harboring, we were able to pin the author down for some answers but be aware, he chose to avoid a few, one in particular, we're told, he will never answer...well, not in polite company. Read on...

Book Two: "Damaged"

The word "damaged" came up initially under dubious circumstances. The storyline will take you back to Julian's youth and the things he was made to endure.

Brace yourself! You will read about shocking details that ultimately shaped who he later became as an adult: quiet, calm, protective, calculating, explosive. Is there any wonder that at times, it seemed as though there were two of him?

Allow the tenor of the
trailer to guide your imagination (until you read Book Two, WHAT'S LEFT OF THE TOLL ROADS).

Book One, Chapter Two...The Title

"BIRTH OF THE MANTA RAY" speaks to Julian's way of moving through life. Like Manta Rays that are often seen as nomadic and solitary creatures yet still having others of their kind around them, just out of sight, Julian too tends to have his trust circle just out of sight, often times giving the sense he is a loner. It's just his way of separating his worlds...keeping the people closest to him at some distance from the rest.

"Shoo Away The Scorpions"

The first reference to the phrase was during a moment when Pippa thought Julian might react poorly to a bad situation by doing something heinous. She knew the history of the phrase: Black scorpions in a group is seen by his emotional mentor, Masumi, as the presence of evil. Over the years, Masumi tried to teach him how to avoid fighting evil with his own. To this day, it remains work in progress.

Why One Hundred and Fifteen?

Julian's dad told him to count backwards from 115 to 99. Why start at 115? Why not start at the typical 100? It was his way of buying some extra time...the precious seconds it would take to get a head start without Julian having time to grasp the oddity. One Hundred and Fifteen has 6 syllables which takes longer to say than One Hundred which only has 3.


(Spoiler alert!) There is one passage in Book One, Chapter Ten, COME THE APOPHASIS, where Julian breaks his usual silence on the reverence he holds for the match. Quite the moment.

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