It’s fun to have author Raychel Rose guest blogging with me today, as I have enjoyed working with herin conjunction with a new anthology of short stories, which you can can pick up on Amazon: Psychopomps: Shepherds of the Dead.
Her story “The Sea of Ghosts” caught my interest because it features a more sinister version of a mermaid–or is she? Rose keeps you guessing with this intriguing character, who is also a psychopomp, guiding dead seafarers such as the story’s protagonist (a reluctant pirate!) to either Infernum or Aeternus.
This story is a fun take on the journey one makes into the afterlife.
Here is deeper insight from Raychel Rose herself.
It was a weekday when the main idea of The Sea of Ghosts came. My sister, and two friends, Matthew and Margo, were all sitting in a room where I was present. I’m not sure how it came along, but the main idea–a grim reaper falls in love with their dead person they’re supposed to be guiding into the afterlife–was brought to life.
That was how it first came along.
About a month passed and I was browsing Twitter and saw the submission opening for Psychopomps. I was immediately intrigued and knew I had to enter. But what was I to enter? Ah, yes, the Grim Reaper love story.
Over the next couple of days I plotted with all my might. I gained inspiration from Pinterest, where I find a lot of story ideas. I knew the story had to revolve around some type of made-up creature. But what? I didn’t want the ole’ Grim Reaper in a dark cloak. I wanted something original. A mermaid!
I knew I needed a shipwreck. That was easier said than done. There were thousands of shipwrecks! But a pirate shipwreck? That was even harder to find. I was browsing shipwrecks online when I came upon the two articles on Hunters Galley and I knew I had found the ship. It may not have been a pirate ship, but I could always change that.
That’s a reason I love to work with historical fiction. I can blend fact with fiction.
After the main plot and research were done, I needed to work on the theme. I wanted to focus on redemption and being free from the past. Nathaniel, my main character, carried around a bunch of guilt. And then he died and wanted to be free from his past. But how could he? He was dead.
A lot of my inspiration for redemption came from being a born-again Christian. I wanted a representation that only Christ could redeem Nathaniel, but without being preachy or even mentioning Christianity in it.
A lot of my inspiration while writing The Sea of Ghosts came from listening to music. I have already made a playlist blog post that you can check out below:
My research was done online. I found only two articles on the internet about Hunters Galley. I guess that was another reason I was drawn to it. I felt like the ship and history had been forgotten about. And we should never forget history.
In this anthology, each author also suggests a classic short story that inspired them, and I was impressed when Raychel a tale by Ambrose Bierce, who is far too overlooked in the classic horror / paranormal genres. It’s not all about Poe–though, he’s in the anthology as well!
Find more blog links for this project at the official Misch Masch Publishing site for the anthology – Pscyhopomps: Shepherds of the Dead.