Interview with Taylor Caley
Author of Whispers of Sikar
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How would you describe Whispers of Sikar to a new reader?
- Whispers of Sikar is a paranormal/psychopathic horror novel set in the same setting as my previous works, the Ice Cold two-part series. While Ice Cold takes place modern-day, this harrowing tale is set in the late 1800s and explores the dark side of a fictional Native American lore as two sisters recklessly dabble in an archaic ritual, tempted by the rewards that seem to be promised.
What was the inspiration behind Whispers of Sikar?
- A single scene that I wrote in my first novel, Ice Cold - Part One: The Dark Zone, was the inspiration for this horror story. Without spoiling anything, the scene involved a location that I described as tranquil and beautiful. Despite writing it, this scene always left me curious as to its true nature, so Whispers of Sikar exists to build upon its possibilities. This location would go on to be a central focus in Whispers of Sikar, where it is adversely portrayed as a domain of darkness and fear.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- Of the authors I have followed most closely, Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft played the biggest roles in how I shaped this story. Lovecraft was particularly instrumental, as his unique, otherworldly writing style is enough to strike both fear and fascination into the minds of readers.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
- The specific location spoken of earlier goes by many names. In the Ice Cold two-parter, it is referred to as the Oasis. In Whispers of Sikar, it is shown to have gone by several names in the past, such as the Spring, the Well of Horns, and the Crossing. The location is described as a hidden spring overlooking the mountains to the west. It is said to emit a stifling sensation that overwhelms the mind with feelings of wonder.
Where does Whispers of Sikar stand in the series? What role does it have to play?
- Whispers of Sikar is peculiar in this sense. It is a relatively minor entry into the AeonVerse, yet it sets the foundation for elements important for the grand climax of the story. It is important to know that there are three story tangents in the AeonVerse, and they are so named: The Aeon Chronologies, Circles of Ice, and Dream Walkers. Each tangent consists of a variety of novels and series. The Aeon Chronologies is the central tangent in which the grand climax awaits. The Circles of Ice and Dream Walkers subtangents tell a story of their own and each contribute something important to the epic finale.
Whispers of Sikar is the opening novel of the Circles of Ice tangent and will be followed by a single prequel novel titled, The Well of Horns. Despite belonging to Circles of Ice, this novel merely sets the foundation for the progress of the story tangent and plays a more major role in the subsequent Dream Walkers tangent. I could go on for hours about the details but i dare not spoil anything for the adventurous readers.
You said there is Native American lore involved in the story. What lore might that be?
- My previous novels, the Ice Cold two-part series, which opens The Aeon Chronologies tangent, introduces the people of the Ravennite culture. The Ravennites are the central people of Whispers of Sikar as well, and the lore of which we speak is that of their ancestors, the fictional Seluitah tribe.
By the time of the story, the Seluitah are extinct. However, they will introduced for the first time in the following prequel novel, The Well of Horns. They are described as having been the most advanced, organized, and spiritually attuned of the Native American people. They were known for building massive city-like structures along steep cliffsides and were capable of learning the colonial settlers language and culture without directly mingling with them.
Why did the Seluitah tribe go extinct? How did they become the Ravennites?
- Details surrounding their eradication will be explored in The Well of Horns. In Ice Cold, the Ravennite Rowan briefly mentions that the Seluitah had hostile interactions with the Crimson Men, who are inferred to be the British redcoats. Interestingly, however, the characters in Whispers of Sikar speak of other possibilities, such as a tribal civil war or even that they may have been eradicated by their own patron Spirits.
Regardless of the method, what is known for sure is that the last remnants of the Seluitah tribe managed to escape into the Adirondacks of upstate New York with the help of a community of European settlers. The Ravennites were the product of the two cultures integrating, and eventually, the last of the Seluitah died out, taking much of their history with them.
The horror genre is a rather divisive one today among audiences. If Whispers of Sikar was adapted to film, what elements of horror would you want to see implemented?
- Whispers of Sikar contains most horror elements here and there and tends to shift its focus throughout the story. In the first act, the focus of the story is on primal fear, specifically nightmares and fear of the dark. Despite being classified in part as paranormal horror, the only paranormal activity takes the form of a frightening, shadowy entity that stalks the young protagonist, Adea, in her nightmares. If Whispers of Sikar was adapted to film, I would look to movies like Silence of the Lambs for inspiration for a chilling, psychopathic atmosphere, and Insidious for elements of our fear of the dark.
Will there be more horror novels in the AeonVerse?
- Horror will be among the least utilized genres in the AeonVerse. Generally speaking, fear is a response to the things we don't understand, and since the AeonVerse will be explored in great detail, I plan to reserve horror for very specific points in the story. While Whispers of Sikar is primarily horror, the following prequel, The Well of Horns, will be more of a suspenseful thriller. The Dream Walkers tangent will also open with a horror novel titled, Tartarus House, which will be much more paranormal focused.
With all these separate story tangents, is there a preferred order in which the story should be read?
- Since the three tangents are designed to mostly separate from one another, there is no set pattern to follow. However, I would recommend beginning with the Ice Cold two-parter before moving on to Whispers of Sikar. My suggestion would be to read each novel by the order in which they are published. As of now, that order would be as follows:
Ice Cold - Part One: The Dark Zone (The Aeon Chronologies)
Ice Cold - Part Two: Winter's Bane (The Aeon Chronologies)
Rowan (An Aeon Chronologies novella)
Whispers of Sikar (Circles of Ice)
Next in line:
The Well of Horns (Circles of Ice)
Burning Hearts - Part One: Battle of Fates (The Aeon Chronologies)
Adea was only 8-years-old when the nightmares began, leaving her terrified of the dark. After being disregarded by her own parents, she turns to her older sister, Lyda, desperate for help to stop the dreams. Ready to do anything, Adea could never be prepared for the dark places to which her sister is willing to go to protect her - but as the years go by, and Lyda descends deeper into desolation, Adea fears there may be more to her sister's personal studies than either of them are prepared to live with, and it will haunt them worse than any nightmare they can imagine.
For those who have fallen in love with the Ravennites of Ice Cold - Parts One and Two, dive into this harrowing entry into the dark side of that culture! Circles of Ice is a subtangent of the boundless AeonVerse, setting the stage for a grand climax of unprecedented proportions!