Behind the UNDERTOW novel – CERBERUS
If you have managed to get your hands on one of the ARC copies of UNDERTOW, you know two things for certain:
2. Their home isn’t on land.
When I was working through the technicalities of UNDERTOW I knew that the Mortis (Raef and Kian’s race) were basically drifters. For them, friendships were a liability and . . . well . . . they don’t age. You can’t exactly own a home and kick around looking the same for centuries. Plus, how could they sell a home in today’s market?!
In addition, Kian and Raef wouldn’t be the kind to set down roots, but Kian finds a reason to stick around the summer before due to Ana Lane. Unfortunately their love falls to pieces. UNDERTOW picks up a year later and Ana is shocked to see Kian again. To say she is a “tad icy” to him, is an understatement. Their relationship and history from the summer before will be released as a novella, known as CRUEL SUMMER down the line. In this prequel novel, Kian purchases a yacht he names CERBERUS. This fabulous vessel also comes back with Kian in UNDERTOW.
So, I had to come up with an insanely fly yacht suitable for a young, morally compromised millionaire . . . I basically though about Hollywood stars. Since I myself only own a 10′ dingy with an electric motor, I knew first-hand ownership knowledge was not in the cards for me. Instead, I used the Internet, HGTV and THE TRAVEL CHANNEL. With the help of all three, I located CERBERUS and wrote the story with printed pictures at the ready.
I did add in some things I loved while watching the SuperYacht show on HGTV, including a round bed for Raef’s room, a ruby-colored hull for the yacht, and interior tones of burgundy and black. I also gave it a full set of controls on a flybridge.
As a writer it was critical that I had an accurate accounting of the yacht – of everything in the story. If you have read the story, you also know that CERBERUS plays a large part in the later half of the book and becomes a safe haven for the five friends. The yacht gave me an opportunity, as a storyteller, to confine the characters into a space so that they must deal with each other, question what they want and need from one another, and come up with a half-baked plan to find answers.
It took a while to name the yacht. At first, I was set on calling it the REDRUM, obviously from Stephen King’s THE SHINING (redrum is murder spelled backwards and appears in his terrifying book). But then some of my AWESOME BETA READERS pointed out that Raef and Kian, while they had a gruesome past, were trying to be better. Kian wouldn’t have named it something so dark, especially when he bought it with Ana Lane in mind. So I went back to the drawing board, and started thinking of what else would be appropriate. I started digging though myths and legends and came up with CERBERUS: the three-headed dog that guards the underworld. He prevents humans from crossing into the river styx of Hell and the dead from escaping. It was a perfect play on who Raef and Kian were.
See if you can find a CERBERUS twin on the Barnstable docks :)