ERIC RATKOVICH / A’MERIC / THE SERPENT
In many ways he really is the star of the book. (He’s getting top billing in the title.) While Paul is the naive protagonist, the everyman, the character the reader will most likely identify with, the Serpent is probably the character they are most interested in reading about. I know I was while I was writing the book. This character really took on a life of his own … so much so that he completely rewrote the original ending I had planed for Book One, making himself a far more complex character in the process. I’m sure he will have even more changes in store for me as I finish Book Two.
The Serpent plays multiple roles: as sidekick, as mentor, even as antagonist on occasion, yet always with style and a wry sense of humor. He is the catalyst that moves the plot forward, that moves Paul forward. Some will view him as good, others may view him as evil, but the truth of the matter is that he lives somewhere in between. And he is determined to rewrite that prejudicial stereotype that has been attributed to him throughout the ages.
The first question most people who know me wonder: “Is Paul you?” Of course, the simple answer is, “yes.” At least, he is the boy I was in college. But draft after draft, Paul eventually evolved into his own character independent of me. He had to or it would have turned out to be a rather dull story. When writing any story you have to separate the inner truth of a character from his exterior characteristics. So while the external details are different, the inner character is essentially me. His story is my own inner journey told with a lot of dramatic license.
What’s remarkable about Paul’s character is the amount of growth he undergoes over the course of two novels. He starts out as a naive freshman, yet he eventually becomes his own man. Although, he has to navigate through personal trials and his own self doubt before he is ready to become a hero. Like the world around him, teetering on the brink of self-destruction, Paul emerges from his own darkness stronger than ever. Traveling through this world, we are all heroes of our own story.