Today, we have a very special guest, Phillip W. Simpson, author of Argos, as part of the Chapter by Chapter Book Tour. Below, you can read his very interesting guest post and gain a bit of insight ‘behind the scenes’.
by Phillip W. Simpson
What I have learnt while writing Argos;
Even though I know a reasonable amount about the ancient Greek world, I still had to do considerable research. One of my beta readers is a history buff and had actually been to Ithaka (I haven’t) and she pulled me up on a few details. Some of them I considered important, others not so. Essentially, we don’t know exactly what it was like on Ithaka 3200 years ago. We can have an educated guess based on archaeological evidence and surviving texts but it is still that – a guess. The ancient Greeks were illiterate and so accounts of what it was like back then survive only in the oral record. Historians like Homer were writing about this period at least 200 years later. Some of the terrain I made up to suit the story but for the most part, most of the world building was based on accepted facts.
I’ve also learnt that ‘god is in the details’. Whilst rewriting this book, I was completing my Masters in Creative writing. I learnt to add more description to my scenes, use less adverbs, start ‘in scene’ and avoid passive voice.
What inspired me to write Argos;
This was a labor of love for me. I have always loved dogs and stories of dog’s courage and loyalty. Hearing or reading these never fail to make me cry. Particularly stories of dogs like Grey Friar’s bobby and Hachiko. And then there’s the story of Argos – probably the most famous and loyal dog of all time. In Homer’s Odyssey, there’s literally only one page dedicated to the death of Argos and for me, it was the most moving scene in the whole book. I had to write this book, not only for myself but for all the dogs I’ve loved throughout my life. I had no choice in the matter.
The meaning behind the book.
This is a story of enduring loyalty between a dog and his master. It is a love story in that sense. It’s about never giving up hope in the face of adversity. It’s also about telling the story from the perspective of an underdog (ha!). I like stories told from the perspective of a minor or forgotten character.
I enjoyed telling the story through Argos’ eyes. First person narratives are always my favorite to write and trying to get into the mind of a dog was an enjoyable experience (given that I love dogs so much). I think if I came back as an animal, it would have to be a dog—providing of course that I had loving owners. I think sometimes I am part dog. I’m affectionate, excitable, willful, silly and have a sense of smell stronger than most.
Most of all, this was a labor of love, the story I most wanted to tell. Out of all my books, this is my favorite.
About the author
Phillip W. Simpson has written over 50 children’s books for both middle grade and young adult readers. He has a background in Ancient History and Archaeology, and has partially completed his doctorate in Archaeology. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. When not writing, he works as an elementary school teacher.
Argos by Phillip W. Simpson
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Loyalty has no limits.
Raised from a pup by Greek hero, Odysseus, Argos has come to learn the true meaning of love and loyalty. But when Odysseus leaves for the Trojan War, little does Argos know it will be 20
years before he sees his master again. With Odysseus gone his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, are easy prey for neighboring kings and the Gods themselves.
But Argos was tasked to keep them safe until Odysseus returns and that is a promise he is
determined to keep – whatever the cost. Told through his eyes, Argos recounts the story of his
life – his pain, his joy, his triumphs and failures; his endurance in the face of hardships almost too great to believe.
Above all else, Argos strives to do what is right – and to remain loyal to his King when all others have given up hope. To live long enough to see his beloved master one more time.
This epic myth of love and loyalty proves that a dog really is man’s best friend.