In the distant kingdom of Evia, Alanis and Lefertahri live under a relentless curse dictated by the Oracle of Ghunza. During the day, Alanis transforms into a ferocious dragon, while Lefertahri takes on the figure of a Banshee at night. Only during eclipses can these antagonistic beings share a human form. Inspired by the film “The Spell of Aquila”, writer Laís Napoli takes us on a magical and immersive journey in this sapphic novel, “Between Pointers and Eclipses”, delving into an unlikely love that blossoms in the rare space-time in which they coexist.
How did you go about developing the magical world of Évia and what were your main sources of inspiration for creating it?
It was a really fun process! Building the world of “Between Pointers and Eclipses” was a fascinating experience, as it allowed me to bring together various references that I loved in a single setting, creating a truly unusual country. Some key influences were the film “The Spell of Aquila”, which inspired the idea of the curses, in which those condemned by the Oracle of Ghunza must turn into monsters during the day or night; “Arcane”, especially in the part of the universe with strong steampunk elements; and the peculiar phenomenon of the dance epidemic in 1518, which gave rise to the Ball of the Tormented. There is also a lot of reference to Celtic and Egyptian culture.
The duality of the main characters is a crucial point in the plot. How did you balance the characteristics of Alanis and Lefertahri throughout the story?
I like to play with duality when I have two protagonists in a book. In the case of Alanis and Lefertahri, I tried to identify points of balance and synergy between them. In other words, for them to work as a couple, they needed to share both characteristics that attracted them to each other, such as intelligence and a strong sense of justice, as well as characteristics that complemented each other’s weaknesses.
Alanis plays the role of a pillar for Lefertahri to overcome her passivity and shyness, encouraging her to be more spontaneous. At the same time, Lefertahri brings the affection and naivety that Alanis lost in childhood, giving her a sense of peace that moves her deeply, evolving into a form of love. This dynamic between the characters not only enriches their relationship, but also contributes to their individual development. I love the dynamic between them!
The book is a journey full of challenges and adventures. Can you tell us about the process of creating these defining moments in the narrative?
I have a thing for action-packed fantasies, even when they lean towards the romantic side. When sketching out the plot, I made a point of mapping out the adventure points that would underpin their journey. That’s how the episode in which Alanis and Lefertahri face a giant snake (with Alanis transformed into a dragon and chained up, much to her hatred lol), Lefertahri’s kidnapping by the government and the eruption of a volcano came about.
How did you approach the transformation of the rivalry between the protagonists into an unexpected feeling of love, considering their curses?
It was an intense journey, because they were both very hurt by their pasts. Before becoming a couple, Alanis and Lefertahri had to walk the path of becoming friends and, above all, recovering the self- respect they lost after the events that led them to be condemned by the Oracle of Ghunza. Deep down, neither of them was looking for a rivalry, but hatred and loneliness were their only companions for so long that it took them a while to realise that it was safe to have positive feelings for each other.
Choosing to tell the story interspersed between the protagonists is an interesting choice. Can you share the reasons behind this narrative approach?
I had two protagonists with equal weight in the narrative. The actions of one had a direct impact on those of the other, and the past of each had the same degree of relevance. So, interspersing the narration made it possible to give both the protagonism they deserved, while still allowing the characters’ individual perspectives on the events of the story to be explored.
You mentioned inspiration from the film “The Spell of Aquila”. How does this influence manifest itself in the plot and characters of “Between Pointers and Eclipses”?
“The Spell of L’Aquila” was the pillar for the conception of “Between Pointers and Eclipses”. It’s a film I like very much and one that carries a touch of nostalgia, as I used to watch it with my parents. One day, while recalling the plot and the fascinating idea of a couple prevented from seeing each other by a curse that turns them into a wolf and an eagle at different times of the day, an epiphany appeared in my mind. That’s when I thought: “What if, instead, they were two young women forced to transform into treacherous magical creatures, like an angry dragon?” From this creative spark, I began to structure the entire narrative.
How do you see the characters developing as they face their own ghosts from the past?
It’s like looking in the mirror. I doubt there’s anyone in the world who hasn’t at some point felt fear or anguish at realising their imperfections, or at having to face up to past mistakes that they wish they could correct. Facing these realities can be painful, but it’s a crucial step in our maturing and internal healing process. At heart, Alanis and Lefertahri are two young women coming of age in a world indifferent to their individual journeys and problems. And along the way, they discover that they don’t have to face these challenges alone.
Acceptance of your true characteristics is an important theme in the book. How is this reflected in the evolution of the characters?
It’s the key point for them to abandon the role of victims and take control of their own lives. What happened to them was cruel, terrible, but they deserve to live and seek happiness. Self-compassion emerges as true liberation, allowing them to detach themselves from other people’s expectations and reinvent themselves in search of their own journey. If you look closely, the climactic act happens at that moment, inside them, and not when they overcome the external obstacles of the erupting volcano, the Ball of the Tormented or the government that persecutes them.
What message would you like to convey to readers through the journeys of Alanis and Lefertahri?
I think those sentences sum it up well: “Everyone has a noisy, confused side inside. The idea is not to get rid of bad feelings, but to make room for them” (Red: Growing up is a Beast). “We can’t change what fate has in store for us, but we don’t have to face it alone.” (Arcane)
Apart from “Between Pointers and Eclipses”, do you have any other future literary projects you’d like to share with us?
Yes, several (lol)! At the moment, I’m focused on completing the second volume of my epic fantasy saga entitled “The Secular Chronicles”. This series is published independently on Amazon. In addition to the next volumes planned for the saga (of which there will be four or five), I have other projects in mind, including a fantasy aimed at a young adult audience, set in a magic school in Brazil, and a romance involving angels and demons, aimed at a new adult audience.
To keep up to date with all the upcoming launches, I invite you to follow me on Instagram: @lais.napoli.
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