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.
Thank you so much for joining us today! Do you agree that fantasy is not just to escape reality, but to relate to it? why/why not?
I think it has elements of both. I sometimes read to escape but often the worlds are so steeped in reality, that they are both recognizable and relatable. It’s often a similar world with some sort of twist. But the problems faced always have a common thread. Overcome adversity. Solve a problem. Defeat an enemy.
What research went into writing Argos?
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.
Do you find that travelling enhances your writing or distracts you from it?
Enhance it of course! I would’ve loved to have travelled to Ithaka but time and money did not permit such extravagances. To immerse myself in the environment and to think what it would have been like for Argos all those years ago. To be honest, I don’t get to travel very often these days. I used to travel a lot but with my work schedule and having a young son (and bills to pay), I don’t get out much. I was lucky enough to get funding from the University of Auckland to travel to the ALA midwinter conference in Boston and do a signing for my last novel (Minotaur). That was fantastic. I came back feeling invigorated and inspired—ready to write again.
When you think of your main characters, what are the underlying traits you find most appealing?
Odysseus. Strong, loyal, sense of humor. Matter of fact and prepared to get his hands dirty.
Stubborn and sometimes full of pride.
If you could have lunch with any of your contemporaries, who would you choose and why?
Probably Maggie Stiefvater. She seems like fun. From what I gather, she has a great sense of humor. I hope she likes wine. Great writer too!
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.
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