I Murdered your Mother, i Think?

Robert Beckstedt

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA FAMILY FANTASY RELIGIOUS

    Core Theme

    PROTECTING FAMILY AT ALL COSTS; SACRIFICE FOR THE GOOD OF FUTURE GENERATIONS

    TIME PERIOD

    20th Century (multiple decades),Across Centuries

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, THE JOY LUCK CLUB

    CHARACTER LIST

    ETIENNA: LEAD, FIRST HALF. BRAVE, POWERFUL, AND RESILIENT THROUGH EXTREME HARDSHIP.

    ANDREA: LEAD, SECOND HALF. BROKEN AND SELF-DESTRUCTIVE.

    MARIA: LEAD, SECOND HALF. LOVING, PATIENT, AND KIND

    MICHAEL: WRITER, HUSBAND OF MARIA.

    LUIS: DRUG DEALER AND ANDREA’S SOMETIMES PARTNER IN CRIME.

    MRS. CHENG: WIFE OF CHINESE DIPLOMAT IN PANAMA AND OWNER/BOSS OF ETIENNA.

    MIRIAM: DAUGHTER OF ETIENNA, MOTHER OF ANDREA AND MARIA.

    ALEJANDRO: SON OF MICHAEL AND MARIA.

    Logline

    Maria the nurse and nanny – invoking Haitian Voodoo to protect those she loves from her damaged, violent sister Andrea. And Michael – the wealthy man between them, fighting desperately to save his baby son and escape with the sister he truly loves; a saga of love and revenge.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Haiti - Panama - USA

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing - Amazon .com

    Year Published: 2018

    Starting Description

    In 1916 the island of Hispaniola was in a civil war backed by the US for its sugar cane. A Haitian mother, to protect her thirteen-year-old daughter, sells her to an American/Panamanian corporation to staff the embassies with domestic workers and the young girl begins a new family life.

    Ending Description

    One century later in 2018, the ancestral grandson of the Haitian girl in 1916, graduates from a US college and enters medical school after finding out his true roots. The grandfather struggles to fight off his cancer in to witness the graduation of both his grandsons, then leaves the earth in peace.

    Group Specific

    Mostly Americans and Latino

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity,Substance Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist,Meaningful Message,Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Rags to Riches

    Main Character Details

    Name: Andrea

    Age: 18-35

    Gender: Female

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Villainous,Narcisstic,Sexy,Blunt,Outspoken,Funny,Secretive,Seductive,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Michael

    Age: 55-85

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Charming,Confident,Decisive,Faithful,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Selfless,Skillful,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Maria

    Age: 30-60

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Charming,Aspiring,Confident,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Selfless,Skillful,Romantic,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    I see this as a series of episodes, such as Netflix, about a poor Haitian mother possessing Voodoo skills using them for the purpose of healing and protection of those in her village as it is being torn by civil war. The scenes progress as the world changes after WWI and the family begins to evolve into the climax one century later as the great great grandson follows the inspiration of his family and becomes a doctor in the US. Although the family is almost derailed at one point and the grandson is put in peril by his drug dealing and using mother, her sister and father save the son from certain death either as a child or following his mother into adult criminal behavior. I believe the characters are all charming, funny, and some dangerous in their own ways. Corruption, custody battles, mysteries and family tension run throughout, however, Voodoo becomes a tool to protect, not injure, those around the lovable and dedicated sister to the healthy evolution of her family and her husband. My most common review is "I couldn't put it down" and "I loved the characters, especially Andrea!" I hope you find this interesting and entertaining as well. Feel free to both laugh and cry! I did as I wrote it.

    Genre

    DRAMA, FANTASY

    Brief

    A mother in Haiti sends her daughter to Panama for a better life. Through trauma she gives birth to a child who gives birth to a child. The women pass there VooDoo roots to the children, cursing evil men through the years. Maria, the last generations marries a man who her mother blames the death of another and curses him.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The book profile does not accurately reflect the book. There are many different characters since it follows four generations and those should be mentioned. The portion of the book it's referring to is less than half of the story.

    Draw of Story

    The story starts on a serious note with a woman trying to hide her daughter from American soldiers who might steal her and sell her into sex slavery. The situation is dire for the people living in Haiti and gives an inside look at some of the struggles the country faced.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The book includes rape at different times. The time and place the women are present in are very dangerous. They are prey to the whims of men and the power of America. All of Maria's ancestors lived multiple traumas in their lives which was difficult to read even though very realistic. It should not be avoided especially if it has been researched properly. As long as the rape is not used a tool for female character development.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is that Voodoo has been passed down from generation, being used on men who have wronged woman. Maria's mother wrongly accuses her husband of a murder and curses him with a haunting. Maria must resolve the conflict with her mother so her husband can spend his remaining days in peace.

    Fanbase Potential

    This would not a have a large fanbase, mostly appealing to an adult audience. This story deals with difficult topics such as rape, colonization, voodoo and trauma. If adapted directly from the book, there would be some scenes difficult to stomach.

    Awards Potential

    This could have awards potential for its magnification of the horrors inflicted on the Hattian people. The culture and people are not given much attention. It also focuses on strong females with a twist of voodoo which is also misrepresented.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, THE JOY LUCK CLUB

    What’s New About the Story

    The story is very original because it focuses on Haiti, the culture of voodoo and the oppressive regime America created there.

    Lead Characters

    The lead characters stood out for the traumas they endured and the ability to overcome it. The women of this family had to make hard decisions. Whether it was a send there daughter to another country, keeping there rapist baby or raising there sisters baby. All the women preserve in difficult circumstances.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is a gem because it brings light to a culture not seen often in media. The Haittians have a unique history and culture that is important to understand outside of the poverty the country now faces. It also shows voodoo in a different light. It is a tool against the evils of the world instead of being an evil in the world.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    This story is a consider because there are many great elements to it. It shows generations of strong women, realistic and heartbreaking stories and has a happy ending. This is about family and making the most out of what life has dealt you. There are mistakes made with the cursing of Maria's husband but amends are made. The theme of voodoo is a common thread between the generations and adds a unique twist. There are not many films about Haiti and the struggles the country has faced. It celebrates the culture.

    Brief

    Yes, that logline barely touches on much of the story. Some additions could include - The sacrifices of a mother in turn-of-the-century Haiti, leads to increased opportunity for each following generation. Jesula gives up everything when she sends her daughter Etienna to Panama for the opportunity of a better life. Three generations later, two sisters battle the good and evil that comes from climbing out of poverty, with the life and safety of a child at the center of that fight. And they have a little Voodoo magic to help them.

    What We Liked

    The multi-generational story as the journey is compelling. The adventure isn’t in the experience of one person over a short time, but rather, the adventure is following the genealogy of a family out of poverty. The audience has a lot of different characters to get invested in. It is also a female-centric story, with several brave and resilient female characters.

    Film: As a film, the story could focus mostly on the story of Maria and Andrea, pulling from the earlier parts of the story using flashbacks and context setting. What makes this interesting is that we have Jesula’s prayer at the beginning of the story, that her future generations will live better lives, and what the audience gets to see is the outcome of her prayers.

    TV: This would work well as a limited series, with each episode following the story of the next generation, starting with Jesula in Haiti, all the way up to present day Alejandro.

    Key points: Multi-generational story; Female-centric plot; Adventure across time, generations, and locations; Elicits a variety of different emotions, including drama, comedy, suspense, and even magical realism

    Synopsis

    Haiti, 1916. The Americans are occupying the country, and it isn’t safe, especially not for girls. Rosa, their next-door neighbor sees their trouble and tells them she can help Etienna escape and find domestic labor opportunities outside the country. This means that she will likely never return or see her mother again. But it’s her best chance. They agree and travel to the recruiting office. On the way they are harassed and Jesula pulls out some of the man’s hair and threatens Voodoo on him. He is frightened, and Etienna realizes that Voodoo is real.

    Etienna gets picked up and taken to Panama. In Panama, she is auctioned off to a Mr. and Mrs. Cheng, a Chinese diplomatic family. Etienna is treated well as a worker in their home, and she is cared for and educated. However, Mr. Cheng’s brother is a pervert and likes to come over and rape Etienna. One day he is caught in the act by Eda, and Etienna becomes pregnant. They decide to tell the Chengs, who are horrified and disavow the actions of the brother. Eda, the head maid, and Etienna, perform a Voodoo curse on him, and he dies a slow and painful death within a year. The Chengs are kind and let Etienna continue to work for them and raise the baby, who they name Jesula, after Etienna’s mother. She grows up and marries and has Miriam.

    Miriam falls in love with Raoul, a poor laborer, and gets pregnant. They have Andrea and Maria, but their father is an abusive drunk who doesn’t care for them. One day he shows up while Andrea is home alone and violently rapes her. It gets worse when she finds out that she is pregnant. Ashamed and scared, she will not tell her mother who the father is. Her mother is extremely cruel to her, calling her a slut. Andrea ends up giving birth to a stillborn. She sees it’s grey and deformed body and it completely changed. She tells her mother that it was her father who raped her. Her mother takes Maria and they cast a Voodoo curse on her father, and he dies within the year. After the girls graduate from high school, Miriam takes the girls on a trip to Balboa. Andrea decides to stay in Balboa because she can’t bare going back to Panama City.

    It’s 1995 and Andrea has self-destructed. She is living in Balboa as a drug dealer and addict, prostitute, and scammer. The first man she scammed was Grant, an American who wanted to start a business in Panama and found it mutually beneficial for them to marry. Only Andrea sets him up to run him out of town and steal all his money.

    Antonio relays this story to Michael, Andrea’s new boyfriend and father of her child, Alejandro. Michael, in turn, writes it down and shares it with Maria, who has come to stay with them and help Michael and Andrea nanny the child. They learn that Andrea leaves the child at Luis, her drug dealer’s house, while she’s out on the town. They are horrified at the neglect. It is then that Maria truly internalizes that her sister is not the sister she once knew.

    Michael and Maria try to figure out how they can protect the child from this negligence. But they learn that the cops protect Andrea because they are corrupt and have a deal with Luis and the drug traffickers. Michael realizes he needs to go one step further, and contacts his friend, Vanessa Perez, who is a lawyer and whose husband is the Assistant Attorney General. When she shows up on government plane and designer clothes, Michael and Andrea beat and everyone else very scared. Through Vanessa, Michael and Maria are able to get custody of the child and put parameters on Andrea’s visitation.

    Andrea is indignant and does not want to lose, even though everyone is telling her it’s finally time for her to fall in line and that she’s not protected anymore. Maria is scared and tells Michael that she wants to cast a Voodoo protection spell over him and the child. At first, he thinks that it’s ridiculous, but he comes around to the idea. Maria puts together a coven. Andrea hears about this and confronts Maria. Maria warns her that she isn’t putting a curse on her, but she is putting a protection spell up and so she is in danger if she tries to hurt either of them.

    Andrea decides to spend more time in the mountains to get better and work on herself. She falls in love with Edward, a sailor, and tells Maria that she will be sailing the world and not back much to see Alejandro. Michael and Maria are relieved. Andrea also tells Maria that the reason she had Alejandro was for Maria. Maria was infertile but Andrea knew that she would be a great mother, and that their mother, Miriam, was in on it.

    During her year sailing, Andrea becomes addicted to heroin and goes down a dark path. They go back to Balboa to visit Alejandro. She, Maria, and the child go to the beach, where she starts to get wasted. Against her better judgement, Maria leaves Alejandro with Andrea for a few minutes while she goes to the bathroom. When she gets back, the child is missing. She sees him floating feet up in the ocean. She runs and gets him and luckily there is a doctor nearby who helps resuscitate him. Maria knows that this is the archangel who was sent to protect the child on account of the protect spell.

    Michael and Maria decide they need to figure out how to ban Andrea from seeing Alejandro anymore. They also reveal to each other that they are in love with one another and decide to become a couple and raise Alejandro as their own.

    At the same time, Andrea goes on a serious bender and is furious. Edward tells her to get her things off his boat, and that he’s leaving in the morning. She goes back to his boat to destroy the boat and ends up catching fire and burning alive. She dies on the boat, the cause of death ultimately being an overdose. Maria is devastated and blames herself. She tells Michael she was so angry that she used a Voodoo doll against Andrea that same night when she got home. Maria tells their mother that Andrea died and divulges how unwell Andrea had been, but Miriam blames it on Michael.

    Michael tells Maria that he wants to go back to the US to be with the rest of his family and asks her to marry him and come with her. She says yes and they get married and go. On the plane over, Maria finally tells Michael the whole story of her family and of Andrea.

    Twenty years later, Maria and Michael have had a wonderful life together. Alejandro is in college. Suddenly, a series of strange events begins happening in Michael and Maria’s home. First, Michael fights off an infestation of bats. But when they call the exterminator, they check everywhere and don’t see any sign of bats, but just a tiny bit of guano. The next week there is an infestation of cockroaches. Again, the exterminator calls but there is no evidence of roaches except for one shedding of skin outside. Then one day, Michael is attacked by a dog who got into their home. The police search and cannot figure out how a dog could have gotten inside. The dog didn’t injure him, but he fell and broke some bones.

    Michael needs to get surgery from the fall. Maria is concerned after the last few weeks that he might be developing dementia and was seeing things. However, the exterminator comes back and says they analyzed the findings and that they both strangely came from South American species. Similarly, the cops ran tests on some urine on Michael’s pants and it was in face canine. Maria realizes that this must be coming from her mother, who is casting a spell on him.

    Maria calls her mother, who admits she cast a spell right after Andrea died, but that wouldn’t take hold until Alejandro was grown. But years earlier she had taken off the spell. She realized that she hadn’t taken the spell of correctly, and she does it again, this time, successfully.

    During the visit to the hospital, Maria is informed that Michael has metastasized cancer and has less than a year to live. He had known and opted not to do treatment and didn’t tell her. As his health declines, they decide to tell Alejandro the truth about his life, that Maria is actually his aunt and that Michael isn’t his biological father. About the life he might have had in Balboa with Andrea. And about the Voodoo. Alejandro is surprised by many things, but is particularly put off by the Voodoo, which hurts Maria.

    After thinking more, Alejandro accepts everything and agrees to learn magic from his mother. Alejandro graduates from college and Michael decides it's finally time for him to go. He reveals that he wrote a book about the history of Maria’s family, including the saga of her sister, which they are all grateful for. They hear strange noises coming from Maria’s prayer room, and when they enter, it is filled with butterflies.

    The prayers of Jesula in Haiti were answered, when she prayed that her decision to send Etienna away would allow for the coming generations to have better lives.

    About The Author

    Robert Beckstedt received his bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1974. He has traveled and worked across many continents and has an interest in anthropology.