Matthew Phillion on Creating Magical Worlds for Poseidon’s Scar

Matthew Phillion on Creating Magical Worlds for Poseidon’s Scar

Photo: Alison Heckard/Bird in Flight Photography


Poseidon’s Scar, published in January, is the second book in Matthew Phillion's YA fantasy Echo and the Sea series. The book is drenched in mythology and woven into imagination. Phillion has cast Echo, a fierce young woman who stands her ground, confronts conflict, and has the ability to breathe under water, because she’s an Atlantean princess. The city of Yacuruna is inspired by the yacuruna of South American folklore: hairy, backward-facing river monsters. These creatures are said to live in upside-down cities beneath the water's surface. They shape-shift into beautiful people, in order to lure humans into the water. After learning of the tale, “this had to be in my book” Phillion explained. It was no easy task, however, pulling readers below the river's surface, along with the characters, to a wondrous, hidden city. “Writing an upside-down underwater world was tough,” he told Spine.

Building worlds requires more than imagination. To ring true to a reader, they must contain unique features, such as landscapes and structures. In Poseidon’s Scar, Phillion has given us four worlds: the aforementioned Yacuruna, the underwater city of Atlantis, the island of the Amazons, and Flaherty’s Folly. Each is expertly written with its own characters, culture, and reasons for being. Additionally, Phillion created the book's namesake, Poseidon’s Scar, a deep cavern that stretches for miles across the ocean floor and deep into an unknown abyss.

Poseidon’s Scar is not just a fantasy novel. The author brings real-world problems into these fictional places. Pollution has caused sickness. Isolationism is imperative to these worlds; They strive, above all else, to remain a myth. “Humanity,” said Phillion, “would destroy them.”


Diversity and courage are two key aspects of Phillion’s characters. Echo, the young female lead, is a strong, spirited, leader who sports a green mohawk. Echo isn’t interested in a relationship. In fact, a love interest for her has not been brought up in either novel, which sets Phillion's books apart from many YA titles. Instead, Echo follows her truth and stands on her own merits.

Artem provides example of another courageous, independent character. The son of an Amazon, Artem is a fierce fighter who will defend those he loves to the end. He also happens to be gay, and no one bats an eye. It's not an issue. Phillion described his choice as an “apology to every gay young man who didn’t have a superhero to look up to. I thought, what if the best fighter in the entire book is gay, and it doesn’t matter?”

Poseidon’s Scar contains a cast of characters who mesh together like an Emmy-winning ensemble cast. Their personalities range from strong and silent to loud and annoying. Each has a distinct voice and purpose in these new worlds. Spine asked the author who his favorite character is. He sat back and thought for a moment: Barnabus Coy. “Barnabus is full of it," Phillion explained. "He says he doesn’t care, but he does. He’s motivated by self-loathing. He also wants to make sure that he comes out the other end of their adventures in one piece.”

Matthew Phillion is the author of the young adult superhero novel series, The Indestructibles, the spinoff series Echo and the Sea, and the Dungeon Crawlers novella series. He is based in Salem, Massachusetts, is a member of the Salem Athenaeum Writers Committee, and writes for the opioid addiction prevention and awareness program and stage play, Stories of Substance. A former journalist and film director, he wrote and produced the indie comedy Certainly Never (2013) and has appeared in numerous films. Find Phillion online at and on Twitter @mattphillion.

E. M. Panos's passion for fantasy and mystery began forming at a young age, with episodes of Godzilla and Scooby-Doo. Later, she became enthralled with the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, Marvel Comics, and Joss Whedon. Today, Panos is an avid reader of all things fiction. As an author, she pens short stories, novellas, and flash fiction which contain elements of the supernatural, mythological, and/or fantasy. Find her on Twitter @EMPanosWrites.