Rebecca Hahn is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob for the lovely month of August and she has written a guest post on the "other" books, the books she didn't actually write. She thought she was writing a trilogy and it didn't happen. Read on to find out why and to gain some insight into the some of the characters in her book, The Shadow Behind the Stars.
One Book out of Three: Structuring The Shadow Behind the Stars
It’s a common trope in fantasy for the main characters to be fighting to keep the world from ending (see Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all the seasons, for example). As I was writing my latest book, The Shadow Behind the Stars, I started to wonder what would happen if the main character, the one you were supposed to sympathize with, was the person who had the power and the motive to end the world.
The Shadow Behind the Stars is narrated by Chloe, the youngest of the three Greek Fates. For quite a while, I was sure that I was writing a trilogy: each of the three books would be narrated by a different sister Fate. The story would build toward the end of the world, and rather than fighting against the destruction of everything, the sisters would themselves become the apocalyptic threat—and nobody else would be powerful enough to stop them.
I did go so far as to write bits and pieces of the last two books, in the middle-aged sister Serena’s and eldest sister Xinot’s voices. Some of those bits I ended up using in The Shadow Behind the Stars after transferring them into Chloe’s voice. But some never did become part of the story, and I thought I’d give you just a taste of what I ended up throwing out here. This is a bit from Serena’s story, in her voice:
I watched the children playing. They were mine, though they didn’t know it. I could see it shining whenever I looked at them, the bright potential. They were as unformed as dunes of sand, blowing, shifting from one shape to another. Oh, how I loved them.
And here’s a bit from the unwritten third book, in eldest sister Xinot’s voice:
I am something different. I am closer to the heart of what we do. I am farther from mortal everyday life, and I am less concerned with time or causation. The world will turn. What must be, will be. We spin at the center of it all, and the little things we choose can make no more difference than the smallest of eddies in a great rolling sea.
After deciding that Serena’s and Xinto’s stories weren’t compelling enough to merit their own books, I next tried writing a sequel from the perspective of a young mortal boy and girl who become involved with the Fates, a star-crossed lovers sort of story:
My name is Philomena. When I was seven, I stopped the Fates along the road and asked them for a prophecy.
Yes, those Fates. I know their names now, but I’m not sure I should tell you. They’re quite secretive about things like that. They didn’t tell me their names when I stopped them that first time. That was the second time, when they came to my bedroom window and asked me to help them steal a goat.
In the end, though, there was no second or third book, as the epic storyline about the end of the world got moved up into The Shadow Behind the Stars. I think it works better that way—the thematic and the character arcs are fuller and stronger—and if I ever do write another book about Chloe and her sisters, I’ll need to move into a brand new storyline with new ideas . . . which would probably be much more interesting to write (and read) anyway!
If you would like to win a copy of Rebecca's book The Shadow behind the Stars, please click here: