After my post on Faith, Laurie Lyons was sweet enough to tweet me and offer to answer the questions in my review, plus a few. I sent her a couple questions and was glad to get back such lengthy answers that explained some of my concerns about the series.
So, without further waiting…
My first two questions are the ones from the blog post:
1. Was Gavin intended to be such an integral part of the story from the beginning? I was glad to see him in such a bigger role this time around.
Yes and no. I knew how I wanted everything to end but wasn’t sure how I was going to make that happen. I even tossed around the idea of Lucy and Roman ending up together. Then I gave my head a shake and thought of another option. Gavin. I love this character. I added him into GATES towards the end of the first draft and he added so much to the story and the aspect of ‘soul mates’. He’s funny and charming without being so perfect like Nathaniel. I knew that Lucy would be without Nathaniel for most of FAITH but I didn’t want to put her alone. Lucy always needs a voice of reason and if Nathaniel couldn’t be there, I had to create someone who would.
2. Was the ending planned out the entire time? The climax, to avoid spoilers, was so well thought out, that I’m thinking you had to have been building on it.
There is no way to talk about this to avoid spoilers so here we go. SPOILER ALERT. I knew from about half way through GATES (about the same time that Nathaniel figured it out) that this story was not going to end typically. I knew that it would not wrap up with our heroine riding away on the back of a stallion. It was too perfect, too neat, too tidy and I like my work to be a little messy. Messy is where the unexpected comes from. Messy is what makes the readers heart race. I began building on it from there.
I still wanted them to end up together because I think it’s important to acknowledge my own claims about soul mates and I still wanted everyone to walk away with warm fuzzies. I needed to answer the question that I keep asking the reader, ‘how far would you go to save your true love’s soul?’ And so I did answer it. Lucy would have gone with Malachi if she had known it would save Nathaniel’s life, and Nathaniel, well, he would die to save hers.
It’s painful and yet joyful. I love it.
3. Where did you come up with the basis of the story? Did it start with the idea of a fallen Angel or was there more to it?
My work is very character driven so I usually start with a character. Lucy was the first. I saw a lady on TV that had a photographic memory and she talked about how it was both a blessing and a curse. I thought that was fascinating and so the character of Lucy was born. She sat in my brain waiting for a story for a few weeks, which is uncommon for me. Usually, if something doesn’t come of a character, I let it go. But not Lucy, she dug in her heels in my brain and would not vacate. That’s how she became so stubborn.
I toyed with the idea of a murder mystery where a guy has been charged with a crime but has amnesia and can’t remember anything. I liked the contrast but didn’t like the premise, it was cheesy. Finally, one Sunday, I was leaving church and got the flyer of that week’s updates. One of the titles of one of the articles started with the word “Angel”. I stopped right there, in front of the church with the kids staring at me like I’m insane with my mouth hanging open. Almost the entire novel FEATHER fell into my head. It was very strange and not the usual way I get ideas. I saw Nathaniel jumping off the cliff, the cabin, Lucy on the stage, Anastasia dancing, almost everything. It was pretty cool. I ran home and started writing.
4. The ideas of Faith, religion, and redemption strongly stood out to me as a Christian. What are your thoughts on that? It literally was the conclusion when you think about it. Was it just something you put in just for the story or were you hoping to make the reader think more about those things?
As a Catholic gal, those things just sift through my system and naturally permeated my work when talking about angels. The conversation that Lucy has with Malachi on the roof is every argument I have heard against the existence of God. Her response is my response, “I have faith” it is that simple. I believe that God (or the universe or whatever you believe in as a higher power) gives us chance after chance to do the right thing and doesn’t judge us when we don’t. I do believe that the only way to be free of your own past is to forgive yourself. If we don’t forgive, we create a Hell for ourselves.
I don’t know if I want my reader to think about these things as much as I would like them to start a conversation about it. If my work starts a conversation, I’m happy.
5. What advice do you have for someone wanting to write? You shared how difficult of a process Faith was, so surely you have some tips.
Don’t stop, ever.
Even if you think it is crap, even if you think it is never going to be published, don’t stop. I threw out entire chunks of FAITH. Once they all got into the castle, I, for the life of me, could not think of a way to get them back out. I kept writing though, I developed Lucy’s relationship with Malachi and eventually, the escape became clear.
Even GATES was missing about 5 middle chapters for weeks while I moved on to the end because I thought every idea I had was garbage. I rewrote the prologue of FEATHER about fifty times.
Just keep writing. Write what you like, what you want to, don’t write what the newest fad is or what someone tells you to. Just keep writing, no matter what and your work will evolve. I promise.