(Spoiler alert. If you have not yet read Alien Conquest, be aware major plot points will be given away in the following blog.)
As I finish an editing run on the soon-to-be re-released Alien Conquest, I find myself hurting anew over certain elements of that book. Obviously, there is Armageddon. I did not contemplate the deaths of billions of people lightly when I wrote this book the first time. In fact, I fought against it. My muse is a fucking sociopath however, and there was no way Earth was not going to be annihilated at the end of the story. For that reason alone, Alien Conquest is probably my least favorite of the Clans of Kalquor series ... not because I don’t love the characters or the story itself, but because of how it had to end.
Then there is another element that tears my heart to pieces. When Cassidy recovers the real memory of what happened to her mother Jackie, I just want to cry. It especially hurts thinking of how Cassidy was brainwashed into testifying against Jackie at the trial. I keep thinking of how Cassidy’s mom must have felt to hear the daughter she saved spewing those lies. Of course, I have no doubt she knew why Cassidy did so ... but the pain of facing that would have been incredible anyway.
After I edited that portion of the book, I went into a funk for a few hours. Sometimes reading or writing certain things can do that to me because I tend to live in characters’ heads. I hope that the fact it screwed with me for a short while says that the scene is well done. I judge other authors’ works by how emotional I get over the characters. Granted, I am not far removed from my own work. I always live it with my characters, so it’s hard for me to be objective when it comes to the people I create.
It amazes me how often secondary characters can pull hard at the heartstrings. Jackie Hamilton is one. Dramok Amgar (Alien Refuge) was another, and not just for me. So many readers have asked what will happen to his remaining clan. Some want a story giving them a new start and a guaranteed happy future. I can’t say I blame them. Amgar’s death hit me hard too ... and he barely showed up in the book!
Anyway, I’ve got one more editing/formatting pass to make with Alien Conquest before I can leave the final horror of it behind once more. One more time to sentence a multitude of innocents to a mercifully quick but undeserved death, and one more time to break a mother and daughter’s hearts. At least I can assure them they don’t suffer alone. I’m with them all, every step of the way.