When I begin a story, I make a promise to the characters that I will accept them for who and what they are, without judgment, and I will write their story as honestly as I can.
Sometimes it hurts to keep that promise. Sometimes it's hard to see the scope of a story and realize that a character I like is going to end up with a life she finds satisfying, but it's still less than what I'd hoped she would have. Or that a character is going to be gone, and the weight of that truth will be carried by the others and felt on every page. I may not always like where the characters are going or the choices they make, but I know when a storyand an endingfeels right.
As the release date for Twilight's Dawn approaches, I've had an epiphany. Or, perhaps, I'm simply ready to accept what I've known from the moment I wrote the first sentence. I write dark fantasy, and the Blood have never promised a happy ending. Not to anyone, including me. Maybe especially me. These stories have spiraled back to their dark, gritty beginnings. They are full of joy and pain, rage and celebration. They remind us that the stories about the SaDiablo family were about honor and passion and the price that is paid for a dream. They remind us that not everyone gets happy ever afterand not everyone survives.
I don't choose the stories. I never have. Like the statue hidden in a block of marble waiting for the sculptor's hand, my stories rise up and wait for me to discover their shape. If I want the characters to live and breathe and bleed on the page, I have to be willing to tell their story honestlyand to take the heart bruises that sometimes go with the telling. It's what I've always done; it's what I'll always do because it's part of the journey I take with the Museand with Story.
As you read Twilight's Dawn, I'll remind you of what Daemon or Lucivar or the High Lord would have told you about the stories: Everything has a price.