Well, truth to tell, there isn’t much good news to impart but hey, you have to stay positive, right? And I have finally finished Tanit, the sequel to Samael. I wasn’t sure I liked it as I was writing it but, reading back, yeah, it’s okay. It’s dark, much darker than Samael – more downbeat I suppose. But then, hey, Samael is in Hell and Gen is in hell on earth. Which of them is worse off, I wonder?
As I’ve been editing it, I’ve been thinking about the themes of these books. What they’re trying to say. On one hand, they’re typical teen novels, channeling my inner sixteen-year old – full of music, existential angst and that deep yearning for ‘real’ love. I never set out to make any big claims, never tried to prove any deep points – I just wanted to tell a story.
But they're not just about romantic and sexual love but about love in all its many forms: parental love, deep friendship love, the love between an animal and a human, the love humans have for gods (and maybe vice versa). And, at its heart, that strange mystical alliance – the deep esoteric love where a man and woman are bonded on all levels, on all planes. A kind of love that is beyond rare. A love that is the polar opposite of sweet, kind and squishy - a terrifying, dreadful, cosmos-shaking love. The kind of love that can make or break worlds. Where lovers become gods.
Here’s what Gen says (in one of the rare quiet moments when the poor girl isn't lurching from one disaster to another)...
“Why do people want to control those they love? To mould them to some warped idea of perfection? Then again, I thought, was I really any better? We all have these images of perfection. I had wanted the archetypal mother, loving and nurturing, the kind who cooks supper in a neat apron, who reads bedtime stories. But then, when I thought about Mum, how could she ever be like that? My beautiful, screwed up mum, who’d started out as a rock siren and ended up as a crazy cowgirl dyke. And, frankly, that was way cool. She loved me, bottom line, totally and unconditionally. She had even loved me when I’d tried to sink a knife into her – is there any greater love?
"And Samael? He didn’t ever try to change me and he never tried to hide who he was – he showed the good and the bad, without ever trying to pretend, without ever putting a gloss on things. I could hear his voice so clearly in my head. ‘I’m not a nice guy, love. I’m not sweetness and light.’ But what was he? Really? I barely knew him yet I felt like he was part of my soul. No really, I felt him.
I wanted to sit on a beach with him, as the sun fell into the sea’s embrace. I wanted to feel his arms around me, holding me skin on skin, as close as close could be. And then, as the stars came out, I wanted him to make love to me, until we plunged together into the void, joining the constellations in their infinite dance. I wanted him. Full stop.”
Yup, all very typical teenage yearning. The book also poses the question – ‘How far would you go for love? What would you sacrifice?’
It looks at deeper issues of right and wrong. What if the thing you wanted more than anything would come at so high a price that the implications would resound, not just through your life but through eternity?
What if you could have everything your heart desired – love, wealth, beauty, youth, fame - would you pay the price? What if that price were your soul?
Wanna read more? I’ve plonked the first seven chapters of Tanit (awful title, btw) on Authonomy. As far as Samael goes, I never did hear back from HarperCollins after they requested the full ms. The book is hanging around with a couple of other publishers…y’know, the usual stuff.
For anyone’s that interested, Samael has its own blog (a bit neglected of late) and Pinterest board. Tanit also has a Pinterest board.
And the third book? Well, Genevieve will have to sit on ice for the time being as I need some dosh before I can research it. Cos, see, the action heads out to the desert – the Texan desert. And you know how I feel about deserts…