The Captain’s Angel, Volume III of the Buchanan Saga
If you’ve followed my books from the beginning, you’ll know that I had a few smaller Christmas books interspersed with previous series. While revising the first two Buchanan Saga books and preparing them for publication, I had a distinct idea for Garret’s story, which eventually became “Hearts Crossed,” volume four, but I also had a little idea for what I felt was a perfect small Christmas book in between. But as I started writing this story, it grew into a full-sized novel.
The book is a perfect illustration of what I’ve done many times in a series. After the “happily ever after” what REALLY happens? I like to dig deeper into the challenges and struggles of my characters, and see what comes out when they are confronted with more heartache and grief. In this case, exposing the reality of what happens when unacknowledged baggage gets triggered, it seems at some points that the problem will be impossible to solve. This story illustrates one of my strongest beliefs, in life and in fiction, that facing trials and overcoming them in a positive way makes us better, stronger people. In the middle of this book, you might think that these awful things shouldn’t have happened to these amazing people, but by the end you’re glad it did because they’re better for it. We should look at our own lives that way.
This story was the perfect setting to bring out a psychological principle that I’ve seen work miracles in the lives of real people. Ritcherd’s writing exercise which gives him the opportunity to cleanse out all of his ugly past is profoundly powerful, and I highly recommend it for anyone who has baggage to deal with. (All of us, maybe?)
This book also explores something that I have a deep fascination with, even though I have no idea why, and that is the love triangle. It wasn’t until I’d written a few of them that I stopped to acknowledge my fascination. I did it in “The Gable Faces East” with Alexa, Jess, and Richard. And it’s in some of my unpublished work, as well. In this book, the love that Garret has for Ritcherd’s wife is very noble, and a good example of the concept that we may not be able to choose our feelings, but we can choose how we act on them.
Okay, this thought has an especially big SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the book and want to be surprised, don’t read the rest of this. In the years prior to the first two volumes being published, they were read by a number of friends. I often heard the comment that they hoped and/or expected Kyrah’s father to really be alive since no one actually saw the body. My response was always that he was dead, plain and simple. In the middle of writing this book, I was struck with a big fat, “Oh, my gosh! Kyrah’s father IS alive, and he’s coming back!” It took me some time to get used to the idea, and then it felt SO right. The first book was almost ready to go to press and I realized that I needed to make some minor adjustments to make his return feasible. I went back and read the note he’d left and a few other key moments and I was astonished to see that I didn’t have to change a word. It was as if it had been meant to be this way from the start; I just hadn’t realized it. Like many other creative moments, I felt in awe of the source of the stories. I’m just the typist.