Warning! Spoilers below!
This is the first of a new feature I’m going to run on my site called “liner notes.” It’s just an explanation of some decisions I made while plotting and writing the story – why I chose not to include some characters, why some scenes did/didn’t happen, etcetera. Kind of a peek behind the curtain. :) Don’t read these until you’ve finished reading the story!
I was sitting around on Twitter a few weeks back when Katja Rinne, a reader and reviewer that’s supported my whole career, asked me something like, “What happened to Jessica?”
Jessica Jean Gresham-Kirshner is Rylie’s biological mother, who only gets significant face time in one whole chapter of Six Moon Summer. Because Rylie can’t survive in the city as a werewolf, she promptly leaves her mother to live with Aunt Gwyn, and Jessica isn’t seen again.
But Katja’s question got me thinking. What did happen to Jessica?
Not much is known about Jessica. She’s a businesswoman, her ex-husband died shortly after their divorce, she lives in “the city,” Rylie usually refers to her by first name, and she has had many boyfriends. That’s basically it. Why don’t Rylie and Aunt Gwyn like her? What would happen if she entered Rylie’s life now, after she’s become a werewolf, an Alpha, had twins, and killed several people?
From that short tweet, the idea for Alpha Moon was born.
But “where’s Jessica?” turned into something much more complicated. Because the next book with Rylie (Sacrificed in Shadow) is mostly told from Elise’s perspective, there isn’t a lot of time to explain what happens between Darkmoon and the beginning of SIS. Elise doesn’t know or care about any of that, and she’s not very chatty. So there were a lot of other questions that I needed to answer, too.
How did Rylie and friends end up in Northgate? How did they fund and organize the construction of a secluded sanctuary? When did Rylie and Abel become a comfortable couple? They have barely started life as a couple at the end of Darkmoon – we were missing a chunk of important relationship development!
The final piece of the pie for this book were ongoing reader demands for More Abel. He’s definitely a fan-favorite. :) Since Rylie has grown up, I felt like it was time to show their relationship in somewhat more of a mature light. Glazing over one of the key ways that Abel relates (which is to say, sexually) wouldn’t have done either of the characters justice. I loved getting to write them as a playful, sexually charged relationship. I kind of wish I had more time to write just the two of them together!
As a final note, several characters are out of town in the book because it will relate to The Ascension Series. No spoilers there, but what Seth, Abram, and Nash get up to while hunting is plot-relevant. :)
I had so much fun writing the unexpected last episode of Alpha Moon. I hope you guys had fun reading it, too.