Spoilers for Wolfsong and Ravensong. If you haven’t read either, click away. I will not be spoiling anything for Heartsong.
It’s been a bit, hasn’t it? But fear not, the wait is almost over. Heartsong is now officially less than a month away, and I can’t wait for you to see what happens to the Bennett Pack. It should be…interesting.
Let’s begin, shall we?
By the end of Ravensong, a few things are fact:
—the ending of Ravensong is set in 2018
—The witch, Dale, is a jerk who deserves to get punched in the spleen
—Mark and Gordo are in lurve
—The people of Green Creek know about werewolves
—The reader knows something the characters do not: the timber wolf is the son of Robert Livingstone, which makes him Gordo’s brother. And he also seems—one might say—protective of a certain Bennett brother for reasons that will become clear at some point.
Twists are fun! So long as they actually make sense and can be organic, twists are a way to shock the reader into seeing something they hadn’t seen before. First, it was always my intention to make the people of Green Creek aware of the wolves. When I first started plotting out Ravensong (and then Heartsong and Brothersong), I knew I wanted the Bennett secret to come out into the open, just to have their insular bubble popped. It creates a new and interesting dynamic that’ll show through these last two books.
The other major twist, that Livingstone has a second son, was one of the first things I thought of when planning Ravensong. In Wolfsong, it’s mentioned Livingstone had a tether, a woman who was not his wife. With this little tidbit, I change the world of the Green Creek series, introducing a new character in the form of the timber wolf. This sort of twist—one where the reader knows something the characters don’t—brings a new form of tension that I adore. You know as well as I do that it’s only a matter of time before this secret comes out, and it brings new meaning to all of the timber wolf’s interactions, both past and present.
Which brings me to where we are now: Heartsong, and Robbie Fontaine.
Look. This book wasn’t meant to be dark. It really wasn’t. I wrote it and thought Huh, this is pretty chill in comparison. And then my beta readers read it and said (I am paraphrasing here) that it was absolutely not chill in any form or fashion. I said, okie doke. We’ll see what others say.
My editors said the same thing. In fact, they went further, saying this book was almost too dark, and that I needed to add quite a bit more levity to it.
I was…perplexed? A writer is often too close to their own work, and we can’t always be the most objective when it comes to what we write. Yes, I can be a bit of a dick in that I actively enjoy breaking hearts, but come on. It couldn’t be that bad, right?
I went back after not having looked at the manuscript for almost six months. Time + Distance = a better sense of perspective. And holy shit, was I a fucking liar. The book was, of course, as others had said: dark.
But in rereading what I’d written, it made sense. It’s the second to last book in a big series. There needs to be the big Darkest Before the Dawn story, one where hope seems lost.
Enter Robbie Fontaine.
This is his story, the first in the series from the perspective of a wolf. And the novel itself wouldn’t work at all if I didn’t have complete trust in him as a character, in being able to carry the weight of this book on his shoulders. Out of all of the pack—say, except for the timber wolf—Robbie is the most enigmatic, in that we don’t know much about him. With Heartsong, I wanted to find out what made him tick, what he was like before he showed up at the Bennett House in Wolfsong, and what his motivations were. It meant going back in time to see where he came from, what he was like, and what—if anything—changed for him when he came to Green Creek and found the pack, and in turn, Kelly Bennett.
What I found broke my heart. I knew some of Robbie’s history in my head, but writing it down allowed me to explore facets of his character I’d never thought before. You’ll get to see Robbie’s relationship with Alpha Michelle Hughes (boo!) evolve, and you’ll be introduced to a gentle old witch who helped to define the man Robbie would become before he came to Green Creek. Robbie had a family of sorts that he made himself. What became of them after he went to Green Creek? What do they think of him now? These are the questions that drive Heartsong, all while Robbie and Kelly grow closer, the threat of war hanging over them and the pack.
I’m not going to tell you much more than that. In fact, aside from this blog post, there are only going to be a couple of others: next week, the soundtrack. The week after that, a post on why I wrote Heartsong and Brothersong back-to-back and how my plans were foiled for a surprise release on the latter book. The last week before release, a small excerpt. This isn’t going to be like the lead up to Ravensong: I’m not going to talk about pack dynamics, who the villain is, what potential changes are in store. I’ve made the very conscious decision to say as little as possible about these last two books in order to preserve the surprises for everyone. When you open Heartsong for the first time, I don’t want you to have any clue about what to expect. Trust me. you’ll thank me for it when you finish.
Just know this: Robbie Fontaine is going to be tested in ways that Ox and Gordo were not, but I have the utmost faith in him that he’ll do what he must in order to ensure those he loves most are safe.
And you won’t believe your eyes.
Heartsong will be released September 24, 2019.
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