A couple days ago I received the first paperback copy of Consummate Betrayal with its updated cover. I’m incredibly grateful to Mirna Gilman at Books Go Social in Ireland for the new look. It’s great fun to see the cover in the flesh, so to speak, and I love it!
For kicks I decided to reread the book. As I met Rowan again in that first story, it got me thinking about how his character has grown. When I started writing CB in 2009, I cast Rowan as a young FBI special agent with a chip on his shoulder about being Iranian-American. A quick aside: like many authors, when I write, the characters take over. They come up with their own dialogue and literally chart their own course. Rowan, as a supremely confident, arrogant individual, did that in spades!
By the time I was eight chapters or so into the story, I made the tough decision to axe the first six chapters and rewrite pretty much the entire beginning. Another quick aside: CB is 107,791 words in length. While working on that story, I wrote over 500,000 words…yeah, more than half a MILLION. Most of it got discarded because of how Rowan and the other characters grew, and because of their growth, the story, i.e. the entire story project, became much, much more than I had anticipated.
My original goals were tied to the idea of a trilogy based on the themes of betrayal, retribution and redemption. Those themes seemed to work out pretty well in CB and Unholy. However, as I worked on the third book (of the trilogy which became a series), it dawned on me that Rowan kept resisting the redemption he’d been offered at the end of Unholy. The upheaval he experienced in both CB and Unholy left him even more wounded, both physically and emotionally, than he’d been at the start of CB.
What he wanted, more than anything, was to go back and fix everything he’d screwed up. He desperately wanted the opportunity to be a different man. Or maybe I should say, a different kind of man. But he’d been broken and the angry, über confident Rowan no longer existed. A humbled, hesitant man emerged from the screen written pages. Once again, the character took control.
I’m super excited to see where the intricate tale goes from here. The fourth installment is at 31,704 words and counting. So far, Rowan is beginning to reassert himself, becoming more confident. He has renewed hope for his future, although still grappling with who is offering redemption to him, and why. Will he accept it? Time and the words that appear on the screen will tell. I am along for the ride.