Behind the scenes: Redemption

Whew! Redemption, (Blue Moon Saloon, Book 3) packs a lot of emotion, back story, and action in. How exactly did it all evolve? Find out here!

The characters

In my mind, Soren is everything an alpha bear should be – powerful, quiet, honest, and absolutely, positively dedicated to his bear clan. A lot of that came through loud and clear in Damnation, Book 1 in the series. That’s Simon and Jessica’s story, but Soren played a big role in it, too, and his character and inner conflict were already set by the time I finished Book 1 of the series. Events in the past year of his life test his mettle physically and emotionally – and it all culminates in the opening scene of Redemption, when fate reunites him with Sarah, his true love.

Sarah’s character developed as the perfect complement to a man like Soren. She’s a calm, steady, and capable country girl who grew up working hard alongside her parents. She’s a little like me in terms of her tomboy childhood and her little-girl dreams of running with wolves and scaling mountain peaks! And while she’s always been confident, the Blue Blood attack and her unexpected pregnancy changed everything. Suddenly, she’s utterly vulnerable and unsure of where to go and how to keep her baby safe.

I love so many things about this couple. Their childhood friendship blossomed into a teenage romance – the kind meant to last, no matter how badly they were tested. I love their quiet devotion to each other and the simple pleasures they draw joy from – they don’t need nightclubs or city glitz or parties. They just need each other.

The story

I love second chance romances, and boy did Sarah and Soren need a second chance after all the circumstances trying to tear them apart. For starters, he’s shifter and she’s human and therefore forbidden as a mate. Then there’s the long period of separation and the ongoing threat of the Blue Bloods. Last but certainly not least is the fact that she’s pregnant with another man’s child. Whew! In that sense, this story was one of my most ambitious to date, because how do you convincingly create a situation in which a woman can become pregnant in a way that is not a betrayal of her love for another man?

It took a while, but I eventually found a solution when the concept of Moonlust came to me. It’s fate’s way of bringing together two lovers separated by thousands of miles and allowing them the emotional connection they need so desperately. Thank goodness I’ve never been through the same kind of forced separation as Sarah and Soren, but my true love and I spent several years in a long distance relationship, so I know that loneliness and need for connection all too well, and I think that snuck into this story. Lucky me, I got my happily ever after, a lot like Sarah and Soren do!

Aside from the internal conflict these two strong characters feel, there’s the external conflict of the Blue Bloods, a radical group that has been hounding this newly formed shifter clan for months. The heroes and heroines of the Blue Moon Saloon have been headed to a final showdown with their murderous foes since Book 1 of this series, and it finally takes place at the end of this book. If you go all the way back to Chapter 1 of Damnation, you’ll find a reference to the antique Winchester hanging above the beautifully restored bar. Yep, it was there for a reason, and now you know why. That’s not the only way this story comes full circle. Another is the ongoing theme of fire – fire as a destroyer and as a vehicle for rebirth. Finally, there’s also Soren’s long, hard road to redemption as a man fighting not just for the survival of those he loves, but for respect as an alpha in his own right.

My favorite scene

I don’t have a single favorite scene so much as favorite snippets of Soren and Sarah’s interactions as they dance that thin line that separates them at first. The time she runs into him on the stairs; the time he carries her to bed; the time they talk about running the accounting for the saloon. As usual, the side characters in the book have their moments in the spotlight, too. I love Janna’s line, “Oh my God, does he need help!” I also love how Sarah fights the Blue Bloods and faces the truth about Soren. And yes, I LOVE the happily-ever-after ending when Soren cuddles the baby close.

Biggest change from early drafts to final edition

Although I spent a lot of time agonizing about the emotional pacing of this story, the events never changed much. I played around a little with when to reveal the all-important mystery of who the father of the baby was. Originally, I envisioned a scene in which Tina Hawthorne forces Soren and Sarah to sit together and talk things out. I eventually decided to let the couple talk it out alone, and all in all, I like the way the story came out in its final form. I hope you did, too!

Cross-links with Twin Moon Ranch

This is the first Blue Moon Saloon story that actually has a scene that takes place on Twin Moon Ranch, when Soren goes to talk with Ty Hawthorne about the threat of the Blue Bloods. That scene has the most overlap with the Twin Moon series, because we see Ty and Lana, working together as a great team, plus Tina and her ever-supportive mate, Rick, too. Kyle Williams is a frequent customer of the Quarter Moon Café, and – hint, hint – watch those cowboys who hang out as regulars closely. One of them is slated to appear in the future book!