Every Tale Must See an End…

 

Every story much eventually come to a conclusion, just as every endeavor, humble or grand, will run its course and recede into memory. I wrote the first volume of The Converging thirty or so years ago and as I set out to do so, I had no clear vision of how the tale would finally be resolved…or the profound impact its two main characters…Elizabeth Simpson and Cynara Saravic…would have upon me, both as a writer…and a person. When I penned the final sentence of Closures in Bloodand as was her nature, Elizabeth Simpson set out upon the path of light…I recall sitting back with a measure of satisfaction, rather smug in the certainty that I had written the perfect ending to this horror trilogy.

One thing I have come to learn in these decades of writing is that the creative process is a sly and often incomprehensible process…with an often inscrutable mind of its own. It is not necessarily amicable to or concerned with the writer’s intentions or prejudices, but works inexorably toward its own design. I finished Closures in Blood in early 1996 and it was my sincere belief that Elizabeth and Cynara’s epic tale had been told. I had left them both with a future that, while ambiguous, held forth the prospect of happiness…as a recompense for the horror that Elizabeth in particular had endured through the nearly forty year period encompassed in the novels of the trilogy.

In the intervening years, a formative notion kept niggling at my subconscious, growing more insistent and fully realized with each passing year. Elizabeth and Cynara’s tale had yet to reach the denouement it was destined to have. It was just after Christmas day in 2013 that I finally succumbed to the inevitable and began writing what is most definitely an emphatic end to this fate-crossed pair’s dark, tragic and somehow beautiful story. I can say without equivocation that the end result was the most challenging, emotionally taxing and personal novels I’ve written thus far. I have come to view Elizabeth as a noble and dignified character, who has endured every heart-ache…every instant of despair…with grace that has never faltered in the face of expedience or tragedy.

An Immortal Heart Asunder is first and foremost a dark horror tale, woven into its bleak tapestry are elements of tragedy, beauty and the complex, often exquisite and bewildering beauty of human existence. Along with providing an ample dose of the elements that one would expect from the genre, the novel explores themes of estrangement, regret and prevailing sadness that can often characterize the emotional topography of those approaching the end of their lives. The novel’s plot unfurls along two parallel but distinct threads, connected by one common element, that come together in its final few chapters with cataclysmic effect for all involved. Thematically, the novel deals with subjects that are…disconcerting; child abuse, child slavery and exploitation and pedophilia. Those who recall Cassandra Jasic and the harrowing tale of her childhood will grasp the genesis of this uncomfortable direction. The tortured Cassandra plays a pivotal role in seeing Elizabeth and Cynara to end of their epic tale.

I can say that writing within the parameters of these particular themes was very much like negotiating a live mine field and left me feeling exhausted and…unsettled. I’ve always believed that a story tells itself and the writer merely scribes the words and so I let instinct lead me where it would through this maze. In the end, what I believe I’ve created is a dark tragedy that is not without its beautiful moments for all of its prevailing horror.

In the years following the final moment of Closures in Blood, Elizabeth Simpson finds herself living a life of quiet and contented solitude near the village of Petalidi on the Messenian Gulf. Hers is a solitary existence…a sepia-toned exile in which her only companions are the memories of those she’s lost. In the mid-21st century, privacy is a fleeting commodity and Elizabeth soon attracts the attention of an aging, ruthless marauder who is desperate to avoid the one eventuality his enormous wealth cannot forestall. Using the family that Elizabeth has never met as the currency of coercion, this dying pirate maneuvers the immortal into a position from which there seems no prospect for escape. Meanwhile, in the City of London, an apparent vigilante is systematically and savagely slaughtering Caucasian men, who come from every strata of society…with no apparent connection between the victims other than the rather generic fact that they are white and male. Realizing that her existence poses a threat to everything that she has loved…or might ever love, Elizabeth turns to the one true constant in her life to extract her from the clever snare in which she’s become entrapped, yet as these two plot threads inevitably intermingle, Elizabeth comes to see that there may be only one viable forward path…

The conclusion of Immortal Heart Asunder brings the Converging tales to an emphatic end…perhaps the ending it was destined to have from the first word of book one. Elizabeth and Cynara’s ultimately tragic and beautiful story has been told and with its conclusion so ends my desire to write further stories in the horror genre. Characters of long-running series often take on a life of their own for those who have created then and I can say without reservation that I will miss working with Elizabeth…and trying to glean the subtle nuances of her serene and noble nature. Unlike Islena Doraux (the complicated and often unlikable protagonist of the Journey series), Elizabeth has been a joy to work with…a character whose nature was firmly resolved and easy to decipher in any given circumstance. The final sentences of the novel may intimate that there is yet another tale to be told in the Converging universe, but Elizabeth and Cynara are the heart of this series and as their story has reached its end, whatever proceeds from this moment is in the hands of the fans who have read and enjoyed this dark series of tales…

 

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