Let me just start this by giving a big spoiler alert.
I got asked the other day what my novel In Blackness was about. Immediately I told them something similar to what is on the back of the book. You know, it’s a coming of age story about three teens taking a journey into the past and discovering all kinds of cool stuff, like how their parents might have been on drugs. I told this person about the aliens in the story, the one character, Saline, rediscovering religion, and another character finding work for the first time at a young age and all that stuff. Then I implied the alien invasion and a lot of death and that In Blackness is a trilogy or will be. So I did that and this person said, no, what is it ABOUT? So I was like “Oh, about with a big A not a small a. About.”
Now everybody knows that you can’t just say what the story is About (big A). It’s not something you can talk about real quick. Sure you can have your little elevator pitch ready but we all know that stuff is surface level. What a story is about lies in the details and is intertwined in dialogue and cadence. It’s passive aggressively left in-between words, and purposely subjective. I didn’t answer it then but I will now.
This is what In Blackness is about, in consideration of one character: Saline.
First off it’s a coming of age story. What that means is completely subjective but for this story it’s about evaluating the past just so you can move on from it, which is what Lenny and Saline must do. They have a hard time with this, especially Saline. It’s so hard for her, in fact, that she decides to head back to her home town to be in her childhood environment. All this was just to gain perspective. But what will she do when she gets there? What’s there for her? Her parents both died in a car accident when she was 10 years old and now at eighteen she simply needs closure.
Needing closure is what naturally makes the scenario bleed into what she must do to survive in her life. She finds God again, yes, realistically to survive. She grew up believing, but unlike her brother Lenny who said screw God because God killed their parents, she feels more like Jesus helped her through her parents’ death. So she starts going to church again. Deep down, she feels as though Lenny will eventually come around to her point of view. She has no sense of heaven or any righteousness about it. She simply wants to survive, to be mentally healthy. Needless to say, she has conflict with herself when she can’t deny the real reason she found her way to her old home. On some level, she has been pushed there by aliens that have a purpose yet to be revealed to her. And I won’t reveal it here either.
She has to deal with the fact that the most righteous people she had met in her life came from the church, and they too were on a trek to her old town of Lowery, Washington to—get this—coerce with aliens.
While writing this I had to really think about the plot-point surrounding this part of the story and what it would mean to Saline’s development. She finds that her group of Christian travelers had been often meeting with aliens (though they considered them more like angels). Not only is her world rattled but she doesn’t know how to get it back together. Essentially Saline’s arc is about her keeping her faith or losing it and what she could do with it in the short term.
Saline was a challenge to write, mostly because I’m not the biggest Christian on the planet, however I do truly like the idea of faith and empowerment from somewhere that is not one’s self. I love that Saline needs to learn how to generate her own energy, literally, to survive.
This is not the novel I thought I would be writing. This is not the style I thought I would use to portray these characters. This novel is much darker and bloodier than I anticipated. It was also plenty more fulfilling. Please take the time to take a peek at what I’m talking about.
Come on down and meet Saline.
I’ll tell you what. Although In Blackness is a paper book as well as an e-book, if you are curious about learning more about Saline, here is a code to download it from smashwords.com for only .99 cents. This is only a partial promotional. The only way to get the code is from reading this blog or if someone gave you the code. The code expires February 2nd.