At the end of Beneath the Veil, we are left with some questions. I can’t really point them out in too detailed a manner otherwise some readers may have their experience spoilt. But, those who have read it know what I mean. I knew readers would want to know a) What happened at the top of Genevieve Tower? b) How in the heck did we get to the Epilogue so suddenly? c) Please explain that shock in Chapter 52 that nobody ever expected? I knew my readers would be asking these questions because I asked them myself.
This is why I had to write more. Beneath the Veil was simply the start of this body of work. There were still stories to be told, explanations to be gifted. I spoke to my readers and asked them what they wanted, and I gave them it. As a writer, the chance to explore a complex father-son relationship is the perfect chance to show off one’s writing skills. Somehow, I gifted myself this opportunity in Beneath the Betrayal rather subconsciously. Though I doubt I will ever mirror the likes of the great writers who have done this so well, so many times over.
I imagine in a lot of people’s families, fraught father-son relationships often do go back generations. When I speak to friends and family, I listen and file away titbits, I store little details like a squirrel its nuts, and keep them for those days when they need to be called upon. And so, I could see already how this father-son relationship would pan out even before it began. But as ever with my writing, we needed a twist. We needed a way of giving back one particular character some glory.
The Catacombs provided so much symbolism but ultimately, for me, represented the unknown. In the apocalyptic world I have painted, anything could be lurking down there in that filthy ossuary. Things might have taken place while cheeks were turned and ordinary citizens were busy struggling to survive. The historic underground networks beneath Paris have so much mystery, myth and menace attached to them. Some years ago, something must have crept into my subconscious and made me remember to use such a setting in a book one day, because I knew I had to use this in Beneath the Betrayal before I even started out writing Vol2.
I knew I had to throw a lot else into the mix, too. Such as, explaining characters’ backgrounds, Seraph’s development as she leaves her career behind, plus how the world is coping post-Genevieve. It wasn’t easy sewing all these strains of thought together but I somehow did it. This book took less than two months to write as opposed to the seven it took for Beneath the Veil to stew, because the first instalment is always the hardest as you lay the groundwork.
It was funny speaking to readers of BTB because they did not read certain characters in the same way. Some suspected one of being false, and others had found affinity with those that others found wanting… if that makes sense. It must mean I am doing something right, to have people questioning and reading, and making their own interpretations of various protagonists. In the same way, many have said they enjoyed this book more than Beneath the Veil, and vice versa. I love it that everything is open to interpretation – and that people have voiced their various opinions means I am getting discussions going, which is all I have ever wanted. Let’s talk about a book and dissect it if necessary, rather than leave it on a shelf straight after reading and never think of it again! This goes back to the reason why I self-published – because it gave me the perfect opportunity to play with what I could do and see where my forte lies. So in actual fact, when you’re reading the books, you are actually witnessing the development of a writer from acorn to tree (hopefully). You are on the journey with me and now this train is about to hit its last station…
As I said, there is not much I can say about Betrayal without giving too much away. You just have to read it. Where Beneath the Veil is a puzzle and a coming-of-age drama, Betrayal is a character analysis with love at its heart, but with deception as thick a vein as that leading to the left ventricle. It’s about portraying events and acts with ambiguity so as to confuse or distort the vision and impair the hearing. It’s about toying with the characters’ emotions to draw out their inner-most selves. At its centre, however, is a true story of love and how sometimes people fight it, deny it or even try to break it on purpose. I always termed my work “romance” before “sci-fi”, but it turns out, we all need a little romance added to any work of fiction. Secretly and disdainfully, it’s what we all yearn for!