Chapter Twenty-One, What Step is Next? by E.M. Hernandez

First off, I would like to thank everyone who participated in National Buy Evan's Book Day. We sold a fair number of copies and on August 10th, 2017th paperback made it to around 30,000th place on the world-wide Amazon book rankings. That may not sound like much, but many debut novels never see the sunny side of 100,000th, so I'm very pleased.

Now that I am through, for now, with marketing and publishing responsibilities, I look forward to putting my time back into writing the sequel and also into developing this blog and the podcast into something more substantial. I'm hoping to invest time into interviews and topical episodes about character writing, plot development, and the business of writing. Wish me luck.

This week's chapter is about a series of discoveries Sentrus makes. The world will be clearer for him before this chapter is over. It will also be more hopeful.

But it is also about Aaron, who is coming to terms with the trauma he has suffered and the blindness that now, in his mind, defines him.

I assume we've all felt cursed at one time or another. Nothing will go right for days, or weeks, or months at a time. Money, romance, work, family, health... One, or all of these essential elements of life refuses to stop hurting us. I'm usually convinced, during those seasons, that the fault is, at its root, mine. Maybe not everyone thinks this way, but for me my disasters are my own and my victories are accidents. When things go smoothly it's because things feel easy... "If things are easy I must not be challenging myself. If I'm not challenging myself then it wasn't really a victory now was it?"

I can't recall a specific disaster that spawned Aaron's dilemma in my mind. I'm not sure why I decided to blind him, or how I knew that he would initially respond to that disability with the same frustrated, wimpy, self-defeating manner that I imagine I would adopt in similar circumstances. I could just have easily made him brave and defiant in the face of adversity. He always has been before. No danger was unfaceable, no challenge insurmountable. 

But something about his new situation is different. 

I do know, it will be a joy to bring him through this trial. I look forward to watching Aaron pull himself out of the mud. I'm not sure when it will happen, or how. But at some point, this boy is going to become a man and put away his childish self-pity in favor of a courage he doesn't know he possesses.

And I also know, his only hope to see again and his only hope to love Sarai as he aught to love her, is on the other side of that transformation.

Chapter Fifteen, He Yet Breathes by E.M. Hernandez

I've been thinking about this chapter recently, because I often consider writing a novel to be a fascinating metaphor for the sovereignty of God.

My life, in recent days, has been very confusing. I can not understand what God is doing with my life, my career, and my family. Some good things are happening, combined with some not-so-good things and all of it feels mysterious. 

Why does God let bad things happen to good people? Why does he frustrate our plans and delay our desires?

I'm not especially good, but I do try. And it is in that trying that I reminded myself of another person who tries, and tries with all his might. The character Aaron. He's determined. He tries with all his might to attain every goal. And even so, he has blind spots. Much like myself.

He's a good person. So why do I put him through horrible trials?

The answer is simple: I need Aaron to grow. He can't stay who he is at the beginning of the book. How will he be the man Sarai needs if he stays a determined, but incompetent and emotionally fragile little boy? He can't. And so, he must suffer. Not for the sake of the pain, but for the sake of the growth which the pain can and will stir in him. 

I am sovereign over Aaron and I love Aaron. I genuinely believe that he exists independently enough in some strange metaphysical space in my own head that I cannot simply make him something he is not without taking him through the journey. If I arbitrarily change his character then I make him someone else entirely and the Aaron I love ceases to exist. If he goes on the journey... He can grow and be both who he is on page one and who he is at the bottom of the final page of the final book in the Sentrus Chronicles. I look forward to getting him there and giving him his hearts desire, even as that desire grows along with him.

I have to trust that God is sovereign over me and he loves me and he wishes to first grow me into who I must become, shape my desires to what is best for me, and then give me those desires as they can do the most good. I have to trust that, despite my best efforts, God is a much better God to me than I am to Aaron.


In this week's chapter, Tem's efforts to take care of the injured artoren do further damage and both save and shatter Aaron's life all at once. And we learn the identity of the traitor.