I open my first book, Valley of the Broken, with a quote from Hamlet:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
- Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
This is one of my favorite quotes in all of literature because it boils down the human experience to a mere 16 words (good job, Shakespeare! Why do the rest of us writers even try?)
The hero of my series, Sage Smith, confronts this concept of mystery in high stakes situations that make it impossible for her to ignore that realities that hide beyond her physical vision. Plus, the veil has been pulled back from Sage herself, in the form of her supernatural abilities, so despite her stubbornness, she has to face the things that lie beyond her philosophy.
I’ve chosen for each book to revolve around one of the Deadly Sins developed by theologians like Thomas Aquinas to describe particularly dangerous vices, ones that were considered so captivating that they would entangle victims in even more evil, creating an almost inescapable web. The vices are Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, and Lust.
Because they are less flashy, most people also don’t know that there’s also a list of seven virtues. These were practices so full of atonement, that they specifically combated and defeated the vices. They are Humility, Kindness, Patience, Diligence, Charity, Temperance, and Chastity.
Valley of the Broken examined Greed vs. Charity. Desert of the Damned looked at Gluttony vs. Temperance. My next book Mountains of the Deceived will either revolve around Envy or Sloth (it’s still germinating in my brain).
I chose to focus on these vices and virtues because I think one generation’s choices echo into the future. Every generation has the opportunity to recreate things new but also has to deal with the reality of what has evolved over thousands of years of human history.
I like to think that we all have a little bit of Sage in us, the stubborn rebel, the reluctant hero, and the mysterious saint. Just like Sage, we’re a jumbled mess, but the seeds of redemption are there, waiting to grow if we let them. As we interact with the realities of the world around us, both the seen and unseen, we have the chance to tip the scale one direction or the other, for ourselves and future generations.