In all of my stories, there is only one Cassandra Mel-Kallai. She is unique. Not only is she in a story that’s out of character for me, she is almost the only heroine to actually drive a story. This girl is a touch too old and forests don't appear in Halogen Crossing. But it still captures a bit of her personality.
Halogen Crossing truly is about Cassandra and what makes the story complex is she is nonetheless a placeholder like many of my characters. The story is dictated by her decisions about the Belt—but she is a narrative voice through which we can see a broader story behind her. The story of the world that Belt came from (the kingdom of the sea) and what it represents.
I’ve never heard anyone speak about Cassandra. Not once. And I’ve always found that suspicious because she has an unusually strong presence. The only hint I had of how strongly others might react to this story came from a strange, very confrontational statement made a by a girl several years ago. She attacked a cover I had with a blonde girl like Cassandra on it and said it was homemade-looking, “blurry, and really hard on the eyes,” She insisted on showing me a picture of a place like Bespin in Empire Strikes Back, and that was the impression she got out of the story. I was like, “Whoa, RUDE.” It was quite a while afterwards that I realized she was very upset about the story, not the cover. No one else has said a thing-- to my knowledge.
This story wasn’t difficult or unpleasant to write, but it has some dark themes, shown in a veiled way. I don’t apologize for that because I don’t feel personally about it. I first thought of Cassie as a human personification of the element Calcium (this take on the story can still be seen in the name of the villains, Halogen, a family of elements) and in no way like me or connected to me. I was trying to get at something basic and primitive, as primitive as the elements that make up our world. Cassandra is sold into something represented by the people of the sea and the Belt—something she knows is dark and she wishes everyone around her would acknowledge.
It might be troubling to people who are interested in this kind of fantasy to know others can see what their world is about without belonging to it. As I saw it. There was a lot of interest in fantasy, especially sweeping, allegorical sagas, during the decade I wrote this story, and I think audiences were considering who is really interested in that kind of work. So I know who Cassandra is. Everyone knows. And that’s why, although I considered doing a sequel in which she and Karl traveled to the bottom of the sea, I stopped because there was no more to tell. People know what this story is about.
What she is about.
And there will be more updates.
I've always been a writer. Author of 9 published books. Most recently published A Year with the Harrisons, a variation on Little Women. Next year will be publishing The Prince's Ball, a futuristic fairy-tale adventure.