Allow me to welcome distinguished author, Kat Heckenbach as today’s guest post contributor. I recommend her writing to avid readers of speculative fiction, and look forward to each new release.
When I started writing Relent, I used the working title Guilty. My goal was to show that anyone, no matter how far they have fallen, no matter how guilty, has a chance at redemption. I chose to use a half-angel as a main character because according to the Bible humans are the only of God’s creatures offered grace. But what if someone were half-human? Would she be offered grace as well? Or, as was the case for my main character’s mother, what if an angel were made human—could they receive redemption then?
But, stories have a tendency to deviate from our intentions. I’m not saying Relent doesn’t illustrate my original message, but something deeper seeped into the story, an idea that eventually led to the title change. At some point during my writing, I realized I was creating a story about letting go.
Simone had always been angry at her mother for abandoning her. And when she found out (from a demon) that her mother, Seraphina, was actually an angel who gave her up in order to return to heaven, Simone became even angrier. Seraphina wanted paradise, not the burden of a child—so instead of taking care of the baby she’d conceived with a human, she left Simone on the doorstep of an orphanage. Dumped her infant so she could run back to her literally perfect life with no regard for Simone. Right?
Maybe not. Maybe Seraphina wasn’t being selfish. And maybe if Simone could learn to let go of her anger, she might be able to see what truly motivated her mother. Maybe she could see the sacrifice that was made, not for Seraphina’s sake, but for Simone’s.
When Simone has a child of her own, and is forced to give her up, she claims it is nothing like what her mother did to her. No, she does what she does because she can never be the mom her daughter needs, and wants her daughter, who is not immortal like Simone, to have a normal life. Yet, a battle rages inside of her. She loves her daughter, even though she has never held her, has barely laid eyes on her, has sent her away with her father so they can both be safe from Simone and the demon, Wraith, she has come to rely on. Eventually she decides she wants more than anything to be a part of her daughter’s life, and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Stubborn. That’s what Simone is. She hates her mother for not giving up heaven. She hates herself for giving up her own daughter—and she hates herself for being what she is. Anger. Hate. Resentment. Jealousy. These are things she hangs on to with the grip of a demon’s claw. And if she doesn’t let go of them, the demon inside of her will grow.
Yes, Simone’s internal demon is literal—the half of her that is angel is in danger of falling. We as humans have figurative internal demons. We are in many ways just like Simone, hanging on tightly to our anger, resentment, jealousy, and other negative emotions. We squeeze our eyes tight, refusing to see anything else. Refusing to let go. Refusing to relent, so we don’t see the freedom we’re offered when we give up trying to control everything. We don’t begin to morph physically, but we morph emotionally.
Fortunately, we all are given the same choice Simone is given—that of letting go, moving on. We to, can relent.
Kat Heckenbach spent her childhood with pencil and sketchbook in hand, knowing she wanted to be an artist when she grew up—so naturally she graduated from college with a degree in biology, went on to teach math, and now homeschools her two children while writing. Her fiction ranges from light-hearted fantasy to dark and disturbing. Enter her world at www.katheckenbach.com.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/KatHeckenbachAuthor/?ref=settings