The release date for Season Two’s Stories That Sing anthology draws ever closer. To celebrate, we have a treat for you! Not only do we get to introduce you to another Season Two Featured Author, but we get to let you in on a little secret… she also created the fantastic art that we’re using for the Stories That Sing anthology cover! Here’s a sneak peek…
Kat Heckenbach is a true gem! Not only is she a wonderful writer, she’s also a very talented artist. Her writing mixes fantasy and science together in a way that makes the world more vibrant. Give a hearty Havok welcome to Kat!
After spending her life in foster care, Simone discovers she’s half angel when the demon Wraith comes into the diner where she waits tables. Wraith–the only one who is ever truthful enough with her to admit his words are mostly lies.
Years later, angry that her mother abandoned her to return to heaven, Simone finds herself abandoning her lover, Reese, and their newborn child after Wraith tells her what she can’t deny is truth: “They will grow old and die while you remain young.”
But could he have lied? The only way Simone can know is by finding them, and making a place for herself in their life. And when the balance between human and angel begins to shift in her, she must turn to Wraith again regardless of whether she can trust him or not.
We asked Kat where she got her inspiration for Relent. Here’s what she said:
I originally wrote a short story (“Willing Blood”) several years ago specifically for a themed anthology. In this story, Simone was in charge of a horde of demons who “fed” on the souls of innocents–the premise required by the anthology. In my story, she discovered they were not following her orders, and intervened to stop a demon named Wraith from hurting a little girl (only the little girl ended up the hero). Once the story was written, I realized it wasn’t quite right for the intended anthology; so, I submitted it to an online magazine called The Absent Willow Review (which has since closed down). Much to my surprise, it was not only accepted, it received an Editor’s Choice award. Of course I was excited. I loved the story, loved the characters especially. My husband, who is not much of a fiction reader, loved the story as well and suggested I turn it into a novel.
For some reason, though, I couldn’t see that story being expanded. Even shifting things so I could write a novel in the same story world didn’t feel right to me. But the characters… I wanted to give them new life. So, I plucked them out of that story world, tweaked some features (like changing Simone’s hair color), and completely altered the nature of their relationships to each other. Instead of being in charge of demons, Simone is half-angel. Instead of being the target of a demon, the little girl, Emily, is Simone’s daughter, whom Simone has given up. And instead of wanting to harm Emily, the demon Wraith is both best friend and worst enemy to Simone as he “helps” her find Emily and regain a relationship with her.
Oddly, I had written a scene in the original short story that I completely cut early on. It had never been necessary to the plot–okay, I admit, it was an unnecessary fight scene I only added in order to meet the minimum word count for the anthology. I cut the scene before submitting the short story, but saved it just in case. Later, while writing Relent, that very scene became a large part of the climax of the book.
Flash fiction is like a peek into a story world, a moment, some kind of turning point that allows us to see a lot more than that which is actually contained in the story itself. I love the way flash fiction offers so much variety, so many different ways of approaching story-telling, and allows for more ambiguity than novels often do. ~Kat