You've been waiting patiently for Jonathan Auxier's Q&A for weeks, and now your patience will be rewarded. Ready to hear what Jonathan has to say about The Burning Tide? Then read on, Greencloaks, but beware: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
Q: First things first: Why did Shane have to die?!
A: Some very passionate readers have been upset by Shane’s death in the story--and I get it! For those that cried while reading the end of The Burning Tide, you should know that I cried while writing it ... it was not pretty!. The truth is, Shane's path was set in motion long motion before he set foot on the Place of Desolation. Readers may have forgiven Shane for his past sins as the Devourer, but he had never truly forgiven himself. Shane understood that his sacrifice was the only way to make amends for the terrible things he’d done in the past. The Spirit Animals series is about heroes, and heroes are defined by the sacrifices they make.
Q: Why didn't you let Abeke tell Shane that she forgave him?
A: This is a complicated question, and I suppose it is because if Abeke and Shane had shared a proper goodbye, then it would have been too "neat" ... the perfect end to an epic relationship. Life, however, is rarely neat--it is messy and confusing and people don't always get a chance to say the things they should say. Abeke is now someone who will always be haunted by her inability to reconcile with Shane, and that sort of regret is a part of growing up.
Q: How do you feel about killing off Zerif? Was it satisfying to see the main antagonist defeated?
A: Anyone who knows me knows that I looooooovve killing off villains! So yes, it was a blast. But even as I was writing that sequence, I couldn't help but feel a tiny bit bad for Zerif. He was, after all, just another pawn of the Wyrm.
Q: How does Conor feel about almost hurting his friends while he was possessed by the Wyrm?
A: Conor is sort of the heart of the team--he is naturally kind in a way I really admire. All of this made it even more painful when a possessed Conor turned on Meilin and Takoda. I suspect it will take him a very long time to forgive himself for what he did while under the power of the Wyrm.
Q: How was the snare connected from the Sadre to the Redcloak base?
A: Ancient Hellans constructed a hollow tunnel that ran straight through the center of the world to from one end of the world to another--exactly on the axis of the world. Doing so, they were able to harness the power of Erdas's rotation to construct the snare ... and it's a lucky thing they did!
Q: Who was your favorite character in the book to write for?
A: Is it weird if I say I loved writing for the Wyrm?
Q: What was your favorite chapter to write in the book?
A: Without question, my favorite chapter was the prologue where I got to write Kovo before he became a Great Beast. I like exploring the ways in which characters we perceive as being purely evil are actually more complex and sympathetic.
Q: What is your main source of inspiration?
A: Books! I read a lot, and with every new book I read, I'm looking for things that I can learn and apply to my own writing. All my other novels--Peter Nimble, Sophie Quire, The Night Gardener were all deeply inspired by my favorite books I read when I was younger.
Q: And the most important question of all: Conor/Abeke or Shane/Abeke?
A: I'm going to cheat and say Abeke/Uraza. I think before Abeke is ready for any relationship, she needs to set things right with her spirit animal.
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