Back in January, I wrote to Anne Bishop to get her approval for the Australian cover of Twilight’s Dawn, and also to ask if she could write about one of the stories in the book, ‘The Highlord’s Daughter’. Anyone who has followed the characters in the Black Jewels book will find it a very moving story, and I know that every reader will want to read this post … once they’ve finished the story.. So Anne’s post is behind a cut, so you don’t read any spoilers accidentally. When you are ready, click on the link and read on. Many thanks to Anne for writing this post for us.
Queen of the Darkness was first published in 2000. Since that time, readers have been asking this question: What will happen to Daemon when Jaenelle is gone? For most of those years, my answer was “I don’t know. It’s too far beyond where I am in their storytime.” Daemon and Jaenelle were together and happy and, for me, that was enough. But the question was there, drifting under the surface as I wrote other Black Jewels books.
Stories are about conflict. They’re about a problem to be solved, or a race against time to save whoever or whatever needs saving, or the sometimes quiet struggle that arises when people have opposing hopes and dreams. They’re about the clash that shakes a fictional world in some way. When readers pick up a book, they join the characters on that journey, watching them make choices, both good and bad, watching them stumble and try again as the stakes get higher and higher until, finally, the heroes of the story succeed. Or fail. In a story with a positive ending, the hero wins his heart’s desire or at least has the chance of finding it. Most often, the reward is a settled life that can be enjoyed.
Happy ever after is where stories end.
But not always.
By the time I was working on The Shadow Queen, I had a sense of where the SaDiablo family would be in a decade or two. I began to think about Sylvia and Surreal, as well as Daemon and Jaenelle. And answers to the questions that had drifted under the surface began to form.
Recently, someone made the comment that she never thought this story about Daemon would be written. I didn’t think it would be either. But when I looked at Daemon and Jaenelle and the life they had together, I realized this was the next story in their journey, and it was time to write that story.
As I followed Daemon’s efforts to deal with this stage of his life, I discovered the laughter as well as the tears, the joy as well as the sorrow. I discovered the echoes of the past in the present—and the gifts left behind by an extraordinary Queen.
Stories aren’t chained to the present. I don’t know the when of the next Black Jewels stories or whom they will be about. I have asked the questions and set them adrift. When the stories are ready to be told, the answers will rise to the surface. In the meantime, I’ll remember Daemon and Jaenelle’s extraordinary ordinary life together and wait for the next journey.
Anne Bishop’s latest book, Twilight’s Dawn, contains four beautiful stories set in the world of the Black Jewels. If you haven’t read the Black Jewels books, start with Daughter of the Blood … and you’ll never look back.