ADVANTAGE: “Advantage: A better position with the chance of winning the game. Evaluation factors can include space, time, material, and threats.”
To put Advantage, first in the Metatron’s Army series into context I need to step back and talk a bit about the series itself. As I explain in Lessons from the Edge: An Author’s Guide to Metatron’s Army:
Metatron’s Army is about transformation. Becoming.
Every journey of transformation has to begin somewhere but as William Bridges writes in his book Transition, such journeys don’t always begin at the beginning. While Advantage is the beginning of the series, it isn’t the beginning of the story.
Advantage sets the stage for the series introducing readers to characters from different star systems in different dimensions each with a unique role to play.
Location Location Location. Advantage is unique to the series in that it’s the only book set primarily on Earth.
The rest of the series is set in other star systems in other dimensions.
Strange Bedfellows. As I write on metatronsarmy.com, There are several characters who, though they have common goals and may appear to be working together, are not at all who they seem.
In Advantage I introduce readers to the key players in the series, providing a glimpse into their psyche at this stage of the journey.
It quickly becomes evident they are motivated by personal goals that are closer to personal demons.
Each Book a Chapter. In 2016, as I sat down to write the series I found myself facing a number of decisions, the most challenging where to begin?
The original version of the story started much farther down the road of Cirhce’s life.
After serious consideration I decided to go back to the beginning which, ironically, is before the heroine is born, and treat each book in the series as a chapter of her life. This gives readers the opportunity to go on the journey with her.
Music to My Ears. I used music to give context to the variables that influence Cirhce’s life, focusing on songs that were popular at the time of key life events.
I had a lot of fun going through Billboard charts in search of songs I felt best mirrored her mood and psyche at pivotal points in the story.
At one point I have Christine (Cirhce) reflect on the fact that Old Garfield, the owner of a bar she frequents, keeps up with the times, stocking the juke box with the latest and most popular tunes. In doing so I show the passage of time in a unique way.
Location Location Location 2. Several key scenes take place in bars.
Both on Earth and in Vetria.
This is a nod to both the original story which, as I explain in Lessons From the Edge, began in the warehouse bar in Perm, and a real life location I used when creating Christine’s backstory.
Bars are interesting places that can become surreal settings as a character realizes that though they are part of a crowd they are utterly, completely alone. This serves to underscore the isolation the characters feel in spite of the fact they are working with others toward a common goal.
Potholes. It was important to me to take readers on Christine’s journey of becoming. To do justice to the role she has to play in the series I needed to develop a backstory that focused on the people, places, and events that built her character. To accomplish this I used the following philosophical drivers
- Life experience is the best teacher
- Adversity is a part of life
Providing readers with insight into the challenges – known and unknown – Christine faces helps readers understand not only who she becomes but what motivates her.
Why she takes the actions she does.
The Journey Continues. Each subsequent book in the series allows readers to gain deeper insight into the characters, their motivations, including hidden motivations, and the personal demons that drive them.
“Where,” Christine ground out between clenched teeth, “is he?” She’d never liked Alexander’s eyes. Whereas Xavier’s had held a hint of warmth, compassion even, this man’s eyes reminded her of a monitor lizard. Or a shark. Dead eyes. As if there was nothing inside
“You know I couldn’t tell you, Princess, even if I knew.”
“I hate when you call me that!”.
“Why? It’s just a term.”
She sneered. “Any female over the age of seven who hears that term, if they aren’t of royal blood, knows it’s an insult.” Without considering the ramifications of her actions, of making a scene at Garfield’s place of business, she reached across, grabbed the man by his jacket, and hauled him across the table. Glasses tipped and rolled to the floor where they proceeded to shatter. The smell of yeast filled her nostrils.
“You tell me where he is!” she growled. “I need to help him!”
“And just how do you propose to do that, Princess? With what weapons? With what training? You couldn’t find your way out of a sunlit forest with a map yet you believe you could find Xavier, rescue him?”