Since WOLFSBANE's release I've had an uptick of emails from fans and I've noticed the rise of a certain type of email: those messages telling me how the series has to end. When I was responding to one of these messages I thought it might be best to post my response on this blog because I think this topic is one that many writers struggle with and I wanted to be sure all of you understand where my head and heart are at when I'm writing - and particularly when I'm writing the ending of a series.
Here's my reply to a reader hailing from Team Ren (but it applies to Team Shay, too):
Thank you for taking the time to write to me. You're absolutely right - I do receive mountains of emails, but I try as much as possible to answer all of them :)
I truly appreciate your enthusiasm and kind words about my books. I can't fully answer your request or question because I won't ever reveal plot points about the novels. I don't blame you at all for loving Ren - I love him too. I love all my characters like they are family. When good things happen to them I'm joyful and I cry when they're hurting (literally, I cry when I write painful scenes in my books).
Calla might end up with Ren, or Shay, or she might end up on her own. Though I know the love story is prominent in the Nightshade series the overarching plot is a much bigger story that involves all the characters. Each character has her/his own choices to make and her/his own paths follow, and how they act will determine where they end up with relation to one another. What I'm trying to convey is that the story is what determines relationships. I am so grateful for readers like you who are passionate about the books - but it's important to know that I receive just as many emails telling me Calla must end up with Shay as I do from people who prefer Ren. As a Ren supporter I'm sure that's hard for you to believe, but I swear it's absolutely true. I've been astonished at the passion from fans of both boys - it's deeply moving. I'm sympathetic to both sides because I've adored both boys from the first day they introduced themselves to me on the page.
But even if I received emails only in support of one character or another, it wouldn't change the story. It wouldn't alter what happens to Calla, her pack, the Keepers, and the Searchers - because the story is what drives my writing and I have to be true to that. If I wrote characters or plot to try to please everyone that would be akin to lying to someone just to try to keep them happy. I can't write like that, just as I couldn't live like that.
Please know that my writing the story for its own sake doesn't mean I don't care about readers' feelings. I care so much about your feelings. Every time I receive an email (and I receive lots!!!) asking for Calla to choose Shay or Ren I get torn up inside because I really would like everyone to be happy. But this is a complicated story with joys and sorrows, and it will bring joys and sorrows to readers and characters.
As I said in the opening. Calla might choose Ren, she might choose Shay. She might choose to lead her pack on her own as an alpha. She might not make it to the end of the story. After all, she is in the middle of a brutal, centuries-long war, and warriors fall. So very much is on the line in Bloodrose. Everything is on the line.
What I can promise is that the story I've written is the story that spoke to me. Not the story I wanted to tell, but the story I needed to tell. It is written honestly and from the depths of my soul. I couldn't have written it any other way and I hope you can understand why that remains true, and always will.