Writing: An Arduous Task
I might as well share my secret here…Goddess knows I have few enough readers that by the time I finally get this book on the market, people will forget Catriona Cassidy’s true identity and who really wrote Broken Road.
A few years ago, I started work on a little piece that was only meant for my consumption, featuring Jamie-as-Raiden and me as a Priestess named Mariamne. (I think Jamie/Raiden is pretty hot when he’s made the changeover to bleach-blond mortal, in case I’ve never mentioned that.) The story grew and grew until I decided to make it into a novel and publish it. And in order to publish it and not run into the same problems I had with Meet Ophelia, I had to start changing names. So that was how The Blessing Way was born.
Around November (2011), I found myself motivation blocked on Breathless (which I’ve discussed endlessly on here before). I knew what I wanted to write next, I just had trouble making myself do it. (Partially because I went from almost-ready-to-start-chapter-seventeen mode to jump-several-chapters-back-revise-and-rewrite mode, I’m sure.) Despite all the thought and work I’ve put into Breathless, my mind drifts toward The Blessing Way from time to time. And when I found myself motivation blocked last fall, that’s precisely what happened. Only instead of expanding the novel, I ended up expanding the universe–I began to wonder why Amihan (Raiden) would fall in love with a mortal so easily and deeply, decided he had a soulmate (known as an Aŋpaŋa), and Mariamne was it. So the short story trio–which isn’t looking very short at this point–known as Broken Road was born.
The first part of Broken Road–appropriately titled Aŋpaŋa–begins in 1225, when Amihan is seventeen. He has been avoiding his father, Léi Shēng, (Shinook, following the canon set out in the second movie) since his mother took him away shortly after he was born, but the announcement of his brother’s (Beniru/Shao Khan) successful betrothal proves too much and he finally catches up with Léi Shēng at the Temple of the Elder Gods. Léi Shēng reminds Amihan that everyone in his family has been betrothed at fourteen and married at seventeen for generations and that he is therefore overdue. The Thunder God concedes and says he will marry the daughter of the Elder Goddess of Earth¹, but it is too late…Lindele’s daughter died during the birth of her third child only months before. Amihan’s only option is to marry Aĺakána, a hermit that hasn’t been seen in at least five years. Before he can find Aĺakána, however, he (literally) runs into Krystállina, the daughter of a Greek olive farmer.
I won’t go into detail (because that would ruin it), but Aŋpaŋa involves love, marriage and the ultimate price for following your heart. (And Aĺakána actually does make an appearance…it just takes a long time.)
The second part, Awakenings I, takes place two hundred and twenty-one years after the end of Aŋpaŋa. Amihan has been “underground” (or “asleep”, if you prefer) and he wakes to find that the world is not as he left it. (I haven’t started it yet, but I expect A1 to be mercifully short.)
The final part, Awakenings II, provides a completely different version of the movies. Mileena sits this one out (she’s replaced by Beniru’s natural, 768 year old daughter, Kejahatan, who commits suicide a short way in); Kitana is now Kōbaiiro, a demigoddess whose father is Beniru and who has known Amihan since she was fourteen (he was the one who instructed her in tessenjutsu²) and at the end of the war, Amihan charges Dăo Yintóu (Liu Kang) with the mission of finding his Aŋpaŋa.
I think Broken Road has been a lot harder on me than Meet Ophelia (and all the other novels I’ve tried to write) because it involves a lot of historical stuff. MO mainly took place in unspecified locations in Manhattan and involved no historical figures. In Aŋpaŋa, however, I’ve included several historical figures, inciting the need to research their families and–to some extent–their lives. I’ve also included quite a few real locations, so I’ve had to look into what they were called back in the thirteenth century, what was going on there at that time and–for the sake of my historical notes–what they’re called now. I’m thankful that A1/2 delves back into the realms of pure fiction because, interesting though research may be, it gets tiring after a while, having to look up every little thing.
¹ For some reason, Earth is the lone unrepresented element in MK2. I figure that if Air and Fire were male and that the writers conceded that Water was female, Earth therefore must be female, too. (IMDb reports no names for Fire and Water, by the way…they’re just listed as “Elder God #1” and “Elder God #2”.)
² Kitana/Kōbaiiro’s fans are properly called tessen and the practice of fighting with those fans is known as tessenjutsu.