My philosophy is: There must always be a deeper meaning to one’s art, and to every part of their art.
My books are meant to make people think. They are meant to give people new perspective on life, and that will be true even when I start writing science fiction and fantasy. My books are meant to teach, and that includes myself. When one teaches, two learn.
The novels I’m currently writing, the Remnant Saga, each have deeper meanings, and are in fact about the deeper meaning. Everything in existence has an exterior and an interior, and with my stories, it is no different. Sure, Remnant is about a girl searching for her father in a war-torn city, but that’s only the exterior. At the interior there are many messages and themes. I try to leave it to my audience to get their own meaning from my works, rather than outright tell them what to think. The stories mean to people what they mean, and I have no say in that.
But if you would like to know all of the meanings I intended to put in my books, I’ll tell you.
1. The Name
Why ‘Remnant’ for a title, and not only for the first novel, but for the whole series? Because it directly implies that there is less than before. There used to be more. Now, there is only a fraction, a fragment, a remainder. Since it is a series about the characters’ internal and external struggles, the name ‘Remnant’ thus means that the characters are all only a fraction who they used to be. It also applies to the United States (the setting of the story), and since the US was the most powerful and wealthiest nation in the world, its collapse has a large impact on the world too.
Every chapter is written from one particular character’s perspective.
As humans, we are all limited by our own perspectives. We cannot see every angle, and we cannot be in all places at all times. This is why we must never assume that we can. Those who appear to be good aren’t always truly good, and the same applies for those who appear evil. We perceive only what we are capable of perceiving. That doesn’t mean we’re always wrong, but we certainly can be. Having a narrow scope with which to view things is part of the human condition, and there is no cure for it. Many of our problems as a species come from this fact alone.
3. The Setting
The story takes place in a city during winter.
Cities are, obviously, not natural settings. They are man-made environments. This is why I thought it fitting to have the setting be entirely in a city. The story itself is about humans and the struggles we create for ourselves. So, where better to have the story take place than in a concrete jungle?
4. The Theme of Hiding
Every character is hiding from something.
On the outside, everyone is trying to survive a cold winter in the middle of the city where nothing grows naturally. But at the same time, everyone is also hiding from themselves; from their own pasts. Even Ethan, who makes it his mission to go out and find his daughter at any cost, is hiding from his past mistakes by not allowing himself to care for his daughter after she’s found.
There is no definite main character.
With no one person for the story to completely focus on, anything can happen to anyone at any time. No one is protected by their main character status and lucks out of danger for that reason. I intentionally made the story one that you don’t entirely know where it’s going until it gets there, because this isn’t how real life works, plus stories don’t have to be predictable, and I think it’s better when they’re not. Adam is established early on, but also dies early on. Mercy and Ethan spend most of the novel together, but they don’t fall in love, and especially not for that simple reason. And the list goes on.
Whether it is blood relation (like Ethan and Lilith), adoptive relation (Mercy and Theia), or allegiance (the mob versus the military), this novel is about family and the people in our life who define who we are. The novel explores the question: Is our family chosen for us, or can we choose our family?
I like to think of Ethan as the main character, even though there technically isn’t a main character in this novel either. Ethan is at the center of it all, with connections to both the mob and the military. I think this theme of family is directly connected to the second deeper meaning…
The novel explores who people are at their core. In a way, it’s more important than the theme of family, because in the end, who everyone truly is deep down stands drives their actions more than those they are connected to. Being the twin of Lilith doesn’t keep Ethan from betraying her, and being the twin of Ethan doesn’t keep Lilith from seeking ultimate power. In the flashbacks we see Ethan learn a heartbreaking truth, but that doesn’t push him away from seeing anyone as family.
3. All of Remnant‘s Deeper Meanings and Themes
I consider Resurrection to not only be the second novel in the series, but also the second half of Remnant. I was actually a little tempted to call the second novel Remnant Part II because they are so similar in plot and themes. Every one of the deeper meanings in the first novel can be applied to the second for this reason. It’s a slightly different setting, sure, but a lot of characters have a lot of unfinished business…
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