In the original manuscript of A Voice in the Wind which was intended to be a stand-alone title, I had Hadassah die in the arena. It was my first novel in which I was writing blatantly as a Christian and not doing an allegory (Redeeming Love).
My editor, Karen Ball, was furious. She called and said if she didn’t know I had other possibilities going on in my head (which I did because I loved Hadassah and didn’t want to kill her off), she would throw my manuscript across the room, or jump up and down on it (or me). She loved Hadassah, too. “You can’t kill her!”
It was a “classic” ending, and all writers want to write a story that lasts. But I gave in. Forget writing a classic/tragic ending that offers a catharsis and makes people think about their (own) lives. I wanted to keep her alive, too. So along came Alexander Democedes Amandinus, a doctor hungry to know more about the human body, standing in the wings, watching Hadassah raise her arms and sing to God as a lion attack. Alexander’s journey begins and intersects with Julia and then Marcus, all impacted by a quiet, humble girl still growing in faith.
Atretes, the gladiator full of wrath and grinding his teeth for vengeance, had to wait before I could take him on his journey to love, faith and Germania.