A lot of stories involve the hero saving the world. But is that realistic if you consider what the hero has been through? What if saving the world means saving the villain? Or that bully who made the hero’s life terrible back in high school? Or the person who lied and it cost the hero his or her job, home, or even their first love?
When I started writing Blood Secrets, it hit me (and therefore Cass as I was writing her story), that if she saved her world—all the people who were forced to live on mountaintops, airships, and sky islands because of the deadly Mist that covered everything else—she would be saving the people who saw her as lesser than. The people who forced everyone else off the mountains to die in the Mist, including her parents. The same people who would never think of saving someone like her.
As I wrote her story, I felt Cass’s resentment and anger towards the “echelons”—those at the top of society and literally the world. She was fine with saving others like her. But the thought of saving the people who ordered the purges that killed so many made her feel sick. In her mind, they didn’t deserve her sacrifice.
Honestly, I had never thought about it before. The hero saves the world. It’s what a hero does. But this was the first time I really thought about what that meant, and who it meant saving. It made me look at myself. Would I be willing to save everyone? Even those who have hurt me? Who have cost me so much in my life? Ugh. That’s a hard thought.
People love heroes, and sometimes even want to be one themselves. But the reality is being a hero is really hard. It’s not just saving the world; it’s saving those who live in the world. The good and the bad. Those deserving and those not so much. That’s what a real hero does.
I won’t share what decision Cass made because that is part of her journey. But I’m glad I was able to write her story because it made me think more about how I would react in her situation. And about God, who ultimately gave all to save a world that did not want Him.