JWolf...thanks for that. Really nice to hear. The "awesomness" I was referring to was not so much the praise, though it is always appreciated, but more the surprising things that often come up in these discussions. It reminds me of how many different ways there are to look at a thing and is incredibly refreshing when I've spent too long buried in an outline or manuscript.
And Enterpriserules...yes, I read your review and was delighted that some of the more metaphysical aspects of the story worked for you. It can be a tough line to walk and I think a lot of people aren't comfortable going there. It's supposed to be "science" fiction after all. But in this case, given where we started and where we had to go, the spiritual aspects kept resonating so I decided to trust it. It's not something that every story calls for, but it is an aspect of humanity that I find every bit as interesting and worthy of exploration as any other if the context is appropriate and it serves the story.
We all knew before this book came out that there were a number of people on the planet who could not, under any circumstances, be moved to read a Voyager book that did not feature a living, breathing Kathryn Janeway. In fact, we've met many of them over the past few years. It should not, then, surprise you that now, there will be a number of people who, likewise, are not inclined to read stories that do feature a living, breathing Kathryn Janeway. For any number of reasons. It's a fair choice to make and any effort to disuade them is not likely meet with much success.
I knew this going in. I'm okay with it. Everyone has a right to spend their money, or much more valuable time only on those things they believe will entertain or satisfy them as readers. At the end of the day, the reasons why this story was written don't matter. The story works or doesn't work on its merits for any given reader. Full stop.
I spent a lot of time in the past trying to explain the reasons we were exploring Janeway's death to those who were angered by it, and it never made the slightest bit of difference. In fact, my efforts tended to further alienate those individuals. They formed opinions of me that bear absolutely no resemblence to the genuine article, and usually decided that I was simply lying to them, or playing politics.
What I learned through that process was that no amount of explanation or justification or defense of my position was a worthwhile way to spend my time, because it changed nothing. So now I find myself facing a new group of disappointed people who I have already angered by writing what I have. And all I know is that to try and defend myself or justify my choices would be equally meaningless.
I am content to let those who are unhappy or angry or disappointed say what they need to say. The usernames may not be the same. But the perspective isn't anything I haven't seen before. Nothing I can tell you about why I made the choices I did is going to make the story work better for you.
And who knows...maybe as the story continues, current objections might seem less objectionable, and current fears may be allayed.
Either way...understand that when I send a story out into the world, I hope that it will be met in the spirit in which it was intended but I am not permitted to be surprised when it isn't. That part is out of my control. The best I can hope for might be a little faith, even from those I have disappointed, particularly when I had managed to grudingly earn it in the past. I've learned again over these past few weeks, that in some cases, this is just too much to ask. When people feel angry, or wronged, or that their trust has been broken, they can often be unkind. But I sleep just fine at night, knowing that I have done what I can to keep this story and series alive and compelling. And that nothing I have planned for the future is anything we've seen before. I write these stories from a place of deep love and respect for the characters and their journeys and always with the hope that following the character's adventures will bring the readers something they can't find anywhere else. I think most of my readers sense that, even when they don't understand all of my choices. And to those that don't...
Peace and long life.