Saturday, 8 December 2012

Eden Paradox - Deleted Scene 2 - Zack's interview

A reader might ask why a scene was deleted in the first place – surely it’s because it was no good, right? Not necessarily. Often authors write scenes that are backgrounds to the characters. These scenes give the author a good feel as to who the character really is, and in particular where they came from. This means that in other (kept) scenes, the characters feel ‘real’, as if they had a life before the book started. Often, deleted scenes are flashbacks, and too many of these can slow down the feel of the book, breaking its momentum, even confusing the reader. Some inevitably have to be culled.

Most of my deleted scenes are flashbacks I took out for these reasons. However, once a reader has read (and hopefully liked) the book, such scenes can become more interesting, allowing a deeper insight into the character. It is like finding out secrets about people you know, things hidden in their pasts that make you think again about them, maybe a little differently.

Here’s one about Zack, Blake’s ‘Number Two’ in The Eden Paradox. If you’ve read the first book, and the sequel, Eden’s Trial, then you know what happens between these characters, and the following deleted scene makes it more poignant (particularly book 2). I wish I could let you know what happens in book 3, Eden’s Revenge, with respect to this relationship and how it ends, but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait. This scene originally came after the previous deleted scene in my last blog (Blake’s Interview), which would have come just after the short chapter entitled ‘Kurana Bay’.

Three Months Earlier

Zack stepped into the General’s office.
            ‘Come in, Zack, sit down.’
            Zack knew what was coming. He’d carefully prepared his refusal speech. Sonja and the kids had been through too damned much. It had been a mistake signing up for the Team B training, but he’d never dreamed Alpha would be assassinated, and even if they had, there were plenty of back-up pilots. He’d already told Sonja, without her asking, that he’d refuse. She’d just looked at him with cheerless eyes, as if she’d known the outcome.
           General Kilaney didn't waste any time. ‘Zack, I’ll come straight to the point. The psych says Blake could unravel this time, if the going gets rough – some mumbo-jumbo about a guilt-related sacrifice syndrome. He thinks that  if you – Blake’s most-trusted – go too, then Blake will hold it together. If you don’t go, Blake doesn’t go.’
            Bastards! Not fucking fair! Zack’s wiry eyebrows merged into a storm front of a frown. Sonja’s face flashed in front of him, her eyes baleful, thought he’d rarely seen her that way.
            ‘So,’ Zack said, with as much control as he could muster, ‘fire the damned psych, hire another one.’
            The General spoke quietly. ‘Sonja will understand, Zack. When she married you, she knew what she was getting into.’
            Zack felt the anger in his chest that had been pent up for two weeks since the bombing of Alpha Team’s shuttle had brought things to a head. But the General continued quickly, not letting Zack retort.
            ‘I won’t fire the psych, Zack, because he’s right. Blake’s not the same. Hell, he’s taut like piano wire these days, and I think only you know why.’
Zack’s well-rehearsed defence faltered; only he knew what had been eating Blake all these years.
‘Without you there,’ the General said, ‘He might not make it back. And …’ he paused, and Zack’s anger fogged, losing cohesion.
‘Sonja knows, as I do, that if Blake doesn’t make it back, for whatever reason, you’ll never forgive yourself.’
And there it hung. His anger had missed its window, he was trapped in his own web of loyalties. He faced the General, the offending sheet of headed paper between them. He didn’t read it. Zack picked up the ball-pen lying next to it and signed, almost tearing the paper.
‘Will that be all, Sir?’
The General nodded, looking away. Zack got up, scraping the chair across the floor, and launched himself at the door, his back to the General, determined to leave without following protocol, a small, hollow, symbolic rebellion. But he heard the General’s chair move also, and realised he was standing, and saluting him, Zack, his junior officer. Zack paused at the doorway, still not turning around.
‘Good luck, Zack.’
Zack gave a small nod, then left, not looking back.


Incidentally, Zack’s character is loosely based on that of a friend of mine. He’s one of my ‘readers’, and has read the draft of Eden’s Revenge, and thought the chapter where it ends between Zack and Blake was the best in the entire book.

I tend to agree.

The Eden Paradox and Eden's Trial are available in paperback and Ebook on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble, and Waterstones. Eden's Revenge is coming very soon...

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