I knew completing a trilogy would be a super-exciting process. But I never expected it to feel so bittersweet. I always assumed my reaction would mostly be, “WOOOOOO—I FINISHED A WHOLE SERIES!!!” And it is awesome knowing that my readers can finally see how Vane and Audra’s story ends. But in a way, it also feels like saying goodbye to old friends.
I started writing the first book way back in 2010 (seriously, where does time go?), so Vane and Audra have been living in my head for nearly six years. And there are so many elements to the story that are personal. The main setting of the books—the Coachella Valley—is actually where I grew up, and the house Vane lives in was loosely inspired by my childhood best friend’s house. Vane also gets his obsession with In-N-Out from me (animal style, all the way!). And I still drive through the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm several times a year (side note: I totally squealed when I first saw Audra holding her windslicer over those windmills on the new cover for Let the Sky Fall).
The idea for the story also came from my fascination with wind. Growing up in the desert, I experienced firsthand how crazy the wind can be. Some days a trickle of gentle breeze was the only thing that got me through one of the scorching days. Other times, we’d have to run inside to escape a sudden sandstorm. And I can’t tell you how many times I’d step outside and find a random dust devil in my yard, swirling for a few minutes before whisking away. It always made me imagine someone was controlling the forces, and over the years, those ideas grew into the mythology of the series.
So writing the final scenes of Let the Wind Rise back in the desert (don’t worry—no spoilers here!) was a surprisingly emotional process. Especially since they’d been living in my head for so many years. Parts of the story changed throughout the course of writing the books, but the ultimate ending stayed constant. So it totally made me tear up when I could finally see it play out on the page. And after the book was done, I still didn’t feel ready to let the characters go, so I had to write one final goodbye to them in the last paragraphs in the Acknowledgements.
I have a feeling I’ll never be able to look at the sky without imagining Vane and Audra up there somewhere, whispering to the wind, but it’s also nice to know I’ve given them the ending I always wanted. And one of the most exciting parts about finishing a trilogy is watching new readers find their way to the story, since so many prefer to wait until all the books are out before they dive into a series (in fact, I’ll confess that I’m one of those readers who waits until I can binge read). So to any new readers out there, I hope you love Vane and Audra as much as I do. And to my readers who’ve been waiting ever-so-patiently to see how the story ends, I hope the finale is everything you wanted it to be. Either way, thank you so incredibly much for reading.
Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned—among other things—that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She’s studied art, screenwriting, and television production, but realized her real passion was writing for kids and teens. She is the author of the middle grade series Keeper of the Lost Cities and the Sky Fall series for young adults. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at ShannonMessenger.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.