If you haven’t read Wanderer’s Escape then this post contains some spoilers. Why not pick it up for free (click here for the links) and read it now?
In case you missed the big red warning above, this article contains some spoilers for Wanderer’s Escape, but there are no spoilers for the rest of the books in the series.
Jess’s relationship with Ali is a powerful theme within Wanderer’s Escape. The start is rocky but they are soon swept up by powerful feelings. Jess’s desire to help Ali save her friends defines the Wanderer’s path, and his desire to save her when she is captured then to keep her safe colours Jess’s decisions through most of the book.
But it wasn’t always that way. Writing Wanderer’s Escape was a voyage of discovery for me. As it developed I started to have ideas about where it would go but often the direction it took surprised me as much as it surprises readers. Ali was one, as was… well… that’s another blog post.
So how did Ali start out? She was a bad girl, through and through. The story of how Jess first encountered her was the same as it is now – the Wanderer evacuates Ali and several others from a ship that Imperial ships had been about to destroy. She came aboard, overwhelming Jess with the attention she gave and soon drugging him. So far no differences from the story you know.
In the finished book Ali is as much a victim of the slavers as Jess is, she’s even drugged in the same way, but she started out very differently. Originally she was related to the slavers and just as evil as they were. She drugged Jess in full knowledge of what she was doing. When Jess realised he’d been drugged he would have had to deal with Ali too.
I say would have, not had to, because I didn’t get that far. Around the time I was writing about Jess coming out of the effects of the drug it crossed my mind that Ali would need to be careful not to pickup some side effects from the drug while kissing Jess. That thought led to another, what if Ali was drugged too?
The thought was electric and it triggered so many new possibilities that it was impossible to ignore. More than that though, it felt right. I couldn’t have written Ali as I’d originally seen her even if I’d wanted to. So in that moment Ali went from villain to hero, sparking a relationship that would drive Jess throughout the rest of the series. Those of you who have read Tainted Universe will understand some of that, but there’s a lot more to come…