How Hero Transcendent was written

Certain things had to happen if I was going to achieve the original ending to this epic. I had to provide an ultimate failure so that a new hero could be given a fresh start. I had to explore a number of new worlds quickly, to give a better idea of the scope of trans-cosmic evil. I had to discover, somehow, what motivated my ultimate villain, something that was real, plausible, and seemingly beyond the hero’s ability to address. Motives for evil — aside from psychosis — are banal. Greed, lust, ego, power, wealth — very simple things really, with considerable overlap. I chose a particular kind of envy, and it worked.

By this time, Jeanette had become — in spite of her limitations and faults, but because of her once undiscovered strengths — a super-hero that my original Schwarzenegger-type had not even begun to approach. One that I could not have imagined when I began. She was a world hero, a hero of realities, a hero of greater realities, with powers I had discovered and invented as I had gone along. And with prices to pay for both success and failure.

And I had to find a good way to bring the epic to a close, such that if there were no Book Six, it would be complete and satisfying.

Jeanette’s not being able to continue as the hero was part of the original plan, and reasons for that had been set up long ago, without my realizing it. She had exhausted her abilities. She had exceeded her courage and strength. She had done certain things, without any choice really, which now disqualified her. One of these, or all of them together, or something else, it didn’t matter. She would not be able to go on.

But those intelligences which had been watching over her all this time gave her one more task, which she could refuse or accept. She was, after all, number one hundred twenty eight in a long line of heroes stretching back more than sixteen hundred years in real world time. Who would carry on, as she had been chosen to carry on, when the previous hero could do no more? And if that successor had some of Jeanette’s surviving companions to help her….

Goose-bumps rose up all over my body. There would be a Book Six. And a new hero. And I knew just how to do it.