Behind the Scenes With Transcendence

So, all the possible excerpts from Transcendence are spoilers - AND PAYOFFS. Even the first chapter, which is why it won’t be posted here until the book’s available. I am releasing teaser quotes, though, with increasing frequency as release day approaches. See them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr or here on the site.

Behind the Scenes with Vertigo was a popular post, so I thought I’d reprise it for Transcendence, with some fresh twists. Facts, trivia and deep dark secrets follow.


Like Starshine and Vertigo, Transcendence will be divided into four parts, titled and quoted thusly:



“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”
— Charles Bukowski


“These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
— Robert Frost


“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
— Mary Oliver


“Come to the edge, He said.
We are afraid, they said.
Come to the edge, He said.
We will fall, they said.
Come to the edge, He said.
So they came. He pushed them,
And they flew.”
— Guillaume Apollinaire

I confess to getting a little excited reading those, and I know what happens.

The major characters remain largely the same, with some ‘bit players’ from Vertigo now rising in importance and others fading into the background. There are no completely new POV characters, but three minor characters from Vertigo, Abigail Canivon, Jules Hervé and Brooklyn Harper, have been elevated to POV status.

In terms of how much of the book they appear in, here are the major characters grouped by rough appearance %:


Alex Solovy / Caleb Marano

Miriam Solovy / Richard Navick

Noah Terrage / Kennedy Rossi / Graham Delavasi / Devon Reynolds

Mia Requelme / Abigail Canivon / Morgan Lekkas

Eleni Gianno / Christopher Rychen / Brooklyn Harper / Malcolm Jenner

Isabela Marano / Olivia Montegreu / Liam O’Connell / Jules Hervé

Other Characters of Note: Marlee Marano, Aiden Trieneri, David Solovy, Will Sutton, Aristide Vranas, Matei Uttara, Steven Brennon and Lionel Terrage. And we really (no, really) shouldn't forget the Artificials: Valkyrie, Annie, Meno and Stanley.

It’s still a big cast (technically it's a bigger cast), but one comprised of people who should be like old friends…or old enemies. Also, disparate characters and plot threads are finally coming together (as well they should), so expect some epic ensemble scenes ;).

Alex is in a full 40% of the scenes: more than ever, this is truly her book. Miriam continues her takeover of the world by sheer mental fortitude – she’s in a quarter of the book. And Caleb, well…. Would it be possible for Caleb to disappoint? I think it would not.

Transcendence will return to Earth, Scythia, Seneca, Krysk, Romane, Pandora, Sagan, Atlantis and New Babel, as well as visit Elathan, New Cairo, Nystad and Ogham for the first time (here’s a link to the map for Transcendence). And space, of course. Lots of space.


Data Points:

  • Shocking secrets (previously unknown to the reader) revealed: 5

  • Shocking secrets (already known to the reader) exposed: 99.9999999%*

* There’s just that one little thing.

  • Named characters (not necessarily POV) from Starshine and/or Vertigo who die: 3*

* Is that all? I must be a softie.

  • Named characters from Starshine and Vertigo who live: All the rest, minus 1*

* What is death, really? What is life?

  • Nameless characters who die: 50,341,617

  • Number of heads which go missing: 3

  • Number of uses of the word ‘perspicacity’: Still 0 *sigh*

  • Percentage by which Transcendence passes the Bechdel test, Russo test, all the tests: ∞*

* In fact, there is a scene between…wait for it…THREE women in which a man isn’t discussed. An earth-shattering notion, I realize – and it happened completely by accident (which is what I'm legitimately proud of).

  • Number of easter eggs (subtle nods to geek/literary/pop culture): 4

  • Plot threads resolved: All

  • Number of narrative choices guaranteed to garner me a few angry reviews: Hmm. Either 0 or 6.

  • Number of cliffhanger endings guaranteed to garner me a few angry reviews: 0.0000001

  • Number of narrative choices guaranteed to result in spontaneous cheering by the reader and strange glances from others in the room: 2…no, 3. Perhaps 15.



  • Character with the biggest set of cojones: Miriam Solovy, without question

  • Most deserved death: Ooh, that would be telling

  • Most appearances by a character without ever having a POV scene: Admiral Christopher Rychen. Sadly, we must know him only through others’ eyes.

  • Best appearance by a character who’s deceased: David Solovy. For me at least, by the time this trilogy is complete he’s as much of a real, tangible person as any living, breathing character.

  • Best use of a spaceship: Caleb Marano*

  • Best use of a blade: Alex Solovy*

* What, you thought these would be reversed?

  • Most colorful use of profanity: Claire Zabroi

  • Best use of a water fountain as a prop: Matei Uttara

  • Best delivery of one-liners: Noah Terrage

  • Best appearance by a Roman emperor : Marcus Aurelius*

* Okay, it’s the only appearance by a Roman emperor.

  • Best description of what sadness feels like: Valkyrie

  • Most effective use of tear gas: Olivia Montegreu

  • Best open-field tackle: Kennedy Rossi


For the hopeless romantics:

I listen to a LOT of music while I’m writing. Over the course of the last year a number of songs have taken on special meanings in relation to Aurora Rising, but somehow a single song leapt out to clearly define Alex and Caleb’s evolving relationship in each book. Interestingly, all these songs are best appreciated from Caleb’s perspective. Not sure how that happened….

  • Starshine: “Demons” by Imagine Dragons (lyrics) (video)

  • Vertigo: “Place to Hide” by O.A.R. (lyrics) (video)

  • Transcendence: “Run” by Snow Patrol (lyrics) (video) (live video, because it's my fave)

  • Entire Aurora Rising trilogy: “Long Road to Ruin” by Foo Fighters (lyrics) (video)

Listen and enjoy!