Inherent Cost is the third and final book in the Inherent Gifts series, the first book of which was published in 2012. The ideas, and the books and short stories that I have written in the process, started back even further, in 2010, when I first came up with the ideas for Jere, Wren, Isis, and a little rural slave town called Hojer. Somehow, six years have passed since I first “conceived” these characters and their lives, and I feel rather bittersweet as I conclude their story. For now, at least.
This has been my most edited book, which on the one hand, can get a little tiring, but on the other hand, let me get to know my characters so much better. This book allows—or forces—the main characters to stray outside their comfort zone. Jere, in particular, has to do things he never thought he would, proving himself as a master, a competent healer, and an adult in a world he thought he’d never belong in. Some of my first notes on Jere’s character described him as a “man-child” who did what he had to do, but never really ventured beyond his own experience. While this issue gets addressed in the first two books as well, the third book really solidifies it, and Jere is faced with even more difficult decisions. We see him grappling with politics, defending his slaves and his lifestyle, and doing this all as an insider. In order for Jere to fight, he must know his opponents inside and out, and truly understanding what it means to be a master in this world is a constant challenge.
Inherent Cost also provides an opportunity for Wren to grow. For so long, he has been stuck in his role as a slave, considering himself property to be used and abused, but by the final book in the Inherent Gifts series, we see him taking charge—and not just in bed. But also in bed, because Wren is just such an excellent dominant. True to his history, he serves as Jere’s advisor, pushing him to do what needs to be done, making sure his aloof master is not allowed to be aloof when it comes to his slaves. In some ways, I think Wren has softened over the course of the trilogy, and I think it’s a good thing. While he will never be soft and cuddly, he’s dropped a lot
of the cynicism he showed in the first two books, and he’s willing to take chances for other people, even if it means he risks himself. When we first met him, he was cold, distant, and detached—he’s turned into a much more complete person now. Instead of only focusing on his own limited safety, the freedoms and protections that Jere have offered him have allowed him to become a whole person.
One of the great things about writing is that it never really has to be “over.” I am currently working on some other pieces set in the same world as I’ve created in the Inherent Gifts series, exploring the lives of new and different characters who face some of the same challenges as Wren and Jere have. The stories are countless, at least in my mind, but I probably won’t share them all. I mean, as much as I would love to share every little detail of my imaginary friends, the level of interest for anyone who doesn’t live in my head has its limits. Still, I feel this is a good ending for this trilogy, because I think I have told all of Wren and Jere’s story. They may play a part in other stories, and may have a few anecdotes here and there, but over the course of three books and over a thousand pages, I feel I have definitely done them justice.