First, I thank everyone who has written about the book. I try to keep up with all fanmail, but it’s getting more challenging, so if I miss you, don’t take it personally. I did read it, I promise. And if you really need a reply, just nudge me, and I’ll get on it.

Next, I have a few comments about the book, responding to the three biggest questions I get.

Why did you make it a stupid love triangle? I hate triangles!

The romance is not a triangle. Deuce doesn’t understand relationships the way a normal girl does; she doesn’t realize what’s causing Fade to pull away or that Stalker is pursuing her. Her emotional intuition is pretty close to nonexistent, and she misses cues that seem obvious to us because she’s very underdeveloped in that regard. Yes, it’s obvious to us that Fade digs her and that Stalker does too, and that by training with him, she’s making Fade think she doesn’t like him. But Deuce doesn’t think in those terms. Stone and Thimble were her closest friends in brat-hood, and she never encountered an either/or situation with them. And that’s really her primary source of social experience. She has no romantic history whatsoever.

How can you care so little about abuse victims? What Deuce says to Tegan is unconscionable!

First, this question assumes that I, personally, have made some statement–that I think victims should “get over it”. This is not the case. However, my modern sensibilities have no place in a dystopian novel, where the continuation of the human race is threatened. That’s part of the conflict, in fact, between kindness and survival, compassion and callous strength. It is impossible for Deuce to have the kind of understanding that I do in regard to Tegan’s situation. I wrote the character as true to her world and her upbringing.

How can Deuce like an evil monster like Stalker?

He’s an amoral survivor who lives in a dystopian society where horrible things happen every day. You’ll find out more about his past in book two and what Tegan suffered… and why. (Oddly nobody has asked why she was beaten. As a breeding female it makes no sense that she would be as the Wolves needed her to keep the population up.)

Stalker cannot be judged by our yardstick of what’s acceptable; he is a product of the society in which he was raised. How can he possess our sense of right and wrong until he’s exposed to different ways of thinking?

By that same token, Deuce and Fade are not nice people, either. They left an innocent child to die. In the Razorland world, certain mores fall away. And that provides the fulcrum for the question that I’ll try to answer before the end of the series. How far is too far? How much of our humanity can we yield in the name of survival before we become the monsters?

The whole trilogy is dark, though it ends on a hopeful note. Some people can’t roll with my story choices, and that’s all right. No book is for everyone. That said, I promise plenty of ass-kicking, more world-building goodness (you find out about the Freaks’ origin), more romance, and more heartbreak in Outpost. My beta reader said it was ten times as intense as Enclave.