Today Wednesday Writers welcomes author G.S. Kenney to the blog with the story of how Freeing Eden, her science-fiction romance, became a book. Welcome!
Freeing Eden began as a meditation on the nature of good and evil, innocence and the fall from the Garden of Eden. A lot has been written, I know, and even more spoken, on the subject of that famous expulsion, but I’ve never been one to simply accept someone else’s explanation, not while I still have questions. (Yes, I was that child who was always asking, “But why, Mommy, why?” until my exasperated parent exclaimed, “Because I said so!”)
Why, I wondered, why were Adam and Eve expelled from the garden when they had partaken only of the knowledge of good and evil? What is it about simply knowing about good and evil that might inherently mean they can no longer live in that idyllic paradise?
To explore this question, I created an entirely fictional planet that was as close as I could make it to what Eden might have been like, had people continued to live there. A society in which people share freely and take care of one another. Where, despite the advanced technology on the other planets around them, people live simple lives close to the earth.
In the Bible, God created Adam in His own image. But I didn’t want a story with God or gods, with devils or demons, or (for that matter) serpents. I wanted a human story. So I presupposed that there was oppression on the world of Eden, oppression by an outside interloper, not an Edenian. And facing that interloper, Eden had had an inspirational resistance leader. This leader had died, but not before he’d had a clone of himself created, a clone with all of his virtuous and heroic qualities, but who for some reason had no memory of his maker’s life. A true innocent. Freeing Eden’s hero, Kell.
by G.S. Kenny
All trader Zara wanted was to help Kell, a clone, retrieve his maker’s memories and discover who he really is. The conflict-torn planet Eden was supposed to be just a stop en route, but Kell begins recalling fragments of memories from Swifthammer, Eden’s now-deceased resistance leader. Despite Zara’s misgivings, Kell assumes Swifthammer’s role, opposing the planet’s foreign warlord Reuel.
But Reuel’s schemes take a dangerous turn when it becomes clear he has tampered with Kell’s programming. Could the memories Kell now begins to experience be . . . Reuel’s?
Kell struggles to bring peace to Eden by uniting his maker’s heritage with that of the planet’s oppressor, but Zara fears she may be losing her heart to the man who is poised to become Eden’s next and most terrible warlord. Can she help Kell find an identity all his own—and a future they can share together?
The following excerpt takes place early in Kell’s travels on Eden, as his memories begin to surface, and it becomes apparent just who Kell’s maker is.
The family had already sat down for dinner, but the children crowded more closely together and places were set for the three newcomers. An older woman with white hair rolled neatly into a bun at the nape of her neck glanced vaguely at the visitors as they took seats. She looked away, seemingly uninterested, and then she looked back at Kell, watching him as a cat might a mouse. Her eyes glittered in the flickering lamplight as she stared at him. She was tiny and bent. Her face was a map of wrinkles, more pronounced when she squinted to keep him in focus.
Kell couldn’t face the recognition in her eyes. His heart beat faster. He looked at the family around the table: his host, black-bearded and large-boned Seth, the three young children, and the weary housewife Annie, who placed a serving bowl on the table and sat down. He studied the age-worn wood of the table, the empty plates still waiting to be served, the yellowed and peeling paper on the walls.
He’d seen that look of recognition several times since he and Zara landed on Eden, and each time it was harder to face than the last. When he first became conscious back on Zara’s ship, he’d briefly wanted to remember his maker. But now, after a month of being no one but himself, he didn’t want to know more about the man. He was afraid of his maker’s memories.
He glanced at Avram, who had agreed to be their guide. The old man’s white hair and beard were unkempt as always. When they’d first met, Avram too had stared at him with that I-didn’t-expect-to-meet-you-out-here look, but Avram didn’t meet his eyes now.
“Will you be leading us again, Swifthammer? Like before?” The grandmother asked the question as casually as she might have asked whether he thought it would rain. Silence fell around the table. Though the smell of a hot root-vegetable stew still in its serving bowl beckoned enticingly, no one moved.
Kell’s breath caught. He glanced at Zara, who sat perfectly still on the other side of Avram, her lips rounded in what could have been a silent “No.”
He wrapped his arms around himself and with difficulty returned the grandmother’s gaze. He shook his head slightly, apologetically. “My name is Kell.” His voice sounded hollow in his own ears. His heart was pounding. “Not—” He couldn’t make himself speak the syllables of the strange name. “Just Kell. I’m sorry.”
“It’s we who apologize, Kell.” Seth spoke quietly, but his basso voice reverberated off the walls. He frowned reprovingly at his mother. “But you do look a bit like him. My mother is old. Sometimes she gets confused.”
Around the table, people began serving the stew and eating. “Many of us resemble one another,” Avram said. He patted Kell’s arm and smiled encouragingly. “Too many shared bloodlines. Everyone is someone’s third cousin.”
Kell let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding and returned Avram’s smile. He took the serving bowl as it came around and ladled some stew onto his plate. It smelled delicious. Garden thyme, Kell thought. Hardy oregano. Sage. The recognition was sudden and certain. He had no idea where it came from.
This brought him back to the problem the old woman had raised. He had to face it. With his stomach in a knot and his dinner forgotten, he braced himself. He held the spoon tightly in white-knuckled hands that might have bent a more delicate implement. “I’d like to hear about this Sw—” His throat constricted, as if the name had to be kept down. “It’s a strange name.”
Want to read more? You can find Freeing Eden at Amazon
About the Author:
Author G. S. Kenney (Ginger) started reading early, and never stopped. In kindergarten, drawn in by an interesting book with a picture of three witches at a cauldron, she learned to read by starting with Macbeth. Now she writes speculative fiction. Her science-fiction romance novel Freeing Eden, published by Soul Mate Publishing, was a 2018 finalist in the Golden Heart® contest of the Romance Writers of America. Its sequel, The Last Lord of Eden, will be published by Soul Mate in April, 2020.
Interested in many fields, Ginger studied the “Great Books” at St. John’s College, architecture at Harvard, and financial planning at Boston University. She has also conducted post-doctoral research in psychology at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, and worked in software systems development. In addition to writing fiction, she is an avid photographer. She has traveled to six of the seven continents, and has the photographs to prove it. But when she and her husband moved to Northern California from Massachusetts in 2014, she came to realize that no place was as beautiful as home.
Social media links: Website: http://www.gskenney.com/ Facebook: @gskenneyauthor Twitter: @gskenneyauthor