I started writing Entanglement in March of 2015. This is probably the first book in the series that really expands the universe and showcases some of the world-building that went into the Justice Keepers Saga. The first two novels were largely focused on setting up the characters and the immediate setting on Earth. This book allows us to spend time with some of the other human cultures throughout the galaxy. It also introduces telepaths to the lore, something that had only been hinted at previously.
As I mentioned previously, Anna was, of necessity, largely absent during the events of Friction. To compensate for this, Jack's role in Entanglement is very minimized, and Anna takes centre stage. This was also the point where I decided to elevate Harry's daughter Melissa to the status of a main character. I wasn't ready for her to be a Keeper yet – for one thing, she's still in high school – but from this point on, it was my plan that Melissa would eventually receive a symbiont.
This book is very much “the girls' book,” as the central point of view characters are Anna, Jena and Melissa, Gabi and Keli. It was my intention to avoid – or perhaps overcome – a common failing among male authors where all of the female characters feel identical. It was my intention to create a diverse cast of characters.
You have Anna, who is hot-headed and impulsive, but who believes in the nobility of the Justice Keepers. You have Jena, who takes a more pragmatic and cynical view. Melissa is shy, quiet but very empathetic. Gabi is suave, poised, able to read a room in a matter of seconds. These are all just cursory overviews, of course; you'll have to read the book if you really want to get to know the characters.
This was also a time in which I was becoming aware of just how underrepresented people of colour and members of the LGBTQ community were in modern fiction. It was always my intention to include a diverse cast of characters – Harry was one of the first characters I created – but in early 2015, I realized that I really had to step up my game in this regard.
So with Harry, Ben, Melissa, Gabi and Keli taking prominent roles in the story, I think we have a good mix of people of various ethnicities and orientations. I only wish that I could make them all central characters. While all of these wonderful people get point of views, Ben and Harry are somewhat in the background for this book.
This was a point where I was really struggling to figure out what to do with Harry. I loved his character, and it was my intention to keep him around, but my initial decision to avoid giving him any powers or fancy gadgets made it impossible to put him into action scenes where he would be up against villains with futuristic technology. And while the politics are supposed to be thought-provoking, these books are meant to be sci-fi thrillers. So, Harry took a back seat in this story.
Noting this, I found a way to give him a more central role in Book Four, but as I said, Entanglement is really about the ladies in this series.
One final note on diversity: Jack and Anna were the first characters I created all the way back in 1998. Being a sixteen-year-old white boy, the first character I created was a young white man. I've often thought that if I had my time back, I might have made Jack Latino instead, but in a way this works because now you have a young white man taking direction from women of colour and doing it without hesitation. I think that says a lot.
The ending was also a bit of a challenge. Up until this point, I had been writing space operas without any space battles. So, I made it a point to change that, to really highlight the tensions between the Leyrians and the Antaurans. And I know I'm a jerk for the last scene in the book. You'll have to forgive me.
It's the second rule of being a good writer: always leave them wanting more.