Since most of us have probably asked ourselves that question at least once or twice, we thought it might be interesting subject... you can visit Meradeth's blog and check out my post here!
by Meradeth Houston
Isn’t this the mother of all questions? The one that people have pondered, theorized, and agonized over since, well, since humans (or our ancestors) first became self-aware. I know I don’t have the final answer, but it’s something that does cross my thoughts, and I’d venture to say that it does for a lot of people.
Now, I’m not a really religious person. I was in the past but my beliefs have grown with me over the years. And while I’m a scientist, I am not someone to discount a belief in something bigger than ourselves, something that may or may not govern daily life, but does provide some kind of order for what defines us as individuals and as souls. I have utterly no idea what happens when we die, but I do think that our actions while we’re here have some bearing on it. Our ability to live a life that seeks out the good, the uplifting, and offers help to those around us—because we genuinely want to and not for reward in this life or the next—in some way allows us to pass from this life with some peace. What it all means in the end, well, I have no idea, but that’s what I find myself thinking.
Now, as an anthropologist, I love hearing about other people’s beliefs and understanding of the universe. It’s interesting and I especially enjoy reading the origin stories from different cultures to see what they think about where we’re from and where we’re going. It’s from these things that I drew a lot of the background for my Sary series.
In a nutshell, the Sary are the souls of those who die before taking their first breath (the “breath of life” that is prevalent in many different cultures). Because they don’t really “live” they are thrown into a bit of limbo. I imagined this as light and dark, which they are allowed to chose from after leaving this world. It is their choice to come back and take on the role of the Sary, trying to help those who are contemplating suicide, or go on to eternity without a body or the benefits thereof. It’s a bit of a mishmash of a lot of different religions, really, and I tried to leave it more open ended so the reader was free to make their own interpretations. I’m not terribly fond of “preachy” books, so I definitely wanted to avoid that ☺.
The other life and death situation the Sary face is those that they’re trying to keep from committing suicide, which in their world leads to darkness after death (some of the characters refer to is as ‘hell’ which is basically a way to describe it, rather than fire and brimstone). While I personally don’t view suicide as anything other than a sad outcome of sever depression, my world is built again on some of the thinking found in societies around the world, Christianity being one of them. (Though there are plenty who don’t view suicide as ‘wrong’—Japan and India being two places where it is/was not viewed as dishonorable or anything else particularly negative.)
Anyhow, I wish I had the answer to the question of what happens after this life ☺. Don’t we all? But it’s interesting to imagine it, as well as read some about how it is viewed by other cultures!
Gabby lives by two unbreakable rules: don’t expose her kind, the Sary, and don’t fall in love—too bad some rules are made to be broken.
When Gabby’s most difficult charge accidentally shoots her in front of a class full of students, the event exposes her carefully hidden identity. She shifts from looking like a normal teen to her secret Sary form, revealing her wings and the existence of her kind—immortals who try to keep people from committing suicide. Her incident attracts the attention of the next leader of the Sary, Jassen, who offers her an impossible bargain: she can keep her wings if she makes amends with those who know the truth. Things get more complicated when a rebel Sary, intent on exposing them to the world, starts interfering with Gabby’s work. And there’s no denying her attraction to Jassen, who is torn between his duties and his heart. With threats at every turn and her immortality on the line, Gabby has to find a way to save the Sary or surrender the sky forever.