Now that the characters make more sense...

After I'd gone through a revision that fixed motivations of the killer and prime suspect, I realized that a very different story was taking shape, and that it would be some time before this novel would truly be ready. Little did I realize, though, that the process would be much, much longer than I thought. By this time, ALTAR BOY became FOR THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Though the prime suspect kept his back story, there was something about the killer's background, especially the critical incident, that bothered me. His sexual assault (which does not occur in the final version of BLOOD SACRAMENT) bothered me each time I read it. It just felt wrong. It felt like a weak attempt at porn. I finally bowed to my hunches and scrapped it altogether to go with a backstory even more horrible at its core but more more believable. The killer was raised (until she was committed to an asylum) by a schizophrenic mother, and he became a good priest who was nearly killed while doing missionary work in Africa. This near-death experience opens the novel (a far better opening than the initial sexual assault by a parish priest).

I came to realize by this time that it had been a few years between the initial version and this one. I could not have written what the novel eventually became until I did...The terrorist attacks of 9/11 in 2001 and the subsequent "War on Terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan were essential to what became BLOOD SACRAMENT.

I also discovered that in the revisions, my word count was dropping dramatically. Originally, the novel was over 100,000 words. Time to cut the fat...

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