1) What do we learn in Chapter 3 about Grunn and his friend, Daxell?
A: Grunn hates the eight Starganauts and most of his own people. He’s just using the Jor’Kroth Trylithians. About Daxell, we find out that he had a brother who died aboard Vogul’s gunship. Daxell supports his brother’s widow and children, so he likewise bears a grudge against the Eight.
2) The Starganauts undergo a readiness assessment. What happens, and what does this reveal about the team?
A: The Earthlings aren’t the most coordinated and Sharko sacrifices himself to save everyone else. This reveals the team’s biggest problems, as Samantha butts in to take charge due to Sharko’s indecision, and Kaity is reluctant about the entire ordeal.
3) What shocking discovery does Samantha make about Matt? How did you feel reading that scene?
A: Matt is addicted to pornography and visited a strip club.* Honestly, this scene was very hard to write. I sensed the Spirit guiding me to be gritty, candid, and real about pornography: how it hurts the addict’s loved ones and how the natural path of habitual sin is intensification. Matt started out with photos, but by this point, he’s ended up in a physical place of looking. I knew I might offend some, but I took that risk to speak out about this issue. Pornography is far too prevalent yet far too hidden. Even we Christians get ensnared by it.
I felt Samantha’s pain. I’ve been in her shoes, hurting from the awful news of a loved one’s addictions. I too have been overly judgmental to those who beg for help, as Samantha is when she reacts poorly to Matt’s confession. Is he wrong? Absolutely. But if Samantha hadn’t been all judgment and no grace, things might have turned out better. Matt is repentant, recongizing his sin and need to change. Thus, I have a LOT of feelings reading this scene.
*(Vexador’s version of this includes scanty clothes. Just fyi.)
4) While the others enjoy the Annual Ball, what happens to Samantha? Did you expect her to get kidnapped?
A: Samantha is abducted by Parcund and his cronies. Of course I did, I’m the author! ;) This was one of my biggest changes from the original story I concocted at age 10. Samantha hadn't been kidnapped in that version. The orbs were taken. However, having Parcund kidnap her fit the story so much better.
5) James encourages Nancy in her singleness blues. How does this show his changed character from Book 1? Have you ever been in Nancy’s shoes?
A: Dudeman is now others-focused rather than self, empathetic rather than merely reactive, and kinder. Even though he’s hurting due to Samantha’s distance, he reaches out to encourage someone else in a similar boat.
I have totally been in Nancy’s shoes! I didn’t go on my first date until my twenties, so for several years, I despaired of ever going out with any guy. I watched from the sidelines as my friends dated and married, before my own turn happily came. :)