However, there is always some part of me, some thought or idea or belief, that works its way into my stories. So what about the Mary of the Aether series? Well, as it turns out, I did have something that I wanted to say, and it shaped the whole tale from beginning to end.
To summarize as briefly as possible, the Mary of the Aether series is about a young girl who is given the last drop of magic in the world. It's a magic that gives form and substance to her thoughts. Over the course of the novels, she must protect this magic, called aether, from a mysterious sect called the Lookers, and their hideous masters, the Devourers, lords of Abussos.
Aether is simply meant as a plot device to represent Potential. Specifically, it reflects the way that Mary's future, as well as her present environment, is in some large way influenced by her thoughts. What she imagines, what she fears, what she wants, what she daydreams about and imagines, all of these things work together to influence her direction in life.
I think this is largely true of all of us. What we create on the inside has a way of working out into our lives sooner or later. How we see our own future influences the decisions we make. If we expect to accomplish nothing in life, chances are we will accomplish nothing. If we dream big, we will tend to take big steps.
In the novels, Mary's magic sometimes goes awry and causes damage. In order to make it work correctly, she has to be focused, trusting and confident. When she lets doubt and fear creep in, when she becomes double-minded, bad things happen. I think this is also true of us non-magical ordinary people. Doubt and fear destroy our potential.
Notably, aether does not originate inside of Mary. Rather, it is something that is given to her by her parents, and something they encourage her to embrace fully. As with any child's potential in life, parents play a huge role, for good or ill. However, aether does not originate with her parents. Ultimately, it comes from something called the Source, which has clear overtones of a Divine Being
This is intentional on my part, for I do believe that ultimately what we are and what we can be derives from an infinite divine source. We are capable of more than we think, and more than our limited biology might suggest. Although I avoid overt religious references in the novels, it is important for Mary to recognize that this power has been given to her by an outside source. It is a strength greater than her own, and one she can rely on even when she feels weak.
So what we have is a metaphor about a child approaching adulthood and beginning to realize her full potential in life. Fear and doubt inside of her can damage this potential, but there are also outside sources that could cut it short. That is what the Lookers and Devourers represent. For it is quite possible for someone with all the potential in the world, and the confidence and faith to get there, to meet a tragic end because of the evils that are in the world.
It can all be taken away in a heartbeat, and that is one of the sad realities of this mortal life. To have any chance of making it, Mary must at times depend on friends and family to help her. So there are moments where her friends are directly responsible for saving her from Devourers (and moments where they inadvertently lead her into danger). We don't walk through life alone, not if we want to make it.
There is much more I could say on the subject, but I'll leave it at that for now. All of that was on my mind as I wrote the four volumes that comprise the Mary of the Aether series. It is the story of overcoming fear and doubt, confronting the evils that are in the world, relying on friends and holding onto the simple confidence and faith that can carry us through.
And with Mary of Cosmos coming out on September 23, the tale is told, and the conclusion of the matter is presented. Mary of Cosmos brings to a conclusion my thematic statement on this particular subject, and since I really have nothing else to say regarding Potential, it is safe to say there will be no book five. So there you go. I hope you have enjoyed the journey.