The Writing of Freedom’s Fight

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Vigilante’s Light. If you have not read or finished Vigilante’s Light yet, proceed with caution.

From the time I finished writing Vigilante’s Light and decided to work on a sequel, I knew that Gideon Turner would have to leave the confines of Sojourn City.

Based on the world that I had established, there was too much going on for Gideon to stay in one place. In Vigilante’s Light, his sole purpose and motivation were to protect his home and clean up the streets of the crime that had run rampant in the year he had been in captivity. He focused all his attention on Luca Serban and his Romanian crime family.

With Serban defeated, however, I knew the stakes had to be raised. I had already established that Serban was the primary threat to Sojourn City, and while the crime in the Brooks is far from gone, the city is no longer in danger of being toppled by a criminal warlord. Bringing in a new threat like Serban right away would just be repeating myself too soon, and while that’s certainly a possibility in the future, I felt like it was time to go bigger.

So in the last few chapters of Vigilante’s Light, I began to plant seeds for where I wanted the story to go next. In the flashbacks to Gideon’s captivity, he made a promise to someone—a promise that he says at the end of Vigilante’s Light that it is time to fulfill. The source of Gideon’s superpowers also remains a mystery, one he is determined to crack, and all he has to go on is a name: Ashcroft. Both of these quests will require Gideon to leave his city and start a new journey.

With the scope of the story expanding, the stakes had to raise, too. While the assassin Katrina Monahan presented a daunting challenge for Gideon, and Luca Serban presented a calculating nemesis, Gideon has never truly faced a supervillain. In Freedom’s Fight, that will have to change. It stands to reason that he is not the only superhuman out there, and if he’s going after a mad scientist who gives people powers, it’s reasonable to assume that Gideon will encounter enemies with powers to match his.

And Gideon’s story wasn’t the only one I had to consider. What about Jolie, now that she knows her boyfriend, the love of her life, is a vigilante? What about Dean, now that he has to take on new responsibilities at his father’s company? What about the mantle of the Crusader? All these questions needed to be answered in Freedom’s Fight, and I wanted to make sure the answers were satisfactory for curious readers.

That’s not even the end of it! Because in a superhero world, you can start out with one superhero, but it can’t stay that way very long, can it? The world would feel very empty if Gideon, the Seraph, along with the unpowered but equally heroic Crusader, remained the only heroes around. Besides, to go up against supervillains, Gideon would need allies.

So I started on a draft for Freedom’s Fight with a few ideas:

  • Journeying beyond Sojourn City
  • Adding new superheroes to the mix
  • Bringing Gideon into contact with supervillains
  • Expounding on existing characters other than Gideon

In addition, I wanted this story to have a lighter tone. Vigilante’s Light had a gritty noir tone, evoking superhero properties like Arrow and Daredevil. But Vigilante’s Light ended on a victory, and Gideon won’t be spending all his time on the grimy streets of the Brooks. On the other hand, the contrast in tone couldn’t be so stark that it would throw off readers. Gideon couldn’t suddenly be quipping at his bad guys like Iron Man (quipping is Dean’s job, anyway).

So with all those challenges in mind, I set out to write what was potentially a very daunting sequel. At first, it was a struggle. I knew the streets of Sojourn City well by now, and leaving them for a few real-world locations required research, and it required stepping out of my comfort zone of Arrow-inspired street action. But eventually, I had a draft. It was a very rough draft, but it was a draft.

By the time I submitted Freedom’s Fight for publication, I was content with it, but I would have told you that I was far less happy with it than I was with Vigilante’s Light. I just didn’t like it as much. It didn’t resonate the same way. But through the editing process and a gradual flushing out of my characters, the true story of Freedom’s Fight began to take shape. I got more into Gideon’s headspace, where he would logically be at given his personality and the events he had just endured. And by the end of it, I was just as happy with Freedom’s Fight going on to publication as I had been with Vigilante’s Light.

I can’t wait for readers to see where these characters go next. Freedom’s Fight is a very different book from its predecessor, but I am hoping and believing that readers who fell in love with these characters in the first book will be satisfied and excited with where the second one takes them. I am eagerly looking forward to the responses this book gets, but for now, I am going to sit back, rejoice that this moment has finally come, and wait to see what God does next.

-Jake Tyson

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