The most common question I get about The Endless Forest has to do with Jennet’s death and the aftermath. After Jennet died, Luke returned to Manhattan alone, leaving the children behind to be raised in Paradise. Many readers have trouble with this.
It was very common until not-so-long ago that families traded children around after the death of a parent or because of some other family disaster. Exactly why Luke chose to leave the children in Paradise is a question with dozens of possible answers, for example:
- Jennet told him she wanted her children raised in Paradise, or
- Luke’s business concerns were failing, and he didn’t know if he’d have the finances to provide the staff and resources the children would need, or
- Luke fell into a depression so deep he was barely able to take care of himself, or
- One or more of the children developed complications after the infection that killed Jennet, and needed the kind of medical care they could only get in Paradise,
I’m sure I could come up with a couple dozen reasonable scenarios, but my job is done. I have to sit back and let the readers decide what happened and why it happened. An author who tries to explain a character’s actions after the fact comes across as somebody unsure of the story. I am very sure of my story.