What follows is my afterword to the story, which is included in the e-book, directly following the story proper. One paragraph has been deleted to avoid spoilers. I hate spoilers.
As ideas about the story began to come together in my mind, I grew excited about the places it might go. I was relatively new to writing, and had not yet made my first fiction sale. In my unbridled enthusiasm, I gave an elevator pitch to someone who told me all the reasons the idea was a bad one, why the story was unbelievable, and why it would be a waste of my time to write it.
But I hadn’t yet heard that excellent advice, and so I took my friend’s criticism to heart and decided, with much regret, that however much I loved my idea, I didn’t have a viable story after all. I locked it away in the back of my mind for years.
I DELETED ONE PARAGRAPH FROM THE BLOG VERSION BECAUSE SPOILERS!
My portrayal of Rex owes a lot to Predatory Dinosaurs of the World: A Complete Illustrated Guide by Gregory S. Paul, which was always at the top of a tall stack of reference books teetering near my desk as I wrote. I wanted my dinosaur character to live and breathe, unlike the stuffy, stodgy Victorian sculptures displayed on the grounds of the Crystal Palace that influenced popular and scientific thinking about dinosaurs for generations. I wanted to bring a living creature of the steamy, lush cretaceous to live in a time and place impossibly foreign to his kind, then watch what happened next.
What happened was a love story. The more I wrote, the more the story filled up and spilled over with love—love expressed and unexpressed, love that conquered millennia and love that prevailed over death itself. The love these characters bore one another wove in and out of their experiences and adventures together to become the heart and soul of “A King in Exile.”