Happy Friday and welcome to my stop on the An Outcast and An Ally blog tour!! I am so excited to be a part of this tour, and I’m even more excited for you to discover what Caitlin’s favorite scenes and moments are! Plus, follow the rest of the tour and enter to win a print copy of An Outcast and An Ally!
An Outcast and an Ally by Caitlin Lochner
Series: A Soldier and a Liar #2
Published on April 21, 2020 by Swoon Reads
Genres: YA, Superheroes
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Lai, Jay, Al, and Erik are on the run after the military accuses them of being traitors. Tensions between everyone are high, but they have to stick together if they want to survive. And somehow stop the war that’s now in full swing.
But when Erik returns to the rebels to find answers about his past, Lai, Al, and Jay have no choice but to go to the Order—a peace coalition bent on stopping the rebels and dissolving the enmity between gifted and ungifted. However, the longer the war drags on, the more Lai’s long-kept secrets threaten to destroy everything she’s ever worked for. Sparks fly as the team constantly questions whether they can trust one another and everyone tries to navigate a war that will change everything.
Do you have a favorite scene, quote, or moment from your book?
Um, ABSOLUTELY. There are a lot of scenes and moments I really love in An Outcast and an Ally. It’s the conclusion to the story I started in A Soldier and a Liar—a story that took six or seven years to write—and thus everyone’s character arcs, too. It was really bittersweet and perhaps the most fulfilling work I’ve ever written in terms of finishing what I started eight years ago and seeing these characters I love so much grow and change. And while some of that change starts in the first book, it’s in this one that the characters really start to acknowledge their shortcomings, realize what’s truly important to them, and begin actively trying to change to act on that. A lot of scenes reflect that change and subsequent growth.
But even among all the scenes I love, there is one that holds an incredibly special place in my heart. It isn’t a very spoiler-y scene, and I won’t go into too much detail in order to keep it that way. It happens relatively early on in the book: a fist-fight between two of the main characters that comes after weeks of suffocating guilt, anger, and feelings of betrayal between them. And it’s between two young women each struggling with their own self-blame.
One of my favorite tropes in any media is two great friends who’re arguing and just can’t communicate until they turn to physical fighting. Usually it ends in both friends beating each other up until both are too exhausted to go on—with the heat of the fight breaking down walls and exposing vulnerable truths the characters weren’t able to admit under normal circumstances. I’m going to show my true nerd colors here for a minute to say that this is why so many of the fights in Naruto are so hecking amazing. The best fights are the ones with emotional investment, and especially when the two people fighting are important friends who just can’t see eye-to-eye due to personal things they’re going through. Fighting becomes a way of communicating in a really heartbreaking way.
But this was never a trope I’d seen done with girls/women. At least not in the books I read or series I watched, that is. And as someone who loves writing, reading, and watching action, I always found that really disappointing.
The fight in An Outcast and an Ally that I love so much is one I knew would happen and have wanted to write for years. Both these characters are stubborn, argumentative, and closed off in similar ways that lead to this fight as a natural conclusion for them to resolve their frustrations with each other. And they’re both physically strong—the strongest of the four central characters. It isn’t a pretty fight. They don’t hold back, they’re vicious in wanting to physically hurt each other, and they both have the strength to accomplish this.
I don’t want to talk about how the fight ends up because that really would feel like a spoiler, but suffice to say that I’m really happy with both the process and the end result. It was such a fun scene to write with all the high emotions and action sequences; it felt true to these characters and their emotional truths and baggage; and it fulfilled a long-held personal desire of mine to see this trope executed with girls who not only want to hurt each other, but are more than capable of doing so. Because at the end of the day, girls can get just as frustrated with each other as boys and, sometimes, we wanna fight too. And we can.