Raiding the taken towns: This was always part of the story, but this section underwent so many revisions. I remember my sisters reading an earlier draft of this book and then a final draft. Both said that they couldn't tell what I'd changed but that it read better now. Often revision is like that. Subtle reorganizing, changes at the sentence level. Sometimes most of the events of the book stay the same from one draft to the next and yet 10-50% of the words themselves change. I can stumble on the right events of the story early on and yet not figure out the right words to tell those events until a final draft.
The metaphor of fire: While writing the book, I was aware that Enna's fire power could be a metaphor for various things, but I was careful not to force that metaphor. I concentrated on trying to be true to the logic of the story. What would it be like, in the world I created, to speak the language of fire? What would that feel like? What would be the consequences? The magic of fantasy allows readers to bring their own experience, create their own metaphor. I've received emails from people who asked me if I intended to have the fire a metaphor for drug addiction, sex addiction, divorce, adoption, mental illness, disability, and spiritual sin. If I'd forced the fire to be a metaphor for one thing, I would have prevented those readers from finding what they needed in the story.
Enna and Razo: In movies, especially for children, it seems to me there cannot be a male and female character who are remotely close without there being either a love affair or sexual tension. I think this is ridiculous. I have no problem believing Enna and Razo are friends and there's no awkwardness between them. A girl's purpose is not to be a love interest for every single male character on screen. She can just be. Same with the male characters.
Tales: I've enjoyed making up the fairytales of Bayern. There are some in Goose Girl too. I'd thought once about writing them all and making a little book of Bayern fairytales.
Finn in the tent: You may have noticed, I am a romantic, especially my self that I am channeling through this book. And I sometimes think this entire book is worth this one scene. It's a testament that no writing is ever wasted. In college I wrote a short story called The Sand Hill Gathering. It was a contemporary story, the setting like a Rainbow Gathering. In it a girl and a boy who have known each other for years but never been close end up sharing a tent, and he whispers in the night the same words Finn does. That other story was crap, but it brought me to a scene, an idea, that I re-purposed for this book.
Anna asks, "Did it ever annoy you to have Razo push for his own story?" I don't remember ever being annoyed by Razo. His presence always solved problems for me, not created them. That he was a character worthy of his own story and able to carry it was a relief.
Rebecca asks, "Where does the heat/flame come from in her chest? Does everyone (in the Bayern world) have an ability to learn that or are there only a select few born with the possibility?" In the book Enna believes some are born with the ability but have to be taught how to use it. I hesitate to get into the anatomy and details of it unless it's in the book. If it's not there, I'd rather readers decide for themselves.