Light Bringer began as a mental image of a night scene. A nurse comes home after working a double shift at the hospital. Her porch light illuminates newly fallen snow, which at first seems untouched, pristine. Gradually the nurse becomes aware of tracks leading to the stoop where a creature huddles against the door. She creeps close and discovers a baby. But who left it there? The tracks -- the only tracks besides her own -- are tiny footprints, baby footprints in the snow.
That was all I had. I knew the baby was special. Little more than an infant, she was already walking, and though she started out not knowing how to talk, she learned to speak within a few days. The nurse had seen a bright star on the way home, so she assumes (or pretends to assume) the baby is an angel come to earth. But who is she, really? And where did she come from?
Since this was to be a story debunking UFO myths, I figured she had to come from some place on earth where flying saucers could have originated. Perhaps her people came from beneath the sea, or maybe from the poles. Either way, I needed a name for these exalted beings. And I needed a name for the baby.
When the nurse asks the baby who she is, the baby struggles to form the word, and finally says, “Rena.”
I chose “Rena” for the sound of it. I wanted something both simple and alien (oddly, I have since come across a lot of Rena's, as if the name were out there for the plucking). Mostly, I wanted it to be a fraction of a word denoting a people. The nurse thinks Rena is the baby’s name, when in fact the baby was trying to convey her origins. These people were going to be the Ahk-rena -- again, a word I chose simply for the sound, though "simply" doesn't tell the story since I spent a couple of weeks coming up with the tag.
Originally, the story was going to be about the nurse and Rena on the run from shadowy government figures, but that aspect of the story never caught my attention. Rena had an invisible playmate who would warn them every time the agents got close, so where is the suspense in that?
I set the story aside, and went on to write three other novels, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. But through the years, those tiny footprints in the snow haunted me, and eventually I went back to the novel.
The story took a completely different turn when I found a better people for Rena. Since I now had more than a basic chase story, I no longer needed the baby and the nurse, so I shoved them into a prologue, fast-forwarded the story thirty-seven years to the grown up Rena, a woman living under an assumed name, who returns to Colorado, searching for the truth of her origins. And so Becka was born.