I’ve had many readers ask about my choice of ending scene for Daughter of Earth and Sky. It is most definitely a cliff hanger, and yes, I could have avoided it by ending the book one chapter earlier or later.
I promise I didn’t choose not to do that to frustrate the reader or to entice them to buy the next book. I did it because of Joel.
One chapter later starts a new arc, with new POV characters, new conflicts, and new problems. It also doesn’t resolve the cliff hanger since she’d still be captured. So on the surface one chapter earlier seems like the better choice.
Except it’s not.
One chapter earlier and the story arc I built for Daughter of Earth and Sky wasn’t over. My readers would have been left fuming about Persephone basically cheating on Joel for months before the next book came out, because they wouldn’t realize he’d charmed her into a relationship she’d never actually been interested in. One chapter earlier and my readers would spend months hating Aphrodite more than they already did because they’d be walking away from the story convinced she was the one charming Persephone (which was true some of the time, but not most of it). Plus, it would have been such a faux happy note. Everything gets nice and wrapped up with Melissa, and her mother, and Hades. Ending there and walking away for months would make it hard for the reader to jump back into story lines where those characters only had decent terms with Persephone for hours. It would be a fake ending and it would make the beginning of the next book ring false.
Ending on a cliff hanger was a difficult decision, but one I’d make if I had a chance to rewrite the book right now. That chapter did end Daughter of Earth and Sky and it started Iron Queen. And fortunately, Iron Queen is out now, so you can end one book and pick up the next without that pesky wait.