I recently read Stephen King's fabulous (almost autobiography) ON WRITING. In it he says one of the most important aspects to consider is theme, as in the way it makes the reader feel. Not only because it can open their eyes, but also to give them a momento to take away as a souvenir of sorts to implement in their lives. Did you have any specific messages you wanted to convey either via your settings, plot, or most importantly your characters? Did this speak to you personally--as in an issue you might have been dealing with/concerned about at the time? And have you ever had something come through in your novels that subconciously worked it's way in?
Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us!