I’ve received quite a few messages lately (via this blog, Facebook, email, or comments on Amazon) about the continuation of The Awakened series. Readers want to know what happens to Kael. Some have asked about Adair. The majority just want something else to read.
First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone for the kind words, encouragement, and for giving me hope that this “hobby” of mine could possibly be something more someday. Secondly, I wanted to explain where I’m headed with the series, and why.
In a letter to his editor published in The Silmarillion (Second Edition), J. R. R. Tolkien writes of the way in which his imagination worked on disparate topics that interested him (history, language, mythology, etc.). Over time, his imaginings began to put down roots and reach out to each other, eventually becoming one organism—the world of Middle Earth. This foundation, if it can be called such, wasn’t in place at the time he wrote The Hobbit. Rather, it attached itself to those characters and storyline, grew around it, and enveloped it.
I understand now the challenges of storyline consistency and editing Tolkien admits to struggling with during that time. As readers, we’d like to start at the beginning of a story and work our way to the end. As a writer, I’m experiencing the reality that the imagination doesn’t always work in such a linear, logical fashion. Not mine, anyway!
When I was roughly sixteen years old, I ran across a passage of scripture that intrigued me:
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose… There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown. (Gen 6:1-2 & 4; KJV)”
Ever since then, my imagination has been working overtime. Who were the Sons of God? How did they produce giants as their offspring?
This curiosity turned into research, which led me to a historical writing called the Book of Enoch. Though not considered Scripture, it is still an interesting writing which tells the story of the Watchers (angels) who abandoned heaven in order to act on their lust for women. Their offspring—the Nephilim (giants)—consumed all the resources of mankind and eventually turned against humans, corrupting the earth. In this account, the Nephilim are cursed to war against each other and eventually die out as a race, while their fathers watch helplessly. Then, God sends angels to imprison the Watchers within the earth until the Day of Judgment. All of this is what required a global flood to cleanse the earth and give humanity a fresh start.
While the story seemed to be wrapped up into a nice temporary conclusion, I still had several questions:
If this timeframe was immediately preceding a global flood, then how were there “giants in the earth in those days; and also after that”? Did they survive the flood? Or were there Sons of God on the earth after the flood, producing more giants? What if they’re still here, but we just don’t know it? What would beings of such power be involved in if they have indeed been on the earth for all these millennia? How would God choose to deal with that? Would He send more angels to fix the problem? Or would He, with a sense of poetic justice, raise up one of those oppressed by the angelic intrusion, to complete this task? …a human being.
So, when I began writing The Awakened, I began with Kael’s story. I set it in a culture similar to the late Greek and early Roman empire, and envisioned a character who would chase the enemy into modern times. Eventually, the story would culminate in a post-apocalyptic future, hopefully giving me the genre-spanning satisfaction that I had hoped for, but was unable to find on bookstore shelves.
After writing The Awakened, but before its publication, I began to think more in-depth about the hints that I had worked into the storyline, pointing into the past. What is the altar in the Temple of the Kaliel? Who built it, and who built the temple? Why or how does the altar act as a portal between worlds? What is the significance of Kael’s crystalline sword and Saba’s staff, and why do they seem to interact with the altar? Is the altar a time-travel device? What is the explanation for the parallel worlds? How did the Watchers and/or Nephilim survive the flood? Which ones are still here on the earth? What is Sariel's involvement in all of this?
And this is how my imaginings about the history led me to the future. What I realized was Kael’s story represents the pivotal moment in an epic struggle that has lasted for thousands of years, and is not yet finished. Even the tiniest decision about what happened in the past will have enormous impact on how the future plays out. How can I possibly write the ending if I haven’t even taken the time to sit down and fully flesh out the beginning? How can I do justice to Kael’s continuing story if I haven’t examined the significance of what the Awakened is destined to accomplish? Not just for readers, but for my own sake!
I realize it may be a little bizarre for me to feel a sense of responsibility to characters that I created out of thin air. But I do. I have to take them seriously as people, or you won’t either. I feel obligated to Kael to properly set the stage for the coming confrontation. If the foundation had been fully in-place, I would have started at the beginning. But it wasn’t.
To everyone out there who’s read The Awakened, I apologize for making you wait to hear the continuation of Kael’s story. Hopefully you’ll understand my desire to make the actual story as grand as the one in my head. Hopefully you’ll understand my need to deliver my very best effort, and not settle for anything less by rushing into the future without knowing the past. I can assure you that I am more excited than anyone to see this epic come to life.
Wandering Stars is a four-volume prequel series that will tell Sariel’s story and take readers from the time of the angelic invasion to the start of The Awakened. It’s going to be a prehistoric, mythical, fantasy adventure in the same style as The Awakened, bringing together personal struggles (emotional and physical), clashing cultures, and technological advancement amidst moral decline. There will be lots of action, lots of suspense, and answers to most of the questions I’ve heard from readers so far. I think you’re really going to enjoy the journey that I have planned. If you’re curious about my progress, check out the Wandering Stars page on this blog.
If you want to know how to help me write quicker, tell everyone you know about The Awakened. I can’t make a living as an author yet, so my time is divided. You’re the only one who can change that.
For the latest information on what's in store for the series, click here.