Life, as they say, is a journey. It’s a winding road full of twists, turns, dead ends, surprises, and breathtaking views. The same can be said for the journey of a book, from a nugget of an idea in the writer's mind to the final product in the hands of a reader. Today, I want to share the voyage of my first novel, Awoke, as it transitioned from being part of the “Want Series” to its new home within “The Unseen War” series.
It all started with Katya Stevens, a Black teenager with the unique ability to see the dead. When I first introduced her to the world, she was trying to balance her everyday life as a popular teen in Boston with the unprecedented responsibility of working with an international spirit military team. Her world, like ours, was on the brink of collapse, and through her eyes, we explored themes of identity, trauma, forgiveness, and the consequences of uncontrolled human emotion. This was the birth of “Awoke” and the start of the “Want Series”.
The “Want Series” was named after the main adversaries in the story, the Want. These are entities, human ghosts turned who cannot let go of their desires, transforming into disfigured beasts driven by the seven deadly sins. Yet, as I delved deeper into Katya's story and the world she inhabited, I realized that the Want was only a facet of a much larger conflict. A war was brewing, unseen by most, between the living and the dead, order and chaos, acceptance and denial, and the balance we humans face daily with our emotions and psyche.
That’s when the series shifted from “Want” to “Unseen.” It felt like a more fitting umbrella for the stories I wanted to tell, for the themes I wanted to explore. The change also felt more in tune with the evolution of my writing and my voice as an author. What had started as a YA urban fantasy was maturing, like its protagonist, into something broader, something that I feel will resonate with today's and future readers.
Rechristening a series is not a decision made lightly. It took a lot of introspection, discussions, and brainstorming sessions to finally settle on “The Unseen War” as the new series title. It perfectly encapsulates the crux of Katya's journey and the larger narrative at play. A war is being waged in plain yet out of sight from most of the living world. However, its impact is universal. And as much as it is about the external conflicts between the factions of the living and the dead, it’s also about the internal wars each character faces - their struggles with guilt, identity, anger, love, and loss.
In many ways, the journey from “Want” to “Unseen” is a testament to the organic nature of storytelling. It reminds me that as an author, my primary job is to remain true to the story's heart and the characters, to let them guide the narrative, even if it means rewriting the map in the middle of the journey.
As we move forward with the “Unseen War Series,” we’re bringing along everything that made “Awoke” special. Katya is still the heart of the series, and her journey is the focal point. However, the new series title gives her room to grow, evolve, and tackle bigger challenges.
The future looks exciting, and I can't wait to share this reinvigorated world with all of you. As we journey through “The Unseen War,” we’ll discover more about Katya, the Want, the Kyrios, and the delicate balance that keeps the world from falling into chaos.
Here's to the next chapter in this adventure. The unseen awaits.