The question I get most often from fans is something on the order of, “How did The Quest of the Unaligned come to be?”, “What was the process for you of getting your book published?”, or “What was your inspiration for this novel?” All are great questions, and I’m more than happy to share the answer with you, as follows.
First of all, ideas for fantasy worlds have a tendency to bounce around in my head at all times, but I tend to not let them take root unless I know I have time to invest in them. My senior year of college was one of those times. Three of my good friends and I all decided to take an independent study in the English Department in which we would each write a novella. I spent a good portion of my Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks coming up with ideas for the plot of The Quest of the Unaligned and outlining the novel, so that I was ready to dive in and start writing in January.
My ideas for the plot (as have most of my plot ideas in the past few years) came primarily from my studies in sociology, which was my major in college. My mind, at the time, was filled with the material from the classical sociological theory class I was taking: Tonnies’ ideas of relationship-oriented communities versus impersonal societies and Simmel’s observations on the nature of life in the metropolis were especially fascinating. What would it look like, I wondered, if a person from a pure society such as Tonnies and Simmel imagined found himself trapped in a pure community? How would he survive? What specific problems would he face? How would he attempt to resolve them?
Of course, these sociological ideas had to actually turn into a plot, the plot had to be outlined, and my outline had to be fleshed out into an actual story. As it was being written, my friends in my independent study and my professor gave invaluable feedback chapter by chapter, resulting in the addition of several key scenes and a lot of reworking of the text.
I finished a short version of The Quest of the Unaligned on the very last day of finals, thus completing my goal of writing the novella in a single college semester. Over the summer, however, I expanded and refined the manuscript until it was no longer a novella, but a novel.
In September of 2011, I discovered that one of my professors had a connection with the president of a small publishing firm: BorderStone Press. I queried this press regarding my novel, and they were willing to review it.
Nine months later, BorderStone Press decided that The Quest of the Unaligned was a match for their vision and a book that they wanted to bring to print. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. After another nine months of edits, asking for endorsements, proofreading, and finding someone to do my cover art (thank you, Galadriel Coffeen!), The Quest of the Unaligned was finally made available for purchase two days before my master’s graduation at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
And that’s that.
Let’s just say right now that there is nothing in the world like holding a book in your hand that you wrote, or reading words on a printed page – published by a real company – and remembering exactly where you were when you first wrote the rough draft of that scene.
I feel so incredibly blessed that The Quest of the Unaligned has made it to this point. As an author, it’s awe-inspiring to think that the words I have written are bringing joy to people, making them think, and perhaps even impacting their lives.
And that brings me to you – my readers. Thanks to all of you who have helped me get to this point, and to all of you who have chosen to read my book, and to interact with me about it. I would still write my stories if no one read them, but you all really make my new life as an author fun. So thank you, and happy reading!