Recently, I had to skim/re-read my first book, CATALYST, for something I’d love to talk about, but won’t come out til next year so I won’t. There was something that immediately struck me as I read the words I had written years ago. Hellsfire is young.
I don’t mean that he’s young in a chronological way. He’s young in a maturity way. The voice in CATALYST is extremely young compared to WHAT ONCE WAS ONE and REAWAKENING. It makes sense. Hellsfire has been through a lot since that first book, and there’s still more to come.
I started THE PASSAGE OF HELLSFIRE when I was 13. My goal was that as I would age, he would age in “real time.” At the time, I thought it genius and unique. I don’t remember knowing of anything like it. I also thought it would help me in my writing. I knew that as I grew older, I would emotionally, physically, and mentally mature.
Now, while things didn’t quite go as planned (they never do), the idea behind what I had thought is more or less the same. Hellsfire has been through a lot: war, love, responsibility, death, battle, and so on. As the books go on, all of that will heavily weigh on him. In fact, all of those things, and more yet to come, may break him.
Thinking about how young Hellsfire was, reminded me of some of the unfavorable reviews I received for CATALYST. Some of those reviews hated my book because of how young Hellsfire sounded. They were right. He did sound young. But that’s the point. He’s supposed to be immature and inexperienced. Of course, he may have come off as too young for them.
Just because I don’t think they got my book, doesn’t mean that they’re wrong in what they thought of it or how they felt about it. Maybe I didn’t do a good job explaining it to them, maybe it wasn’t what they were looking for. Who knows? But it’s a shame they didn’t stick with the book or the series to see him grow and mature. They might have liked it.
In any case, reading how much Hellsfire had matured has reminded me of how long I’ve come. And I still have a long way to go.