During my teen years, I wrote several science fiction and fantasy stories. Most of those got lost during moves, but one of them eventually grew into the novel Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure, and I occasionally tried to develop a novel from one of the fantasy stories, “The Return of Innocence.” I wrote that story in 1983.
The novel, however, remained unfinished for two decades, still a sketchy jumble of drafts and notes with enormous potential. I eventually considered the possibility of cowriting it with a fantasy author. When I mentioned the idea to my friend Toni Davis, she decided to read through some of the chapters and quickly fell in love with my fantasy world of Theln. Toni mostly wrote poetry and fan fiction back then, but wanted to explore new characters.
Toni brought fresh perspectives to a long-neglected project by interjecting ideas, fleshing out characters, and exposing flaws. Unfortunately, work and her own projects would keep her away from working much more on the project. Eventually, I combined our ideas to write a complete draft. Though the finished book only includes a little of her writing, it contains a great deal of her inspiration, and I appreciate her efforts in making sure I could one day finish this light-hearted epic.
Setting aside the manuscript for most of 2005, I would occasionally come back to it with a fresh perspective to polish it on the sentence level. When I read back through it in early 2006, I found the funny and exciting novel I always imagined it would become. Aside from changing a word or two here and there, I finally managed to let it go, so my readers can enjoy it.