Author’s Intent, Reimagining a Work

Throughout 2006, I worked on what was to become my first published novel, a massive book (646 pages printed) originally entitled Eternal. It featured a story that I had carried around in my head for nearly twenty years, about a group of people who aged very slowly and lived for thousands of years. Prior to starting it, I had a history of beginning writing projects that I never completed.

Early in 2007, PublishAmerica, an Internet enterprise, accepted Eternal for publication and suggested that I change the title, since they already had a book by that name on their roster. Since the main characters referred to themselves as “Long-Timers” my novel became The Long-Timers. It was priced around $35, and available through the company’s website and online and could be ordered via brick and mortar stores. Needless to say, sales were disappointing, though I managed to sell quite a few myself directly to people with whom I interacted.

Around 2009, PublishAmerica gave me the option of buying back the publication rights, and for once, I took them up on one of their “special offers”. Once I had the rights, I formed my own publishing company (Lupo Digital Services, LLC) and set about repackaging the book into segments centered around each of the main characters. The result was The Long-Timer Chronicles and consisted of two volumes, A Tale of Two Sisters about main character Victoria Wells, and Crazy Like the Foxes, about Charles and Renee Fox, a couple who had been married for more than a thousand years, and two of their four children. A proposed third volume, Roman Holiday centering around the main antagonist, known simply as Bergeron, never got off the ground.

After another round of disappointing sales, I decided to take the books off the market, with the exception of the Kindle versions. In the meantime, I started writing about the more realistic Expanded Universe of Fictional Atlanta that was featured in my play, Another Mother, my play and novel Rebecca, Too, and my Atlanta Stories collections Fables of the New South and Reconstruction. These endeavors took up most of 2016 to the present, and have culminated in my soon-to-be-released novel Worthy.

While I was waiting for Worthy to come back from the person who has been editing and proofreading my work, I took another look at The Long-Timers and started making changes and updates to the existing volumes and on expanding the volume featuring the main antagonist. The result has been four draft volumes, which cover the same material that was in the original novel, but in a significantly altered format. Once I have Worthy out the door, I plan to return to The Long-Timer Chronicles with an eye toward re-releasing the series in all-new editions, which correct some of the drawbacks in the original.

Reimagining a work is always a challenge, particularly if the work has been published. My writing style has changed a lot since I first wrote The Long-Timers and the way I view the world has evolved as well. I’ve also created an entirely different fictional reality through the Atlanta works that has yielded new characters and situations I had not even imagined in 2006, when most of the work on The Long-Timers was carried out. This has given me a fresh set of eyes with which to view the world I created then, and to make improvements upon it. Finally, I have experience in a different genre, writing plays and sketches meant to be performed, that I did not have early in my career.

In addition, the world itself has changed and the way racial, social, and gender issues are defined and treated in the US no longer matches how we viewed them nearly twenty years ago. The work is set around 2005, so some of those attitudes will still be in place, but the discussions on cultural appropriation and the effects it has had on populations within the United States that have taken place more recently as well as the debates on gender perception and its role in self-definition have changed how I view much of what I took for granted in the mid-00s. This, in turn, changed my attitude on how some of the characters interact with the world they inhabit and this has influenced the editing I have done on the volumes so far. There are still some problematic aspects to overcome, particularly since one of the volumes deals with the background of a serial killer, but I now see situations where the characters can better express themselves in light of more current societal views.

Developing my more recent work has also inspired me to utilize a character from my other fictional Universe, in effect giving the character a “second chance” in a new environment. Needless to say those readers who are familiar with my Atlanta works will spot a familiar face in a totally different place and time. Since I’ve been working on Worthy I placed the edits to The Long-Timers Chronicles on hold, but I plan to return to the story in earnest once I have Worthy where it needs to be. I have also reimagined the cover art and overall look and feel to create a more cohesive presentation. I’m looking forward to diving into it later this year.

Stay tuned!

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