As some of you know, I spent most of my young writing life writing fan fiction as I wasn’t confident enough to try and create my own characters. But, in 2001, that changed. I read an article in a magazine about how there are no more original stories; it was this which gave me the confidence to begin work on a new story with my own characters.
After writing a couple of short stories with my own characters, I decided to begin another called ‘The Basement’, inspired by an episode of the original ‘Charmed’ television series. The story was about a little girl, by the name of Jenny Brookes, who is haunted by a shadowy cloud-like entity, which breaks out from the basement of her house and terrorizes her and her babysitters. A few years later, I attempted to write a sequel with an older Jenny where she and her family would move to a new home next to an ominous-looking house, but I didn’t get very far with that story.
Then, fast forward to the beginning of the Fire Angel Universe. I had decided to rework those two stories as I began to think about the possibility that Fire Angel was NOT the first superhuman and so Fade was created.
In ‘The Basement’, time does not move on at all while Jenny and her babysitters are chased in the dark by the entity. I decided to give Jenny shadow-based powers, so she could blend with the shadows and also physically enter a ‘shadow world’ within them. This idea was partly inspired by the video game series ‘Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver’. I’d also done some research and, after reading a particular Justice League of America issue, I found that people who study the multiverse theory believe there is a gap between the different universes. This seemed to be the ideal location for this ‘shadow world’ and held a lot of potential for future story ideas.
Next, I needed a name for my new superhero. I came across the perfect name, Fade, after hearing it in the video game ‘Mass Effect 2’. The name made sense to me, as my character could FADE into shadows. Then, for some irony, I changed Jenny Brookes to Dawn Armstrong, focusing particularly on the fact that she had dark, shadow-based powers and her name was the same as the dawn of the day. Then, since in ‘The Basement’, Jenny had been afraid of the dark and required a night light because the shadowy entity made its move after Jenny was put to bed and she was left in the dark, I decided it would be ironic for Dawn to have shadow-based powers yet be afraid of the dark. After a little research, I found out about nyctophobia, the irrational fear of the dark. On top of this, I considered how it would be if she was afraid of her powers and consequently didn’t want to use them.
The story turned into a sequel/remake of ‘The Basement’ as now we were dealing with a college-aged Dawn Armstrong. I kept the idea that the events of ‘The Basement’ still happened, but changed the fact that this time, one of her babysitters, Ashley Green, didn’t die and she actually became a supporting character in this new version. However, there was one character that did almost die in the new story: Tyler Williams. I’d originally struggled to make him work, and was close to killing him off when I finally figured him out and scrapped the scene that would lead to his death. This chapter became my favourite as it was just him and Dawn talking. This came as a surprise to me, as normally my favourite kind of scenes are action-based.
But I still needed more backstory, so I turned to another short story of mine, with which I wasn’t happy, called ‘Déjà Vu’, and merged the main character with Dawn. The story had been about a young woman who had repressed memories from an incident in her past. Merging the two characters helped me find the connection I needed to the Fire Angel Universe…
TO BE CONTINUED…