The first novel project I undertook was Redefining Evil. I felt that RE remained the one story I really wanted to tell. I was comfortable with the characters and I knew that the story had a lot of potential. It didn't take me long nor did it take a ton of effort to translate the manga into novel format. That decision is what pushed RE to new depths. I've found that my comics tended to include more humor than my novels, but in addition, the novel RE took a totally different approach to vampires than my original manga. Check out some of the conflict I had going that direction, from a journal entry dated Sunday 18 January 2009 at 9:58pm :
I've been doing some research on vampire mythology & folklore, because I wanted to take my RE vampires back to their roots, but it turns out their roots are pertty gruesome. ... Needless to say, I got a little discouraged. Because if I go any more modern than these folktales, then you get into what stands the chance of being severely cliched – the whole superhuman concept I’d developed (innocently; before Twilight was even written), the whole idea that vampires can acclimate to human life and sort of have it better than humans.
And I’m a little uncomfortable with dealing with the sort of vampires that I learned about tonight. I’ve alwaysalwaysalways been spooked even by the WORD “corpse”, and have not even a remote interest in writing about them. And the whole reproduction between vampires is entirely out of the question. Necrophilia, anyone? And it’s no wonder vampires are eternally condemned if they’re just dead people haunting the living, because God is the Lord of the Living, not the dead.
...But this wasn't the story I had in mind, and it's so dark I can barely stomach even the thought of it ... Dude, this stuff freaking GROSSES ME OUT. and I wish I’d never learned it, so I wouldn’t feel weird about writing about some glamourized vampires. =/ Then again, really, if I’d really thought about it, what else are vampires than what I’d learned? To be immortal is one thing; the Greek gods were considered immortal, and it was beautiful. but to be immortal in the sense that you’re not alive anymore to begin with, now that’s a curse indeed.
... But gosh, I really don’t want to give up my repulsion for dead bodies just to write a story about some truly classic vampires.
Once I'd completed that, I sat on it and did a few other full-length novels. "Farewell, Fairytale" featured my first woman leading lady, Sophie, who was derived from RE's main female. The same three recurrent characters made an appearance in this story (Eripmav, Andrew, and Myoku).
After "Farewell, Fairytale," I went back to RE and gave the novel its first revision. That was when it began to undergo substantial changes.
The originally Japanese cast migrated to and settled in France. Maika became Micah; Sera became Lacy; Mei became Ingrid; Katsumi became Julian; and Darrin became Andrew. Sotoka-Khepri became an American.
Finally, I began to feel satisfied with the status of the story.
The summer following "Farewell, Fairytale," I wrote another short novel called "Catcher." This featured only one recurring character, Andrew.
After "Catcher," I started considering how I could get RE published. I'd sent it out with a query once and received a polite form rejection. I realized that, for a breakout author, a novel would be a harder bet than if I tried to write a short story to get my foot in the door.
The result was a lame, squishy short story called "Speak/Breathe," with no recurrent characters at all.
By then I was starting school. I was poking around a manga version of RE that was mainly helping me to generate better ways to approach scenes for the novel, and so late summer 2010 I was punching RE with its last big swell of revisions.
Then, I found Port Yonder Press's October Fantasy Month contest.
It was early October and I was feeling like revisions with RE were going downhill. I didn't know what else I could do to improve it - it was almost everything I wanted it to be. I made the decision to prepare it to enter PYP's contest.