Finding Kalib: How I Found My Protagonist.

I often get asked where did this story come from? What inspired you to write it? The truth is this story was in the making long before I even considered writing a novel. I was an imaginative kid always finding ways to create a new story. I am pretty sure my first book report was actually a comic strip titled Teenaged Mutant Ninja Lizards (I was very original back then). So it should come as no surprise that I chose a creative career.

An "Over-Active" Imagination

When I was in the third grade I spent my recess time digging for dinosaur bones in the playground and telling the other kids that I was an Animorph. The teachers were concerned. What they didn't understand was, it was true! I was an Animorph. Maybe I couldn't change into animals in real life, but in my mind I was saving the world, one alien at a time. This is where it all began for me; kudos to my parents. For them, I didn't have an "over-active" imagination. My imagination was just right. \

As a result my parents signed me up for theatre. This is where I learned the art of story telling. I would spend the next several years of my life telling stories by way of the performing arts. Something I still love, and do professionally today. But something that many people don't know about me is that back then, I often found comfort in writing.

When I was growing up I created worlds in my brain (usually as a distraction from learning AP government). I made comic books (instead of paying attention in Biology). Drew pictures instead of Math. And scribbled storylines and scenarios in the cover of my History book. Once, my mother took away my WRITING JOURNALS as a punishment for not paying attention in class. Seeing a trend here?

Now, mom wants nothing more but for me to be a successful writer. In her words, "That's what my true gif is."

My mom thinks I'm awesome, so it must be true!

One Little Question

During this time in primary school, my best friend Ryan and I created worlds. In fact, Ryan was the only reason I ever picked up a comic book. I only had an older sister, and she wasn't into comic, so I had no idea what they even were until I met Ryan and his older brother, Jason. This friendship would end up being one that lasted a lifetime.

Fast forward to the summer of 2008, I was preparing to transfer to a new college in Georgia. And I wanted to see my old friend, before I left, during the visit Ryan and I engaged in our normal conversations about superheroes and mutants (yes it is true, some people never grow up).

During this conversation I asked Ryan a question, "If you could have any power what power would you choose?" And his answer sparked my interest he answered with a question, "what is power to you. Something that you are born with or something that can be taught?"

That one little question intrigued me so much that I just had to write about it. I told Ryan we should write a story using this concept, and he agreed. He and his brother were already working on a movie script and he invited me to join. I was about to head off to Georgia where I would spend a month with my godparents before beginning college in Savannah. But that didn't stop me, I told him that I would write in Georgia and email him the scene.

The Birth of Kalib

Believe it or not Kalib didn't come first. The first character that I created was a character named Dylan Andrews. I had a month before my schooling started in Savannah, and I spent the entire month writing. I wrote two scenes for Ryan, one with the characters that he created, and the other with a new character that I planned to introduce to him, Dylan. The scene took place on a football field, Dylan was playing his childhood rival in the homecoming game, and, getting angry from his taunting. Eventually Kalib exploded... no really, he literally explodes! He blew up the entire football field. I loved the scene. I loved the character. I knew Ryan and Jason would love them too.

I sent the scene. When Ryan got the scene he said "That's a cool story bro, I think it will be better if you kill him." I was devastated, you can't kill my character. Ryan and I argued over this. (All in love of course) I had worked so hard to create this character and the first character I create they wanted to kill in the first 15 mins. Ryan accused me of being too attached to my characters and not doing what was necessary for the story. But I was determined. Dylan had more potential than Ryan was giving him credit.

So I told them, I was going to write my own story. And that's exactly what I did. I threw out the movie script went back to the drawing board and stared at a blank screen for days. I had no idea where to begin. One day while complaining to my Godmother (who will never let me forget that she signed my birth certificate.) She gave me a bit of advice, she advised that, if I was struggling with a character (which I was at the time) I should start with the characters name.

So I looked up the name Dylan. If you look up the name Dylan, you'll learn that Dylan is a Welsh name, coming from Welsh Mythology, named after the Welsh Sea Deity, Dylan El Ton. Andrews meant "of man". So his name literally meant "Sea Deity of Man".

This sparked another idea. I don't want to give to much away. But the phrase "Sea Deity of Man" reminded me of another story, a story from the bible. Genesis 6:1-4 (Paraphrased) "Now when the Sons of God saw that the Daughters of Men were beautiful, they went into them, and took them as their wives, and they begot the mighty men of renown, the Nephilim!" That was what this story was about! I was writing about the Nephilim!

Nephilim are beings that are half human and half Angel. This Sea Deity of Man, could be just that! I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what these beings would be capable of. So I continued to research and I continued to create. I think my entire first year in college was spent in the Library. I studied books about the Nephilim, and books about mythology. I dived deeper into Celtic Mythology because to learn more about Dylan El Ton. And he became the first fully fleshed character that I ever created, and then I killed him.

I know! I had done all of this because Ryan suggested that I killed Dylan, and I didn't want too! Dylan had so much potential. And I loved him. That's why I had to kill him. Dylan was a great foundation character, but upon researching I realized that my story was not about Dylan. My story was about Kalib Andrews. The Strong One.