Behind the Scenes of The New Phenomenon
The New Phenomenon is realistic fiction with a supernatural twist. The towns and cities mentioned in the book are real, and some of the locations are places I remember from my youth. Other locations are conjured from my mind or relocated from other parts of my memory, which is the exciting part of being a fiction writer. The characters in this book are composites of childhood friends, students who came through my classroom, family members, and figments of my imagination. Only three characters are real people. Mr. Button was my ninth grade social studies teacher. Coach Lilly and Coach Cozad were two of my football coaches during my senior year of high school. I received permission from all three to use their names in this novel. None of the events in this book actually took place, but I hope my readers fall into the story enough to believe it could have been possible.
The working title was Phenomenon, when I wrote the manuscript during the summer of 2009, but I first started on the path to author during the 2005-2006 school year in Grand Island, Nebraska. I wrote feverishly for about 40 pages before the inspiration sputtered and died. Even though our school media specialist liked the beginning of the story, the original start to my first book was thrown into a folder in frustration and left to suffocate in a box in our basement storage. In May of 2008, I moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and the box made the trip, as well.
After a move, the unpacking process can take years to complete. In May of 2009, I opened a beat up cardboard box marked “Chris’ Stuff.” Inside was a treasure trove of odds and ends of my life. At the bottom, I found a folder containing my book idea.
That week, I ran into a childhood friend, affectionately known as the Beast, who is a computer engineer of some kind. I shared with him my experience of failing to complete the story. The Beast explained that whenever his “team” has a project, they lay out all the components with the end in mind, sort of mapping out what they need to write to accomplish the final product.
I was amazed. I teach seventh graders how to organize their thoughts before they write, and yet I failed to do the same for myself. I spent the last week of May organizing a story board. Five weeks later, I completed The New Phenomenon. After seven revisions, my first novel was slated to be published in the spring of 2011.
In 2013, The New Phenomenon was rereleased under Lunker Productions.