When I read Orphan: Surfacing, I was thunderstruck by the scope of cosmic reality that author Nathan Day presented. Here was a dynamic novel with such a strikingly powerful premise that I couldn’t help but try to do it justice with a review, which I blogged earlier this year:
"On an epic stage every bit as mesmerizing as its cover, Orphan: Surfacing chronicles spiritual warfare at its most personal and universal levels.The Death of God reverberates through the lives of characters mortal and divine with chilling consequences as angelic and demonic forces wage an End Times-styled Holy War that is launched by a group of human agitators determined to rid mankind of the influence of supernatural forces.
Author Nathan Day has crafted an odyssey of Christian horror across a dystopian landscape where divinity is more emphatically human than good or evil. I highly recommend this engaging read and foresee even more marvel in the future from Day with the fulfillment of the Orphan Saga."
I didn’t realize at the time I wrote the review that the plan to fulfill the Orphan Saga was right there from the beginning. I asked the author about his plans for a sequel or series to his debut novel, and here’s what he had to say:
To be honest, Orphan was planned to be a series from day one. I never intended Surfacing to be a standalone. Maybe not the best idea for a debut novel I know, but I’ve always known the full story here was going to be massive! In fact, I’m not sure how far it will go before it all ends.
Yes, I have a particular end game in mind; I know several events and character arcs, but the more I write and plot out, the more opportunity I’m seeing and the more ambitious I’m feeling. Once again, I have to give thanks to my publishing house for allowing me to see the saga out to what I feel will be its conclusion without having a mandated volume count to force me to shoehorn the story into 3 or 4 parts.
If I had to venture a guess, I’d say we’re looking at 6 or 7 books by the time it comes to its (hopefully) epic conclusion.
Furthermore, I was fascinated by the process that transformed Surfacing from an originally much lengthier undertaking to the novel eventually published by Seventh Star Press. Nathan explained how that change happened:
In fact, the original manuscript for Orphan: Surfacing (Book 1) was deemed too long for a debut novel by my publisher, Seventh Star Press, and the suggestion was put forth that we split it into two books.
Thus, Culling was born! The first hurdle was to find a stopping point within the story that felt like a natural ending. While I feel that things might have wrapped slightly differently had I planned this from the beginning, the serendipitous side effect was that the second half of the manuscript (now known as Orphan: Culling) actually had a darker tone and introduced new characters in a way that felt truer than it originally did as the second half of a novel. I’m glad that Seventh Star had my best interest at heart and splitting the two gave each half more of a defined personality.
This also allowed me to add a few new chapters and characters to help round out some minor
plot holes and strengthen my female cast. Win-win!
As an author, creative process and practical issues are often at the forefront of my mind, especially since I’m also midstream in the writing of a series with quite an ambitious scope. I appreciated Nathan’s response about the process of separating manuscript content into plans for future books in a series, as well as strengthening a current work in progress:
Looking back over book 1, Surfacing, and being able to take a fresh view of the second half of the original manuscript I saw I had a chance to strengthen the story by explaining a few minor “how did that happen?”-s while simultaneously creating new characters that felt different than the current roster.
I also created a few new twists that will help lay the ground work for characters and events that will truly begin to take shape in the next book, Orphan: Advent, as well as things foreshadowed in Surfacing.
So, having more time to toil with Culling allowed me to better prepare for the chaos that comes next.
I found Orphan: Surfacing so captivating that I’ll be back for more as soon as Culling is available. I can’t wait to see what kind of chaos is next!
Amazon.com Links for Orphan: Surfacing: