[WARNING: what follows is an interview that reveals the details and depths of Little Miss Lucifer: The Legend of the Exorcess. SPOILER ALERT.]
—You (yes, you, the reader): So Evan, tell me where you got the idea for Little Miss Lucifer. It looks like you’ve thought of the story for a while…
—Evan: You’re right! I have. I remember in the autumn of 2002, while I was thinking of the human brain, I must’ve remembered something about how we merely use 15% of our neural capacity — I’m sure most people have known about that. But I pushed for more and asked: What if… what if someone could use more? What if an experiment was done that unleashed the brain’s full potential…
That’s what inspired me first. I saw a young girl manipulating the world around her — innocent and beautiful, imaginative and amazing — but that’s all I saw. Over time, I thought of scenarios to show off her abilities, and an origin story started to take shape.
It begins with an alien abduction, and they take her. The extraterrestrials test her, study her, and observe her. In fact, they had been observing her since her conception. They started even before her birth, and she is the perfect specimen.
When the girl is ready for abduction, they begin more rigorous examinations, focusing on her brain. For years, they tweak it, test it, push its limits, until one final operation: they unleash it and lose control over her.
This was not what they wanted. They wanted to research the human brain’s unique power for more, but they also knew our fallen nature’s violent tendencies. So precautions were always in place to ensure their safety.
But of course, she escapes. And from there I wandered with her. For 400 pages I explored with her, watched her mature and meet her fellow characters. Eventually, I received plenty of encouragement and good feedback for the story and style. But I wasn’t impressed anymore. Remember that I was only wandering for 400 pages! Wandering! I didn’t want to wander anymore.
I desired to discover.
So although others wanted to read more, I couldn’t bear to read the story-in-progress myself. Where others expected major revelations and profound insight, I knew there was nothing behind the story and between the covers except for some good action and fluffy fluff. I needed there to be more, and there wasn’t.
I set the manuscript aside. Pretty much abandoned it. Three years after I started it (2005-2008), I had hit a solid wall of writer’s block. But by then, I began working on my English degree, so there were plenty of different things to work on: research papers, screenplays, poetry, memoirs, essays, short stories, etc. That took up most of my imagination.
—You: Do you still have the original manuscript?
—Evan: You bet I do! I think it’s great to look back on the beginnings and see how much has matured and how much is still so novel. It’s especially encouraging on an occasional discouraging day that we all run into.
—You: That’s a good way to think of it. Anyway though, please continue.
—Evan: Sure. Well, so for two years after I archived the manuscript, I never really thought about it. But in the autumn of 2010, as I was flossing my teeth, readying for bed, something filled my thoughts, something I call a mental aneurism. It was so clear to me, and it was so clearly not me: Evan, why does the story have to be about aliens? Why does it have to be about the brain? Why not be about the devil? Why not…
—You: The devil? That’s a big shift!
—Evan: Yes, and no. And then it hit me! Right! WHY NOT? The devil has preternatural powers, and can manipulate the world and show off all the special-effects I’ve been loading into the story, the devil can do even more than any alien or human can do! Because demons are not bound by natural laws, and demons are fallen angels! And angels are beautiful, imaginative and amazing (and although some are fallen, they remain powerful and brilliant — hence why they are dangerous).
This will work! Oh my goodness… this will work even better!
I was so excited, that I couldn’t keep up with the ideas swelling in my mind. I whipped back onto the computer and started organizing the scenarios, the plot and the insights. I did that for a year, gathering and sorting, researching and praying, watching and listening until I was ready.
When I started writing the resurrected version of the manuscript, Little Miss Lucifer (which was once merely the title of a chapter in the first draft), I never ran into writer’s block. It was smooth, slick, and like no writing experience I ever had before or since. I finished drafting the whole thing in ten months, and then began the editing process in August 2012.
—You: So once you knew, nothing could stop you?
—Evan: Once I knew how to end the story, everything came together.
—You: You knew the ending before you started writing?
—Evan: Absolutely. There are two things that I need to know about a story before I can tell it well: the ending and the title. It doesn’t matter if it’s a flash-fiction, an essay, a song, whatever. If I know how it ends and what it’s called — I’m off!
—You: That’s some useful advice!
—Evan: I hope so! Hasn’t failed me yet…
—You: Well, I guess this is a good point to wrap up this section. Right? Can we talk about the cover art and the design next time? I have to say… it’s not an ordinary looking book!
—Evan: I tried to make it as extraordinary as possible!