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First Ever Cover Photo
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Current, real cover words
“Start somewhere, anywhere, that’s the best place —” M.J. Stevens 

Over the process of your writing, you’re going to go through some changes and cuts. They’re absolutely vital. Characters will even jump out at you and tell you stories you didn’t plan, or remind you to take something out.

Sometimes, I have moments in my books for so long that when I do my final change, I forget that I have. I get a surprise reading it back! For me, I went through two major story changes before my manuscript for BOUND became what it is today.

Here are 10 things that were changed from the originals: (As spoiler free as humanly possible!)

  • Elentia originally held the role now owned by Lethia. That’s right; Elentia was the rough-draft equivalent of the Lady Guardian. However, this is before I drastically changed the royal system and created the Montarus family.
  • Leo wasn’t a Successor, Mellea was. Back before Successors were what they are today, and trust me it was extremely different, Leo wasn’t the prince character. I tried to avoid this for YEARS which is why BOUND took so long to improve. The minute changed it, the story unfolded before my eyes.
  • Question: Why is Leo named Leo, when all the other characters have made-up names? Arin, Leo and Soren were originally named Aries, Leo and Gemini. That is why Leo is still called Leo. He does have the fierceness of a fire-lion and at the same time, can be as cute as a kitty. And I don’t even like cats! Sorry folks.
  • Soren was a lesbian. She had a female bride. Now, that being said, Demmi (her current male-bride) is actually a repurposed character who stood alone. He is NOT her original bride gender-bent! I adore Demmi and he is my favourite character, I had to have him in the new version and I really thought he’d fit. His true name was Demmious and he was a Successor too, in a way…
  • The evolution of the Montarus family tree: Leo > Neros > Dorkarn > Macal … is very new. I’ve enjoyed creating this side of the family and there are plenty more surprises to come. In essence, Sir Macal is the one who started the entire Guardian story in the first place by not destroying the MECHs.
  • The MECHs! They weren’t what they are today. The idea for them came from a rough idea I had for the 4th book, of the initial 5  planned. It wasn’t until then that I realised that they were so much better than the first bad-guys, so I put them in power!
  • Question: What does MECH stand for? MECH doesn’t stand for anything. Otherwise it would be M.E.C.H. Like M*A*S*H! MECH comes from the word Mechanical.
  • Mellea has always had ‘water powers’ since day dot! I’m talking the first ever time I made my first O.C. (open canvas) character back when I was 10 (I’m now 23). However in this new book the way she will use the water stone will be vastly different to any of her predecessors.
  • In the original version, when Mellea is taken to the Tower and she confronts Leo for the first time, he slaps her across the face. Due to some draft feedback I decided to change this to a simple threaten moment, but it still caused some dispute with readers. I needed to set Leo up to show that he has always gotten what he wanted. Leo is a good person, but in many ways begins in the story a complete brat. He’s also a strong, angry, young man who has a past that will be revealed in DIVIDED.
  • I admit it. In the initial story there was a sort of Love Triangle situation going on. But as I continued to draft, he became extremely unwanted. So I said, NO! I don’t need a love triangle! Not all YA has to be centred around a mediocre-looking girl and two super-hunky boys, both with individual strengths and personalities designed to make you pick a team. COUGH TWILIGHT COUGH. I’d rather put my energy into crafting Leo and Mellea’s relationship, rather than forcing her to decide which hottie she will chose. But I think we all know Leo would win, by force.

Leo: “Indeed, I would win … I would win at all costs … mwahahahaa.” Okay maybe not with the mwahahahaa bit. That was me.

M.J.

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