The Story Behind OBLIVIONHarley Austin
As an author, you often just start writing a story because it’s something you want to read yourself. Like most of my stories, well, all of them actually, this is how Oblivion began.
Even though high school was some thirty years ago for me, it doesn’t matter how old you are or become, this time in our lives leaves very lasting impressions—memories, some good, and some we’d like to forget. But all of us can find something during our high school years that we would love to remember and would even relive given the chance.
I’m not going to tell you how much of the initial story of Oblivion is true and how much of it has been slightly embellished, but suffice to say the opening of the book is drawn on my own personal memories and a relationship that happened. Exactly when and who are not important; but it was a beautiful magical time in our lives. The relationship eventually fizzled as most do when people are young and care-free, but the essence of the memory has been captured within the pages of Oblivion.
As the initial story of Oblivion unfolded, I didn’t really have a title for it at that point. Honestly, I thought the story would just end up in my graveyard of forgotten stories and be, well, forgotten. But that is not what happened. In a previous book, Legacy, we got to see what happens when high school teens find themselves in the Awakened universe. But Oblivion took that theme and greatly expanded on it. What if, I thought, as the story grew and unfolded, we had a whole high school of newbloods? If not the whole school, how about a good chunk of it? What would that look like with Humans and Gods living and learning side by side? Well, the idea for Oblivions was born.
As I recall, the working title for the book early on was simply “swimsuit”. Which one of us in high school hasn’t crushed-on, or fantasized about, someone on the swim team? Well, anyway, you get the idea. We all have.
I wasn’t initially intending for “swimsuit” to turn into an Awakened novel, but as the little story snippet progressed, it suddenly became apparent to me that this story was going to be a great opener for an Awakened Chronicle. I continued writing, grooming the story until something wonderful began to appear from the pages. It would not be until the novel was completely finished that the name for the book would be chosen.
I began writing Oblivion in the latter part of 2017 and on into early 2018. By February of 2018 the book and story were pretty much complete, but I had a problem—where exactly did Oblivion go within the Awakened milieu and Chronicles? There were some huge reveals within Oblivion that really needed more pretext.
The truth is, Oblivion had been written long before Prism, Travada, Primal and even Atlantica had been. Even before some of my Fierce novels as well. The book was way ahead of its time. After Prism and Travada had been written I went back and re-read Oblivion. I now knew exactly what was going on in the back story. I needed another book―that book would be Atlantica.
In many ways, Atlantica would become the prequel that Oblivion needed to pull the stories together, and it worked out wonderfully.
I know I say this about all of my stories, but there is a part of Oblivion that will remain near and dear to my heart because of the memories that it conjures. And not only that, but the fantasy it allows not just me, but all of us to live out as well. I was raised in a small-town culture in time where same-sex relationships branded you an outcast, a “faggot”, “sinner”, or whatever other derogatory name ignorant people could come up with. Thankfully most today’s high schools are not like the one I grew up in anymore. High school students just don’t care who you’re dating. As it should be.
In many ways, Oblivion gives me a way to relive my high school years the way they should have been. I hope it does the same for you as well.
All the best.