By Lauren Greeson, Contributing Writer
Professor of Psychology and Human Development Susan Alford Carter will publish her first young adult fiction novel, "Sorcha Volume 1: Awaken" on Oct. 16, 2015 through Concept III Publishing.
"Awaken" is the first segment of the three-book trilogy. It is a fantasy novel that embellishes the idea of the supernatural within the real world.
It is a mixture of action-packed fantasy with powerful, symbolic elements of Christian beliefs. A variety of supernatural components are portrayed to identify good versus evil.
'It is an epic adventure of two twins, Lucas and Lily, and others like themselves that can see the supernatural world but also have unique powers to fight against demons,' Carter said. 'Half of the book is the 12 trying to find one another.'
The book is a collaboration between Carter and her two sisters, Lesley Alford Smith and Candace Alford Price.
"It is a sister project! My two sisters, Lesley and Candace and I wrote it. Lesley is the co-author, we like to call her the 'dreamer' of the team because she constructs the concepts, while Candace fully illustrated the book.'
The diversity among the characters exemplifies the body of Christ. The young adults call themselves the '12 Light Bearers,' and venture to find others with unique powers like themselves. In the midst of traveling, they begin to discover their gifts and the power that they when they are united together fighting against demons.
"It is friendly in the sense that it is not churchy, but based upon Christian principles. It's an epic adventure all the way through to the conclusion.'
From an early age, the Carter sisters grew to have a fascination with the supernatural world. Spending time with their grandparents, who were ministers in the church, they were told stories about real-life encounters with demons, angels and the powerful spiritual gifts that each person is instilled with.
"Lesley, my little sister, called me and told me about a dream she had,' Carter said. 'There was a set of twins in a dark forest; both scared, surrounding them were huge warrior angels in a circle. Outside of the circle, there were demons trying to break in and get the twins. It was birthed out of that.'
The book is set in Cleveland, Tenn., inspired through the Carter sisters' childhood spent near the Ocoee River.
Each sister contributed their talents to produce the first volume of the trilogy. Susan was the writer, Lesley was the dreamer and co-author, and Candace completed their trio with illustrating the book.
"There are 39 illustrations within the book,' Price said. 'These portray characters...events...and places in the story. They were inspired by the story and characters...I would listen to Susan and Lesley's descriptions and then sketch them out.'
The book is filled with powerful characteristics of the supernatural world that symbolize good and evil attributes. Using all of their combined talents, the sisters were inspired to continue adding unique twists that are up to date in the modern world.
"My favorite illustration is of the Dionadain warrior with his wings outstretched,' Price said. 'This is how I imagine my guardian angel to look like; strong and beautiful and mysterious yet caring and loving always there to protect me.'
The writing and publishing process took place over a five year span, leading up to three New York Times ghostwriters who spoke highly of its soon-to-be success.
"The long five-year process was built from trial and error and developing tough skin," Carter said. "Submitting it to secular publishers that said it was, 'too Christian', and Christian publishers saying it was, 'too secular' made it feel as if it was a no man's middle land."
With the release in October, momentum is being built with a grass-root fan base. Accounts have been created on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. A free download of the first chapter is currently available on the official website.
Books will be released on Amazon, Kindle, and several general bookstores. Cleveland is expected to use the book as an attraction to allure tourists while local churches envision using the book as a tool to teach spiritual warfare.