This May, TWCS is paying tribute to the SciFy genre in honour of the EPIC Star Wars series and LEGENDARY The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, amongst others...

Sebastian and the Afterlife (by William j. Barry) - Guest Post

Sebastian, an average seventeen-year-old boy, has just paid this debt. He awakes in a surreal world somewhere between mortal life and the afterlife, where the Grim Reaper rules and his loyal agents maintain the law. But not all is peaceful in this mystical realm. Axis Red and his soul pirates threaten the future of all who dwell there.
Sebastian soon finds himself at Sapentia, a high school for the departed. There he makes new friends but longs for his lost love, Sarah, who is still alive in the mortal world. Some things are forbidden; some lines cannot be crossed. What will Sebastian risk to be close to Sarah again?
Continue the adventure with Sebastian and the Afterlife Book II - Agents of the Reaper.

How did your own personal beliefs affect your writing on the Afterlife? 
Did you model Sebastian after anyone or were you inspired by something/someone?

 I don’t think my personal beliefs played a huge role in writing about the afterlife. The process was more about starting with the story’s core concepts, and then letting my imagination loose to develop the universe around them. But I feel like my upbringing helped out a lot with the spiritual aspects of the story. 

As a kid I grew up in a very religious family. We were brought up to believe that even though you couldn't see them, angels and demons were all around us, manipulating the physical world. Growing up with these stories gave me some good footing when constructing a spirit world.

Something that had a direct influence on Sebastian and the Afterlife were some particular stories my mother told me when I was young. She said that on two separate occasions, that she had seen a shadow travel across a room when she was visiting someone that was about to die. Both people died shortly after she had seen this, and she was convinced that it was 'death' preparing to take the individual. Besides being struck by how eerie the stories were, I found it interesting that the 'death shadow' that she said to have seen, was not evil. It was simply there to do a job (collect a soul). When I was imagining the spirit world, I knew that I wanted to incorporate a character as iconic as the Grim Reaper, but I knew he wasn't going to be an evil being, but more like my mother had described, simply there to do a job.

Possession was also a concept that I was brought up with (though we were told it was by demons, not so much by departed spirits).  I used the concept of possession a lot in the series, especially in the first book. 

While I don’t really subscribe to a lot of the beliefs that I was raised with as a kid, I found them to be a great source to draw from when writing about the afterlife and a spiritual world. It definitely helped the process. 

Sebastian was very loosely based on a seventeen-year-old version of myself, polished up a bit, of course. There are some basic similarities between him and myself, like him playing soccer in high school, and things like that. But it was more about me thinking back to what it was like to be that age, and remembering my own insecurities and my wide-eyed naivety about life. Back when little things seemed like cataclysmic events. In a sense it was like imagining the high school me going on this adventure, and how I might of handled it. I’m sure I wouldn't have been as composed as Sebastian about the situation, but like I said, this is the polished up version. I feel most of the emotions he experienced are universal, so I hope that anyone could see themselves in his shoes.



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