The Second Realm is an idea that has had a long history with author Melissa Vazquez, who remembers drawing the first maps of the Second Realm as early as 2004. Ideas that were included into the final version date back to 2003, when she was thirteen. She always wanted to write some kind of epic fantasy after reading Harry Potter, the series she credits as her largest influence as a child. In her earliest days as a writer, her ideas were simple, although she tried to stretch them larger than her writing abilities at the time. She was also “plagued” (in her words) by a heavy influence from anime, in names, locations, species, behavior, etc. As she drew away from the anime culture, the names changed. As her skills sharpened, her ideas became refined. Here is a short timeline of what the Second Realm was and who the Shadow Assassins became.
The History of the Second Realm Trilogy:
- 2003-2004: Various versions of a hidden, magical world with werecat creatures, a possible war and a band of misfits meant to stop it.
- 2004-2005: Birth of the Shadow Assassin concept and the birth of the original protagonist (who would eventually evolve into the character Evangeline). This story idea revolved around one singular character instead of a team. Separate from this story was also a story meant to circle around the magical school featured in the final release of Shadow Assassins, within the Second Realm. The original design of the Second Realm took place here.
- 2005: Shadow Assassins original draft as a serious story, this one with a full team of supernaturally gifted teens known as the Shadow Assassins. This draft introduced the current cast, under their original names.
- 2009: Shadow Assassins revamp, contained within a city used in a previous story (the city meant to connect the two stories together, as she was actively writing about the city in another story and thought she would release them together as stories that were standalone, but took place within the same “universe”). There was a long series of name changes here, and the Shadow Assassins were bumped up from teenagers to their early to mid-twenties. This also contains the earliest ideas of the Second Realm as a working location within the story. This version gave the prologue and first chapter of the final version.
- 2011: Shadow Assassins second revamp and final manuscript. The summer of 2011 is where the Second Realm came alive for Melissa. All of the old story versions and scraps of a hidden magical world, along with the seedlings of the Second Realm came together.
- 2012: Warpath, the second book in the series, began its first draft under the original title, The Emeralde War.
- 2013: Shadow Assassins was publicly released
- 2014: Warpath’s first draft came to a close. The first draft of the third and final book in the Second Realm trilogy, Liliana, got its start alongside the editing and second draft of Warpath.
- 2015: Warpath was released in paperback and ebook format. Liliana continues its drafting.
- 2016: First draft of Liliana was completed, although further drafting, editing and release was pushed back for personal reasons
- 2017: Liliana continues its journey towards completion and release