A few weeks ago, I wanted to make a new Christian fiction short story. I had no idea that my efforts would blossom into inspiration for a full novel — and a Mindfire prequel at that!
Here's what happened: I reached out to a friend and we brainstormed for a bit one day. I brought three ideas to the figurative table:
1. This could be a completely new tale with new characters and environment;
2. This could be a story somehow related to Mindfire; or
3. This could be a story somehow related to the Jordan of Algoran series.
My friend recommended it be related to one of my previous books and we proceeded from there. For Mindfire, it seemed natural to do a tale with Steve and Sue Hamilton, Leia's father and adoptive mother. And for the Jordan of Algoran Series, there's a space in the second book, Jordan's Arrow, that's ripe for untold tales.
My intuition told me to go with the Mindfire-related story with Steve and Sue. I thought it would be good to write something that complimented the events in Mindfire without entirely depending on that book. Then I thought "what if we saw Steve and Sue's last adventure together as the superheroes Crusader and The Cat?" And what if it was a time travel story? That led to determining where to send them, further into the past or way into the future? Since sending them to the future ran the risk of running into spoiler territory, I decided it needed to be the past.
But when? My friend suggested World War I. It was a neat idea, but I was concerned because of another superhero story that was set in that era in a popular movie. On the other hand, I believed the 1920s and 1930s had lots of potential for storytelling. We narrowed it down to the 1930s, the era of the Great Depression. It was enough for me to work with and start building plot ideas!
Mindfire is set between 2013 and 2014. It also established that the AR-MEN superhero team were active for a short time between approximately 1990 and 1993. Crusader was one of the founders of The AR-MEN and The Cat joined later.
I created The AR-MEN as a homemade comic book series back in 1980. I wrote, drew and hand-lettered it regularly from 1980 until 2000, with a final issue in 2006. All of the superhero and supervillain characters in Mindfire were originally part of the comic book.
For the prequel novel, I didn't want to use the whole superhero team. I wanted to narrow in on Crusader and The Cat. I hoped to show their story before they married and left being superheroes behind (to become Christians and raise their family in peace). I also wanted to put them in a situation (time travel) where their superpowers would not be as as useful.
I've already outlined the whole book and I know its ending, and am about 10,000 words into writing it. It is called Unto Dust: A Mindfire Prequel.
The title is based on Genesis 3:19 (King James Version):
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Below is part of a scene featuring Crusader and The Cat from a 1996 issue of The AR-MEN (where they fought my parody of the Power Rangers team, The Mighty Dreadful Multi-Colored Shapeshifting Warriors). Crusader used his sun saber and The Cat was in full feline form.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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