The Outcasts Series has a unique publishing history that spans 13 years and nearly 24,000 miles, and that story itself is probably as dramatic as the fictional tale of teens and children struggling against hideous monsters and a world about to collapse.
I began writing and illustrating the story while working at The Kansas City Star in 1994. I eventually moved to Casablanca, Morocco and taught English as a Second Language to students from Kuwait, South Korea, Taiwan, Iraq and other countries. During that time I rewrote the first book for the fifth time and completed drafts for books 2, 3 and 4.
Marshall Cavendish in Malaysia published all four books as The Shadow Beasts Series. I was fortunate to be able to travel to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to promote the books. In doing so, I experienced a richly diverse culture, heard myriad languages, met wonderful students both in cities and in the countryside and found greater inspiration for my writing.
Marshall Cavendish recently packaged the four books into a wonderful boxed set.
The U.S. office of Marshall Cavendish noted the popularity of the series and its universal themes of survival, cultural diversity, heroism and good versus evil. They graciously decided to reissue the epic under the title The Outcasts Series. The first two installments (The Shadow Beasts and The Survivors) have been published in 2007; books 3 and 4 will appear in 2008.
In the books, the Outcasts seek safe HayVen, a place that may or may not exist. After writing and illustrating for so many years, I feel that I’ve finally found my own HayVen in this memorable series, a place that truly exists.