Most people in Ashgen and its suburbs see little reason to care about tensions simmering in tiny countries on the other side of the world—but Celeste Selby's father was taken as a political prisoner and hasn't been heard from in years. Her grandparents try to encourage her to move on, to try to be a normal, happy high schooler, but trying to figure out how to fit with the other kids has never been a priority to her. One day, against all expectations, a friend of her father's—and an employee of Celeste's grandfather—calls to speak to her. He has news from Lozsul that her grandparents don't want her to hear.
Twilight Star is my epic. On the surface it's contemporary young adult fantasy, but buried not so far beneath are deep spiritual and political issues that I hope will interest adults as well. I first came up with the idea for the story in 1998, though it's been through so many permutations since then that it's basically a new story now. I've rewritten parts of it many times over, including a version that was my senior thesis. I'm hopeful that the next version I write (currently in its early stages) will be the one that really takes off. I'd love to find interested readers for the second draft, so if you fit that description, I hope you'll E-mail me! (Look here for details on my reciprocal reading policy.)
Meanwhile, I've got quite the illustration gallery for this story after working on it for so long. A lot of the art is very old, but there's some better, newer stuff mixed in, too, especially in the group shots. There are also brief character descriptions in each section. Many of the older pictures are done in an anime-like style (with colored hair and such), but I describe the characters in the story realistically and newer pictures are usually done this way. (Sometimes I still give Celeste pink hair just for the sake of colorfulness, but she actually has light brownish-blonde hair.)
All art is my work unless otherwise credited.
Realistic Poster — This is a large picture (about 10"x15" on paper) of all the important characters in the first part of the story. In the center is Celeste, of course; in the lower left are Indigo, Gabriel, and Mikaela; Cozoqui's in the lower right; the three just above Celeste are her grandmother, grandfather, and uncle; the four in the upper right are Kymathece, Izick, Esti, and Sorl; and the young woman in the upper left is a mysterious figure whom you'll meet later in the story. I was quite pleased with how this turned out, since I haven't done realism in a long time. I wish you couldn't see the stiching, though. (2008)
Airport Meeting — Celeste meets her Royal Noveran Guard escort, Cozoqui, at the Ashgen International Airport. The airport shouldn't be so empty, but I'm otherwise pleased with the background on this one. I also wish I hadn't colored Celeste's shoes blue, but she does sometimes wears things that don't quite match, so I guess it's all right. (2007)
The Three Children — Izick, Esti, and Sorl. (2003)
Pictures are from 1999 to 2006, from oldest to newest.
First layout — The original layout's front page image.
Inner tube — A very early CG.
Happy and energetic: Just a little doodle.
An early sketch — by Kristen; I still love the expression.
SD Regular Outfit — A doodle from 12th grade art.
At a party — Grudgingly attending her mother's special dinner, by Bree.
Bright — Celeste with very vivid hair, by Danielle.
Runaway — She and Cozoqui fleeing in the final scene of Chapter 6.
Walking — She's on her way, though to where...? By Kristen.
Pretty sweater — Celeste looking ready for anything, by B.
Oekaki — I'm no good at mouse drawing, but I like the background.
First realistic — I often imagine Celeste in a realistic style, too.
Second realistic — In color, she'd have light brown hair and brown eyes.
SD Luminary outfit — In the Luminary uniform, with a Luminastone.
Thoughtful — A beautiful portrait by Marybeth.
Light — I had fun making the little glowing bits on this one.
Relaxed — Kristen sent me this one via actual paper mail. :)
Sweet — An adorable Celeste in soft pastel colors, by Aurora.
Lovely scarf — And a very pretty hair ribbon to match, by Angie.
Luminary outfit sketch — This is exactly what the Luminary outfit looks like, so I saved it from Kristen's doodles.
Shoved — Some nasty bad guy just shoved Celeste out of the way!
Obscurity — The same picture, but now she is in an eerie dark room, courtesy of Paint Shop Pro filters.
Light sketch — Just a simply outlined sketch, but I was pleased with it.
Discovery — A colored version of the light sketch above; Celeste would not like that it looks like she's wearing eyeliner. ^^;
Concerned — Celeste has something on her mind.
Mystical strength — She looks determined and strong, surrounded by her Light, by Catherine.
Starry sky — The first colored realistic image of Celeste, by Sketchinartist.
Pixel doll — B makes such adorable dolls. I really like Celeste's sweater here.
Note that Kymathece was called Alethea in earlier drafts, so many of her pictures user her old name.
Concept drawing — I think this is her first.
Very early Ky — Looking windblown.
Also very early — I remember drawing this in AP Calc in 1999; I'm not sure what she's holding.
Ky's first CG — This image is an old favorite of mine.
Stylized — I love the style of this image, by Kristen.
Another outfit — In a khaki dress this time, always with the translucent fabric accents.
Looking into the distance — My awesome and talented roommate at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, Erin Asplund, did this beautiful CG of Kymathece for me.
SD Indigo — Energetic and enthusiastic.
Applying — She's at her house in Qaoria; the rug she's lying on and the sweater she's wearing were both made by her family, and the papers are part of her application to the University of Caira Nova.
Characters Soon to Appear
A young woman — She looks happy and noble. Who could she be?
These characters no longer appear in the story, but I still have some cute gift art from them dating back several years that is worth sharing. Right now the only characters in this group are Giana and Benjamin.
An early CG — They don't wear these uniforms in TS 2, and thank goodness I have learned a bit about CGing by now.
Precious Gigi — Such a cute little kiddo! By Kristen.
Adorable Benny — Don't you just want to give him a hug? By Kristen.
SD Ben — Poor Ben, his pants are too big for him. (His eyes should be blue, not brown.)
SD Giana — Looking like she's glowing, which is appropriate for Giana.
An oekaki — Ready to strike out on their journey home, by Tomatochan.
Swingset — Giana sits on the swing, waiting....
Original cast — This is a very early cast picture. The character in the bottom right, Orion, was never more than a concept. Giana and Benjamin were cut from later drafts. Mikaela, in the top left, comes in and out of drafts as I need her, but this picture doesn't suit her current role. The only two who are still here are Kymathece and Celeste.
If you'd like to follow the progress of Twilight Star, subscribe to my writing journal—please send me a note to say hello when you do so. If you're subscribed to the Skygawker.com update list, I'll send you an e-mail when I add new artwork or if I offer sample chapters publicly.
One last note: I'd like to state that I came up with the title of this series well before the popular book Twilight was released. I probably won't change the title my story uses for its on-line presence, but if I successfully publish it, I'll be changing the title since my novel is nothing like Twilight. The title I have in mind for book one of a possible trilogy is Altitude.