The first chapter was good.
Edinburgh native Kailey Davenport published her first book when she was 19. “Seraph,” the first of what was a to be a trilogy, was a fantastical world of angels and mortals, evil and good that merged into the everyday pitfalls of teenage life.
But Davenport, now 22, is ready for the next phase of her writing career.
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She has teamed up with a pair of other Purdue University students, Scott Silliman and Rhianna Moore, to embark on a new literary adventure. Their series “The Dream Founts of Peridom” expands on the universe of angels and humans.
But more so than bringing readers a new fantastical story about a make-believe world, the trio hope to change the way writers and illustrators publish their work.
“What’s different about this is that we’re trying to change-up what traditional publishing looks like,” Davenport said. “I’m not a fan of going through mainstream companies. There is a benefit, but we’re moving in a digital age. I’d like to redefine what reading online looks like.”
Davenport had been interested in reading and writing since she was a young child going to school in Franklin. First she started with her own projects, developing characters and a voice.
Then, before her junior year of high school, she was part of the team of students who wrote “Common Ground,” a book aimed at helping children and teenagers deal with everyday challenges they face at school and home.
“Seraph” started coming together before her freshman year at Franklin Community High School, as Davenport edited and adapted it during the next four years. The finished young adult novel was published by the Indianapolis Business Journal’s book publishing division in 2012.
Davenport had plans to expand the universe introduced in “Seraph” and its main character, Arella, into a series of three books. But as she progressed through her education at Purdue and experimented with other methods of writing, she felt drawn to different projects.
“As I got into college and figured out where my voice was, I figured out that particular story wasn’t the right story for me,” she said. “But that character is.”
Davenport took the best pieces of Arella — her spirituality, the ability to see evil in the world and to envision coming events — and transposing her into a new world. Working with Silliman, a friend who she had known since her freshman year at Purdue, they created characters, a setting and a rough story to start building on.
Silliman, a South Bend native, had dabbled in fantasy writing when he was a teenager but had drifted into other creative outlets such as music. When he befriended Davenport, they shared a vision for creating a fictional world.
“With Kailey, I saw an opportunity to create a world I had always seen in my mind. Between Kailey’s character Arella and this world, I’d been seeing basically my entire life, the two fit very well together,” he said.
They have worked for months meshing their imaginations, plotting the stories and further fleshing out the world of “The Dream Founts of Peridom.” A mythology and history has been written, with Silliman and Davenport mapping how the story will bear out.
Moore is the project’s illustrator, providing a visual companion to go with the stories Silliman and Davenport have created.
“There’s something about a good story that captivates people and brings them together,” Davenport said. “I’ve known for a long time that Arella was the character I should be writing about, and Faeron, the character Scott has created, is equally inspiring. The friendship they’ll develop through this story is the driving force.”
The undertaking has required a significant time commitment on top of their work completing their degrees at Purdue. But by taking advantage of internship opportunities and independent study options, they’ve been able to integrate their project into course credit.
“I’ve never considered myself a traditional learner. I’ve loved the experiences I’ve had here at Purdue and the experiences I had at Franklin, but I tend to take my education in my own hands,” Davenport said. “This project has allowed me to earn credits towards my major and work on the stories as well.”
Silliman is the founder of a product development firm called Catefouries. His computer programming background has provided a portal for their project to be distributed to the public.
Catefouries will be publishing, hosting and marketing the series. The series will be released in installments, going up on its own website, where fans can come and read it as it emerges.
The project is on the verge of release. In mid-April, the writers will unveil the prologue of “The Dream Founts of Peridom” online with a crowdfunding campaign to help support the rest of the project, Silliman said.
“We have an excellent world built, a plethora of beautiful characters written who all intertwine,” he said.
People will not have to purchase anything to read, though contributions will help the story progress, Davenport said.
Donors will get early access to new writing and chapters, but it will eventually be open to all readers, Silliman said.
The creative team of Davenport, Silliman and Moore are in the process of purchasing a separate domain name. Until then, all updates will go up on the catefouries.com site.
“As we get further and further into developing this story, it’s something entirely new, that we’ve never seen in the world of literature before,” Davenport said. “We want to show people that we have a great story, and we want them to get online to participate in it.”
“The Dream Founts of Peridom”
What: A Web-based fantasy series for young adults created by a trio of Purdue University students, including Edinburgh native Kailey Davenport.
Who: Creators Davenport and Scott Silliman; illustrator Rhianna Moore.
When: The creators plan to unveil the prologue of the story series in mid to late April. The first book is titled, “Violet Stars.”
How to read it: Catefouries.com
Family: Parents Cheryl Moran and Doug Davenport; siblings Ben Davenport and Maggie Davenport.
Education: Graduated in 2012 from Franklin Community High School; currently a senior at Purdue University.