Woodvale Universe

Children of Woodvale

Formerly Known as School Kids SG

Taking place in the (just barely) fictional town of Woodvale, New Jersey, this series chronicles the lives and adventures of teenagers growing up surrounded by a near-constant war between street gangs and vigilantes, driven by powerful technology of mysterious origin. My books visit this universe at two general points in time: the start of the vigilante lineage (1997 / Ron) and the end (2029 / Mark), with more content currently falling into the latter category. My goal is to marry recognizable coming-of-age tales with crazy action scenes and achieve a balance where the two sides inform and develop stakes for each other.

I was a nine-year-old fourth-grader when I started laying out the first of these stories. At its inception, the series was simply called School Kids, and was partly written on lined paper and partly typed in a kid’s version of Microsoft Word that started up with an animation of a purple cartoon man crashing off an unfinished roller coaster. I made heavy use of pictures and glittery text, but underneath the gimmicks, I was basically crafting a more interesting version of my own life: my classtime daydreams made manifest, with my friends and I battling rival groups and visiting fantastic places.

As I entered junior high and moved into and through high school, the characters in the Woodvale Universe aged with me, and every time they grew enough for my and their perspectives to feel noticeably different, I’d close one set of stories and start another. That’s how School Kids led to the WRG stories (1997), which were then succeeded by New School Kids (2029), later fully realized as School Kids SG, a name that was supposed to sound like an anime sequel…except I was the only one who knew what it was a sequel to.

After graduating and gaining the distance I needed to see this universe as fully distinct from my own, I released four books under the School Kids SG banner, with various editions coming out between 2003 and 2019. But just as I was changing over to calling the series Children of Woodvale in 2017, thinking this name was both catchier and easier to understand, I asked myself if my compulsion to go back and edit the existing books–unusually strong even for me–meant I was actually thinking of everything as one huge story instead of several separate ones.

After experimentally unifying books one through three and deciding I liked the results, I pulled all four volumes back from wide distribution (though you can still get them through this site) and started working on a single super-book that will combine all nine stories from the original four volumes, plus the never-yet-released tenth story/fifth volume. I’m not going to list a target date for when that will be available, but it’s nice to start with so much already written.