All the Things Trivia and Fun Facts

I just want to let anyone trying to read this page know, that if you haven’t read the All the Things Series then this page has SPOILERS. So if you haven’t read them, plan to read them, and don’t like to be spoiled, go away. If not, have fun with these little interesting tidbits. I’ll add more as I think about them and it goes along. Or as people contact me with questions.

  1. Writing All the Little Things was a response to when Thirteen Reasons Why first dropped in 2017 on Netflix and the problematic depiction of suicide. I had a rough idea of who Rafael was, but that was it. Then as the me-too movement picked up and Terry Crews came out about his own sexual harassment case and people starting commenting about how no “real man” (a black man in particular) would let themselves be sexually assaulted or raped, the story idea began to change and in the end I settled on the background that Rafael has now.
  2. The opening scene of All the Little Things was actually the second to last part of the story I wrote. Initially, I sent it to agents to see if they would bite and I thought the opening I had written (him talking to his sister before going back to school) wouldn’t hook anyone into the story quick enough. So I opened a new document and started it with how a lot of my male friends and the teenage boys talk and with him meeting Perla.
  3. I initially struggled with Rafael’s characterization. At first, he was the cold and jerky bad boy trope with a traumatic past. But I didn’t really like that idea and Akilah was never going to fall for that kind of guy. I settled on shy, kind, sensitive, and caring about people way too much even though he probably shouldn’t with some jerk moments (which everyone has). I also thought it was a nice contrast to how he looks as a six-four muscular black nineteen-year-old with a huge mane of dark hair. A man that looked like that would draw some attention (good and unfortunately bad too) no matter how shy and reserved he was.
  4. It was supposed to be a stand-alone novel. The original ending was Rafael and Akilah far in the future, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought Rafael (and Akilah) had a lot more healing and growing up to do to get to that point. So I scrapped the original epilogue of All the Little Things, wrote the current one and started thinking about how the next one would play out.
  5. I wrote the first draft of All the Little Things in three months… while I was supposed to be studying for the LSAT…
  6. I initially pitched it to agents who actually responded to it really well. Got a lot of full requests on it. Many of them read the whole thing and liked it but passed without really giving much of a reason, but I’ve been studying this game for a long time and I’m almost certain that it was because it would have been hard to market traditionally. I knew that as I wrote it. It was on the upper end of young adult and on the cusp of new adult with some pretty graphic shit that was kinda like Push by Sapphire. So it’s hard to figure out where you can stock that on a bookstore bookshelf and figure out what market to appeal to.
  7. The working title of All the Little Things, even as I queried it, was called Rafael because I am utterly uncreative about titles, but then I as I was revising, I can across a statement from Akilah at the end of the novel and the title hit me.
  8. Zenobia was initially a throwaway character for plot at the beginning of the novel, but what can I say. The story had other ideas.
  9. Akilah wasn’t supposed to be an emancipated minor. Both her mother and her brother were supposed to be alive until I wrote where Rafael asks her about her family. On the fly, I came up with emancipated minor. I actually had to stop writing and research it.
  10. Rafael and Akilah getting married wasn’t an idea for the novel until I wrote it. I asked myself what in the hell would two young people without any adult guidance or supervision who are the best thing that ever happened to each other up to this point do. And the answer was that they would probably get married. That was back when I was still trying to make it more YA and wanted to pitch it to agents and knew marriage in YA makes them run for the hills. But I went with it because I thought it would simultaneously show how mature they were and how they were still reckless and hasty teens.
  11. All the Uncertain Things was supposed to be from Akilah’s point of view. I actually wrote four chapters from her POV. But the plot seemed to be happening to Akilah while Rafael’s actions drove the plot instead of Akilah driving the plot. I also wasn’t totally sure about a lot of Akilah’s backstory at that point. Since I didn’t want to send the message to young women that your life revolves around a man and what he does even though I knew Akilah’s didn’t, I scrapped it and went back to writing from Raf’s point of view.
  12. Rafael initially wasn’t going to know Akilah was pregnant. Akilah was going to hide it from him for a long time. However, not only was that before I decided the story was going to be his POV, but also I thought it would be out of character for a person as smart and shrewd as Rafael had shown himself to be to not notice. I also thought it would be a lot more interesting to write about the thought process of a young man dealing with an unexpected pregnancy than a young woman because the latter has been done so many times before.
  13. I seriously considered having Rafael and Akilah divorce at the end of All the Uncertain Things when they both figured out they might have gotten in too deep way too soon. And then All the Hidden Things would have been about them finding their way back to each other years later near the end of college and very much not titled All the Hidden Things. But I thought the trope was overdone and there wasn’t a lot I could do with it to make it unique.
  14. All the Hidden Things was the hardest to write. I was getting ready for law school, then in law school, and had been struggling with what it was going to be about. I thought about it taking place before the epilogue in All the Uncertain Things, but I thought the overall story would basically be just rehashing things that had already been dealt with in the previous book. In the end, I settled with what All the Hidden Things is now and fleshed out what happened in those years between the last two books as needed to bring the series full circle.
  15. Cami (one of Rafael’s old girlfriends) was supposed to make an appearance in All the Hidden Things, playing along with the running gag that everyone wants to move to Atlanta. But I thought her appearance would be too much for one story so I went another way instead. And no. She didn’t have her and Rafael’s secret love child. She was going to be happily married with a child from that union.
  16. Rafael’s mother was never supposed to make another appearance after the first book but Rafael’s feeling about his mother kept coming back and because that’s what caused Rafael to give into his depression in All the Little Things, I knew I had to bring her back into the story. I asked myself “what would a young man who had conflicting feelings about the mother who failed him do about it?” I decided he’d find a reason to keep in contact with her. This leads to Rafael eventually figuring out at the end of the series that his mother’s just as much of a victim as he is.
  17. I’ve always been aware that Akilah’s and Rafael’s relationship is pretty problematic on paper. She’s sixteen and he’s nineteen when they meet. She’s never dated anyone, and he’s been through a string of relationships with a bunch of men and women by the they meet. In terms of world experience and dealing with people, Rafael has the upper hand. The only thing that Akilah has the upper hand in is financially but if he had really wanted to, Rafael could have easily manipulated her into giving him some control over it. Her family wasn’t wrong when they pointed out she had no clue what she had rushed into. Both All the Uncertain Things and All the Hidden Things are about the fallout from that which is why Rafael at one point says that while he loves Akilah, he doesn’t co-sign how they got together for anyone, and even Akilah later admits that they could slowed down.

3 thoughts on “All the Things Trivia and Fun Facts”

  1. I really enjoyed this series. I wrote a full review on Amazon and Goodreads, hopefully, this book can generate a discussion. Will there be a novella with these characters? I had some questions that weren’t clear in the epilogue-Did they have the second wedding that Akilah planned for their 10-year anniversary? Did Rafael become a physical therapist, it’s mentioned he’s a personal training but not that he completed school. What happened to Zenobia? I’m hoping her and Anthony get their own story. Especially based on what we learned about both of them in the second book. Based on the epilogue I can see Rafael turning into Aki with a house full of kids he can’t count. Overall I’m glad you released this series despite the rejections you received.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the series! Thanks for the reviews! They help a lot and I really appreciate them. So your questions. In order.
      1) As for the future of this series I can say for sure that there are a lot of interactions and scenes that didn’t make it to the books. There are some interactions with Rafael and all the characters, particularly Zenobia and his mother that I might make into short stories and just have them on my site.
      2) Rafael and Akilah don’t do the ten-year-anniversary wedding because they had a five-year-anniversary wedding which is the one Akilah starts planning at the end of All the Hidden Things to help them remember their anniversary. They still occasionally both forget it still.
      3) Rafael finished school to become a physical therapist and he has his license but he never works in a clinical setting. He really uses it as a tool to expand his business which I always pictured him expanding into some kind of community health and fitness recreational center that runs on donations and money from the boxers X trains in what’s now a separate but affiliated entity.
      4)Zenobia does end up staying with Rafael and Akilah all the way up to her adulthood. As far as she’s concerned, Rafael’s her permanent parental figure. I also imagine Zen and Anthony as those two people who are super tight and never officially together initially but because they’re so tight they can’t have meaningful relationships with anyone else until they finally just decide to stop denying their chemistry and get together for real​ in their mid-twenties. They may get their own book but only once I flesh out what the details would be. And that could take some time because I’m actually working on another romance novel with another couple which we’ll get the details of in a few months… If law school doesn’t take over my life.
      Once again, thanks for reading. I appreciate your comment.

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      1. Thank you so much for applying. It would be great to see a couple of short stories from them. I was curious with how his mom left Quincy and how the reconciliation was going. I’m really curious to see how much trust he is willing to let her have with his daughter. I completely forgot they planned a wedding for the next anniversary. It wasn’t really mentioned at the end so I thought it was happening at the.10 year.

        I’m glad you clarified he finished because I thought he didn’t end up going since he describes himself as a trainer at the end but is specific in saying that Akilah is a lawyer.

        I was wondering why Akilah wasn’t her guardian too since she’s Rafael’s wife and she’s been taking care of Zenobia too. I

        I think your plan for Zenobia and Anthony definitely makes sense. In a way Zenobia has learned from the mistakes of Akilah and Rafael. Take your time writing girl, I know how it is. I just finished my PhD last May and I didn’t have time for anything my last two years.

        Also, did you check out ZachEvans, B. Love or Jessica Watkins Publishing houses? Your writing falls into their wheelhouses.

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