I’ve got a lot to cover for this one! There are actually three versions of Ali meeting Garan and Light out in the world. There was the version I wrote a decade ago, when I first first wrote down the genie story, then when I revamped the whole story of The Genie Whisperer for publishing, I wrote 45,000 words of Ali meeting Light and Garan that just didn’t work. At all. So I had to start over. My next attempt was also not right, but I didn’t get very far before realizing that. The fourth version I started was finally the charm, and that was what got published. 

Green & Yellow Diamonds

So, back to ten years ago, the biggest similarity between that version and the published version is that the green and yellow diamonds always belonged to the obnoxious McMichael twins. That, and Illan being present for the thefts, are about the only similarities. From there, just about everything is different. 

In the original version, Ali went directly to the twins’ home to steal their genies right after stealing Illan from the triplets’ home. Ali, Illan, Rajan, and Ocean had a few scuffles there getting the light and plant genies, but escaped relatively unscathed. Rajan, of course, burned the house down. I mean, how else is a fire genie going to set up a distraction? 

When I rewrote the story, I think I was overly set on the idea of Tavor managing to convince Ali to go after the genies such that she was willing to invade the twins’ home to get the light and plant genies. In this version of the story, things got pretty dramatic. Ali and Tavor had a big fight over Ali freeing the other genies, and I think he revealed here that she was a genie whisperer (I may have gotten to reuse some of this dialogue in book five when I actually ended up having Tavor make that reveal).

Following their argument, Ali still refused to steal the genies, but then Ethan McMichael confronted her at school with Darios by his side, wanting his family’s genies back. Which, really, would have been stupid of him to do. Ali had a universal genie, plus an ice and fire genie at that point. She wasn’t taking them anywhere with her, but Ethan had no way to know and no reason to believe that Ali wouldn’t cart Tavor around with her everywhere she went. But that was the story I wrote, so Ali decided that since Ethan knew about them and they’d have to run away anyway, they might as well grab the rest of the McMichael genies. Following that, she and the genies invade the twins’ home in the dead of night to steal the genies. Ren was still around in this version and Mandy was still Rajan’s former master, but obviously the heist went down much differently than what I ended up publishing. 

That version had multiple issues, but the biggest was that Ali went to steal the other genies only because Ethan found her. She didn’t decide to do it because she felt it was the right thing. It was more of a ‘well, might as well at this point,’ and that really didn’t work for the story. Ali is the heroine, which means she needs to drive the story, not just react to what’s going on around her. Plus, if she’s not the one making the choice to go after the genies because it’s truly what she’s chosen to do, then her sacrifices along the way mean so much less.

The final version I wrote works much better on many levels, and fits a lot better with Ali’s character. She has her dreams and she’s bound and determined to achieve them, and they don’t involve playing rescuer when she can’t really save these genies from their enslavement. So Tavor has to engage in a little manipulation to get her to play along, but she still ultimately makes the decision to go after the genies herself.

I admit, there was one scene in the rewritten version of Ali going to the twins’ home that I just couldn’t let go of. There was an almost-kiss-on-the-lips scene that I adored, but it no longer fit, so I ended up moving it to The Doorway to the Future instead. 

If you’re curious about the first rewrite of Ali meeting Light and Garan, you can read it here, but be warned that I never edited it and didn’t quite finish it.