|Link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.|
1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I'd have to look back at my old notes to see when I first got the idea, but it struck when I sat down on the old wooden swinging bench on my back porch as a young teen and started brainstorming ideas for The Prophet's Quest (untitled at the time). The Prophet itself needed some exploration, and somehow the idea of there being a key to unlock all its mysteries struck me. I pursued that trail further, and the winding paths of brainstorming led to the five Shifters too.
Funny thing: The Prophet's Quest was initially going to be called The Prophet's Key, until I actually wrote the thing and realized all those ideas about the key didn't fit, and thus were moved into the sequel.
2. Describe what your novel is about!
I don't have an official synopsis yet. The inner journeys of the two MCs are still a bit foggy to me, so that will have to wait. But here's the general idea:
Aileen and Josiah are searching Earth for five hidden elementals called Shifters. These powerful individuals may be Demetria's only chance in the battle hovering at the nation's doorstep. All the while, the two teens struggle to reconcile their chosen status to their old lives and find a way to succeed without the advantages of dragon form.
3. What is your book's aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
I don't have a lot of photos gathered right now, beyond some boring maps. But it's set mostly on Earth this time, and yet the realism is infused with the fantastical: elementals, espionage, an ancient evil, and other (rather spoilery) stuff.
4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
We'd be here a long time if I trotted out every single person in this book's large cast of characters! So I'll just say a short blurb on all the main ones.
Aileen McKay: Sixteen years old. Brown hair, brown eyes. Introverted, intense personality, makes thoughtful decisions. Was once a white dragon with ice breath.
Josiah Williams: Sixteen years old. Blond-ish hair, grey eyes. Bold, self-assured, makes snap decisions. Was once a red dragon with fiery breath.
Mr. Hawkins: White hair, steely eyes. Guardian of the Prophet and all-around epic person. Skilled in geography.
Diver: Talking otter considered the leader of all Demetrian otters. Wears a smooth grey stone on a cord around his neck to indicate status. Spunky, adventurous, and afraid of heights.
Wimwhile: Wind Shifter. Long white beard. Always wears a long, shabby coat. Cranky, arrogant, but noble at heart.
Skaes: Water Shifter. Auburn hair. Scottish accent. Soft-hearted and fluid. Read more HERE.
Cauxle: Plant Shifter. Dark hair, mismatched eyes. Has a piratical air to him. Excellent in hand-to-hand combat.
Nisi: Light Shifter. Pale blonde hair. Cold, brusque personality concealing inner pain.
Brollier: Fire Shifter. Brown beard, eyes perpetually crinkled in a smile. Warm and jovial and courageous.
Mr. Spencer: Leader of the Sagire (a group of my main villain, Criffel's, men employed as hunters on Earth). Middle-aged. Looks harmless, but is actually secretive and deadly.
5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Back in the summer of 2015, I wrote a new and improved outline. (TPK was actually written four years ago, but that draft is so outdated I have to start from scratch.) At the beginning of 2016, I started researching my various settings. Much howling has been involved in this first draft. Heh. I also try to remember to pray before I write, which helps.
6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Finishing the first draft! Ha, no, I'm actually looking forward to the climax. The crew will finally be together, some of the villains' advantages will be revealed, and everything will come to a head. It's gonna be good!
7. List 3 things about your novel's setting.
Well, there are lots of exotic Earth locations . . . The crags of the Rocky Mountains, the rolling Highlands of Scotland, the verdant Daintree Rainforest in Australia, the urban sprawl of Moscow, and the rugged landscape of Iceland. (That's more than three. Guess I'm a rebel.)
8. What's your character's goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Their goal is to find all five Shifters before the Sagire do. Not only do the Sagire (with all their prowess and resources) stand in their way, but so does the mystery of each Shifter's location. All Aileen and Josiah have is a journal full of riddles and unlabelled maps to guide them.
I'd have to say another thing standing in their way is themselves: their own fear, their inadequacies, and their self-doubt. Which flows seamlessly into the next question . . .
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Both of them lose faith in themselves throughout the novel, but by the end, they will have (at least partially) resolved that. They both learn to lead. Josiah begins to come to grips with his father's rejection. Aileen learns to hold both her home and Alewar in her heart without being completely torn apart. As you can see, neither of them are anywhere close to truly grasping these lessons, but they are slowly transforming. The issues they face in this book will only escalate as the series goes on! Poor charries.
10. What are your book's themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
Facing failure and fear, confidence in yourself, faith, perseverance--all are present in this novel. I want readers to walk away realizing they're not alone in these things, and that fear can be beaten.
Now would be the time I wrap this up, but a new thought just struck me. Fear can be beaten. The moment I typed those words, I realized how impactful they are for me. In life, of course, but also as the writer of this story. I've been afraid to write this book. Afraid of handling a large cast and a sprawling, real-life setting. Afraid of failing to keep the pace going. Afraid to disappoint future readers by featuring less of Demetria than in the first book.
But really, there's no need to fear any of that. How many times have I talked about giving yourself permission to write garbage in the first draft? It's about time I take my own advice. Cast and setting and pace can be smoothed out during editing. And I actually have an idea or two to up the "other world content" in this book--again, during editing. IT'S TIME TO JUST HAVE FUN WRITING.
Let that be a lesson to all of you, questerlings. ;)
Oh, before I go, one more thing. Make that two.First: I'm sorry I've had a couple of late posts, and that I've been slower in replying to comments. I'm trying to fit blogging in on meal breaks at college.
Second: writer friends of mine told me about a really sweet giveaway, so I thought I'd keep spreading the news. You can win up to $3000 of cover design, editing, proofreading, and content editing! How sweet would that be? And, as a little extra sweetness, if you enter through THIS LINK, I get extra entries. Which is not an entirely self-serving request, because by entering you get your own shareable link that can get you extra entries as well. It's a lovely snowballing method.
That's it, now. Promise. Till next week!