So, I am going to
embrace insanity undergo the National Novel Writing Month challenge. Or, as most bloggers think of it, NaNoWriMo. (I can’t even pretend to know how to pronounce that…) I am doing this prep for NaNoWriMo through Cait @ Paper Fury (see the website address on the above image). It introduces the novel you’ve chosen to drive you over the edge tackle during the month of November.
On to the questions…
What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
Hmmm, I’m honestly not sure there was any one specific influence. There were several things that blended together. For one, when I started reading the Warriors series a few months ago, the system of the Clans and the history and backstory involved was incredible, and it super impressed me, how much thought was put into developing it all. Also when I re-read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, I think about how he so cleverly sent messages about human nature in a humorous, even snarky way. (That’s something I can probably only aspire to in my head…)
The idea came to be through the course of a year or so. It started as, “What happens when all the fairytales are true?” (due to all the YA fantasy I was reading that addresses that very topic). It became, “So if that was the case in my fictional world, how would I have my characters react to it?”
Describe what your novel is about!
It’s the first in a series. This instalment is about 4 families that have the same ties — due to their all belonging to the same secret organization — but their paths up to this point have been going in different directions. As their paths change, and converge more together, they need to adjust, and realize their individual purposes. The narrators are teens, who are getting ready for adulting, so there’s a sense of a coming-of-age story, too.
What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
Words will fail me in this instance. Ahoy, pictures!
(Note: None of these gorgeous and amazing images will be used in my work. I did not design or create them. I simply borrow them from Google, and am intensely thankful to the truly gifted artists who share their products with us.)
Introduce us to each of your characters!
Okay, this could take a while… I’ll just stick to the major ones. (There are a number of secondary and minor characters, due to world-building.) Most of the focus is on the Driscolls: Kate (mom), James (dad), and the kids, Flynn, Sophie, and Cal. (Sophie does a lot of the narration this time.) Kate and James both grew up in families in the organization, but they’re only now taking jobs there. Flynn is almost 18, and debating whether to go to college or follow in his parents’ footsteps. Sophie (15) and Cal (12) are having a harder time adjusting to mom and dad’s new circumstances. They’re unsure about giving up their friends, school, etc. that isn’t part of the organization. The family has a cat, Jules, and she’s very important later on, so I’ll shout her out now.
How do you prepare to write? (outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
(Can I totally snag howling?) Seriously: Music. Junk food. Tea. Often scouring the internet for forgotten quotes I wanted to use, songs or books that inspired me. Outlines just don’t work for me. Sometimes I take notes of stuff that’s important (so I don’t forget later on).
What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Getting it done. Getting it out there. My goal is to self-publish and release by the end of December. But also starting my characters’ journey, further than in draft form. Becoming more in touch with who they really are and what they’re going to undertake and accomplish.
List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Midwestern to Northeast USA. Great Britain. Average, ordinary, mundane — or deceivingly not so.
What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Sophie’s goal is to save a friend of hers from being taken by dark elves for probably terrible and bloody things. What stands in the way is, of course, the dark elves, but also the fact that the organization her family belongs to would really rather she not get involved, being “just a kid” and all that.
How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Sophie realizes that she has to give up some things to become who she’s meant to be. She also accepts that sometimes life just won’t go the way she’d want it to; and that just because some people (like parents) disagree with her doesn’t mean they don’t care about her feelings or dreams.
What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
My themes are mostly about friendship and family and loyalty, about sticking to your principles, when those may have to change, and how to deal with an outcome you didn’t plan on or hope for.
There’s going to be a big emotionally jarring scene near the end (sorry, folks), so if there are tears or yelling or an immediate need for Godiva chocolate, I can appreciate that. But the thing I’d like to stick with readers is that family love is important, true friendship is precious, and that we can make the most of being in a situation we wouldn’t choose.