Saturday, October 10, 2015

Beautiful Books (A Blog Link-Up with Further Up and Further In)

Currently Writing: Albion book 2
                               NaNoWriMo prep

Currently Reading: A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
                               Blood Thirst: 100 Years of Vampire Fiction by Leonard Wolf
                               Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
                               Monster by Mirriam Neal

My friend Sky at Further Up and Further In does a blog link-up for writers called Beautiful People every so often that allows writers to delve into their characters and share those insights with each other on their blogs. This month, in anticipation of NaNoWriMo, she's changing it up and making it Beautiful Books instead, so we can all introduce our novels to each other. Since I'm doing a NaNo novel this year that I'm pretty excited about, I decided to participate.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

The germ of this novel came from listening to RED's album Until We Have Faces a little too often. The more I heard the music, the more I became convinced that there was a somewhat dystopian novel hidden in it, and a few months ago that idea collided with some Wizard of Oz retelling story ideas I'd been toying with, and my NaNo novel was born.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

Because it's the first novel that isn't connected to my larger universe of books that I've had the idea for in a while, and because it's come together so well so quickly.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

I've toyed with a few different titles, but the one we've settled on is There's No Place like Home? because it fits both the story (a Wizard of Oz retelling) and the tone/theme.

The story follows Teddy, a young man lost in a strange city with no memory of his past and no understanding of the world he's landed in. As he tries to find his place (his home, if you will), he meets some strange but lovable characters and a few who think they'd be better off if Teddy were anywhere but their city -- including the grave.

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
Teddy: wanderer

Gloria: Empty

Ariel: Lionheart
Westford: ruthless

Scarecrow: innocent (Not pictured because it's not human or even human-seeming and I haven't worked out what its voice should sound like yet.)

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favorite to write? Tell us about them! I think 

I'm going to have a hard time picking a favorite because they're all so much fun. Teddy's chapters will be good because he's the main character and gets to explore this world I've built around him. Scarecrow is probably the funniest and also the wisest of them in its own way. Gloria's story is heart-breaking (see what I did there?) and Ariel's just a great person to have with you in  shady city districts. Even some of the side characters are so much fun I have to keep them in control so they don't wreck the story. ;-)

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

Teddy wants to regain his memories and find out who he is and where he belongs. Standing in his way are some powerful people (Westford, pictured above, and his sister Eastman) who see Teddy as a threat to their way of life and the fact that he never seems to be able to stay in any place long enough to dig into his past.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

A futuristic city called O.Z. where people are always connected to one of the Nets and no one really moves around.

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?

While Teddy's relationships with the three companions are all important, the one that means the most to me personally is his friendship with Scarecrow, because they're both so ignorant of what this world is like in their own ways and their journeys are so similar on the surface, though they have different  goals and endings.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

As a famous time traveler once said,

Suffice it to say, Teddy discovers that what he thinks he wants at the beginning may not be his heart's true desire.

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

Honor and honesty are still valuable. Humbugs shouldn't destroy our faith. Our past is less important than who we choose to be now.

I hope my readers will feel like they've been with Teddy and his friends the whole way and been changed for the better ( ;-) ) by the experience. I hope they will have hope in dark situations because of the hope Teddy and the others express.

NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

  1. Write every day. Even when you don't feel like it, and even if you don't have time to reach your word count goal.
  2. Don't let the word counts get you down. (That should be on a mug.)
  3. Gather your supporters, whether they be fellow writers or non-writers, and keep them close for the days when you ask yourself why you were crazy enough to try writing 50,000 words in 30 days.
If you've got a novel in progress, whether for NaNo or not, I encourage you to try this exercise out. It'll help you keep the steam and excitement flowing for your project. If you blog about it, share it with Sky here


  1. Oh my gosh, a Wizard of Oz retelling? THIS HAS TO HAPPEN. I love the premise of the Net, it sounds super interesting. Quite amused by Ariel "Lionheart" -- is he Asian, by the way? Eastman also sounds like a fun twist on the witches. All the best in NaNo!

    (Psst, here's my ​Beautiful Books post!)

  2. Yes, Ariel is Korean. The actor pictured is Lee Min Ho. The others are Cameron Monaghan (Teddy), Eartha Kitt (Gloria), and Joseph Morgan (Westford).

    I've also cast Morgan Freeman as North, Margaret Hamilton as South, Ray Bolger as Father (who is my stand-in for the Wizard), and Freddie Highmore as Tik-Tok.

  3. Oooh-- Wizard of Oz retelling?? I'm already hooked. I love what you did with the different characters and the slight gender-swapping!! Good luck next month!

    1. Thank you! I'm sure going to need it. ;)

  4. I stumbled across your blog through the Beautiful Books linkup, and it's really cool! :D
    A Wizard of Oz retelling sounds fantastic! I hope you have a lot of fun writing it in the coming month, and "don't let the word count get you down!" (Which I totally agree should be on a mug :P )

    1. Thanks! I'm itching to get started. Teddy and the gang are ready to hit the (not-so-yellow-brick) road.

  5. I'm from Kansas, so this Wizard of Oz retelling sounds that much more awesome:) Hope NaNo goes well for you.

  6. Ohhh, I love that sound of your story! It sounds really promising, good luck with writing :)



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