Know the Novel is a 3-part writers linkup series, one for each of these last three months of the year created by Christine Smith. Each part will feature 10 questions about your novel or how the writing is going!
Here were are… on the very precipice of October, about to jump feet-first into November and all the NaNoWriMo craziness….
I’m joining NaNo this year not to start a new project, but to help motivate myself to finish the one I’ve been working on. That still counts, right? I still hope to write 50,000 new words on this project… I’m just starting already 40,000 words into the novel itself…
Anyway, I always enjoy Christine’s Know the Novel link-up questions, so let’s chat a bit more about Towers of Might and Memory. Telling you about it might also help hold me accountable to actually write, as well, and that’s not a bad thing. (Probably a genuinely needed thing, actually… my writing muse appears to have packed its bags and left the building).
Ahem. So here are some delightful thought-provoking questions are just the ticket to help me
continue procrastinating… I mean, gear up for writing the beautiful words and the epic conclusions and all that jazz.
1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?
This particular novel? Well, it’s the fifth and final book in a five-book series, so… I’m not entirely certain how to answer this question. Originally, the entire idea for this story sprang from the fact that my husband wanted to create a fantasy world and a few characters. That was fifteen years ago. It took him many years before he actually convinced me to write a story in that world, mostly because I was worried that he’d be upset if I got the story “wrong.” This particular story in the series, however, has been brewing for the past two years as I’ve been focusing more on writing the rough drafts of books 2-4.
2. Share a blurb!
Sorry, this is the fifth and final book in a series I haven’t published yet, and blurbs are horrible anyway, but all the blurbs I can think of for this one include massive spoilers… so… no actual blurb for you.
However, I can’t just leave you with nothing so… here’s… my very own Honest Trailer:
*clears throat… puts on best alto narrator voice I have*
In a world where airships are commonplace but electric lights haven’t been discovered yet, team up with a band of unlikely heroes, and a few more likely ones. As Marik and his crew hunt down an artifact that might hold the key to defeating the vile villain intent on taking over the world, the rest of these other more secondary characters must do all the actual fighting.
Journey through lands you haven’t discovered yet and try to keep from biting your fingernails as everything seems poised to topple down and all your heroes face their worst nightmares… and might possibly die. But we can’t tell you whether or not they do, because the book isn’t written yet….
Okay… you read that in the Honest Trailer guy’s voice, didn’t you? Bonus points if you did!
3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
The book takes place in Turrim, the fantasy world my husband created many moons ago. Most of this book centers in Vallei (a region that hasn’t been featured so far in this series and that I can never spell correctly to save my life…. there. Vallei… with two l’s… sounds like “valley” can I remember that now? Probably not, let’s be honest, I’ve got too many things in my head to remember how to spell the names of things I ACTUALLY MADE UP!) and Dalma (which readers will recognize from book 1).
I’ve really enjoyed exploring Valei, which is a sort of Asia/Russia blend when it comes to culture and architecture. My main characters have to go there to find an artifact that is crucial to defeating the villain, and Marik and Raisa especially will face some of the ghosts from their past, as both of them are from Valei. I love describing Valei, with its winding rivers and single mountains jutting up into the sky, the villages they visit there are quite different from one another, as one is a wealthy area due to some tourism and the fact that it has no value as a tactical location and has been mostly left alone by the Igyeum soldiers, while the other village has suffered greatly.
4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).
Well, you met Marik and Raisa last week.
A few of my other protagonists are:
Grayden and Wynn, best friends from the small village of Dalsea who made it into the Military Academy earlier in the series. Grayden is an extravert with an impish side, but he is also diligent and intent on doing well in his studies. He works hard and plays hard. Wynn is more of an introvert, seriously bad with the people-skills, and has some obsessive tendencies, especially when a building or engineering project captures his imagination. He can easily get lost in his studies and is grateful to have a friend like Grayden who will often pull him away from whatever project has consumed his attention and force him to do other things like eat and socialize.
Beren Adelfried, a new friend they met as they traveled to the Academy. Beren is good-natured, huge, and friendly, but when he has a mission he’s all business, which can cause him to clash with Grayden at times when he feels Grayden isn’t taking things seriously enough.
Then there’s Dalmir… a strange, old man who has spent a lot of time all by himself in a tower. When Grayden breaks into his tower, Dalmir emerges to find the world has changed rather a lot during his self-enforced exile. Not much is known about Dalmir (well, not much at first, by book 5 you should have a pretty good idea of his personality, character, and back story, but since that contains books 1-4 SPOILERS I won’t say anything more about him here except that he’s kind of a grump, but he has good reasons for it). Sorrynotsorry.
I have lots more, but those are the most important ones.
5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?
The antagonist is a powerful man with some terrifying powers and weapons at his disposal. An egomaniac with a penchant for world dominance… this guy is cunning, patient, and severely lacking any sort of moral compass.
Okay… maybe not QUITE Jafar level.
6. What excites you the most about this novel?
Finishing it. Not just finishing the drafts, but having the whole series FINISHED and ready to hand to readers. I am so excited about these characters and this world and this story and I am anxious to share it with readers. There’s just…. so much still to do… lots of pieces, SO MUCH EDITING and putting it all together is a bit… terrifyingly overwhelming…
7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?
Oooh! An EASY question!!! This is the fifth and final book in my new series.
8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?
I’ve been plotting this story to varying degrees of intensity. Book five has had the loosest outline so far, which was causing problems once I had gotten a little ways into the story. However, Derek and I went to a nearby coffeeshop recently and worked together to do some more intense outlining of the big, overwhelming middle of this book. There are still things I don’t know, and I always enjoy leaving a little wiggle room so that the story can jump outside the boundaries of the outline if it wants to and take off dragging me behind… every story I write tends to come together differently. Some write themselves, others require an intense outline… it just depends on the story, really. This one has been mostly a plotted story.
9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.
I’d like to think that a lot about this story is unique. Airships AND wizards. Robots/magi-tech AND genetic manipulation. A few spoilery spoilers that I can’t divulge here but happened completely by accident (as in, some big AHA moments I never intended to write until I realized what had happened). A world with 6 distinct and varied cultures (which has necessitated a CRAZY amount of research and world-building, but I’m confident it will have been worth it). And a cast of characters who couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried…
10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).
How about the opening scene of book 5? I’m pretty sure this shouldn’t include any spoilers (though it does contain characters I haven’t introduced or mentioned anywhere else in this post…):
“What is it, Thorben?” Nadia asked as her husband came into the house, his face pale beneath his golden beard. “What did the messenger have to say?”
Thorben Adelfried crossed the room and slumped into the large chair next to the enormous, double-sided stone hearth that proudly stood in the center of his massive living room. He rubbed his hands across his face. Nadia, sensing that something was terribly wrong, crossed the room and took his hands in hers.
“Tell me,” she said, her voice quiet and calm.
The single word fell from his lips and thudded to the floor like a heavy stone. Such a small word, and yet with its utterance Nadia understood the lines of sorrow and weariness etched in her husband’s face. He had worked so hard to prevent this day from coming, he had spent the majority of his adult life on the Council working toward that end, and yet it had arrived anyway. She knew how tirelessly her husband had strived for peace, all the while doing everything he could to protect the alliance of Telmondir with the other council members. Her thoughts flew through everything that had happened in recent events: the long hours spent in the forge with Keene and Daegan, the trips to the shipyards, the arguments at the Arxis meetings, the messages back and forth to Langston and Roshana, the urgency of raising up new Defenders to fill the ranks of their own army, and even years before that, there had been the agonizing decision of whether or not to accept the Igyeum’s apparent offer of friendship when it introduced the airships and cynder technology to the world. The Council had argued over that long and hard, but Thorben had convinced them that the benefits outweighed the potential risks, pointing out that if they had the technology, at least they could be better prepared to defend themselves against it should the necessity arise. In light of all these things, Nadia understood, as only a wife can, that in this moment, he felt like a failure, that his every effort had been for naught.
But as much as she ached for her husband in this moment, Lady Nadia was not one to brood over what could not be altered. She knelt before her husband, pulling him into her embrace. For a long moment she held him, letting him know in the only way she knew how, that she still believed in him, and was proud of everything he had done to prevent this outcome.
After a long moment, Thorben sighed and Nadia released him, looking up into his eyes. “Tell me what the messenger said.”
Thorben grimaced. “The message comes from Marik. The Ar’Mol has mobilized his army and is marching against Dalton. The Igyeum plans to attack there with its full force.”
“How do they know the Ar’Mol’s intended target?”
“Because we infiltrated their base and learned secrets the Ar’Mol did not want us to know.” A new voice at the door made both Nadia and Thorben to whirl about. Illuminated in the doorway stood a tall, ragged figure. Two shorter figures flanked him.
“What…” Nadia gasped as the tall figure stumbled through the doorway, his features growing recognizable as he moved away from the harsh back-light of the sun. “Ioan?”
“Greetings Aunt. Uncle.” Ioan lifted a weary hand. “Forgive me, I had hoped to arrive sooner.”
“Ioan!” Thorben and Nadia both leaped to their feet and hurried to usher the young man to be seated.
“Are you injured?” Nadia asked in concern, noting the thinness of his face. “Or ill? What happened to you?” She craned to look out through a window, her heart lurching when she caught no sight of her son. “Where are the others?” Her gaze caught sight of the two other figures still hovering uncertainly near the door and she beckoned to them. “Please, come in,” she urged.
Well, now that you know precisely nothing more than you did before about Towers of Might and Memory…. I think I’m ready to tackle NaNoWriMo and try to get pretty close to completing this rough draft. I hope you enjoyed reading my extremely vague answers. Are you an author? Are you joining the NaNoWriMo challenge this year? What are you currently working on? If you’re not a writer, then what are you reading/planning to read in November?