1. Be honest: how is your writing going?
Well for my upcoming book it's done and my editor is running a bit behind, but I should still be able to get everything ready in time. For what comes after Dandy... well, I need to buckle down. It's just a lot of tracking what a large group of characters are doing, which tends to be a lot of moving parts.
2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
For Allaha of the Mountain - I remember the day my mother died very clearly.
For Dandy - Allaha is gone.
(I actually forgot that was the first sentence, and was thinking of a different one, but no matter.)
3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?
I think I've shown this quite a few times - if you think the cover looks great, let @karasawr on Twitter know!
4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)
I did this for Dandy and Toru already I think, and Allaha is the cover of her title book, so the others:
Tamara: "A thin girl sat on a lithe silver stallion with only a blanket and no saddle. Her dark skin and voluminous, curly black hair marked her as one of the Menori people. Like many of them, she wore loose, shambled together clothing and no shoes at all. She smiled easily, causing one of her cheeks to dimple. A beauty mark rested just above the corner of her mouth on the same side. Her arms and legs were reed-like, and her hands and feet looked large in comparison - a sign she was not yet done growing."
Hibu: "There was also a Jeongwonee boy of teen years, easily placed with his monolid eyes - though his skin was darker than a typical Jeongwonee, and he had a broader jaw, higher cheekbones, and wider nose than his pale skinned brethren. He sat on a large black mare; larger, in fact, than the knight’s steed. His head was uncovered, leaving his straight black hair to fly outwards from his head and tangle. He wore a pair of round glasses, and looked about with interest, a small journal in his hand as he took notes of their surroundings with a stub of charcoal. He was stocky, with a softness about his face where he had not quite lost the weight evident by his chubby stomach and arms."
Karejakal: " He appeared as an overly large orange cat in clothing, and one of his eyes was a milky white... He did not wear shoes, but had cloth wraps around his feet instead."
Goric: "...a misty orange head... a man, with almond shaped eyes and a wide nose, his features soft around his jaw and eyes. It had long hair that flowed around it, dissipating at the ends as orange smoke. Its eyebrows were thick ovals, and its nose was wide and shaped more like a deer’s than a human’s. His ears, too, were those of a deer."
"He stood at around six feet, with an extra foot of deer like antlers. His skin was ruddy brown, and from the waist up he appeared as a muscular human. His chest and arms were covered in thick white hair that thinned over his stomach. His hands ended in sharp claws. From the waist down he had thick stag legs, with white fur. His hair, white as well, fell over his shoulders and down to his abdomen. His eyes were a rich brown, and slit pupiled."
5. What scene are you most excited to write?
If you don't want a spoiler, read the book chronologically (well this is a guess page wise until my editor gets back to me): pg116- 124
6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
This is from the above scene, but really won't spoil anything without more context:
Akui offered Dandy a hand, “I get the distinct impression that was not your intent.”
The bounty hunter accepted, rising to her feet, “What? You don’t think my aim is good enough to graze a guy’s ankle while he’s running away?"
“No. I also do not think you would be foolish enough to attempt such a feat while falling.”
“You clearly don’t know me very well then,” Dandy rolled the shoulder she’d landed on, then shrugged, “I once jumped off a building and took a shot at a sparrow on bet.”
“Did you hit it?”
“Fuck no - I was drunk off my ass. I couldn’t aim straight standing still. It is how I got three fake teeth, though…”
7. Now that you’re writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?
Quite a few scenes played out differently, and some new ones found their way in that I think really help develop the characters and their relationship to each other. The backbone is the same, but I feel like I know them a lot better. I try to make my rough drafts skeletons that focus on key scenes, and the rewrites for filling in the gaps.
8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that’s difficult to write?
Dandy - she's a very difficult character, because on the one hand I want to paint an accurate picture of someone dealing with trauma (poorly, though substance abuse), but I don't want to make her such a hard character to like that... well, no one likes her. I also wanted to avoid the "with a heart of gold" trope - like, she's a decent human being, but I wouldn't exactly call her a kind person or anything.
That goes for most of the other characters - Zeung could easily be defined as "an information broker with a heart of gold", Gurujhal "a thief with a heart of gold", Lily "a prostitute with a heart of gold" - and that's... it's a lot of golden hearts. Very expensive merchandise and I do not have that kind of money.
Trying to create realistic characters that don't come off as overly kind, but rather depicting human decency and empathy in an admittedly dark setting... it's challenging, and I hope I pulled it off.
9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?
My favorite aspect is that Dandy lends itself to a lot more humor than Allaha of the Mountain did; fair warning, though, some of it is dark humor.
My favorite character strictly for Dandy would probably be Menatabu Azuka, spymaster of Korinwa.
10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and characters?
I have ADHD, anxiety and depression, and a lot of my friends are also persons with mental illnesses. I also try to keep my ears open when discourse comes around, so there's a fair bit of my experience, the experiences of my friends, and other things I've heard mixed in from that.
11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?
Yes, I answered this here.
Though I will probably start working on playlists for the characters from Allaha of the Mountain now...
12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?
Zeung and Gurujhal, who I have not yet actually mentioned in detail, but honestly I'd trust them to look out for me the most.
13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha... daily word count... that's a good one... ha ha ha... *sobs*
Seriously, though, I should push myself to that.
14. What’s your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice?
Everything's a rule until it isn't.
Don't restrict yourself to doing things just because that's the way it's been done. Experiment, learn the rules, then make up your own, try something new, imitate a style to get out of your own head for a bit - you might fail, or you might hit a stroke of genius. The worst thing that'll happen is you have fun with no "reward" - but I don't ever want to hit the point where I'm not having at least a little fun writing.
15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?
Now that it's done I'm relieved - but I'm also daunted, because it's a long road ahead, and if I don't want to take fifteen years to finish this series, I seriously need to pick up the pace. Part III is five books with concurrent storylines I need to finish outlining and timelining so I know who gets done when and crosses paths with who where and... sigh, it's a lot of work, ha ha.