1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?
Maybe a 7-ish? It wasn't my best novel by any means . . . but I don't think it turned out terribly either. A lot of character relationships and plot didn't go like I expected them to . . . and my villain was harder to write than I thought she'd be. It's not finished yet, though, so there's hope.
2. Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)
Um. Storms, I'm bad at this. It's not that there's nothing like my story . . . it's that there's a lot that are sort-of-similar, but none that are super similar . . . that I can think of. Which I guess is a good thing? It feels like a bad thing, though. I don't know.
3. Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?
Both! I love NaNoWriMo- it's great for getting first drafts down and making sure I finish and don't get bogged down by darn-it-where-do-I-go-with-this now? 'Cause there's a daily quota to make and a challenge to overcome and if I don't know what I'm doing, I'd better make something up and I'd better do it fast- and as a result, I usually get through. But I honestly couldn't deal with that year-round, so I like having months where as long as I'm doing some writing every day (or most days), I'm good.
4. How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.
My editing process is very simple: I sit down with my notebook and a Word document and I type up what I've written, page by page, making modifications as needed. These modifications can be anything from fixing typos and rewording sentences to entirely reworking or adding scenes. Occasionally I'll delete a scene, but that's rare. After that first rewrite, if I like the way the story's turned out, I'll do another run-through, making any further changes that I feel are necessary, and then I share the story either with my friends on the Underground or with my parents, depending on whether or not I want to submit the story to something.
5. What aspect of your story needs the most work?
Um. Pretty much everything, I feel like? But I guess probably pacing and character development, especially for Mikkel and Ireen.
6. What aspect of your story did you love the most?
Taika and her character arc and her friendship with Katelyn. Their friendship especially is really fun to write because they get each other pretty well (plus Taika gets about seventy-five percent of Katelyn's references, so yay!)
7. Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?
Mikkel- the apprentice Hero of Rushire. He was supposed to be a fairly similar character type to Prince Hayden from my fairy tale retelling series, but he ended up being . . . not. He's less hard on himself than I thought, and also less inclined to challenge the Way It Is- though the last is an oversight on my part. His entire job and future is based on tradition, after all. So, he and Taika don't even start to get along until more than halfway through the novel, and he's still very uncertain of her.
Taika- the last heir of the Coradin line, traditionally foes of Rushire. Taika turned out closer to what I expected her to be than Mikkel did. She's very devoted to her adoptive father, but less enthusiastic about the whole Coradin legacy than I expected. She's also less sure of herself than I expected- but just as willing to do something she's uncertain about if it seems like the best option. The one big thing that did change a lot was that she was supposed to be into gadgets and inventing and such, and that didn't end up happening. Oh well. Her aforementioned friendship with Katelyn (which was originally going to be a really minor thing) makes up for it.
Ireen- technically not a main character, but a major one, and worth mentioning. She's basically Mikkel's girlfriend, and also basically a spy/Ranger/tracker/etc. apprentice. She ended up being a lot more, I guess you could say pragmatic and hot-headed. And also more stubborn. She has good intentions, generally. But that doesn't change the fact that she grabs onto bad ideas- ideas specifically forbidden by her superiors- and holds onto them long after she should've let go. She's also a lot less mischievous and a lot more hostile towards Taika than I planned.
8. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
Depends when I finish writing it and how it turns out after edits. At the moment, the most likely route is "more edits." Or else hiding it in a tub under my bed for a year until I feel like facing it again.
9. Share a favourite snippet!
I'm indecisive, so you get too. First, a rare scene (though growing less rare) in which Mikkel and Taika are actually- wonder of wonders- being nice to each other:
And an equally astounding scene in which Taika and Ireen are being civil to each other:"I'm sorry," Taika said again.Mikkel glanced at her, surprised by her tone. "You meant that."Taika shrugged. "They were my enemies by tradition only. I didn't hate them, and I have no reason to be glad that they're dead and their families mourn."
Ireen scowled. "Stormbeast. It's too high. I can't reach the edge." She peered down. "Don't suppose you carry a rope and grappling hook with you as a matter of course, since you probably have to make daring and dastardly escapes fairly often?"
"The tallest buildings in the city are griffin aeries. I'd rather just fly off, not bother with ropes and grapnels," Taika retorted. "What about you? You climb buildings and trees and cliff faces to spy on people; why don't you carry some kind of rope and hook?"
"Because trees and cliffs generally have branches and crevices and things to grab onto, and I've never had to climb any buildings higher than one story."
10. What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?
Finish Binding Destiny and Monster in the Castle, if I don't before December comes to an end. Finish editing Destinies and Decisions and Between Two World. Edit The Way of the Pen. Write lots of short stories, both original and fanfiction, as well as a fair bit of poetry. Write Berstru Tales #5 for one of the Camp NaNos. Be seized with indecision next October about whether or not to do NaNoWriMo. That about sums it up.
Well, there you have it. My novel and my editing plans. Such as they are. Hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)