A couple of weeks ago, I was tagged by fellow fantasy author Kate Jack to take part in the WIP Blog Hop. So after thoroughly gorging myself on last week’s Chocolate Bar Challenge, I’ve taken up this new opportunity with alacrity! No chocolate in this one, I’m afraid, but you will get to find out a little bit more about my writing … oh, OK, and I’ll open a box of truffles at the end.
First, a word about Kate: she is a wonderful writer of young adult fantasy, a never-failing supporter of other authors and one of the founding members of the Alliance of Worldbuilders. You can find out much more about her and her excellent books at kateannejack.wordpress.com. Please do pay her a visit!
So, now to the challenge. The idea is to answer seven questions about my current work in progress, but I’m going to cheat a little bit. My actual current WIP is the first sequel to Darkhaven, but talking about it would reveal a fair bit about Darkhaven itself – which I really don’t want to do, seeing as it hasn’t even been released yet! So instead, I’m going to talk about Darkhaven. I think we can count it as a WIP right up to its publication date, right? ;-)
1. What is the name of your main character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
I must admit, I’m already slightly stumped, since there’s more than one main character in Darkhaven and a few main-ish characters as well. And I love all my characters and I don’t want to leave any of them out. *worries that if question 1 is this hard then blog post is doomed to ultimate failure*
Hmm … let’s focus on Ayla Nightshade. And yes, she is very much fictional, as far as I know.
2. When and where is the story set?
It’s set almost entirely in the seven-ringed city of Arkannen, which is the capital of Mirrorvale. (If you’re wondering, Darkhaven is the tower at the heart of the city.) Mirrorvale has recently undergone an industrial revolution, so Arkannen has factories, steam power, clockwork, gaslights, airships … But of course many of the older technologies are still around; people and horses and mechanical cycles rub shoulders on the streets, and the sword is just beginning to come under threat from the newest weapon out there – the pistol.
3. What should we know about your character?
Ayla is the younger child of the current ruler of Mirrorvale, Florentyn Nightshade. The Nightshades came to power centuries ago by virtue of their ability to shapeshift into powerful and virtually indestructible creatures. Since then, they have intermarried to keep their bloodline strong. But Ayla is a half-breed – her mother was an ordinary girl from the city – and as a result, her creature-form isn’t one of the traditional kinds. That makes Florentyn ashamed of her … though not as ashamed as he is of her older pure-blood brother Myrren, who hasn’t inherited the shapeshifter gift at all.
It’s fair to say that Ayla doesn’t have the happiest family life.
4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Her father is murdered, and all the evidence points to her. She’s forced to go on the run or be convicted of the crime. And the only person willing to help her is the man she holds responsible for her mother’s death.
5. What is the personal goal of the character?
To prove her innocence. Because if she can’t do that, she’ll be locked up for good and denied the solace of her shapeshifter gift (which, on the rare occasions she’s allowed to indulge in it, is the one thing that brings her happiness).
Oh, and no longer having to rely on the one person she hates most in the whole world would be great, too.
6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Well, it’s called Darkhaven. (I think I already said that a couple of times, didn’t I?) There’s a little more about it on the Darkhaven page of this website, but I’ve taken the sample chapters down while the book is undergoing the publication process. Hopefully I’ll be able to put them back soon! You can also read a bit more about the setting for the story on the Arkannen page.
7. When can we expect the book to be published?
Darkhaven is due to be released as an ebook by Harper Voyager this year.
So that’s me finished, and now it only remains to tag a few more people whose WIPs I’d like to know more about. Rather than pick anyone who was involved in the Chocolate Bar Challenge with me, I’ve gone for some new victims, and here they are:
And finally … TRUFFLES.