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Beautiful Books 2016

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Blogglings, it is October, which for most people means Halloween, and for me means start panicking because NaNoWriMo is in less than a month. (I mean, Halloween’s still fun…and I still look young enough to go trick or treating so you can bet I’m going trick or treating [also possibly going to stand in bushes and jump out at people because that’s fun, too]). I have thrown myself headfirst into NaNo prep, meaning I’ve got random sticky notes of ideas scattered across my bedroom walls, and my Evernote app is being filled with random bits of scenes or dialogue that I might want to use later.

It’s mostly fun but also kind of stressful.

But October also means the start of the Beautiful Books linkup, a relative of Beautiful People, hosted, as always, by Cait and Sky. It’s all about talking about your NaNoWriMo novels, instead of just specific characters.

It’s quite fun. You should do it.

But anyways, for those of you that don’t know, I’ve done (and won!) NaNoWriMo twice previously. The first time I attempted, I wrote a steampunk novel with dragon automatons I called Not Quite Clockwork. That novel will never see the light of day. It’s awful. Last year, I wrote Never, Never, a Peter Pan retelling, focusing on the daughter of Captain Hook and Wendy Darling, and an evil Peter who kidnaps children, feeds the girls to blood-sucking pixies and turns the boys into animal-human creatures. It’s still horrible, but I might rewrite it in the next year or so, because the plotline is surprisingly decent.

This year, I’m writing an epic fantasy novel I’m calling Witches Black & Silver, which will be book one in a duology (the second book will be called Witches White & Gold, and is also plotted).

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I even made a cover for it.

Describe what your novel is about!

Riverdale Mancini is a witch. Therefor, just her being alive is against the law. And she’s trying to keep a low profile, she really is, but not using magic makes you sick, her familiar won’t stop talking in public, she’s got another witch taking over her apartment who keeps setting things on fire, and she keeps running in to a very cute girl who seems strangely familiar.

River just wants to survive long enough to get out of the country, and out of danger. But any discovered witches are burned alive, and more and more women are being dragged from their homes.

She knows the clock is ticking, she knows time is running out. But much like magic, love is a wild thing, and it cannot always be controlled.

That’s the synopsis I have up on the NaNoWriMo site. I might decide to rewrite it later, but for now, it explains things pretty well. River is a witch in an Italy-based fantasy world that just happens to be stricken by a plague that can’t be cured thanks to it being magic-caused. Witches are blamed (even though they aren’t the ones that created it), and magic is now illegal. River manages to keep pretty quiet, but then she saves a thirteen year old witch from being burned alive, falls in love with the girl who happens to be the daughter of the head witch hunter, and starts making good money smuggling potions to the merchants, in order to get enough money to buy a ticket to the nearest country where magic isn’t illegal.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

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the smell of the city after a rainstorm & the rustling of birds & the clinking of glass bottles & cats sleeping on your lap & the feeling of a skirt against your skin & old books crammed into bags & the feeling of yellowed pages & coffee in white mugs & red lipstick & dark hair & the smell of smoke on clothing & and iron cold against your skin & blue coats & crowded streets & the taste of saltwater on your lips.

Introduce us to each of your characters!

Riverdale Mancini- My adorable, shy, overly cautious sweetheart of a witch who loves old books and pretty clothing and could eat only stracciatella gelato for the rest of her life.

Nixie- River’s familiar, a common crow who’s about the complete opposite of her witch; unafraid of anything, fond of shiny things, and a cat heckler.

Ember- The witch River saves. Unafraid and arrogant in that teenage way, acts like she’s immortal, and can eat an insane amount of pasta.

Lissandra- Ember’s familiar. A tuxedo cat. Vain and lazy, thinks everyone’s beneath her. The only one she even halfway likes is River, because River is quiet and doesn’t bother her. So she brings River mice every morning, even though River is terribly ungrateful and never eats them. ‘

Lidia- River’s love interest. I believe this tweet sums her up well.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

River’s dad is from a Persia-inspired country, so she would be half Persian, and while she has an Italian last name because she wasn’t raised by her parents so people wouldn’t find out she was a witch, she grew up eating Persian food, so I have naturally decided I must research and raided my aunt’s cupboards. Kolompeh is delicious, by the way.

I’ve also been reading about the Salem Witch trials, and what caused people to think a woman might be a witch, how the trials worked, and stuff like that.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I think it’s super fun to write dorky characters. And this novel’s full of ’em. Also, all the food. Italy is very food-oriented, and this fictional Italy is no different.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

The Town Square: Perfectly round and in the exact middle of the city. Often crowded with vendor’s carts and baker’s booths. The Witch’s Pyre is in the middle.

River’s apartment: One room, tiny, and cluttered. Barely big enough to fit her bed, her desk, and her chest. But every other avalible space is crammed full of books. She has pried up a couple floorboards under her desk, where she keeps her magic books, and any potion ingredients she might have, all carefully wrapped in cloth and labled.

Madam Moretti’s: The dress shop run by River’s mother, where River also works. It’s decorated in cream colors, which a waiting room full of plump couches and plates of pastries and chocolates, the backroom where the dresses are made, the storage room upstairs, where dresses and supplies are stored, and three rooms for measuring and trying on the dresses, all with a little stand in the middle and mirrors on three of the walls.

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

River just wants to survive long enough to get out of the country. But she’s fallen in love, she now has Ember in her care, and she feels horrible leaving her parents, her twin brother, and the town midwife, who raised her, and the midwife’s daughter, who’s as close as a sister to Rosie.

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

She becomes more angry at how she’s had to live her life all these years. She becomes less passive. And she stops fearing her magic.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I honestly don’t know about themes. If there are any, they weren’t concioncously written in. And I want readers to feel desperate for the next book, because it’s ending on a cliffhanger.

And that’s Witches Black & Silver!

Are any of you blogglings doing NaNoWriMo? If so, what are you doing? How many years have you done NaNoWriMo? Have you ever won?

Happy Thursday,

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