1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I've wanted to write about random orphans united by a crisis and banding together into a family for years. About two years ago, I don't remember what I was watching, but it inspired me to write it with college-age kids, and it grew in leaps and bounds from there.
At one point, a Julius Caesar-type conspiracy was added and now it is one of the main plot lines.
Then, this summer I watched a psycho thriller drama that had a profound impact on the way I thought about this novel and I knew I had to write it for NaNo.
2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
Because I want to show that no matter how dark and bleak things seem, Hope and Love are stronger than anything else.
3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
To See The Stars
At Chun Hee College, orphans are educated free of charge; in return they must give two years of service to the government of Cheonggu when they are done with their degree. On the surface, it seems like a brilliant and generous idea, but new students Liare Delaney and Verena Silvesti soon discover there is much more to Chun Hee College than meets the eye.
Corruption and manipulation run deep, with opposing forces pulling at all of the students until they don’t know who they are; making them ripe for molding into the perfect puppets. But, who is pulling their strings?
Liare must find common ground to rally students to fight the corruption, and the horrifying conspiracy emerging... and Verena must decide whether to stand with him, or ignore the coming storm and walk away from it all. In the turmoil, the students will discover what truly makes a family.
4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
Liare - sunshine
Verena - indifferent
Rajan - fire
Dong-jun - conflicted
Ki Nam - charismatic
Nari - lost
Mi Hee - searching
5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
Verena - She's a very powerful personality, though it's rather latent at the beginning of the book, and I'm intrigued to play with that.
Rajan - He's a rebel and I love writing those.
Liare - For a while I've wanted to write a hero who can be cheerful without being perfect or naive; someone who had gone through some rough things in life without becoming a total brooder.
6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
The orphans mostly just want a life that means something. At first they don't realize that the 'gift' they're being handed comes with strings attached and that they are little more than puppets being used by their teachers and others.
7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
On the planet of Cheonggu, which means 'azure hills'. There are literal blue hills on the planet, due to the presence of certain minerals.
8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
Verena's most important relationship is her (eventual) friendship with Liare.
Liare's most important relationships are the sibling bonds he develops with various students, particularly Verena and Rajan.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Liare has a deeper understanding of what it means to have a family.
Verena... sorry, no spoilers. :)
10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
That even in the darkest place, when you feel there is no escaping your life, there are still Light, Love and Hope.
NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
Do at least some plotting. Even if you're a panster as opposed to a plotter, do plot a few things, especially an idea of where you're going to end, because otherwise it's really easy to get off track and then lost.
Take breaks. Seriously, otherwise you will burn out on the novel by the end of the month. If you have enough extra words to be able to do so, take a day off from writing. Or write on something else after you have your daily wordcount done.
Buddy up with others. I'm part of an amazing a writing group whose support is invaluable, plus my awesome brainstorm partner with whom I can toss ideas around, word war with and in general, enjoy wreaking havoc with writing.
To join Beautiful Books, visit Sky's blog.
Miss Melody Muffin