Good morning/afternoon/day, whatever you like! There’s good news and bad news today. The good news is that we’re here with another Beautiful People post hosted by the wonderful Cait and Sky! The bad news is that this is going to be the last Beautiful People post for the foreseeable future. I’ve had a lot of fun doing these posts over the last year or so, but massive thank yous to Cait and Sky for hosting (and we hope that one day, the Beautiful People will return 😀 ).
So, let’s get on to the questions!
1. Favourite genre to write in?
Ooh, that’s a hard question! I love all sorts of genres, especially historical fiction. But recently, I’ve fallen in love with dystopian fiction as well. In historical fiction, I love comparing and contrasting the culture then and now, and in dystopian I love being able to magnify social issues so that people see them through a new lens, and I also love thinking about how our society might have changed in the future.
2. What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?
Another hard question…hmm…I’ll come back to this later.
After much consideration, I feel that Justice would benefit from reading A Tale of Two Cities, as it would probably help him process some of the not-so-nice stuff in his life. And Chessy would probably benefit from it as well :D. Let’s just say everyone should read A Tale of Two Cities.
3. Favourite piece of dialogue you’ve written?
I’ve written too much dialogue to easily choose one piece, but I love this conversation between Sapphire and Quillon in Stars Fill Infinity.
I nodded quickly. “I’ve tried before, but I’ll try again.” I looked up at him. “And this revolution…it’s crazy. My whole world is crazy. And I don’t know how to keep going on. Keep living like a normal human. Raise my son like a normal mother would. I don’t know how to keep going.”
“Listen,” Quillon breathed. “The world is always changing. Everything is always moving, continually, going on and on. There’s nothing we can do about that. it’s just the way the world is. And can you imagine if just stood still—if we were just stuck. It wouldn’t be any fun. There’d be no adventure. But the thing is that, above the earth, the stars stay still. They fill infinity, for ever and ever. They don’t ever change. And the one who made them, and the earth. Who created and outlasts infinity. He is still the Lord, the Creator. He still loves you. Keeping on can be hard, but…” he suddenly leaned forward and kissed me, very softly, taking my breath away for a moment. “…remember. When the stars are gone, when infinity is empty. When the world has collapsed around us, ruined by fire, He is still there.”
4. What did your character want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?
None of my main characters are really “grown up” yet, but Chessy from Stars Fill Infinity, never really wanted to be a revolutionary…and yet she ended up as one. And then as a counter-revolutionary. So her life didn’t really turn out the way she expected it to be.
Wolfe Verick, from Comrade, wanted to become a painter, and ended up as a gunner in the German air force.
5. Favourite character name(s)?
I have so many! Sapphire, Justice, Ciaran, Caelan, Roy, Chessy, Jean (as a male name), Felicita, Ryu, Ren, Neva…those are just a few of my favourite character names!
6. What makes your character feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?
Since Chessy is my principal character, I’m going to go with her to answer this question. Making Chessy feel loved is really easy. Spend quality time with her, pay attention to her, tell her your secrets, give her a little gift, those sorts of things go a long way when it comes to winning her trust, love and friendship. The last person that made her feel loved was her father, Jean Verde, who cares constantly about her and is generally an all-round awesome character and father.
7. Favourite character you’ve ever written?
I can’t answer this, so I’m going to highlight five of my favourite characters:
a). Chessy Verde (Stars Fill Infinity): I love Chessy so much. In some ways, she is me (but waaay more extroverted), in other ways, she’s totally different. She’s my alter ego, in a sense. I put my beliefs, values, morals and characteristics into her, both the way I see myself and the way others see me.
b). Wolfe Verick (Comrade): Wolfe Verick is exactly like me, except he’s a German boy in the air force and I’m an Australian girl who writes novels. But, otherwise, he is me. And because of that, I’m very attached to his sweet, caring, slightly cowardly character.
c). Augustine Quillon (Stars Fill Infinity): Quillon is literally the most cinnamon roll character that ever was. He’s the sweetest thing, so bumbling and awkward, but compassionate, caring and very romantic. If a real life Augustine Quillon was to appear, I’d fall in love with him instantly.
d). Sapphire Verde (Stars Fill Infinity): Sapphy is very different from me, but she has everything that I love in a character. She’s caring, compassionate, honest and strong, but she’s also broken and flawed. She’s had a hard life, mostly through her own mistakes but also through other people being horrible, and she needs love and redemption. I had so much fun writing her character arc and getting to know her!
e). Benjamin Simeon (Comrade): Ben Simeon is just awesome. He’s the other main character from Comrade, and he takes it on his shoulders to care for poor little lost Wolfe, just because he wants to. He’s brisk, no-nonsense, sarcastic, cynical, slightly bitter, but all in all a really good man, who pretends not to care about anyone, but cares so deep that he’s willing to die for those he loves. (He’s also named after my brother, so there’s that).
8. If your character were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)
Chessy would probably throw out most of her stuff, because it doesn’t matter as much to her as memories and people do. However, she would never throw out a set of Jane Austen books that her father gave her and Sapphire for Christmas years ago. Even though she hated the fact they were given them (when she wanted a complete set of Biggles adventure books) the books mean a lot to her now, because of how much Sapphire loved them.
9. Favourite tropes to write!
Hmm…I really like the trope where the conman falls in love with the innocent but loving and idealistic princess and that inspires him to care and to change his ways. Like in Tangled and Anastasia. But I’ve not written that trope yet.
I also will admit that I am a fan of the “anti-hero with the tortured past” sorts of tropes and I’ve done that a bit.
And, since I write YA, most of my stories are coming of age stories, so I use that trope a bit too.
10. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?
There are two of them. One is Comrade (which was formerly called Kameradschaft). It had me from the moment I first came up with the idea for the short story back in 2015. It’s grown since then into a novella, but it still won’t let me go. Wolfe and Ben continue to hold me captive and I really, really love their story.
The other one is my darling child (unfortunately the favourite *whispers* but don’t tell Comrade!). This is the Infinity series, which is currently three books (one written, another being written as a Camp NaNo project and the third still in the planning stage). They’re retellings of classic novels (Les Miserables, A Tale of Two Cities, The Scarlet Pimpernel) and they centre around Chessy Verde, her father Jean, her love interest Justice, best friend Quillon and her nephew Kai. All my characters are so precious and I love their stories. These are the novels that I want to pursue publishing with.
11. Favourite relationship between characters you’ve written?
I don’t know! There’s so many!
Okay…let’s do a top five again!
a). The relationship between Chessy and her elder sister, Sapphire, is pretty much the centre of Stars Fill Infinity. And I love it! There’s so few sister/sister relationship in YA fiction and I NEEDED TO FIX THAT! They’re relationship is flawed, broken and both of them hurt really badly, but in the end, they heal it and are able to face the world as sisters again.
b). The relationship between Wolfe and Ben. Even though Wolfe and Ben aren’t related, their relationship is similar to a brotherly relationship. Wolfe is alone and frightened when he meets Ben, and Ben (who’s about fifteen years older than Wolfe, so he’s kind of got a fatherly relationship as well) takes Wolfe completely under his wing and looks after him and…it’s just the sweetest. The YA world is missing really strong male friendships.
c). The relationship between Quillon and Sapphire. So, Sapphire is a sweet child who’s broken and hurting after being betrayed by her boyfriend and left alone with her child. And then she meets Quillon. She’s hesitant to trust him at first, but he’s fallen head over heels in love with her, and slowly she falls in love with him. They have a very understanding, sweet and pure relationship which was so much fun to write (especially for a hard-hearted practical person like me who has never been in love and thinks it’s way too overrated).
d). The relationship between Chessy and Justice. Not necessarily their romantic relationship, but just their relationship in general. Justice is bossy and overbearing, he also thinks he’s the final authority on everything, but Chessy gives as good as she gets. Which makes for some great explosions. Still, she loves him, and he cares deeply about her, though he’s not quite at the “I love you” stage yet. It was really fun to write their banter and arguments and philosophical discussions.
e). My last one! The relationship between Justice and Kendall. Justice and Kendall do not understand each other at all. Justice is all for revolution and fighting and Kendall is basically there because he gets free alcohol. That’s it. Also he’s friends with Quillon. So Justice completely loses his head every time Kendall opens his mouth and it was fun to write their arguments as well. And the ending I wrote for both of them is kind of heartbreaking…they went from enemies to firm friends really fast.
12. Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?
I want to see more books that don’t focus on romance, but focus on other relationships—brother/brother, sister/sister, brother/sister, mother/daughter, father/daughter, etc. Platonic friendships and all sorts of other things.
I also want more epic Christian books. So often, Christian books are dull and preachy and I want to change that!
Also, dystopian books that aren’t super actiony, but more character driven with cool worldbuilding.
13. Favourite pinterest board / aesthetic for a book?
I love the board I made for a novel of mine called Red and White. You can check out the board HERE.
I also like the board for Comrade.
14. Favourite time periods & settings to work with?
World War One is a favourite setting and time period. I also like writing about the Australian outback and a futuristic Australia (the setting for Stars Fill Infinity. Because there’s too many dystopians set in America!).
15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
I want them to feel sad, but hopeful and fulfilled. Most importantly, I want them to feel like they need to have the next book right away!
What about you? What are your answers to these questions? What are your favourite periods and settings to write about? What would you like to see more about in literature? Which of your characters is your favourite?