(None of these photos are mine, excepting the wattle picture. That one is, and you can’t steal it, even though it’s amazing).
Yesterday, Celeste did a post introducing her NaNoWriMo project, and since I promised to introduce my own project about two weeks ago, I decided I’d snitch some of her questions and introduce it! I also added a few questions of my own. I also have sore wrists, so this introduction is going to be short.
Without further ado, I present…
What’s the basic plot?
The basic plot follows three characters: Yilla–a clan girl from the open plains near a mountain ranges, High-Praise–a princess married at a young age to the king of Traumlant, and Courageous–the said king. Basically, it’s about politics, monarchy and Yilla trying to save the world by educating the rather ignorant king and queen on the ways, language and cultures of their people. It’s also involves touring the country, and dragons, and bushrangers and a weird, eclectic blend of historical fashions and periods and inventions.
Here’s the blurb I wrote…
Yilla was born when the yellow wattles burst into bloom and the blaze of their colour filled the earth.
Now, seventeen wattle fires later her life will be turned upside down.
High-Praise was born at the flowering of the lotus, and married to Prince Courageous fourteen years later.
And an assassin’s knife is about to turn her life upside down as well.
Yes, it’s very short. I like short and sweet.
Who are the main characters?
Yilla: Yilla is pretty cool in my opinion. She’s from one of the many clans that populate Traumlant. While the clans have a Aboriginal Australian appearance, their culture is mostly made up, drawn from hundreds of little parts from lots of different parts of things. Very descriptive. Yilla’s an ISTJ, blunt, honest, smart, a survivor, a storyteller and all round awesome character.
Then we have High-Praise: The royal court all have these old, weird Puritan names, including High-Praise. High-Praise is from Dhaku, a country which vaguely resembles ancient Persia, and she’s a princess, renowned for her beauty. She’s spoilt, a little self-centred, but kind and compassionate, despite her ignorance. She sends one of her servants to the rural areas in order to bring back someone who’ll teach her about the language and culture of her new people and that’s when Yilla comes into the story…
Finally, our last main character is Courageous: Courageous becomes king very early on in the novel, but he’s not very…well, courageous. For most of his life, Courageous was raised as the second son and was largely ignored, even by his father, who loved him dearly. He has a severe stammer and only came to be heir presumptive on the death of his elder brother, Zeal. He doesn’t make a good king, simply because of his shy, reclusive nature and his inability to make decisions. This ends up badly for everyone involved.
And then there are a few secondary characters:
Verily: The maid assigned to look after Yilla after she first arrives at the royal court. Sweet, wise, quiet and a little shy.
Repent, Duke of Herenberg: The illegitimate brother of King Great-Heart and Courageous’ uncle. Red-headed with a nasty temper, but a genuine love and support for his nephew, despite the amount he mocks him.
Zich: An inventor who is attempting to build a flying machine. And he’s great.
What is the working title?
I’ve gone through a number of working titles, but currently the title is Wattle Fire, since Yilla–the main character–marks time by the wattle blooms. Also, if you’ve never seen a wattle blooming you’re missing out, it’s one of the most beautiful sights of the late winter/early spring landscape.
Where did the idea for this novel come from?
I’ve wanted to write an Australian fantasy novel for years now, but while the setting was firmly engrained in my mind, the actual plot has taken years to form. I’m not entirely sure where the original idea of the Australian fantasy came from, but I’ve been aware for a long time that, while there are a lot of Aussie fantasy writers none of them, as far as I know, have set one of their books in a fantastic Australia. And I’m deeply attached to my country, I love it a lot and I want to weave my love for Australia into my love for fantasy.
What genre is your WIP?
Fantasy, as I’ve already mentioned, but with a lot of historical references.
What actors would you cast in the movie version of your book?
Well, here’s my issue. Out of my three main characters, only Courageous is white. The other two, Yilla and High-Praise have Aboriginal and Middle-Eastern appearances and I don’t know any actresses from either of those backgrounds.
However, after some scouring of the internet, I’ve at least cast Courageous and Yilla. Courageous is supposed to be the stereotypical drop-dead handsome fantasy prince so I hereby cast the youngest Ben Barnes available (and I just ask that he add a stammer to his Prince Caspian performance).
The only Aboriginal actress I know who even vaguely resembles Yilla is Jessica Mauboy (though I imagine Yilla being a lot darker than Mauboy), so for the purpose of this post, Jessica Mauboy is playing Yilla.
And finally I’ve found an actress for High-Praise. I have no idea who she is really, but she’s Indian (I believe) and she’s pretty and is actually one of the models that I used for High-Praise (I didn’t know that till just then though), Deepika Padukone
Write a 1 Sentence Synopsis
A young girl, born as the wattles bloom, is tasked with restoring the failing monarchy, using only her love for story and her love for her country.
What are your publishing plans for this book?
Good question! I would really love for The Stars Fill Infinity to be my debut novel, but agents currently aren’t kind to dystopian novels. I’ve been researching agents all year in the hope of finding some agents who would be interested in representing my novel, but I’ve had no luck. So part of the reason I’m writing Wattle Fire, rather than another of my many ideas, is because fantasy is still huge and, from my agent research, I have no reason to believe it’s going to go out of fashion any time soon. I’m also planning at looking at secular agents and publishers as well as Christian ones for this novel.
How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Well, I haven’t written it yet, but I’m hoping it will take a month.
What other books would you compare this story to?
My “official” comparison titles are “The Lord of the Rings meets A Game of Thrones meets Marie Antoinette meets the English Civil War meets Crocodile Dundee”. And that’s a mouthful, so let me explain a little.
The Lord of the Rings because it has that epic scope and that (hopefully) brilliant worldbuilding. Also, big wars. A Game of Thrones (without the nasty stuff) because the story is essentially about the politics of a monarchy. Marie Antoinette because Marie Antoinette helped me tie all the plot elements together. The English Civil War because…well, it wouldn’t be a novel by Chelsea R.H. unless it had a revolution in it, would it? And Crocodile Dundee because that’s the most Australian movie I can think of and the setting (the Australian part of the setting, not the American part) is the same…so…plus, crocodiles.
And yes, only two of those were books (one of which I have never read)…but at least you have an idea of what it’s like.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Um, well, as I said, I’ve had the main inkling for a long time but the whole story was really kicked into gear when I was watching a French Revolution documentary as research for When Infinity is Empty a few months ago. I was particularly interested in the things the documentary told me about Marie Antoinette. I’ve always seen Marie as an obnoxious, ignorant, cruel and rather spineless person, though I’ve also felt sorry for her. But this documentary forced me to think a little more about her, which I thought was good and I decided I wanted to write a novel about her. Then I changed my mind because I thought that might be too fraught with historical inaccuracies (which I hate), so I decided to do a sort of retelling (because they’re my forte) and then somehow it blended in with my fantasy and the rest, as they say, is history.
What else about this book might pique a reader’s interest?
My genius wit, fantastic characters, spellbinding plots and humility? The fact that it’s awesome? I don’t know. If they aren’t hooked already, I don’t know what else to do 😛
What do you think of my new Work in Progress? Are you doing NaNo this year? If you, what’s your project? Do you like making collages?