Know The Novel: Introducing Southern Cross (NaNo 2019)

Know the Novel Part One (2019)

Christine Smith is hosting the Know Your Novel linkup again! Which is great, because this is such a fun linkup! But also, it means that NaNoWriMo literally starts in 20 days.

Anyway, I thought it was high time I introduce my NaNo 2019 novel! Welcome to Southern Cross, a historical novel set in Australia during the latter days of World War 1.

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

I’ve wanted to write what I call “a WW1 Epic” for years and years. However, it took me a long time to formulate exactly the plot I wanted to tell and the characters I wanted to explore. In the end, I used the two main characters (Curt and Amy Digby) from a very old (and very bad) story of mine. I used a few other characters from the same novel and added a few new ones, and the plot is coming to me in bits and pieces and voila I have this story!

2. Share a blurb!

The war has raged for three years…and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing up. The boys are dying like flies in the trenches, and Amy’s brother Curt, previously declared medically unfit, is suddenly accepted into the fledgling air force.

Pearl has German heritage–a fact that never bothered anyone until the declaration of war. Now, three years later, she knows her time is running out before she is arrested and placed in an internment camp. 

Amidst a world brimming with blood, death and chaos, two women must find a way to hold onto peace, no matter what it costs them.

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favourite aspects about the setting?

The story takes place in New South Wales, on a station (farm/ranch, if you don’t speak Australian) in the high country. I’m definitely loving finally doing an Australian historical novel, because, believe it or not, I have never written one (apart from that terrible novella, which I mentioned earlier). I love the high country, which I first visited about five years ago (I think) and have wanted to go back to ever since. So yeah, loving the wide spaces, the wild horses, the ghost gums, the cattle, the kelpie dogs…everything.

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

So there’s actually like eight or so “Main characters” in this novel. I guess I’ll just focus on a few of the more important ones, or else we’ll be here all day.

Amy Digby//Our Main main character. Amy is (probably) an ENTP. She’s smart, charismatic, stubborn, occasionally a little selfish. She’s eighteen, and a member of the Women’s Land Army. She and her brother, Curt, are orphans and were taken in by their godparents, Mr and Mrs Ashford, who they now work for.

Henry Ashford//The sort of, but not quite, love interest. Eldest son of the Ashfords, and set to inherit the station. Since his father’s death, he already acts as manager. He’s an INFJ. Calm, quiet, thoughtful and happy to keep to himself. He’s also a pacifist and is one of the few young men who didn’t rush to join the war effort.

Andrew Mason//Andrew is the head stockman employed by the Ashfords. He’s a young Aboriginal man, clever, kind, efficient and very good at his job. He’s a bit of an ambivert, more than happy to spend weeks alone with only the company of his horse and dog, but also just as happy to work with others and spend time with his friends and colleagues.

Pearl Schwartz//Pearl is a second generation German woman, who was hired by the Ashfords as a governess. She’s bright, cheerful and has heavenly patience. She’s probably an ESFP. She’s about nineteen and loves her job immensely.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

There isn’t one single antagonist in this novel, though there are a few bad people, though I can’t really talk about them much for fear of spoilers. The War is the main antagonist.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

It’s the first time I’ve written pure historical fiction in ages! Like years, probably. Since historical fiction is my favourite genre of all time, this is a big deal to me. πŸ™‚ Also, not gonna lie, I’m excited about writing a book with dogs in it πŸ˜€ And none of them die, don’t worry.

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Originally it was planned to be a standalone, but I’ve recently decided to split the book (which was going to be really quite long) in half, so it’ll be a duology for now. Whether it stays like that if I ever pursue publishing with it, I don’t really know. Maybe it’ll become a long book again.

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?


*hides non-existent notes beneath desk*

9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.

  • It focuses on the aftermath of the war, rather than the war itself.
  • It also has a lot of the Spanish Influenza in it, which is usually overlooked, despite the millions of people who died from it.
  • There’s a big chunk of it that takes place in an “enemy alien” internment camp in Liverpool and talks about the treatment of Germans, or those of German heritage, during the war years and after.
  • I also hope this novel brings a little bit of extra exposure to some of the underrepresented people who fought and suffered on behalf of their country.

10. Share a fun β€œextra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

Here’s a collage I made some time ago!

War Epic

How about you guys? Are you doing NaNo next month? If so, what’s your project?(spill all the details!) And what’s a genre that you’d really like to get into, either again or for the first time?

32 thoughts on “Know The Novel: Introducing Southern Cross (NaNo 2019)

  1. Nope- actually never done one of them.

    In terms of books, I actually need to work on Tale of Cattail Forest further. It is past the 2nd draft- at least it is at that point, and finally has a working title.

    My 2nd book originally was going to be Greatest Discovery, but changed my mind. It is going to be my picture book about Lizzy the Lizard.

    Greatest Discovery will come later. That will be one of one of the hardest books to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this is so cool! I love the sound of this novel already; I think it’s so interesting that you’re looking at the aftermath of the war rather than the usual events of the war that many people tend to look at! I think it’s going to be so awesome! Personally, I’m just continuing on with where I left off with last year’s NaNo, writing book 2 of the duology! This is going to be a tough one since I’m not used to writing so much action but these characters are literally chasing each other down in this WIP over the period of about 2 weeks. I’m most excited for the huge amounts of emotional conflict that are going to boil over in this WIP, though, and hope that’ll also push some good character development!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds so interesting! You know, I’m not sure if I’ve ever done historical fiction either, now that I think about it. I’ve done plenty of historical FANTASY, though, just never historical without a fantasy element?

    Liked by 1 person


    (Okay that’s hyperbolic but YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TRYING TO GET ACROSS, RIGHT???)


    *just kinda stares and blinks and can’t wait for November to come so she can hear more about it*

    (I am doing NaNo, but nothing half so exciting. Basically I’m rewriting my old attempt at epic space opera in my comedic fan fic style.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Southern Cross sounds amazing!! Thanks for sharing it with us. 😊 But CAN YOU BELIEVE it’s almost time for NaNo already??!! *runs around screaming*

    Liked by 1 person

    I’ve never seen anyone so excited about influenza πŸ˜›
    I also can’t wait for November! Then I’ll be able to spill more secrets and actually write the darn thing πŸ˜€


  7. I always get sucked into the historical fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it! But I like returning the confines of real history without the crutch of magic to make the story interesting πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The last years of the war really interest me, but there’s so little fiction (or even nonfiction!) focussing on it.
    I’m really looking forward to hearing more about My Enemy’s Reign!
    Ah, I love emotional conflict. I think there’s going to be a lot going down in my novel too πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow Chel! I look for to seeing what you do with this novel that seems to bring together a lot of research and stories over the years. I look forward to seeing what you do with the characters and being and voice for those not heard. And being impressed as you write a book in a month…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This. Sounds. Amazing. Bring it on!! I can’t wait to hear more! I love all your mentions of the personality typesβ€”I’m an INFJ, my best friend’s an ENTP, and my brother’s an ESFP. It’ll be fun to see those relationships in your story!! πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ENTPs are some of my favourites to write! They’re so fun and outgoing and daring πŸ˜€ I’m an INFP myself and its awesome that you’re an INFJ. I have a lot of INFJ characters too πŸ™‚


  12. THIS SOUNDS FABULOUS. I love how it focuses on the AFTERMATH of the war. That’s so unique, but an important thing to look at I think. And the characters sound like SUCH a great bunch! Also, yay for dogs and not killing them! Lololol. (But seriously, DOGGOS. <3)

    This sounds like it's gonna be amazing! Thank you for joining the linkup and sharing with us! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh my GOSH I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS NOVEL ALREADY. I too have always wanted (above any other writing ambitions, actually) to write what might be termed a WW1 epic, though I have yet to assemble the suitable characters and plot (and, not gonna lie, historical knowledge…), so literally all these elements just…just…IT SOUNDS SO AMAZING. I DON’T HAVE WORDS. ACK. (I like the focus on the war’s *aftermath* too. I’m drawn to that type of story, and I wish I knew of more of them.)
    Also, Australian high country sounds beautiful. Is it like…The Man from Snowy River? Is that the high country? That’s all I can think of.
    Andrew sounds like a dear, I think.
    I am VERY glad no dogs die.
    Best of luck with this story this November! And please please PLEASE let me read it some day??

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Chelsea…this book is literally the BEST!!!

    I’m SO excited for you and can’t wait to see how it all turns out!!! *-* And by the way…an AUSTRALIAN themed novel??? YAS YAS YAS!!! I have some other Australian friends, and I always thought it’d be cool, anyway, if there were a book specifically set IN Australia…and look, you’re delivering!!! πŸ˜€

    By the way – I sent you an invite on NaNo! πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and giving me a chance to discover your fantastic site! ^^

    ~ Lily Cat (Boots) |

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, Lily Cat! It really means a lot to me to see so many people excited about this book πŸ˜€
    I’ll make sure I let you know when I’m ready for betas too πŸ˜€
    No worries, I love your blog and will definitely be coming back!


  16. OH MY WORD!! Thank you for your enthusiasm! Its always been my dream to write a big WW1 book, but to be honest, its been years of research and writing smaller stories that have finally got me to the point where I feel like I can at least attempt it.
    Yes, it would be very similar to The Man From Snowy River! (I think the MFSR movie might have been filmed in the sort of area? I’m not sure, I haven’t seen the movie).
    I love Andrew! He was a character in a novella I wrote about seven years ago and he hasn’t let go of me since then.
    I’ll definitely let you know when I’m looking for betas πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you, Christine! The aftermath of the war has always been a great interest of mine and I’m glad to be finally writing about it!
    I love dogs and I don’t think I’m heartless enough to kill them in my stories. All my precious characters, yes, but not the dogs. πŸ˜€


  18. Wow! I totally admire you for writing a historical fiction novel! That is a lot of work! Your characters sound so unique and interesting. Amy sounds delightful. I love stubborn MCs! Best of luck to you this NaNo season!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Reusing old characters is always fun. I have a few from those cringy middle school notebooks that I definitely hope to dust off for future works. Good luck this NaNo! I’ll see you on the other side.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Australia! :O Or at least, not for a long time… That’s really cool, Chelsea! And kudos to you for being brave enough to write historical fiction. That genre has always intimidated me, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This sounds FANTASTIC, girl! I’m new to your blog (thanks for visiting mine, btw!), and LOVE the thought process you’re putting into this. I enjoy historical fiction (though I’ll probably never write it myself…), and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit Australia! How neat that your setting takes place there!!! The stories of the World Wars have always fascinated me—I love the perspectives you’re adding to this tale!

    THE BLURB. I’m so very intrigued!

    I love love LOVE the characters! The names fit so perfectly—well done! How neat that you have so many ‘main’ characters. Personally, I enjoy the stories with multiple POVs. Amy & Pearl sound like amazing young ladies. ❀

    The collage gives a great look into this story—love the visuals! You are so very brave to write this historical fiction—you go, girl!!! Happy NaNo'ing!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Welcome to the blog! Aww, thank you so much for your kind words! I really hope this is a book that people will enjoy and the amount of encouragement I’ve already received is…well, really encouraging!
    Thank you again! I love the character’s names too. Pearl and Amy are some of my favourites.
    You too!


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