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. 🙂 Also, not gonna lie, I’m excited about writing a book with dogs in it 😀 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 “extra” 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!
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?