Last week I did Kiley Keeling’s TSS Book Tag, original bookish version, and this week I’m answering the author version. Don’t forget to check out Kiley’s channel and their own video doing the tag as well.
Both tags contain prompts based on characters, themes, plot points, and settings from Jenna Moreci’s The Savior’s Sister. TSS is the second book in The Savior’s Series and the companion novel to book one, The Savior’s Champion. It is a adult dark fantasy romance set in Thessen, a world inspired by ancient Rome.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
The Savior’s Sister releases September 29, 2020, and author Jenna Moreci is holding a huge pre-sale giveaway!
All right, on with the tag! If you’d prefer to watch and listen, here’s my YouTube video version. Otherwise, keep reading below.
How it works:
- You have a few options of how you ask yourself the questions. Your options are:
- Use a random number generator
- Put the questions on cards and draw from a mug, bowl, etc.
- Have your followers submit the questions they want you to answer
- Got another idea! That’s fine! You do you! (But you can’t pick out specific questions to answer…sorry XD)
- You can answer the questions using one WIP of yours or several – it’s completely up to you!
- You have to answer at least ten questions (but, hey answer ‘em all if you want! I won’t object!)
- Tag Kiley when your video/post goes live so they can see!
- Publishing route – do you plan on traditional or self-publishing (or are you already traditional or self-published)? What made you decide this?
- Inspiration – what are some elements of inspiration that you could find in the real world that relate to your book.
- Romance – does your book feature romance? If so, tell us a little about the couple(s)!
- Playlist – do you listen to music as you write?
- Time period – when does your book take place? If it’s fantasy, what’s the most comparable time to the real world?
- Friendship – does your book feature any strong friendships? If so, tell us about your favorite one!
- Genre – what genre is your book?
- Target audience – what is your book’s target audience?
- Plot twists – does your book feature plot twists? If so, what kind of plot twists?
- Tobleila – if your book features romance, what’s the ship name for the main romance?
- Fight scenes – have you ever had to write a fight scene? If so, do you enjoy writing them? If not, why not?
- Purple prose – nah or yeah?
- Companion novel – have you ever wrote a companion novel? If not, would you ever consider writing one?
- “No mercy. If they want blood, I will give it to them.” – what’s your favorite oh shit quote from your book?
- Leila – who’s the MC of your novel?
- Tobias – does your novel have a LI? If so, who are they?
- Delphi – who’s your MC’s bestie?
- Death – does anyone die in your book? Do you like writing death scenes?
- Magic – does your book feature any sort of magic or superpowers
- Political system – is there any type of political system that’s featured in your book?
- Big book or short book – are you an overwriter or an underwriter? Do your books tend to be on the shorter or longer side of things?
- Character art – do you plan on getting character art for your book at some point? Why or why not?
- Banter – what are your favorite types of scenes to write?
- Characters or plot – are your books more character-driven, plot-driven, or a even mix of both?
- Assassins – who is the antagonist or villain of your story?
- Forbidden romance – does your favorite trope make an appearance in your work
- Representation – what are some of the minority groups you have representation for in your book?
- Pippa – does your book have a sweet cinnamon roll character? If so, tell us about them!
- Easter eggs – what are some easter eggs you have included in your work? If you don’t want to share the specifics, what type of stuff do you like to plant in your work like easter eggs? (e.g. mythology references, references to another language or country, etc.)
I placed all the questions on folded strips of paper in a mug, shook it up, and drew 10 questions at random. I forgot to mark the order I pulled them in, so I’ll be answering in question-number order below rather than in the randomized order I answered in the video. (Yes, I know, I could re-watch my own video for the order…)
1. Publishing route – do you plan on traditional or self-publishing (or are you already traditional or self-published)? What made you decide this?
For my children’s books, the goal is traditional. These are Newfoundland themed books targeted at local and tourist children, so I would be hoping for a small, local press. If I were to self-publish, I would hire a distributor of sorts to help get my book into all the local book stores and souvenir shops that the local presses would market to.
As for my adult science fiction & fantasy novels, I’m leaning toward self-publishing because of the level of control I would have over the process, the potential to earn more (nobody else gets a cut of royalties after the press’ fee), and working with self-pub authors means I’m gaining a lot of insight into the process. With that said, I probably will still query first, just to say I did.
8. Target audience – what is your book’s target audience?
My children’s books are short illustrated storybooks, so preschool and primary grades. My full length novel WIPs are all intended to be adult (possibly new adult) but I’m not opposed to writing YA in the future.
The children’s books are specifically Newfoundland local interest / Canadiana, while the novels are general science fiction & fantasy, and would potentially appeal to readers of those genres anywhere in the world.
Also, when I say my novels are adult, I just mean that the reading level, book length, etc. are adult. I have no intention to write graphic sex scenes or anything like that!
9. Plot twists – does your book feature plot twists? If so, what kind of plot twists?
Children’s books? No.
Adult Fantasy? Hard to say. I’m not sure if my planned ending contains what one might call a plot twist or not. We’ll see if my betas see the ending coming or not when I get there!
Adult Science Fiction? Yes! They’re all to do with how little this newly space-faring society understands about the way their universe works.
15. Leila – who’s the MC of your novel?
Children’s books: The main story series is about a cat that lives in the St. John’s neighbourhood of Quidi Vidi. That’s pronounced “kiddy viddy,” so my cat character is the Quidi Vidi Kitty (“Kiddy Viddy Kitty.”)
Fantasy: Seersha Greenwood is half-witch, one-quarter elf, and one-quarter human. Yes, I know, the name should be spelled Saoirse. I’ve Anglicized it for accessibility. his character was formerly going to be Keeva (Caoimhe) but that looks too similar on paper to my science fiction MC.
Seersha lives in an interesting city called Cavitown, which exists outside of the normal order of planes here in the world. It’s not stable, so sometimes it pulls people in from the other planes, but it has never spit anyone out. Seersha wants to know if it’s possible to leave, but she’s meeting a lot of resistance in her quest to find out.
Science Fiction: Kleeka New Soul is a space program graduate who is about to man the first mission beyond her planetary system. She and her two crew mates are all New Souls, which means unlike most people in their society, they don’t have memories of past lives and don’t have a soul name. (For example, Kleeka’s mother is Kurra Sal Wandering Soul. Kurra is her name in this life, Sal is her soul’s name, and Wandering Soul is her soul title.)
The New Souls are being sent on this first long mission because the society fears losing older, named souls in case distance from the planet (or death in space) can cut a soul’s tie to the planet.
16. Tobias – does your novel have a LI? If so, who are they?
Obviously there really aren’t any love interests in the children’s storybooks. One of the other crew mates in the science fiction fancies himself Kleeka’s love interest, but it’s unrequited. The fantasy does have a love interest.
Ferdinand, or Ferdy, is half-ogre and half-daemon. He was raised by his adoptive “aunt” who’s human, so he thinks he’s half-human instead and isn’t aware of his daemon heritage. He has a natural ability to use glamours, and uses them unconsciously to constantly tweak his physical appearance to please or displease the people he interacts with. I’m undecided at this point on whether or not Seersha will ever see his true appearance, because I’m not sure Ferdy knows how drop the glamours altogether or not.
17. Delphi – who’s your MC’s bestie?
Quidi Vidi Kitty’s best friend (eventually) is Buddy the Fox.
Kleeka doesn’t have a bestie in the book.
Seersha’s bestie is her roommate and long time friend S’Orlain, a mostly-human resident of Cavitown with some bean tighe (Irish “washer woman”) heritage on her mother’s side. The bean tighe blood means she has always had grey hair, children are drawn to her, and she’s obsessively clean about her living space.
18. Death – does anyone die in your book? Do you like writing death scenes?
Of the WIPs I’ve been discussing, only the sicence fiction will have important character deaths. (And I’m not saying which!) I do have a drama fiction that’ll never, ever be published that does need to kill at least one of the main characters, possibly two. The reason Ill never publish it is because it’s a self-indulgent experiment for exploring my own past and psychology. The main trio are all self-inserts; all pieces of me. The fact that one has to die doesn’t mean I’m suicidal or anything, though. Don’t worry! It’s more about seeing what it’ll do to the others. I know where the story ends, but I’ll likely never get there because it’s just something I edit continuously as the mood strikes me.
19. Magic – does your book feature any sort of magic or superpowers
In the fantasy, obviously yes! We’ve got a half-witch who telekinetic abilities, a half-daemon who performs glamours all the time, and a part-bean tighe who is compelled to clean. Most residents of Cavitown have some form of magic, as it’s only the majority of beings from the Mundane plane that don’t have magic or other innate abilities.
20. Political system – is there any type of political system that’s featured in your book?
This isn’t important in the children’s stories, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The fantasy runs on a modern democracy, but as the story goes on we’ll see just how corrupt and dictatorial it really is when you start asking the wrong questions.
As for the science fiction, I could honestly do whole blog posts and videos about this society and political system. Since so much of the book will take place in space, off-planet and with only three characters, a lot of this won’t be stated so plainly on the page.
The beings in this society are 3-4 foot tall humanoid, intelligent creatures that evolved from their planet’s version of a sugar glider. Their government and society runs on a republic model, but with a lot of tweaks and quirks based on how real world sugar glider colonies work. That, and then there’s the whole souls thing.
Reincarnation exists, and we know it does because most people have clear memories of past lives. Youth spend their 13th year doing whatever it is they feel they need to do to figure out what their soul name and title are, and near the end of that year they present themselves to their clan at a naming ceremony. An Old Soul (majority) has memories of only their most recent 1-3 past lives. A Wandering Soul (rare) has so few memories that they’re barely aware of who they’ve been before. It is thought that these souls aren’t very tightly bound to the planet, and don’t reincarnate quickly, and this is why so much of their memories are lost. Wise Souls (rare, always female) remember many past lives with the utmost clarity, and usually end up taking employment as record keepers. New Souls have no past memories. Lost Souls are soul names that have not turned up in records anywhere among the clans for more than 100 years after their last death. Awakened Souls are former Lost Souls reborn after being recorded as Lost.
Mental illness and the compulsion to commit crime is thought to be the result of incompatibility between a soul and its new body’s brain chemistry, so suicide and euthanasia are seen as noble, and executions are seen as the sensible thing to do with criminal.
Many individuals in this society distrust New Souls because there have been cases of previously executed souls taking the opportunity to wipe their slate clean.
24. Characters or plot – are your books more character-driven, plot-driven, or a even mix of both?
Generally speaking I would say that all of my adult level manuscripts are plot-driven, because I don’t know how to write stories that aren’t, and I wouldn’t want to. The children’s books have typically weak plots and are definitely much more character-driven.
With that said, the fantasy novel is much more character-driven than the science fiction. The fantasy novel is Seersha’s story. This plot couldn’t be told from anyone else’s point of view other than hers or either of the two characters closest to her, S’Orlain and Ferdy. (On that note, I didn’t draw the companion novel question, but this is the one WIP I would consider a companion for. I think there’s a lot of story left to be told from Ferdy’s point of view as well.)
With the science fiction, on the other hand, the main trio just happen to be the three New Souls tapped for the mission. The mission is the plot, and it has nothing to do with which New Souls were selected, only that they are New Souls.
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