Anyway, this is one of my glorious three-in-one posts, my second brainstorm post, my first official participation in Beautiful People (a linkup where you answer questions about your characters) and some further clarification on how interviewing my characters could win you a five dollar amazon gift card.
Also unique about this story is that it began with a song. Now, I'm not opposed to music - there's a song in both Sew and Take, and one just appeared in Kingdom, but I'm not a huge fan. Most of the songs I write are actually rewrites of other songs (my personal favorite is to make Santa songs about Jesus).
But this Sunday morning I woke up with a song in my head. A completely original song - though it may or may not have been inspired by watching too many Frozen clips on YouTube - that seemed like a perfect villain song. I toyed around with it until I had two more verses, and I realized that this villain had some sort of fire powers.
Now I'm the sort of person who wants a reason for my songs. So I needed a story. Fire powered villain - that was a must, but I needed a foil for her (for some possibly Frozen related reason, this villain was irrevocably a villain in my mind.) So I decided on a boy who's not that impressive, something of what we would call a nerd today, but who had a strong connection to the villain before she went off the deep end.
But I needed a reason for her fire power, and some backstory for their connection. And the answer came in the form of a bird. Or several birds. Or something like that. I decided that this was a culture based on the people's ability to shapeshift into those flying creatures - what bird you could become (and everyone only has one bird, once they have completed their rite of passage) determines your rank in life. She gets the Firebird - which is one of the four most important birds. The ruling class, you see, is the four element birds.
The catch? You see, there's supposed to be one of each, two women (The Waterbird and Earthbird) and two men (the Firebird and Airbird). Not only is she a female Firebird (something completely unheard of) but the opening for what she should have shifted into was the Waterbird. There is already a Firebird. And while if this had happened to one of the other three, the two duplicates would have found a way to work together and find peace ... Firebirds are rather independent, very jealous of their power, so working together just wasn't an option for the two of them. Eventually she has enough of being shoved to the background and being implied that she doesn't belong here, so she just snaps and runs off and starts terrorizing the land with her fire.
Que the hero. As I said before, he had a connection to her. I didn't want to play the sibling or the love interest card, so I decided that he was her only friend as children. Not that no one else wanted to be her friend, but he was the only one she deemed worthy of her - even before she becomes the Firebird, she's very uppity. Now for the unlikely part of him ... well, I had her be a role that was typically filled by the man, so he needs a girl's place. Not that I want him girly, but people say I pulled off Robert very well, and Samson's great so ...
Wait, Samson. This book is about birds - birds sing, and it was inspired by a song, so the obvious choice for this poor young man is to make him a nightingale. Not that there aren't songbirds that are boys, but the elite Nightingale singers are all girls. And he becomes one. That should cause enough conflict on his end of the story. And when Firebird snaps and runs away and starts tormenting the land instead of protecting it like she's supposed to, the other three elementbirds do some research into her background to see who would be the best to calm her down and make her see sense. Him. So they fling him at her and hope for the best.
Title for this idea: Fire and Song.
And now for Beautiful People. I've decided to do Nixa, the Firebird, because I like her better. Don't get me wrong, Simmon is a great guy, but I've always enjoyed watching a good Villain arch.
1) What is their full name and is there a story behind why they got it?
Nixa Firebird. Her first name doesn't really have any reason except for the fact that I wanted it to reference the Phoenix, but the story behind the last name is that when she completed her rite of passage (which is basically to survive a wilderness trek to get to some sort of sacred place where they can take their bird form for the first time, usually taken in a group of five to ten children ages ranging from ten to fifteen.). She got the Firebird.
2) How old are they, and when were they born?
She's fifteen when the book begins (and it begins with her rite of passage) and she was born fifteen years before. (Cough, yes, Kathryn, I'm stealing your response). She's waited this long to take her rite not because she was scared, but because she wanted there to be an opening for her in the four element birds, and she wanted to lead her party - a role usually given to the oldest child on the rite.
3) Describe their physical appearance. (Bonus questions: 1. What is their race/nationality/ethnicity? 2. Do you have a picture of them? If so, include it!)
She has straight black hair that falls past her waist and brown eyes. She's tall, almost willowy. Her facial structure is Indian (India Indian) but her skin is paler than your typical Indian woman. When she uses her fire power in human form, her hair and eyes acquire a fiery glow. Her people are called the ... Aviars.
Here's some pictures of her:
4) Describe your character's personality first in one word, and then elaborate with a few sentences.
Superior. Even before she became a Firebird, she just knew she was destined to be a Elemental, and always refused to interact with those she considered lesser. As a Firebird, this feeling of superiority has only grown.
5) What theme song(s) fit their personality and story arc?
While I could probably find something that would fit her very well, I shall use this question to post the song that originally inspired her. Yes, I have a tune for it in my head, but I don't know how to translate that tune onto my blog. So content yourselves with the words.
"They think that they have brought me low,
Vanquished me as their Foe,
But I tell you: That's not so!
My blood is filled with power,
My veins, they course with fire,
Ambition as mine can only take me higher!
But I'm amused by their attempt,
Though I view it in contempt!
Next time that you do good, I should really be exempt!"
I think this song will be sung right after the hero arrives at where she's been hiding and she's somewhat mocking his being a Nightingale, and pouring out her bitterness at what has happened to her.
6) Which one of the seven deadly sins describes your character?
Pride. It will be her downfall.
7) If they were an element (fire, water, earth, air), which one would they be?
Here, let me give you a hint:
8) What is their favourite word?
Not certain, though I may take the Disney route and make it "fool." It would fit her personality.
9) Who’s one person they really miss? (It could be someone who’s passed away, or someone they’re not close to anymore, or someone who’s moved away.)
Simmon Nightingale, the hero. She really is lonely in her position and pride, and he was the only one she let onto her pedestal with her. They both actually live in the capital now, but since she's with the elementals and he's in the singer hall, they don't cross paths very often.
10) What sights, sounds, and smells remind them of that person?
Herbs and music. He had wanted to be an herbalist bird - his plant knowledge is already extensive - and she knows that. But he's now a singer. They actually see each other fairly frequently, as the Nightingales chiefly perform for the Elementals, but its from afar.
And now, if you only came to hear about my brianstorming and question answering, you can stop reading now. If you want to learn more about that Amazon Gift card, I'm handing the keyboard over to Maryanne, who is organizing my party. Though I'm staying on hand in case she tries to give away another dragon egg. I'm sorry, I'd love to give one away, but I'm just not able to foot that bill.
You're just a spoilsport, Kendra.
You are aware that you're one of the only one of my characters who calls me that.
Most of your other characters are spoilsports, too. But at least you have me right?
Just tell them about the interviews.
Si. The interviews. One of the things Kendra is giving away money for is interviewing her characters Lots of money - a whole five dollars!
Technically, it isn't that much.
It sounds like a lot. Anyways, as she said on the other post, all you have to do to volunteer is to send her an email with how many times you're willing to have her characters over to your blog (you can do all twelve days if you'd like) and which books you'd most like to see. Try to pick at least two books over the number of days. So, if you've volunteered for eighteen of those twelve days, give her at least sixteen titles.
Uh ... Maryanne?
Did I count wrong again? Yeah, that happens when I don't take off my shoes. Anyways, so far, we have received promise for several emails, we've only had one appear in her inbox. And I need to have these organized soon so I can figure out who will interview who on what day. We're flexible people, but we need time! So please, bitte, send us those emails before the end of next week. I can probably work you in if you don't discover this opportunity until after the end of next week, but don't push it. You may end up with a visit from my Jackalope instead.
You can find the other details here on the official post, but I'm going to expand on the available titles so that newcomers have idea of what the books are about.
July 24 - The Rowa
Fantasy/Sci-fi. Tiger wants to get her Ring of Faith on her twenty-fourth birthday. Snap wants to be a successful Infiltrator. Both can't have their wish.
July 25 - The Rizkaland Legends
Fantasy. Kids world travel and become kings and queens. It is more complicated than that, but there's the gist of it.
July 26 - The Trilogy of One
Fantasy. A girl finds a dwarf in her closet and then has to travel a magical land and to restore the nine Gems of Virtue.
July 27 - Part of the Family, or, The BigWig Plays (Same series, different name)
Contemporary/Retelling. This began as a modernization of The Prodigal Son.
July 28 - The New Division
Fantasy. Four orphans from the Great Depression find themselves in a world of elves and find themselves the focus of a millennias-old war.
July 29 - The Mikada Chronicles (This includes Silivock and, distantly, Cayra.Technically, The Rowan stories should go here, too, but they were important enough in Kendra's writing journey that they deserve their own day)
Sci-fi/Fantasy. In the Andromeda Galaxy, there is a systems of planets who are united in one purpose - to find the Firstborn of Creation. It'll take them a few thousand years to find us though ...
July 30 - The Trilogy of Secrets
Fantasy. A girl with amnesia walks through a crack in her wall into a magical world and finds out that she's the Fairy Princess.
July 31 - Half-Hidden
Fantasy. Jyson has been told that he can marry the princess if he kills thirty dragons and effectively wipes them out of existence. But the dragons and the princess herself have other ideas.
August 1 - Worth of a King
Fantasy. Obsidia is all set to marry Delaney, the son of the man who killed her father, to secure his place on the throne. But then her twin brother shows up and he has other ideas.
August 2 - HaV Academy
Superhero/Boarding School/Dystopia/Contemporaryish. HaV Academy is a school for Superheros and their villains, and they decide which you are. Some people can handle being told how they will live their lives better than others.
August 3 - The Ankulen
Fantasy. A girl finds out that her long-forgotten imagination is real, and that it's being eaten by a Polystoikhedron.
August 4 - The Bookania Quests
Fantasy/Retelling I mash up fairy tales to see if they'll make sense.
If there is a certain character that you want to interview, let us know and we'll try to give him or her to you. If you want to interview a certain book, but can't do it on that book's day, let us know and we'll figure out a different day for you (because all of Kendra's books are intertwined, and characters have cameo appearances in other books). And if you want to interview Kendra herself, well, she's open to that too.
Just hurry with those emails!