I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve talked about my novel, Destiny Seeker. That’s mainly because I’ve been focused on sharing my editing services and upping my social media game this year. Thank you so much for the support and friendship. However, I think it’s fair to brag about the one thing that made me start the whole blog in the first place: my novels! It’s not just something fun I do on the site, but it’s the reason I’ve built all of this with Travis. I want you to be able to read it someday!
I’m currently in the thick of navigating the publishing process, but that doesn’t mean I can drop some major hints about my work and how I was inspired to write novels.
Before we begin, here’s a brief synopsis of the book so you can get an idea of what’s to come:
Ilsi, an intuitive Ice Chanters lives with her clan on a frozen island, cut off from the rest of the known world by an impenetrable wall. Ilsi also possesses a genetic ability called Swift that allows her run incredibly fast. When her island is attacked by an army of lightning-controlling soldiers, Ilsi choses to use Swift to draw the enemies away from her clan—and becomes the first of her clan to escape.
As Ilsi explores the mainland and other lands beyond her home, she learns about the political upheaval that has been slowly boiling over. Althod, one rumored to collect others’ abilities, is gaining control over the known lands with his army of said lightning-commanding soldiers—and he wants Ilsi to join his collection.
Ilsi meets several people who help her elude his influence, including Reshma, a brave Fire Weaver, and Tyk, her loyal, inventive childhood friend. They are helped by Ladala, chief of the Elven realm, who is attempting to persuade magic-bearers to stand against Althod. Both sides of the war will compete to seduce the strongest players to maintain control and power, and Ilsi will need more than Swift to free her clan.
1. Destiny Seeker Was Initially Inspired by The 10th Kingdom.
Okay, so like, one scene. But it’s true! I was in middle school and fell in love with the hella-long TV movie, The 10th Kingdom, and haven’t been the same ever since. Yes, my first novel was originally conceived 15 years ago. WOOOOOOF. I had the idea for a scene where a character was having a werewolf moment and my main character, Ilsi, witnesses it. Literally the rest of the novel blossomed around this one, simple scene.
2. The Novel’s Setting Includes a Lot of Villages & Castles
Yup, we’re going full fantasy on you. Ilsi travels to a lot of different cities in order to evade Althod’s armies. Some of the more eccentric locations have weird superstitions, while others are only inhabited by redheads. My beta readers really like the redheads.
3. Animen Play a Huge Part of the Plot.
Animen is basically my term for shapeshifters: it’s like being a werewolf but you could turn into birds, forest creatures, sharks, or other kinds of prey. There is even a tribe of hybrids—half-cat/half-human creatures. Some characters transform by the full moon, but there are others that have found a way to permanently end the curse or allow themselves to transform whenever it’s convenient. But don’t worry, someone turns into a wolf and there are of course lots of period jokes in the story—with the phases of the moon and all.
4. There Are Also Dragons, Mermaids, Pirates & Elves. This Is a Fantasy Novel, So Duh.
When people say they write what they wish was on the shelf, they really mean it! While each character serves a purpose, it was really gratifying to have such an array of fantastic fantasy elements in the novel. The elves are trying to unite the local towns and clans under one flag, the mermaids are aloof, the pirates want their magic back, and the dragons are adoptable. One of the characters actually runs a shelter for abused, abandoned, and wild dragons. Needless to say, it was fun to write about a dragon kennel—it’ll definitely make you want to consider dragon adoption.
5. Some of the Characters Are Based Off of Real Family Members & Friends.
Yes, I did the thing that most writers warn you not to do. I don’t want to spoil anything, but yes, some characters were based off people I knew and admired in high school. One of them is Travis, naturally! You’ll have to find his character in the novel. And yes, he knows.
I’m not sure what led me to the decision to include them, but I see it as a tribute—so to speak. I hope readers find themselves in the novel, anyway, but some of you will find an extra special shoutout within some of my favorite characters. But I will say that no villains or meanies were based off of real people—despite your conspiracy theories.
6. You’ll Be Tickled by the Magic Systems in the Novel.
Another huge element of Destiny Seeker is magic. Magic is identity, power, and freaking awesome. Some of the powers present in the novel involve singing. Shoutout to the novel The Singer of All Songs which inspired the singing aspect. Characters like Ilsi sing at a certain pitch to perform hereditary magical abilities—and most of them are elemental. The antagonists, the Yldirim, control thunder and lighting but don’t sing to cast spells. In fact, they don’t need any words or incantations, which makes them sneaky.
There are other magical abilities in the novel that are considered commonplace. For example, Reshma performs a lot of her chores with magic and it wouldn’t phase the common person. Just about everyone can do magic, regardless of their location or race. However, there are definitely opportunities to steal powers, enhance powers, or sway people to do your dirty work.
As Rumpelstiltskin from ONCE would say: all magic has a price!
7. Feminism & Diversity Are Important & Present in Destiny Seeker.
If you’re new to me and my work, then you might not know that I’m a feminist, which means gender and racial equality are pretty important to me. I don’t intend for my writing to be preachy, but I wanted Destiny Seeker to be an example of what it’s like to have feminist role models and diversity.
In earlier drafts, the characters were pretty white washed. I later revised the characters to add diversity, and they really blossomed as a response. Best decision ever!
8. I’ve Already Made a Dream Cast for the Main Characters.
One of my author friends shared photos on Instagram about who she would cast to play her characters in a movie—if and when that would happen. It’s fun to dream, so I did the same! I picked them based on how closely they resembled the appearance and mood of the character and what I know about their acting. If Lily Singh would play Reshma I would die of happiness.
9. Destiny Seeker Took So Long to Write Because I’m a Pantser.
If you call yourself a pantser, it means that you write novels without an outline or specific story arc in mind. I had a sweeping, basic idea of where things would go, but I really spent a lot of the time trudging through the forests with Ilsi and bumped into the next scenes. It was fun but it was time consuming.
Pantsing also includes lots of revisions. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve rewritten or rehashed the novel to make it read how it does today. A major edit was rewriting all the cheesy stuff I wrote in high school to match my current writing style. The novel evolved with me as I went to college and took more writing and editing classes.
I also attribute my long process to general procrastination: I didn’t actually write the last page of the novel until I was officially done with college. To be frank: when you’re an English major with an editing minor, you’re reading several novels over the course of a few weeks, writing papers constantly, and feeling bogged down by grammar rules. Literally the last thing you want to do is stare at a screen of words during your free time. So, once all my immediate deadlines were behind me, I could focus on my creative writing.
I still struggle with setting a writing schedule (you can always talk yourself out of writing), but I’ve learned to start new projects with a concrete outline before writing each scene.
10. Destiny Seeker Is Ready for a Literary Agent!
Many of you know that this was the year that I started looking for a literary agent. I’ve got some minor tweaks to do (thanks to some kind suggestions from someone I solicited) before I go back into the fray. I hope to find a literary agent and then complete the rest of the publishing process. Wish me luck!
So that’s it! Do you have any other questions about me or my future novel?