Beautiful Books–Valentine

Since I talk a lot about A Ticket to Yonder on this blog, I thought I’d share about one of my other stories today.  Though I probably won’t be writing this one for a couple months (Corroded Thorns comes first and then I want to finish up the first draft of ATtY), I’m plotting it on the side and I’m really excited about it.
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1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Usually the plot comes first for me. I come with a scenario or interesting situation, and then I fill in the characters. I’m a plotter; I have to have some idea of where the book is going.

2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?
My novel is currently title-less, so for now I’m calling Valentine (if any of y’all have title suggestions, I’d love to hear them!) As for my back-cover-blurb:
After experiencing over a decade of disease, war and strife, the world has finally come to a state of general peace again. But after so much turmoil, how can daily life ever be the same? Valentine is a drifter, wandering from town to town in the wake of his grief. When he stumbles upon a dying mailman, he finds his purpose in finishing the mailman’s last deliveries. However, the mail and their recipients will put him out of his comfort zone and forever change his life.

3. What word count are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
Between 55,000 and 60,000; I wouldn’t mind it if it was longer, but I have a harder time getting big word counts.

4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.
I’ll do it one: On post-apocalyptic earth, a grieving young man finds a new purpose in finishing a dead mailman’s last deliveries.

5. Sum up your characters in one word each.
Valentine: melancholy
Melody: recovering
Mizaki: determined
Mizaki’s relatives (they’re still nameless…): miffed
Cassandra: tough

6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!
I really love Cassandra; I call her my action momma. She’s a widow who lost her husband and children during the apocalypse; since then, she’s become the leader of a group of scavengers, who raid or trade from town to town to find supplies. She becomes Valentine’s surrogate mother of sorts and I can’t wait to write their relationship.

7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal? Circumstance is the main villain; however, Mizaki’s relatives are angry because Mizaki, only a little boy, is set to inherit his grandfather’s large fortune. They spend most of the book chasing Valentine and Mizaki around, wanting to steal the inheritance.

8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?
Valentine wants to finish delivering his mail, but also, he wants to find hope again. His memories of his family, friends, and girlfriend stand in the way of him moving on.

9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?
Valentine finds the old, dying mailman and promises to finish delivering his mail.

10. Where is your novel set?
Post-apocalyptic America; a disease broke out over a decade before, in two strains. The passive strain was fatal (until a cure was developed) and the active strain was like a host/parasite that turned its victims into crazed, dangerous people (think zombies, but less gory or gross). Their bodies generate a lot of energy, which makes their veins and eyes glow; they can use this energy to blast at people. Because the disease produces an enzyme called luciferase, the media nicknamed these people “lucifers.”

11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely? When Valentine meets the dying mailman and starts to find a purpose for his life. Also when Valentine meets Mizaki, who then joins Valentine on his quest to deliver the mail.

12. What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?
His most dynamic relationship is with Melody, a recovered lucifer. Valentine also develops close relationships with Cassandra and Mizaki, who becomes like a little brother to him.

13. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
By the end of the book, Valentine is ready to move on from his grief. He will always remember the people he lost, but he has a new life ahead of him.

14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?
Yes; I have a pretty clear idea of how the story will end.

15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?
Though I haven’t read a lot of books in the apocalypse/zombie genre, most of what I’ve heard of seems to focus on the gory/gritty/violent aspect of the apocalypse. I want this novel to be a poignant, bittersweet story about post-apocalyptic America. I’m hoping my readers will get that impression of the book.

So what do you think? Any title suggestions for me? If you’d like to join the Beautiful Book Party, hope over to Sky or Cait’s blog to get the questions.

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