Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beautiful Books: Introduce Your NaNoWriMo Novel

So excited to be taking part in another glorious link-up from these ladies! Come, join us in this celebration of new creative life! 

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea? 
APOTHECARIUM, like all my stories, started counter-intuitively, with the title. I was sitting with my SO talking about the fantasy he was reading and for some reason the word came to mind. I remember saying, "That would make a great book title." This was a few months ago, and it's been only in the last few weeks that I've come up with a story to go with the title!

2. Describe what your novel is about!
Because I refuse to let queries bite me on me arse anymore, I've decided to write them before I even start writing! It's actually been a great practice so far and I find having the query already written helps to keep me focused. Here 'tis:

Ever since seventeen-year-old Sofia was little, Baba Nina has seen her future in the tea leaves at the bottom of her cup. It is always the same: "Your name shall be known throughout the Kingdom." Sofia didn't think much of her grandmother's prophecies, until she is recruited as an apprentice apothecary at the world-renowned Apothecarium. As her skills quickly surpass Master Volet's, suddenly Baba's predictions seem to be coming true.

But for a much different reason.

When word of her famous concoctions reach royal ears, Sofia is summoned to the capital of Balka to administer one of her potions to the ailing King Madin. But when he ends up poisoned instead of cured, Sofia is accused of attempted assassination and treason.

Scheduled to be executed, Sofia’s only chance at redemption is to find the plants needed for a remedy that does not yet exist. One that only she can create. To save the king and the Apothecarium, and to keep her head firmly attached to her neck, Sofia must journey to find the ingredients for the cure and figure out who framed her.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
Apothecary jars. Dried herbs. Mossy forest floors. The light at dawn and dusk. Watercolors. ALL THE WATERCOLORS! Think Studio Ghibli.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
Top left: Ru. Top right: Sofia. Bottom left: Master Vi Volet. Bottom right: Prince Edin. 
Sofia Lulena (MC): 17-year-old apothecary-in-training. Ever since she was little she has been able to "speak" with plants to learn their secrets and what properties they hold. Sometimes they'll tell her how to make a remedy for a cold. Or a drink that increases fertility. Or, on a moonlit night, a tasteless poison that could kill twenty men with just a drop. She's led a sheltered life in her village and is overwhelmed by the enormity of the world at first, but dives in headfirst to follow her destiny.
Know-it-all. Cocky. Hardworking. Empathetic. Stubborn. Naive.
Master Volet: World-renowned apothecary and owner of the Apothecarium. Older than he looks. Said to know the recipe for a potion that grants eternal youth.  
Transgender. Eccentric. Haughty. Vain. Compassionate. Wise.
Prince Edin: (pronounced like "eden") Sole heir to the Balkan throne, 19-year-old Prince Edin is the spitting image of King Madin and has the love of the Balkan people, rich and poor alike. Many would rather see him on the throne than his father. Skilled fighter and much more intelligent and strategic than he lets on.
Light-hearted. Competent. Generous. Charismatic. Driven. Unyielding. Flirtatious.
Ru (short for Ruinous, the name the king gave him): Prince Edin's 18-year-old half-brother. Illegitimate son of Queen Adolise and a Vatani man she refuses to reveal. Because of his Vatani blood, he was able to learn magic and acts as the Queen's personal guard-mage. Has no love for the king, who unsuccessfully tried to cut out Bast's golden, Vatani eye when he was an infant. The attempt left him with a scar and the King's eternal disdain for being a reminder of his wife's affair with Balka's enemy. 
Temperamental. Blunt. Calculating. Sarcastic. Loyal. Courageous. Just. 

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Character bios and world building. I live for it. This is my favorite part. You know the Sims games? I would spend hours creating my Sims and building their houses (rosebud for the win) and then play for 5 minutes and peace out. It's kind of like that. Pinterest is my prep-partner. 

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
The character relationships, the settings, and the plot twists. All are so clear in my mind. And the romance. I'm really excited about the romance. *girlish giggle* 

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
It's going to be colorful with varying landscapes and cityscapes. It's set in a time when technology is new and just starting to change how a society functions (for better and worse). It's set in a world split three ways (represented by each country): a dependence on science, a reliance on magic, and a coexistence with nature.   

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Sofia's goal is to become a famous apothecary. A plot to kill the king that gets pinned on her and all the obstacles on her journey to clear her name stand in her way.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
I'm not totally sure yet. She'll definitely learn some humility. She's been riding the high horse of her grandmother's prediction of fame and she will need that knock in the head from reality. She'll learn to trust in herself instead of a prophecy, in her abilities instead of the words of others. 

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I think the biggest themes will explore the expectations of our destinies, man's relationship with nature, not judging people based on your assumptions of them, and the importance of believing in yourself. There will definitely be some man vs nature themes too (that's a given for anything I write!). Right now, I'm hoping the overall feel of the book will leave readers with a sense of hope and magic and the desire to pursue their own destinies.

*cuddles story notebook*  


  1. Wow! This sounds sooooo cool. I wanna do it for my NaNoWriMo project too!
    P.S. I'll be one of the first buyers of your book when it's published, ;)

    1. AW YOU'RE SO SWEET! And you should definitely do it! So much fun! And any excuse to get on pinterest is a good excuse ;)

  2. I just had to pop in and say how AMAZING this story sounds and complain slightly (or a lot) that it isn't already on my bookshelf to devour and cherish. I want to see all the twists and learn all about the romance! Good luck with NaNoWriMo. I'll be rooting for you!

    1. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I'm getting really excited for this one, just hope I can pull it off, eek!