Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beautiful Books - The Prophet's Key

I haven't participated in Beautiful People for a while, have I? And even though this month's questions were written with Nano in mind--which I'm sadly not participating in this year because I want to keep my sanity, thank you very much--they were a great tool to get to know my current WIP better. The Prophet's Key has been trickier to write than I expected, so the more help I find, the better!

Link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I'd have to look back at my old notes to see when I first got the idea, but it struck when I sat down on the old wooden swinging bench on my back porch as a young teen and started brainstorming ideas for The Prophet's Quest (untitled at the time). The Prophet itself needed some exploration, and somehow the idea of there being a key to unlock all its mysteries struck me. I pursued that trail further, and the winding paths of brainstorming led to the five Shifters too.

Funny thing: The Prophet's Quest was initially going to be called The Prophet's Key, until I actually wrote the thing and realized all those ideas about the key didn't fit, and thus were moved into the sequel.

2. Describe what your novel is about!

I don't have an official synopsis yet. The inner journeys of the two MCs are still a bit foggy to me, so that will have to wait. But here's the general idea:

Aileen and Josiah are searching Earth for five hidden elementals called Shifters. These powerful individuals may be Demetria's only chance in the battle hovering at the nation's doorstep. All the while, the two teens struggle to reconcile their chosen status to their old lives and find a way to succeed without the advantages of dragon form.

3. What is your book's aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

I don't have a lot of photos gathered right now, beyond some boring maps. But it's set mostly on Earth this time, and yet the realism is infused with the fantastical: elementals, espionage, an ancient evil, and other (rather spoilery) stuff.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

We'd be here a long time if I trotted out every single person in this book's large cast of characters! So I'll just say a short blurb on all the main ones.

Aileen McKay: Sixteen years old. Brown hair, brown eyes. Introverted, intense personality, makes thoughtful decisions. Was once a white dragon with ice breath.

Josiah Williams: Sixteen years old. Blond-ish hair, grey eyes. Bold, self-assured, makes snap decisions. Was once a red dragon with fiery breath.

Mr. Hawkins: White hair, steely eyes. Guardian of the Prophet and all-around epic person. Skilled in geography.

Diver: Talking otter considered the leader of all Demetrian otters. Wears a smooth grey stone on a cord around his neck to indicate status. Spunky, adventurous, and afraid of heights.

Wimwhile: Wind Shifter. Long white beard. Always wears a long, shabby coat. Cranky, arrogant, but noble at heart.

Skaes: Water Shifter. Auburn hair. Scottish accent. Soft-hearted and fluid. Read more HERE.

Cauxle: Plant Shifter. Dark hair, mismatched eyes. Has a piratical air to him. Excellent in hand-to-hand combat.

Nisi: Light Shifter. Pale blonde hair. Cold, brusque personality concealing inner pain.

Brollier: Fire Shifter. Brown beard, eyes perpetually crinkled in a smile. Warm and jovial and courageous.

Mr. Spencer: Leader of the Sagire (a group of my main villain, Criffel's, men employed as hunters on Earth). Middle-aged. Looks harmless, but is actually secretive and deadly.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Back in the summer of 2015, I wrote a new and improved outline. (TPK was actually written four years ago, but that draft is so outdated I have to start from scratch.) At the beginning of 2016, I started researching my various settings. Much howling has been involved in this first draft. Heh. I also try to remember to pray before I write, which helps.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Finishing the first draft! Ha, no, I'm actually looking forward to the climax. The crew will finally be together, some of the villains' advantages will be revealed, and everything will come to a head. It's gonna be good!

7. List 3 things about your novel's setting.

Well, there are lots of exotic Earth locations . . . The crags of the Rocky Mountains, the rolling Highlands of Scotland, the verdant Daintree Rainforest in Australia, the urban sprawl of Moscow, and the rugged landscape of Iceland. (That's more than three. Guess I'm a rebel.)

8. What's your character's goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Their goal is to find all five Shifters before the Sagire do. Not only do the Sagire (with all their prowess and resources) stand in their way, but so does the mystery of each Shifter's location. All Aileen and Josiah have is a journal full of riddles and unlabelled maps to guide them.

I'd have to say another thing standing in their way is themselves: their own fear, their inadequacies, and their self-doubt. Which flows seamlessly into the next question . . .

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Both of them lose faith in themselves throughout the novel, but by the end, they will have (at least partially) resolved that. They both learn to lead. Josiah begins to come to grips with his father's rejection. Aileen learns to hold both her home and Alewar in her heart without being completely torn apart. As you can see, neither of them are anywhere close to truly grasping these lessons, but they are slowly transforming. The issues they face in this book will only escalate as the series goes on! Poor charries.

10. What are your book's themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Facing failure and fear, confidence in yourself, faith, perseverance--all are present in this novel. I want readers to walk away realizing they're not alone in these things, and that fear can be beaten.


Now would be the time I wrap this up, but a new thought just struck me. Fear can be beaten. The moment I typed those words, I realized how impactful they are for me. In life, of course, but also as the writer of this story. I've been afraid to write this book. Afraid of handling a large cast and a sprawling, real-life setting. Afraid of failing to keep the pace going. Afraid to disappoint future readers by featuring less of Demetria than in the first book.

But really, there's no need to fear any of that. How many times have I talked about giving yourself permission to write garbage in the first draft? It's about time I take my own advice. Cast and setting and pace can be smoothed out during editing. And I actually have an idea or two to up the "other world content" in this book--again, during editing. IT'S TIME TO JUST HAVE FUN WRITING.

Let that be a lesson to all of you, questerlings. ;)

Oh, before I go, one more thing. Make that two.

First: I'm sorry I've had a couple of late posts, and that I've been slower in replying to comments. I'm trying to fit blogging in on meal breaks at college.

Second: writer friends of mine told me about a really sweet giveaway, so I thought I'd keep spreading the news. You can win up to $3000 of cover design, editing, proofreading, and content editing! How sweet would that be? And, as a little extra sweetness, if you enter through THIS LINK, I get extra entries. Which is not an entirely self-serving request, because by entering you get your own shareable link that can get you extra entries as well. It's a lovely snowballing method.

That's it, now. Promise. Till next week!


  1. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. TRACEY DID A BEAUTIFUL BOOKS ON TPK EXCUSE ME WHILE I FLAIL FOR HALF A MILLION YEARS!!!! I loooooo-OOOOO-ooooove when you do posts about your books. I JUST WANT TO KNOW ALL THE THINGS. This excites me so much, you just have no idea! *devours post*

    Ack. ACK. The amount of EPICNESS that these books hold. o.o They're just so grand and deep with such interesting elements and LSDKJ:LFJ:EIJSLJDF. THEY SOUND SO AMAZING.

    Getting a brief look at some of your charries is the BEST. THERE'S A TALKING OTTER. Did I know this? Because I do not remember this. IT'S SO COOL. And the ELEMENTS. First of all, their names are all kinds of epic and gorgeous. And what is this about a piratical air to Cauxle and mismatched eyes? :O I WANT TO KNOW MORE. He needs s Beautiful People post or something because...HE SOUNDS AWESOME. But they ALL do. I adore how the fire shifter is actually the nice one. Because I feel like the cliche thing would be having him, well, fiery and mean. I just love how you turned that around! And the same with the light shifter. You'd expect her to be all super nice and the warm, friendly one. You are awesome in trumping these cliches!

    All those wonderful places you're going to be taking the characters. o.o You should NOT fear about not having much of the fantasy world. I mean, it sounds like the setting is going to be utterly fascinating as is! So many interesting places!

    Oh, girl, what you said about fear. THANK YOU!!! Words I need to hear often. It's so easy to fall into fear and doubt as a writer. But you're so right, there's no need! We should just push on and have FUN. I've learned stories tend to work themselves out in the end, we just have to keep writing. So keep writing, because this story sounds so unbelievably amazing AND THE WORLD NEEDS IT. I NEED IT.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Tracey. This was the besssst!


      It's amazingly encouraging to hear words like grand, deep, and interesting when my inner critic sometimes says overwrought, cheesy, and spread-too-thin. SO THANK YOU, GIRL. *hugs*

      I don't know if I've ever mentioned Diver to you, actually! Haha, woops! He's one of my favorites because a) he's an otter, b) he's snarky and charming as all get out, and c) did I mention he's an adorable otter? (Yes, I am in love. XD)

      Glad you like the Shifters' names, because I came up with them way back when I was new to this fantasy names thing. XD Cauxle is definitely another epic favorite of mine, so yes ma'am, I'll be sure to properly introduce him sooner rather than later! LOL, I've actually never thought about Brollier being opposite of his element! I always thought of the friendly, warm aspect of fire. That's a neat perspective. (Nisi, on the other hand, did strike me as a paradoxical gal from the beginning. You're so perceptive to pick up on things like this!)

      Whew, I hope so! Once I get into books 3-5, things will be mostly in the fantasy far as I can predict right now, anyways. (We shan't think of all the difficulties the climax is going to present. Heh.)

      I already feel ten times better just knowing there's someone else out there who needs the same reminder! It's so important to keep the fun in writing, isn't it?

      GAH, CHRISTINE. I was actually just working on TPK this afternoon when I saw your comment, so it was just the boost I needed to keep writing! Thank you! <3

  2. Wait. Your book has a TALKING OTTER?! That's the best thing ever! It sounds like an awesome book! A large cast is difficult sometimes, but it's a ton of fun! I hope you have a great time writing it or revising it. :)

    1. LOL, Diver's a really fun character to write about, that's for sure! (My favorite thing to do is throw him into the nearest scary, modern vehicle and watch him panic. Airplanes and speeding cars are a wee bit outside his comfort zone. XD)

      I'm trying to split up that big cast into mini groups with their own subplots, so hopefully that helps. But yes, group dynamics are the BEST.

      Thanks so much, Ashley! ^_^

  3. Nice to hear more about Prophet's Key!
    That character list was especially fun, and I hope we'll be seeing some full bios soon.

    1. Thank you, Blue! Glad you enjoyed the glimpses of the main cast. Bios are a splendid idea. Beautiful People has changed gears for the Nano-themed Beautiful Books for the next couple of months, but maybe I'll just cook up some character-centered blog posts of my own... ;D

  4. Ah, cool! :) Your book sounds very well attended to. My poor ink-and-paper babies are all but neglected these days because I have a writing spree in one of them (see below link) and not all of them (and I'm afraid NaNo won't help much).
    But, I love this post! I hope to see some more of these lovable characters! :D And also, as much as a not animal-obsessive reader as I am, I do have to commend you on the creativity of a talking otter. :)

    1. Welll, I haven't actually been attending to it all that well recently, what with college going on. But thank you! (And I shall check out your link in the near future!)

      Thanks! I should feature some of them in greater detail. :) LOL, Diver is the product of my younger writing days, but I had to keep him. He's too fluffy and epic to cut out. XD

  5. Ooo! This book sounds cool! Still getting over that Josiah Williams is my brother's name as well haha. I love elemental powers and those settings sound awesome! Best wishes writing it. You can do it!

    My BB:

    1. Haha, that's right--I'd forgotten about the same name. XD Thanks so much, Tori!

  6. Ooohhh, this book sounds so good! And the characters sound positively delicious! An otter who's afraid of heights! A Wind Shifter with a long white beard! A character with mismatched eyes! *clears throat to calm down* I can't wait to read this someday. :)

    1. Thank you, Lucy! (Sorry to be so late in replying to your comment, by the way.) Heehee, you just pointed out three of my favorites from this cast--if I was forced to pick favorites, anyway. XD That means so much, thanks! ^_^

  7. HOW DID I MISS THIS POST?? Anyway, can't wait to read TPK some day. <3

    1. LOL, I miss people's posts too, or forget that I never commented when I meant to. :P Thanks so much, girl! *huggles comment*

  8. Hi, Tracey! Just thought I'd let you know that I tagged you in this, er, tag: if you'd like to check it out! :)

    This project sounds AWESOME, by the way!!?

    1. Thanks for the tag, Kayla! I was just over there to check it out. :)

      And thank you once again--hat makes my day!

  9. wow this book and subsequent series sounds AMAZING. Definitely would read it someday :)
    My Beautiful book post is here, but I'm wishing I could write something like yours. I never was good at writing fantasy. I stick to real life stuff. Though my novel in progress could easily become a fantasy...if like I said, I thought I was any good at writing fantasy

    1. D'awww, thank you, Sara Beth! That makes me smile! I just read your post and left a comment (but I'm not sure if you moderate or if the internet ate my comment, because it disappeared).

      Oh goodness, don't even compare yourself to someone else! Like I mentioned in the comment, you're writing about 1600's ships! That's something that requires so much research, which is one of my weak points.
      As for writing fantasy? I'd say just read loads of it, note what you like and don't like, and get your imagination going. For worldbuilding, pay attention to important structures/elements/rules/concepts from the real world, and use that as a foundation for the crazy weird stuff your brain comes up with. :)
      (By the way, I would write a historical novel if I thought I was any good at that, too. XD)

  10. Your book sounds really compelling and awesome. Love the descriptions of the characters!

    1. Thanks, Skye! *huggles* The characters are probably my favorite part of this book. ^_^

  11. This post made me so excited to start TPQ! I hope TPK is going super well. I love the sound of your themes! (Also, I'd totally forgotten A and J could shapeshift into dragons?!!!)

    1. UPDATE: true to my word I BEGAN TPQ! I have read the first four chapters! I'm loving it! And I don't know whyyy I was freaking out about not having time before Kenya, I mean, hello, I just read nearly a fifth of it in one night. I *think* I can manage it before mid-January XD


      So yeah.

      :D :D :D

    2. ASKJFASKLDFJ YOU SWEET HUMAN BEING. I had the loveliest writing session in TPK that I've had in a long time, just last Sunday. 2k in two hours...ah, it was bliss. ^_^

      Well, kind of. They can't control the transformation, the Prophet does. Buuut if you've read that far, you may have figured that out by now. I AM SO EXCITED AND NERVOUS THAT YOU STARTED TPQ, OH MY GOODNESS. It makes me want to go reread everything, knowing fresh eyes are gazing upon it. *faints*