Beautiful Books Linkup #1: In Which I Introduce My Novel for National Novel Writing Month!

Posted November 17, 2015 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Link Up / 6 Comments

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me post TONS of tweets about how I’m writing a novel for NaNoWriMo, but I haven’t really said much about WHAT I’m writing. At the start of November, I wanted to link up to Paper Fury’s Beautiful Books NaNo post series, in which I’d share a little bit with you about my novel…but I’m a crazy person who planned to do this in addition to writing 1.6k+ words every day, regular blogging, keeping up with my reading, moving (that’s right, MOVING), balancing my work schedule, AND completing regular household/life responsibilities. Oh yeah, and I got the stomach flu (I’m not saying it was in the plan, but it happened).

So…I’m just now getting around to the first post in the series, even though most people are already starting the second one. Excuse me while I cringe at my own unreliability. Better late than never, I guess? Either way, here we go!


The short summary of my novel is that I’m writing an Alasaka-based sci-fi/mystery about a teenage girl who discovers she wasn’t told the full truth about her mother’s death 18 years ago. When FBI agents come poking around her little town asking questions about her mother, she learns her mother was an agent who went missing on a top secret government mission. You can find the full summary here. The working title is Operation Crossroads, but I’m not sure I’m in love with it (coming up with titles isn’t really one of my strengths. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!).


      1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
        • I came up with the idea a little over a year ago while I was nannying. The house was clean and the toddler was napping, so there wasn’t really much for me to do. I had a notepad in my purse, so I got it out and started sketching to pass the time. I wound up drawing a girl with long dark hair and a serious face. From there, I made up a story about her.
      2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
        • Confession Time: I wasn’t excited about this novel when I first started writing it a couple weeks ago. I was excited when I originally chose it to be my NaNo novel, and I was eager to get started in the months leading up to November. But then disaster struck: I came up with a different story idea I liked better. I knew the new idea would need a lot more time to ruminate before it’d be ready for NaNo, so I stuck with my original choice. I’ll admit, it took the wind out of my sails a little bit. But now that I’m well underway, I can feel all my original excitement coming back! Sci-fi/mystery is a step outside my comfort zone, so it’s fun to try to write something grounded in science rather than imagination.
      3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
        • See the quick summary above or the full summary here.
      4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
        • Nuani Anyu: Stubborn
          Jamie Loy Picture
        • Anik Anyu: Scientist
        • Chris Halberd: Bestie
          Bronson Pelletier Picture
        • Special Agent Marco Russo: Mentor
        • Junior Agent Benjamin Thatcher: Jokester
          Gavin Stenhouse Picture
        • Nuani Anyu, Senior (deceased): Mysterious
      5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
        • I really like writing Ben. He has such a quirky sense of humor, and nothing phases him.
      6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
        • Nuani wants to learn the truth of how her mother died (or if she might still be alive!), but the case has been cold for almost 20 years. New evidence comes up and she wants to help with the case, but it would mean defying her uncle, the only family she’s got.
      7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
        • The teeny tiny village of Ruby, Alaska. It has 170 residents, a general store, a post office, and a B&B. The only way to get there is by boat or plane (it’s not connected to the Alaska highway system).
      8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
        • That’s a tough one, because the story has Nuani exploring that exact question. She really wants to connect more with the memory of her mother, but she’s aware that trying to do so could alienate her uncle, who is convinced she should just let it go. She also develops a mentor-student relationship with Agent Russo, who used to work with her mother.
      9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
        • Learning the truth about her mother forces Nuani to ask herself a lot of hard questions about her own nature and now much of her mother’s personality she inherited.
      10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
        • The meaning and definition of family, personal identity, and nature vs nurture all come into play in really big ways. To be honest, I’m not sure yet how I want the reader to feel at the end of the story. I guess I’ll know when I get there! 🙂
      11. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
        • Give yourself a target word count to reach every day, but work ahead whenever possible. I lost almost my entire second day of NaNo to sickness, but I was able to make up the difference the next day because I worked way ahead on the first day.
        • When you feel burnt out from writing or are stuck on what to say next, do research! Look for potential names for future characters, writing advice on how to approach your themes, anything related to your book. It’ll keep you on task while giving your brain a chance to roam. It can also help to get you inspired again!
        • Reward yourself for meeting goals. I like to say, “Ok, once I write another 1,000 words, I get  to eat a cookie/make tea/watch a [short] youtube video/work on my blog for 10 minutes.”


That’s it, folks!  Check back later this week for my #2 Beautiful Books post.
Are you doing NaNo too? If so, what’s your novel about?


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6 responses to “Beautiful Books Linkup #1: In Which I Introduce My Novel for National Novel Writing Month!

  1. I just discovered your site when reading Tori Howell’s newest tea review (I’m a tea fanatic as well) – and oh my goodness, I’m going to have to come back in the future. I love what you have going on here with the food, tea, and literature tie-ins! And then I noticed you’re also doing Beautiful People / Beautiful Books. So am I! 😀

    Your story sounds really interesting. I like how it’s set in such an isolated, desolate location – and “truth behind a loved one’s death” mysteries are always fascinating, because you never know where the answer(s) will come from. 😉 I’m curious about the sci fi elements, though. You mentioned it’s a science fiction / mystery story, but I couldn’t tell where the science would come in. Can you share anything about that briefly?

    As for titles… At least you have something to call it right now. It may not be “The One Title,” as I like to call it, but it’s better than calling it The Book, or The WIP, or [Insert Protagonist’s Name]’s Story. That’s what I did for my WIP until a week before I finished the first draft. *lol*

    If it might help, though, I did a blog post on book title strategies earlier this year. Here’s the link:

    Also, here’s a link to my Beautiful People post: I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, so I decided to dig through the BP archives and answer questions about a supporting character from the novel I’m revising.

    • So many compliments–I’m not sure if I can take them all in! ^.^
      I checked out your blog too and think it’s really cool (I added it to my Bloglovin’ feed!). I love that you do author interviews sometimes! I’m kind of an author interview junkie.

      I’ve been trying to think of a way to hint at the sci-fi element in the summary without giving it away entirely (since it’s meant to be a bit of a surprise), but I haven’t found a way to do it yet. Still working on it! 🙂 I guess the most I can say is that the sci-fi element comes into play in the mission her mother was working on. It’s ultimately why she’ missing. I wish I could say more!

      Haha! Yeah, I guess I should be grateful that I have a title, even if it’s not the title. I read your post on title resources and got some good alternative ideas though, so I made a note of them in my draft to save for later. Thanks for sending it to me! 🙂

      • Thank you! Feel free to stop in anytime. I think I remember you being a tea fan, so I think you’ll be interested in a post coming up later this week.

        Ahhhh, gotcha. I wouldn’t want you to give away spoilers. 😉

        You’re welcome! I hope you find the post and the worksheets helpful.

        • EEE!!! Another tea lover! I have your new tea post open in my tabs right now, and I’m going to read it as soon as I get a free minute. I’m actually thinking of doing similar description posts next year for the new Adagio teas I’ll be introducing at the end of each menu. Could be fun!

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