11 Strongest Influences On “The Songless”

The following will probably be boring.

Feel warned.

“Why are you telling us this, Kate?” you ask wearily.

Um. So you don’t charge at me with a pitchfork in the comments section? I just have a creeping feeling that this is not going to be my most riveting post, okay?

But I still want to write it, because… because this is my blog and I do what I want!

And also because… I’m a horrible author who actually enjoys giving things away and, I don’t know… perhaps some of my diehard fans will enjoy all the trivia about my firstborn child?

Oh, hush, I know I have diehard fans out there somewhere!

Maybe.

Ahem! Onwards!

I shall now proceed to list a tidy list of shows or movies or songs or other books that have contributed something to The Songless. And there will be lovely pictures. So maybe stick around for that, if nothing else?

 

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1. Prince Caspian: Runaway

I was just a kid when I began, so you must forgive me for my blatant plagiarism.

The Songless was essentially a genderswapped Prince Caspian when I first wrote it. Character names, for example, were Telmar-esque and Endelyn had a father who was similar to King Miraz in both appearance and attempting-to-kill-a-close-relative.

I am happy to say that The Songless does not resemble Prince Caspian in the slightest now! I do love the story of Caspian, though… It could use a few more retellings, methinks.

 

2. Wormwood: Fallen Angels

Wormwood is an extremely obscure book, so I don’t expect you to have read it. But it is also one of my favorites and shaped The Songless in some important ways.

One of the main characters is Tegatus, an angel who “fell in love with the wrong woman” and whose fate seems to be in a kind of limbo. Another angel, Abram, tells someone that he is a fallen angel – but what fascinates me is that Abram still actively works for the good side.

The Songless, and all of my other stories, center around a race of beings called Kwanza. Like angels, they are immortal and have certain superhuman abilities like healing or foresight or telepathy. Unlike angels, they live on earth in order to protect humanity and can both rebel against their Maker and be redeemed after doing so.

Like in Wormwood, even after having “fallen,” the Kwanza can still choose to serve their Creator.

 

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3. How To Train Your Dragon: Joka

Some of you know that, in its infancy, The Songless‘ basic plot was: Gril runs away from home. Girl gets stuck in trap. Dragon-riding dude saves her. They are both thrown in prison.

Anybody want to venture a guess as to where the dragon-riding dude came from?

Not that Makovu was much like Hiccup. On the contrary, Makovu was an adult man, tall and strong and mysterious and not much of a conversationalist.

The dragon, on the other hand…

I’m positive that my first description of it sounded something like this… “There was a small catlike dragon with wide adorable eyes like saucers. He was black, but had livid spots if you looked really close. He was playful and nice once you got to know him but was kind of hostile at first.”

There is still a dragon in The Songless, which pleases me muchly. His name is Joto la Joka and he is an infant. In dragon years, that is. In human years he is about a thousand. Or so.

I’ll admit… Joka strongly resembles Toothless, even now. But I’m hoping that since Joka is so tiny he can fit into the palm of your hand, my plagiarism won’t be too apparent?

4. Oliver Twist: Honor Among Thieves

After reading Oliver Twist, a band of thieves mysteriously appeared in my story. Complete with a teenage girl, her lover, and two mischievous imps.

Could I have been any more obvious?

Ugh. My younger self was so… uncreative.

Some vestiges of this influence still remain, however! The Nomads are still, at their core, the “thieves” and I still try to convey that in the midst of their cruel and proud ways, they value honor and loyalty and have a certain code of ethics even they do not dare to break.

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5. Hercules: Meg’s Deal With Hades

Ooh! This is a more recent influence.

Which means I must be quite secret. So I’ll just say that, yes, one of my characters – Endelyn, to be exact – did indeed sell her soul to Hades. Who happens to be the father of the man she is in love with.

Whew! Glad I didn’t give anything away!

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6. Brave: Mother-Daughter Friendship

Aww! I remember when my story was sweet and innocent and oddly Scottish…

This was back when Endelyn had met her biological mother but her father killed her. Or perhaps Endelyn herself murdered her mother? It was never quite clear to me whodunnit, to be honest. So it’s probably for the best that this plot was cast aside…

Anywho. In this draft, Endelyn had a mother. That’s the important thing!

They were close, like sisters and did everything together. Including horseback riding. Which isn’t reminiscent at all of a certain Disney film. Not at all.

But you will be happy to know that all signs of this influence have been eradicated! Ha!

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7. On Stranger Tides: Mermaid And Sailor Romance

I’m not even sure she is a mermaid? I’m just guessing because of the… towel.

In case you couldn’t tell, I have not seen this movie. But soundtracks are a thing… especially at my house. Daniel is kind of obsessed. By the way, the soundtrack is the most haunting, terrifying, and utterly beautiful I have ever heard, so if you ever get a chance, listen to it.

Anyway. I saw this picture and their frightened, “caught” expressions and suddenly… The Songless had a sequel! In this sequel, Endelyn’s son, Timothy, fell in love with a mermaid and turned her human. There was no plot? Unless you count sneaking a towel-clad girl into your house a plot? Which… I don’t?

Needless to say, the sequel was scrapped.

But I am still as fascinated with mermaids as ever and will absolutely be writing about them someday.

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8. Game of Thrones: Despairing Eyes

Just… just look at their eyes for a moment.

Isn’t it heartbreaking? Not one of them has any hope. You can tell. Just by the eyes.

And, no, I have never watched this show. But a picture like this one was inside the booklet that comes with the soundtrack – please say you know what I’m talking about – and their eyes were so… powerful.

I see greed and anger and hurt and fear and danger and evil and ambition. And hopelessness. Despair. Submission. Apathy.

This… this is exactly what Endelyn looked like as a child. What everyone looked like who lived in the Empire.

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9. The Walking Dead: Aesthetic

My older brother watches this show.

I do not.

Just so you know.

My stomach for violence is… small.

But my big brother is a fan and I remember one day he was describing this scene… and it just came to life in my mind. He said that the group – almost like a pack of hunters – were living in a desertlike wilderness and each night would form a circle around the campfire and that one of the girls would sing.

I still have this scene in The Songless. It was too important to leave out.

The similarities to The Walking Dead are prominent and striking and not unintentional. You might say the later drafts were inspired by or based off of this show.

My characters live in the desert, living as fugitives from the insane Wale Giza and from the fact they are all on the verge of insanity themselves. They have a pledge that if anyone in their “pack” starts to… turn, they will kill them before the disease takes over their mind. One of my characters, Wimbo Nzuri, is based off of the girl who sang.

I have no idea if I’m even imagining this show right, but I like to think that The Walking Dead is a kind of aesthetic for The Songless.

10. Closer: Alcoholism 

Well, whaddya know about that?

One lonely song has made its way onto this list. Which is odd, actually, because two of my other novels are inspired almost entirely by an album or an artist, so music does have an impact on my writing. I’m not a completely uncultured swine, I will have you know.

Though… you may doubt this fact because Closer by Halsey isn’t exactly the most classy selection? And I’m sorry about that. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of mainstream pop, but the sass levels in this song and the raw regret… well, I love this song.

You might consider Closer Makovu’s… anthem. This song kind of sums him up perfectly. One line leapt out at me… “I drink too much and that’s an issue, okay.” 

Profound, right?

Now I can hear you snickering at me because it isn’t profound at all, but it inspired me. Alcoholism doesn’t get much press, I don’t pretend to know why. But when I heard it, I just knew – drinking was Makovu’s big struggle. His demon to conquer.

11. Forbidden: Darkening

I love Ted Dekker! Most of the time, that is… He can be a brilliant genius and a total creeper, alternately, and his books are not for the faint of heart, but I got hooked at age nine and faithfully read every book he writes even now.

Forbidden is one of his more recent books, and the premise is quite fascinating… But I won’t bore you with the details. In this book, a certain group of rather intimidating people have black blood and pale skin so that you can see all the veins in their necks and arms and their eyes are all pupil, all black. It’s scary.

I may have stolen this.

All the rest of the characters are in various stages of… darkness. Some are “dead” and others “awakened.” A third group is kind of “twice-awakened.”

I may have stolen this also.

Oops?

My setting is entirely different so I don’t think Ted will mind much when he finds out?

Thus concludes my list!

Were you totally bored out of your mind? Who else loves the song Closer? If your novel was a TV show, which one would it be? Are there any Dekker fans in the audience? What are some things that have influenced your writings? Do you ever get inspired by a single song or lyric? Weren’t the picture lovely?

Unedited: Burning Edition

I feel like you guys are ultimately going to read my entire book just through these snippets posts… What can I say, there are lots of tiny bits and  pieces of my story that I love!

You’re probably getting tired of it, but to be honest with you, I’m having the time of my life. I’m proud of this story and my precious characters. Introducing you to my characters and having you, my writerly pals, get to know and love them the way I do… well, that’s why writers write, isn’t it? To share what they love with other people?

But I’m rambling nonsensically.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

The first meteor caught the pack by off-guard, it was traveling so fast. There was searing heat and an explosion. Endelyn pivoted, eyes wide, as she tried to take in what had just happened. Wimbo Nzuri knelt on the sand, holding the charred remains of her father in her lap and sobbing brokenly.

 

“Move out!” Hatari yelled. “We can’t stay here!”
One of the women tending Mako spoke up. “He really shouldn’t be moved, Hatari. He’s lost too much blood.”
“Then we leave him,” she said grimly.

 

She was dead. Hatari made a horrible noise – half-sob, half-gasp. It ended on a screaming wail that died on her lips but her mouth stayed open, stretched wide in a silent screech.

 

They took the burned baby and buried her in a grave that the man dug. It was too big, but they put her in it anyway.

 

As always, the song was its own when it began. It was up to Endelyn to fashion it into what she needed it to be. And for the first time, she needed it to be a song of healing. She mixed Aleks’ lullaby with her Awakening, the green grass that grew beneath her in the arid desert and she sang love and pain and grief for all the things that had been lost. Endelyn lost herself in the song, closing her eyes and watching it come to life in the darkness of her mind. She saw Makovu whole, she saw him strong, she saw him standing alone to ward off the darkness that approached, she saw his rare smile, the intense heat of his eyes, and, for the first time, allowed herself to relive their kiss. She opened her eyes and saw him watching her as she sang. Tears leaked out of his eyes. Endelyn faltered and then stopped altogether. She wiped away thee tears that were coursing down her own cheeks.
“It worked,” she whispered.
Endelyn stood and looked around. Everyone had gathered in a circle about them. Hatari was the only one who wasn’t staring at Endelyn. She was fingering her burned arm. Except it wasn’t burned anymore. The skin was perfect, unmarred and smooth.

 

“I can’t just let you die!”
“You promised,” he reminded her.
“There is a time to break promises!”
“Have you no honor?” he shouted.
The tears spilled over. “Apparently not.”
Makovu shook his head. “I won’t let you.”
“You can’t stop me,” she said flatly.

 

Haraka only shrugged. “It was not given to us to know how it would all turn out.”
“Don’t you wish it had?” she persisted.
“No,” he responded flatly.
“Why not?”
“Because I might see something I couldn’t do anything to stop.”
Mkali looked at him strangely. “What do you know, Haraka?”
“Enough.”
“There’s something you’re not telling me.”
“There are many things I’m not telling you. Because you do not need to know.”
Mkali sighed. “Fine. Have it your way. I still wish I knew how it was all going to end.”
“No, you don’t, Mkali. No, you don’t.”

 

“You couldn’t save the life of one little girl, so you did penance by saving another. But you destroyed Endelyn at the same time. It would have been better if she died.”
Anger rose up and clouded my vision. “I save her life!”
“Did you, Landric? Did you really?”

 

“Yes, I am Makovu.” His words hung in the air with a sort of finality. “Maybe I’ll never belong. Maybe some people never do.”

 

“You are a strange woman,” Endelyn said at last.
The woman did not laugh this time, but smiled, sadly. “Yes, I am a strange woman. A strange woman in a strange world.”

Okay, tell me all the things! Do you feel like you are getting more of a feel for this story? Do you actually enjoy the nefarious Snippets Posts or are you just tolerating them? Does reading other people’s snippets ever make you depressed – because it totally depresses me! I honestly don’t even know why I post snippets…

Unedited: Romance Edition

Because obviously you are so sick of me dumping my entire novel down your throat that you will most likely die of the frustration shortly.

Do I care? No, I do not.

You will continue to read my snippets. You will continue to say kind things like, “You are the next Tolkien!” You will continue to pledge your undying devotion to be my slave forever and read every word I ever write. Or I will… Well, I’ll just kill you with more snippets, that’s what I’ll do!

Sound like a plan?

Alright, let’s do it!

 

Vipande had been the only person she ever relaxed with. Because Vipande was Vipande. Her best friend. The boy she grew up with. The boy who was always pulling her hair. The boy who gave her her first black eye, her first fat lip. The boy who’d dared her to climb the tallest tree at home. The who’d nearly drowned her in the pond, holding her head under while she struggled but refused to admit defeat.

 

For a moment Mkali stood locked in a lethal embrace with her enemy. The woman’s face was mere inches from her own and for a moment Mkali stared into her eyes. What she saw there made her heart quail. Crazed pupils took up her entire eye; barely any white showed. And the pupils were black. Not just dark, like Mkali’s own or Itale’s or Kupwa’s. But black. Consumed with her own darkness, this woman had gone insane. And in that moment, Mkali realized the truth. This was what she would become.

 

“You were taught to kill on sight – kill first, ask questions later. And that as easy for you. Because you didn’t have to look into the eyes of the soul you killed and see yourself looking back. You killed from a distance. And so it never touched you.”
“Yes,” Mkali whispered. “Yes, that’s what I did.”
Itale placed his hand in the side of her face gently, contrasting to the coldness of his words. “Out here we kill without remorse. We cannot grieve every life we take. They are too many. And we are all approaching madness.”

 

“You’re ridiculous.”
Aleks only wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. Lyn tilted her head back to look at the stars. They seemed so far away…
“I do believe the lady is ignoring me,” Aleks told no one in particular.
“Did you just use a respectful term for a woman?”
“Slip of the tongue, my dear.”
“I’m so relieved.”

 

“Forever?”
A ghost of a smile crossed Aleks’ handsome face. “Forever.”

 

Endelyn felt trapped in this timeless state of fiery pain and howling fury. She struggled wildly to free herself, but something held her fast.

 

“So what are we going to do?”
Aleks stood and dusted himself off as well as he could. The end result was that he was as sand-colored as before. “Get to water as soon as we can. I have an idea of where we are – and where the closest oasis is.”
“And if it’s too far?”
“If it’s too far, we die,” he said cheerfully.

 

“You mean if we don’t die first?”
“Exactly. If we don’t die first.” And then Aleks offered her that brilliant reckless smile that meant that he didn’t care what happened.

 

“Landric told me that you were a people in love with the desert – with the hot sun and the white sand and midnight skies full of stars.”
Aleks gave her a look she did not understand. “We are. We do.”

 

Endelyn examined him in the pale moonlight. He looked so boyish – always did, but especially now. Waves of still-damp hair fell almost to his broad shoulders. His eyebrows were dark, she noticed. Like the roots of his hair. Both stood out in sharp contrast to his flawless fair skin. Endelyn’s heart began to pound, her breaths to come in short gasps. She loved him. How had it happened? So swiftly, so silently? And against all the weight of her better judgement.

Come flail with me!

It is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with followup questions for these posts… Um. Tell me about your characters! What are they like? What color is their hair? Do you have any ideas for questions I can ask after posting snippets? Tell me everything!

I also need questions for my well-mannered villain Landric and his childhood friend Brand, so don’t forget to include those in your comment!

 

Unedited: Beginnings Edition

Alright, folks!

Back by popular demand – oh, hush – are…

The Snippets!

I wish I could make them all pretty for you, but let’s face it, I am far too lazy to find pictures and edit my words onto their surfaces. So you will just have to be content with the words.

 

She never spoke to me. Not once. I knew that she could speak, but she simply refused, retreating inside herself instead. Her self-imposed silence lasted twelve years. Perhaps it would’ve been more merciful to let her die.

 

“You come, too,” he said breathlessly. She tried to pull her hand away, but he wouldn’t let her. He had never been convinced that she understood him when he spoke, but he was sure now. She knew. She took a step back, their joined hands dangling limply between them. With a sudden tug, Aleks pulled her into his arms.

 

Endelyn could feel each blade of grass that pressed against the bare skin of her legs. She could feel the breath of wind that caressed her face and blew her hair up off her neck and moved silently through the grass. Shed could feel every fiber of the rough material of her dress as if chafed against her skin. She could feel it all. So many sensations. It was agony. It was ecstasy. She was alive for the first time. And then, when she opened her eyes, it was gone.

 

Those were not her eyes. So huge and dark, nearly black. Once they were blue, like the color of the sky on a sunny day. Mkali tore her eyes away, unable to sit there staring into the despairing eyes of the stranger she saw looking out at her.

 

Endelyn broke her stubborn silence only to curse him soundly in Nomad, telling him just what she thought of him in a string of colorful expletives. The corners of his mouth tipped up in an amused smile. He replied in easy, fluid Nomad.
“Thank you.”

 

In the darkness, far away, I can see a dim light. I move toward it, and it becomes brighter, its light stronger. I hear a steady hum coming from it. As it becomes clearer, I see that out is not a fixed orb of light as I had thought, but a thin, glowing thread that stretches on and on until it is faint in the distance and finally melts into the blackness.

 

A dry wind catches sparks rising from the campfire, making them dance erratically until they blink out. Dead. Dead, like everyone and everything around me. I get the sense that these people are fugitives, running for their lives. And now I’m running with them.

 

As if an afterthought, Makovu reaches for Moto’s hand. She just stares at it. Makovu goes ahead and grabs it anyway.

 

“I knew, even in the beginning, that I would have to pay a price… And it turned out that it cost me everything. The things that mattered the most. My soul. I made a deal with the devil.” She shrugs. ” I knew that. I knew that the price would be high. I knew that ultimately, it would destroy me. Funny, isn’t it, that my love for him drove me to do this, and now that it’s all over that’s what I had to give up? I knew right from the start that to do this… It meant goodbye.”

 

He was beautiful, Mkali realized. They all were, in a strange, twisted way that hurt her. They were the distorted reflections of Kwanza whom she had known.

 

Tell me your thoughts! Did you have a favorite? Or were they all just too beautiful for words (I hope they weren’t because I love comments so much!)? Do you have a favorite character? If I were to interview one of them, which one would you like it to be?

 

I Wrote A Book, Mon

When I was eleven years old, an idea captured my mind and wouldn’t let it go.

Over the next six years, it slowly captured my heart as well.

I poured all my energies into that story… but those energies were not terribly concentrated. My approach to writing was incredibly relaxed – I only wrote when I felt like writing. When inspiration struck. 

The story morphed, slowly, into something new. Evolved, you might say. So much, in fact, that it was eventually unrecognizable as the same story that had hatched in my mind so many years earlier.

NaNo changed that.

The story that I had been chipping away at has been completed.

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I don’t even know what to do with myself, to be honest. The feeling of being done is so… foreign. I have never completed a full-length novel before.

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I didn’t do it alone. After week two, I was running out of ideas fast. I had moved through my story too quickly and it was dying. That was when Shay and Brandon came into the picture and helped me to push through. Brandon wrote some brilliant posts that I desperately needed. Shay and I chatted using NaNo mail and guided me through some specific steps to extending my story.

I could not have done it without them.

What now?

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Well, I move on. This is so new to me… but it would seem, that for the first time I am free to explore the world of new ideas. 

Miss March and Christine, my sweet friends, encouraged me to take a break, telling me that I had done enough. Brandon, however, relentlessly advised me to plunge right into the next story.

He said, “Yes, this story is done. So start a new one. We are writers, after all. There is always another story.” Brandon is a wise boy.

One thing I’ll say for NaNo – it effectively gets you into the writing spirit. I could not stop thinking about my story. So, for a few weeks after NaNo, I worked on the fun stuff behind writing a book that I didn’t allow myself to procrastinate writing to do during NaNo.

I made a word-aesthetic.

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I patched up my dilapidated outline.

And finally, I took a deep breath… and started something new.

But, deranged little overachiever that I am, I didn’t begin working on just one new story. I started four.

A futuristic novel about a seventeen-year-old surgeon whose patients are abducted.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling set in 19th century London.

An Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass retelling about mirrors and mental hospitals.

A Peter Pan retelling without the “pan” I’m calling “Just Peter.”

Admittedly, I’ve zeroed in on the Beauty and the Beast retelling, though the others are just as intriguing.

And I’ve also started reading again, which, as you can probably imagine, is like a breath of fresh air. Of course, it is largely school-assigned reading – but when I’m assigned things like The Great Gatsby, I’m a happy girl.

My sad fingers are also happier now. Which is important to note. Because I know how much you care about my sad fingers.

So, tell me! What did you write in November? What’s next? Any exciting new projects you wanna reveal? What have you been reading lately? Got any recommendations for me?

 

Unedited: Snippets

Hello!

Some of you have expressed an interest in knowing more about my novel. And so I thought, instead of ranting on and on about it – which I would most certainly do once I got going – I’ll show you.

So here you are!

Exactly ten snippets, completely unedited.

This is the part where I say how nervous I am to have humans looking at words that I wrote. Except I’m not.

Call me cocky, but I handpicked these bits and pieces because they are the best I have to offer. They are what inspires me to keep writing this story when I’m ready to give up. They are little gems. I’m proud of them.

So. I present to you…

The Snippets.

 

“Can you stop hitting me on the head?”
“Can you stop trying to kill me every time my back is turned?”
“I’m your hostage.”
“Duly noted. But in my defense, it is only the instinct for self-preservation that makes me keep hitting your head.”
“That doesn’t make it hurt less.”

 

“Why do you wanna kill me so bad anyway?”
“You kidnapped me.”
“Whatever.”

 

“I’m gonna get you out of here, Endelyn. I swear it.”
She opened her eyes a tiny crack and offered him a weak smile. “I know you will.” Her eyes drifted closed again.
Makovu looked down at the precious treasure he held in his arms and swore to himself that she would not die. He began to run. She did not wake. He ran faster. They had to get out today. She was slipping away from him. He searched for her in his mind, a difficult task with his eyes open. As he had felt instinctively, her light was dimming.

 

“The world has changed. There is no sun.”
“What do you mean, no sun?”
“The sun has died. We live in the dark.”

 

“Common was all they spoke there. So… fourteen years went by and… I had never spoken a word. It sounded so ugly to me. So rough and harsh. I loathed it. Loathed everyone who spoke it. There were many, though, like me. Many old who had ceased speaking, many children who never had. But they did nor refuse to speak it because of its ugliness. They… had lost the will – to live, to move, to speak.”

 

“You were happy there?”
She hesitated. “For a while, I was happy there.”

 

And as the hours dragged on, Lyn felt death hovering nearby. She longed to hand herself over into its embrace. But he began to speak. And his rich, beautiful voice, cracked and dry from dehydration, pulled her away from the brink.

 

Lyn hated herself for her cowardice. She knew what had happened to those men. Honor demanded that she tell him the truth. Apparently she lacked honor enough, because her lips remained firmly sealed.

 

To her, it was alive with memories, flitting before her eyes like phantoms. Ghosts from her past. All the endless dreary days she spent in The Empire, growing more and more lethargic as days and months and years slipped by. The lifeless eyes if the living – small children hiding behind mothers’ skirts, and the sightless eyes of the dead that were left lying in the street where they slowly rotted and turned to the dust that she walked on. The empty tomb that was the Fortress – the hollow halls and dim corridors, the creaking, dusty wood floors. The forbidden wing… Landric. Sweet, enigmatic Landric, watching anxiously as Lyn deteriorated.

 

And I watched as that beautiful child with those huge eyes that were so full of life, die a slow and painful death and not even realize it.

Alright, tell me! What did you think? Do you want more snippets (you are getting more whether you like it or not! This is my blog and I do what I want!)?

 

 

In The Interviewer’s Chair: Please Welcome Endelyn And Makovu!

This is the first character interview I have ever done, and after much deliberation I decided to interview Makovu and Endelyn together. I think it will be fun to watch them interact.

I’m going to bring them in here in just a moment, but first allow me to set the stage.

We’re in a film studio, surrounded by cameras and mics and lighting equipment, but the cameras aren’t rolling, the mics are turned off, only one of the lights is on. The studio is shut down for the night.

I sit regally in my interviewer’s armchair, facing an empty couch. The equipment is directly behind me.

Off to either side, other couches with end tables next to them are scattered about giving the room the feel of a lounge.

The single spotlight draws your attention to that empty couch.

The wall behind the couch and the two walls on each side are floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

We are in a skyscraper.

I am wearing a black knee-length pencil skirt with a navy blue blouse, my hair piled on top of my head in a professional-looking bun that adds two inches to my diminutive five-foot-two stature.

My feet are bare.

Behind me, the door clicks open and I get out of my chair and navigate carefully through the clutter to welcome my guests.

Endelyn emerges first, followed closely by Makovu.

Endelyn is wearing a loose-fitting gray sweater made of a soft-looking material and dark skinny jeans that accentuate her long legs. Her black high-healed boots boost her already six-foot frame by four inches so that she is nearly as tall as Mako. She is wearing her waist-length black hair down, and it falls down her back in glossy waves.

Makovu wears ripped, faded jeans and black biker boots with a snug white T-shirt. His long dark brown-and-caramel hair is falling in his eyes. As usual.

Me: (quietly) Hi, guys. (nods in Endelyn’s direction) Endelyn.

Endelyn: (takes an involuntary step backward)

Me: (cringes) Sorry. (nods at Makovu) Mako.

Makovu: (to Endelyn) She’s staring at me again. (to me) Is something wrong?

Me: Huh? Oh! No, nothing. Come on. You guys can sit right over here. (leads way to interview area)

Both: (immediately head for opposite couches off to the side)

Me: Whoa! Where do you think you’re going?

Both: (turn around grudgingly)

Me: You have to sit right there (points to couch facing the interviewer’s chair)

Both: (look at tiny couch in disgust) (drag themselves over to couch and sit down, careful to avoid touching each other in the process)

Endelyn: (sits bolt upright)

Makovu: (leans back casually, draping his arms over the back of the couch, crosses legs)

Me: Cool. So Anna and Christine have some questions for you… But you should know that I reserve the right to jump in with my own questions whenever I want.

Makovu: (raises one eyebrow and smirks) This oughta be fun.

Endelyn: Who are…?

Me: Anna and Christine are friends of mine. Let’s get started, shall we? (arranges self in armchair, flips through notes) Here we go. First question. What is your best memory? Endelyn?

Endelyn: (haltingly) That day in the desert… When I woke up…

Me: (softly) Yeah. I remember that day. What about you, Mako?

Makovu: (getting a faraway look in his eyes) When I went swimming for the first time.

Me: When was that?

Makovu: I was about two human years old… I stumbled across a pond. Nobody else was around…

Me: Water is very special to you.

Makovu: Yes.

Me: What is your worst memory?

Makovu: (shrugs) The day I left Haraka or… the day my family died…

Me: Endelyn? Your worst memory?

Endelyn: The same day. The day I woke up.

Me: Why?

Endelyn: Because I killed them. And because it hurt.

Me: Killed who?

Endelyn: My escorts. Nomad soldiers.

Me: And what do you mean, it hurt?

Endelyn: My senses had been deadened most of my life. Finally being able to feel… the pain was intense, excruciating. I had never experienced anything like it.

Me: Okay. The next question… do you have any siblings?

Endelyn: No.

Me: What about Landric? You are close to him, right?

Endelyn: Yes…

Me: But you don’t view him as family.

Endelyn: (blankly) I have no family.

Me: (nods slowly) (shifts in chair) (to Makovu) Do you have any siblings?

Makovu: I had a younger sister. She died when the rest of my family did.

Me: Tell us about your family.

Makovu: My father raised me in the jungle with the Kwanza until I was four human years old. He was… angry. Too young to be good father. After that I lived with my mother and the pack.

Me: Who was in your pack?

Makovu: (runs a hand through his hair and looks up at the ceiling, trying to remember) Itale was alphamale and Kupwa was his lieutenant… The girls were the hunters. Their brother was Itale’s rival for alphamale position. My mother was alphafemale. My sister and I were too young to have an official rank.

Me: Complicated.

Makovu: (grins) You could say that.

Me: How did you and your little sister get along?

Makovu: I was spoiled. She was… well, she was an outcast, really. I never understood why. We were inseparable, though. Partly because my mother always told me to look out for her, partly because I enjoyed playing big brother.

Me: Kind of like you do with Endelyn now?

Makovu: (looks at me sharply) What? No.

Me: (looks at Endelyn) How do you and Landric get along?

Endelyn: (shrugs) (twists hair around index finger)

Me: What is that supposed to mean?

Endelyn: We understand each other.

Makovu: (raises eyebrows)

Me: I see. (shuffles through notecards) Who has had the most influence in your life?

Endelyn: Landric.

Me: Mako?

Makovu: Haraka. I guess.

Me: Haraka is a cool guy.

Saint: Was. Was a… ‘cool guy.’

Me: You don’t know that he’s dead.

Makovu: He’s dead.

Me: You don’t-

Makovu: I know.

Me: Fine. Was a cool guy. (clears throat) Let’s move on. What is one thing you would give up your life for?

Makovu: Endelyn.

Endelyn: (calmly) He’s under orders.

Me: What did you say?

Endelyn: He told me once that those were his orders. To save me. Protect me.

Me: Does that bother you?

Endelyn: Should it?

Me: (rolls eyes) Endelyn and her rhetoric questions… It’s just that most girls would be insulted by him admitting that you were kind of a… project.

Endelyn: (shrugs)

Makovu: (raises eyebrows at me)

Me: (laughs softly) Is there anything you’d give your life for, Endelyn?

Endelyn: Aleks. I would have given my life for Aleks.

Makovu: (gives me a bewildered sidelong glance)

Me: (bites lip) I’m sorry.

Endelyn: Yes. Well. There’s nothing any of us can do about that, is there?

Me: (softly) No. I guess not.

Makovu: Aren’t you supposed to be asking us questions or something?

Me: (clears throat) Um, yeah. Something like that. (looks at notes) Here we go. Mako, what do you fear more – grief, torture, or death?

Makovu: (laughs flatly) Grief.

Me: Do you agree, Endelyn?

Endelyn: (softly) Yes. Grief.

Me: What do you think of authority in your life?

Makovu: What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: Do you believe in authority?

Both: Yes.

Me: Okay. Do you like it? Are you okay with it?

Endelyn: I respect those who force me to respect them.

Me: Mako?

Makovu: (haltingly) I think… we will always chafe against authority… unless love is factor.

Me: (under my breath) How oddly insightful of you. (to Mako) Is there any authority you respect?

Makovu: I don’t think I understand what you mean. There is no authority in our world. We answer to no one.

Me: So there is nothing or no one to whom you swear allegiance? You obey nothing?

Makovu: (dips his head slightly) My allegiance lies with no one but Mbaji.

Me: Endelyn, you’re being pretty quiet.

Endelyn: I answer to no one.

Me: (unconvinced) No one?

Endelyn: I look out for myself.

Me: Okay then. Next question. What’s your biggest life dream?

Endelyn: Aleks.

Me: (closes eyes and nods) (opens eyes) Maks?

Makovu: I have told you again and again-

Me: But it’s so cute…

Makovu: No. No “Maks.”

Me: (makes pouty lips) Fine. Your dream?

Makovu: (sighs) To belong somewhere, I suppose. (looks over at Endelyn)

Me: (raises eyebrows and clears throat) Do you have any pets?

Both: (blank stares)

Me: (sighs) A pet is an animal that belongs exclusively to you? Um, to be your friend? Like you take care of it and… stuff?

Endelyn: (to Mako) She is not very good at this.

Makovu: (laughs) No, she’s not.

Me: Would you answer the question?

Endelyn: (looks at Makovu) Tell her about Jota.

Makovu: I care for a young dragon.

Me: (skeptically) A dragon?

Makovu: (nods smugly)

Me: Whatever. What are some of your best memories living Nomad? Endelyn, that’s for you.

Endelyn: The food.

Makovu: (laughs)

Me: That’s not really a memory…

Endelyn: Traveling with the caravan… And eating the food.

Me: (sighs) That will have to do… Sorry, Christine. I tried. What about worst memory with the Nomad?

Endelyn: (clenches jaw)

Makovu: (to me, in an undertone) Ooh, you made her mad…

Me: (confused) What was wrong with what I said?

Makovu: (shrugs)

Me: Okay… While Endelyn is, ah, recovering, Makovu can answer this one…

Makovu: Who are you talking to?

Me: Um. The audience?

Makovu: You’re a strange girl.

Me: Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Makovu: Glad I could help.

Me: (grins) You’re adorable.

Makovu: Stay away from me.

Me: (winks) If you had to give up one of your personality traits, what would it be?

Makovu: What kind of-

Me: Don’t be mean.

Makovu: (glares at me)

Me: You still have to answer the question.

Makovu: I obey without asking questions.

Me: And you don’t think that’s a good thing?

Makovu: It would’ve spared me a lot of pain, that’s all I’m saying.

Me: Endelyn, you have to answer this one too.

Endelyn: My stubbornness.

Me: Why?

Endelyn: Like Makovu said… It would’ve spared me a lot of pain.

Me: Thank you both for you honesty. You may go now.

Thank you, Anna and Christine for your questions! 

Which was your favorite question? Which was your favorite answer? Who did you like better – Makovu or Endelyn? Who would you like me to interview next – one of the villains, Landric and his best friend? Hatari, a side character? Aleks?