• REFLECTIONS Now Has a Book Trailer!

    I know what you might be saying: “Briana, why create a book trailer for a novel that’s been out for more than a year?” Well, because I WANT TO! Also, because I’ve only just gotten the hang of using iMovie, and because I think Reflections deserves love more than anything else I’ve written… but you know. Same thing.

    Anyway, I’m thrilled to share this brand-spanking-new book trailer with you. I’ve never made one before, and it was a lot of fun! Let me know what you think in the comments below. What book should I give this treatment to next?

    RELATED LINKS:

    Thanks for watching! Also, keep your eyes on this space—I have some big changes coming soon!

  • How Writing REFLECTIONS Changed My Life

    As I edit, polish, and refine my manuscript for Pitch Wars (eep!), I can’t help marveling at how much this one book has changed my life. When I started out writing Reflections, I knew it was going to be important. It tackles several difficult issues that need to be addressed, and it has more than one personal connection to my own life. However, I never anticipated it becoming a kind of nourishment for me.

    How Writing REFLECTIONS Changed My Life

    Writing this novel changed my life, and I don’t say that lightly. I learned so much while writing this book–about myself and the world around me–that it almost doesn’t matter to me if anyone else reads it. Of course, I do want someone to read it, and even better if they’re as effected by the novel as I have been so far. This book is more important to me than anything I’ve written. Writing Reflections changed my life because it allowed me to connect with victims, confront my own issues and experiences, and move through tough stuff toward positivity and acceptance.

    WRITING REFLECTIONS ALLOWED ME TO CONNECT WITH VICTIMS

    I know a lot of women who have suffered various kinds of abuse–too many women who have been hurt in ways non-victims can never understand. While I was in college, I was lucky enough to participate in a production of The Vagina Monologues. One of my favorite parts of the show, and arguably the most profound, happened toward the end. After a brief video conveying sexual assault statistics, the show’s director asked everyone who had ever been hurt or abused to stand up. The number of women rising to their feet was staggering. It hit me like a punch to the gut. These were women I saw on campus every day, women I had classes with, even women who had just performed onstage with me. It was heartbreaking, yes, but it was also powerful.

    These women deserve to have their stories told. They deserve to know that what happened to them in the past does not define them. More than anything, they deserve to get a taste of what it’s like to be the hero. No matter how broken they may feel, they are stronger than they know. Writing this book–writing Rama–not only allowed me to grasp the truths I most needed to hear, it also allowed me to connect with other victims of various kinds of abuse, including physical, emotional, and sexual.

    WRITING REFLECTIONS ALLOWED ME TO WORK THROUGH MY ISSUES

    In the past, I’ve been betrayed by men. My trust has been destroyed more times than I can count. For the longest time, I thought I would never be happy. I had a hard time making peace with myself because of my extensive trust issues. After all, if I couldn’t get over myself, nobody would love me, and if nobody would love me, I couldn’t get married and then I wouldn’t have kids and then andthenandthen–

    But that isn’t what matters. Ideally, I’d like to learn to trust the men I meet, but I recognize now that isn’t necessary for my happiness. I can still be happy and comfortable with myself, flaws and all, by embracing my lack of perfection. Sure, I’ve been let down, but none of that was my fault. At the same time, the fact that I’ve been a victim doesn’t mean I have no control of my life. Instead of focusing on the past, writing Reflections helped me forgive those who have hurt me and redirect my energy toward building the life I desire.

    If I can be happy being alone–if I can accept myself fully for me–then and only then will I find any kind of peace.

    Of course, this philosophy applies to physical features as much as it does emotional ones. Like everyone else, there are things about my body that I’ve often wished to change. As a teenager, I struggled to come to terms with my height, cystic acne, and the shape of my nose. I was even bullied because of the way I looked. Instead of considering all the things my body did for me and the aspects of it I actually liked, I dwelled only on the negative. My self-esteem eroded and dwindled down to nothing. Over the years, it has slowly improved, but while writing Reflections, it skyrocketed. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve loved myself so fully. I adore and appreciate every part of my face and body. Sometimes I have off days, but for the most part, I am now able to drag myself out of the funk and smile at myself in the mirror.

    This post might be the longest on my blog to date, but it’s also the most important. While I am of course hopeful that Reflections will be picked up by someone someday, if nothing else, I can say it’s made a difference in my life. I should be so lucky if it helps someone else.

  • Get to Know the Characters of My WIP Reflections

    Photo Credit: Chris Wild on Flickr
    It’s been ages since I’ve done a blog tag, and I’ve recently gotten back into the habit of working on my novel Reflections, so I’m glad the lovely Brianna da Silva tagged me in this game!

    Here’s the gist of it: you take six questions and answer them for each main character in your WIP. I think you’re supposed to use six characters, but I didn’t because I was afraid the blog post would run too long. Oh well. I have all of the key players here, and maybe sometime down the road, I’ll do another post like this with the minor folks. We’ll see what happens.

    I’ve altered some of the questions to suit my novel, of course, but I’m using the same six questions for each character. At the end, I’ll be tagging six more people to take part in this challenge as well. If you’re not tagged, feel free to participate anyway. I had a lot of fun with this, and it was a great deal more helpful than I thought it would be.

    Enjoy!

    Note: If you’re not sure how to determine your characters’ Myers-Briggs types, you can take the fairly short inventory here. That’s what I did!

    1. RAMACHANDRA

    Contradiction: Doesn’t feel comfortable around people; hates being alone with her thoughts.

    Myers-Briggs: ISFJ.

    Favorite color(s): Green and brown. Earth tones.

    Crystal (if applicable): Rose quartz.

    Favorite scent: Any kind of incense, but mostly sandalwood and vanilla. Her mother burns a lot of incense when she isn’t working in the restaurant.

    Where does she see herself in 10 years? She isn’t sure, but she wants to go to WVU in Morgantown, maybe major in pre-med. At one point, she wanted to help her parents with the restaurant, but now she’s determined to get as far away from Aldale (and her problems) as she can.

    Image via Pinterest

    2. LEDA

    Contradiction: She’d be an ideal tribe leader but isn’t keen on a leadership role.

    Myers-Briggs: ENFJ.

    Favorite color(s): Purple, blue, and green.

    Crystal (if applicable): Aquamarine.

    Favorite scent: Lilacs. She has several lilac candles in her bedroom and she burns them as often as she can.

    Where does she see herself in 10 years? Still married to Nathaniel, of course, and hopefully a mother in some capacity. Like her husband, she doesn’t expect to stay with the tribe for the rest of her life. She’d be content finding another tribe to join, maybe somewhere out west. If that doesn’t work out, she has no problem giving up her abilities and perhaps trying to have children again–if such a thing is possible.

    3. VINCENT

    Contradiction: Dislikes lies and deception; relies to lies and deception to succeed as a Shifter. He’ll also cover up dishonesty for the sake of protecting his tribe.

    Myers-Briggs: ESTJ.

    Favorite color(s): Orange, gold, and black.

    Crystal: Citrine.

    Favorite scent: Wood, especially dark wood like mahogany.

    Where does he see himself in 10 years? Dead, unfortunately. Running a tribe is stressful enough in and of itself, and tribe leaders don’t live very long as a rule. Usually it’s a combination of stress, exhaustion, and sapped power that does them in. If he gives too much power away, after all, his crystal will start feeding off his personal life energy. Since he’s often too busy to remember to top the crystal off with outside energy, he needs to be careful if he doesn’t want to be dead in a decade or less.

    Image via Pinterest

    4. NATHANIEL

    Contradiction: He’s Vincent’s second-in-command, but he doesn’t really want to be a Shifter anymore.

    Myers-Briggs: INFJ.

    Favorite color(s): Blue and green.

    Crystal: Aventurine.

    Favorite scent: His wife’s hair, especially when it’s wet from rain or the shower.

    Where does he see himself in 10 years? In another tribe somewhere out west, maybe even out of the life altogether. It’s not an ideal environment in which to raise kids, and he wants to have a family with Leda someday.

    5. CARTER

    Contradiction: Despite his arrogant personality and status in the tribe, he often feels powerless.

    Myers-Briggs: ENTJ.

    Favorite color(s): Purple, black, and silver.

    Crystal: Amethyst.

    Favorite scent: Smoke.

    Where does he see himself in 10 years? Tribe leader. He wants to be bigger, better, and stronger than Vincent. He does respect Vincent, though, and doesn’t want to outright steal the position from him. His plan is to wait until Vincent either dies or steps down willingly–even though Nathaniel is the second-in-command, Carter knows he doesn’t really want to take Vincent’s place.

    Thanks for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed learning some more about my characters–I know I did! And now, here are the six people I’m tagging to participate in this as well. Remember, you can change any of the questions to suit your WIP, too!

    1. Rae Oestreich
    2. Mariella Hunt
    3. Brett Michael Orr
    4. Kelly Sedinger
    5. Josh Cook
    6. Ava Jae

    How do you get to know your characters? Are you excited for Reflections?

    Tweet tweet:

    Interested in REFLECTIONS? Get to know some of @brianawrites’ characters! (Click to tweet)

  • Behind the Dedication: An Interview with Kate Laurens

    kaaaaaaaaateI’ve known Kate Laurens for three years now. She’s my roommate and my sister–by choice, not by blood. We participated in The Vagina Monologues together. She’s one of the strongest women I know. When I started writing Reflections, I knew I wanted to dedicate it to her. And when I told her about it, she suggested that I interview her. I loved the idea, so here we are.

    What was your reaction to finding out that I was writing a book for you?

    It’s just weird. I know bits and pieces of people make their way into books, but for me… I think it would be less weird if you based a character on me or something. It’s just so different when it’s like “this book is for you and it’s for what you’ve experienced.” It’s a good strange, but it’s strange at the same time. And it’s an honor because I know it’s not something done lightly.

    Why do you think this book is important?

    I’m really tired of people saying things like “We need start the conversation about whatever” because to me it just gets redundant after a while. A lot of people don’t know how to start the conversation or what to say about sexual assault. More than starting it, we need to change the conversation that we have. We need to stop saying, “What was she wearing?” and pointing fingers at the survivor and focus on preventing it, like where did we fail as a society? I think this book will make people think differently.

    And besides victim-blaming there are people who coddle the victims and don’t see them as real people anymore, only as delicate, fragile things, and that’s not good, either. You should just treat them like a person. It’s important for Rama to be the hero after going through trauma without having to be “fixed” or “come to terms” with it. Like, it’s just a part of her somehow, but it doesn’t fully define her.

    What do you have to say about the controversial nature of some of the material e.g. Rama’s sexual assault?

    I get why it’s controversial but I really think it’s just something people don’t want to talk about, maybe because they’re wrong. With sexual assault, people don’t want to admit that they’re using sexual assault as a plot device. That’s what drives me insane about a lot of TV shows and movies—trauma or assault happens to a woman and explains why she’s so emotionally attached or damaged. It’s never like, “oh, it’s good that she’s detached,” and like a man has to heal her or fix her. You don’t need to fix them. If they’re detached, that’s what they are. That’s how they deal with it. And it’s used to further the character of men, like “oh, I changed this damaged woman. I fixed it.” Just no.

    With Rama, yeah, it affects her, but it doesn’t define everything that happens with her.

    In a Jodi Picoult book I read that you can’t come back from a rape, and it’s not like you don’t carry it around with you, but it doesn’t become your identity. It doesn’t change the entire physical makeup of who you are. People want victims to be demure, traumatized beings and that’s not always what a victim is. It’s important for people to be confronted with a different picture of a victim, even if it makes them uncomfortable. One of my favorite quotes is “Art should disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed.” If it makes people uncomfortable, that’s probably a good sign. We need to see that there are a thousand different ways to look at any given thing, even sexual assault, and there’s no right or wrong way to deal with it.

    What’s your experience with sexual assault?

    When I was 18, I was a new adult ready to take on the world. I had just overcome an eating disorder and was madly in love with this guy. We’ll call him Ary because he was basically the perfect Aryan man. We dated briefly in high school and I ended it because he was really physically pushy when we were together and I wasn’t comfortable. I also just think that a lot of the guys I dated I high school wanted to “save” me [ from my depression and anorexia]—and it was disappointing when they couldn’t.

    The summer after I graduated, Ary and I just picked up where we left off. And the first night we were together, he gave me a hickey without my permission, without even thinking about me having to cover it up, and it was like he was trying as hard as he could to mark me. I should have known then… time went on and it was like a whole year that I was with him. I was in a fantasy world. He wasn’t a good guy and everyone knew that but I always imagined that we would join the Peace Corps and go far away and no one would know who he was and we could start a new life and be happy. I never wanted to admit that it was what it was because I loved him. I really loved him. And in my twisted brain, he loved me, too, so he would never hurt me.

    The hickey thing never stopped. They weren’t hickies, they became bruises. They were painful, they hurt on my neck and my chest. One time, I had a whole bunch of them and I meant to confront him and I showed him the hickies and he held me down and forcibly took my clothes off and took a picture of me. Topless. I don’t know where that picture is. I don’t know what happened to it. I tried to take the phone and delete it and he hit me, and that was the first time he hit me. That was the first really bad thing he did, but I took it as him like messing around. Not anything serious.

    We’d get into romantic situations and I’d start off saying no, I didn’t want to go that far—we had had sex consensually before then—but he wouldn’t listen. He’d take off my clothes, I’d try to resist, he’d hold me down. “Your shirt’s already off,” “we might as well.” Especially since we’d been intimate before. I didn’t have a choice.

    Sex with him was the most painful thing I’d ever felt in my life, and he had me convinced it was supposed to be that way, so I never said anything about it. Afterwards, there was never any aftercare or niceness. He just treated it like it was no big deal. And I just thought that was the way sex worked, that was how it was supposed to be. I didn’t think anything of it.

    It wasn’t until I got to college and got my first college boyfriend—who took care of me—that I learned that sex was supposed to be enjoyable and I talked to him about Ary and he’d be like, “That’s not normal” and he never said “He raped you” or anything, because he could tell I still loved Ary. He listened to me and told me that that wasn’t how it was supposed to be. He never outright said, “He assaulted you” because he knew that it would hurt me.

    He was the only person I had after I ended it with Ary, and he kept me from going back. He proved that there are guys out there who will be nice to you. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I was willing to admit that what happened between me and Ary was rape and assault. I took pictures, and now I wish that I had kept them. That would’ve been proof I could’ve used in a case against him. I always imagine that he’s going to go to court someday—he does this to other girls—and I’m either going to have to testify or be a witness or something. If I had those pictures, I could nail him to the wall. I have nothing but my word. I wish I could warn other girls, but at the same time, I knew something like that would not have stopped me.

    As a survivor, what does this book mean to you?

    A big part of my recovery isn’t getting back to who I used to be, but it’s like you get cut and you have a scar. You keep going. You’re not a different person because you have a scar. It doesn’t change you—it’s a part of who you are, but it’s not all that you are. So many times it’s like, “she was a normal girl and then she was raped and her life is over” and then it’s about trying to get back to the person she was before, but she can’t get back there and like—that’s not it. No. This book offers a different perspective.

    What would you say to anyone who’s afraid that this novel will be triggering?

    I understand that some survivors won’t want to read it, but for me… every day is triggering. Sometimes I see someone with Ary’s hair color and freak out. My heart rate goes up, I can’t catch my breath—and then I turn around and it’s not him. I heard two of my students making rape jokes and I was probably harder on them than I should have been, but I don’t tolerate that. I walked over and said, “If I hear you say anything about rape or sexual assault again, I will report them.” If it changes their minds a little bit though, good. Little things like that happen every day, and you can’t really prepare for that. There’s always going to be something. There are triggers everywhere, and it’s important to see a character overcome something like that, especially when the scene is not explicit. It’s not focusing on the crime but on the person and how they overcome it… it’s worth reading.

    What are you hoping happens to Rama by the end of the book?

    I don’t know. I just hope she’s happy. Like me, I mean. I just want to be happy. I hope she finds calm in like the little moments. You know, the things you don’t really think about. And that she can hold onto them because in the end, that’s all that really matters.

  • Some Snippets from REFLECTIONS

    Some Snippets from REFLECTIONS
    I just hit 10K in my urban fantasy WIP Reflections, but it feels like I’ve written so much more. Most of it is trapped inside my head, unable to make the passage from my brain to my fingers to the keyboard. I’m not sure how to fix that. At any rate, I’m making progress, so I guess I won’t complain.

    I’ve been posting some snippets of the novel on Twitter, but it’s been a while since I’ve put one up, and I haven’t been keeping you all updated as much as I’d like to. I’d like to remedy that disparity today–in this post, I’m sharing several snippets from different points in my WIP (I’m writing out of sequence). I’ll try to avoid spoilers as much as I can, but if you’d rather not risk it, feel free to click away. Otherwise, keep reading. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! We’ll start towards the beginning:

    Standing in front of the dressing room mirror, Rama hated what she saw. The dress was as awful as all of the others—too tight in some places, too low in others, and too short around her thighs. As she studied her reflection, she wanted to throw up. She prayed for the ground to open up and swallow her before Myra asked her what was wrong, why she was taking so long, and whether she planned to buy the dress.
    There were too many questions, and she didn’t feel like answering any of them. They were all too complicated, and she didn’t have the patience.

    Here’s one from a little later in the novel, somewhere around the middle:

    Rama hadn’t thought about the investigation for over a week when Leda came to her in the cave. Her hands were on her hips and her face was stern. Rama set down the pitcher she’d filled with water. She didn’t have time for a lecture, but she doubted Leda cared.
    “Can we make this quick?” Rama asked. “I have to meet with Vincent.”
    “Ramachandra.” It was the first time she’d heard Leda use her full name, and the inflection in her voice made Rama’s skin prickle.
    “What is it? What’s wrong?”
    Leda’s eyes shifted around the room. “Why don’t you have a seat? Please.”

    And last but not least, here’s a little snippet from the end. Again, I’ll try to avoid giving anything away:

    “We need to talk to Vincent,” Rama said at dinner.
    “We?” Leda asked.
    “I can’t do it without you.” She stared at her hands, folded in her lap, and tried to choose the right words. “Leda, when I came here… I had no idea who I was or what I was doing. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without feeling sick.” Rama took a breath and risked a look at Leda. She was smiling. “Living here has changed me. You’ve taught me so much—not just about shifting, but about being comfortable in my own skin.”
    “Oh,” Leda said, “I didn’t teach you—”
    “Please,” Rama said. “I need your help. Come talk to Vincent with me. That’s all I ask.”

    There’s so much more of this novel I’d like to share with you guys, but I think everything else is a spoiler. Of course, I could just go ahead and write the novel as fast as I can so–oh, yeah. Actually, I think I’m going to do just that. God willing, I’ll have it out as soon as I possibly can.

    I love you guys so much. I just want you to know that.

    What are you working on right now? What do you think of these snippets?

    Tweet tweet:

    Curious about #Reflections? In this post, author @brianawrites shares some snippets from her latest novel. (Click to tweet)

  • Shapeshifter Mythology in REFLECTIONS

    Shapeshifter Mythology in REFLECTIONS
    I’m all moved into my new townhouse! Now that I’m settled, I’m going to try to update this blog more often. I want to share more of my writing with you guys, so with that in mind, today’s post is all about the project I’m working on now. Enjoy!

    When I started writing my WIP Reflections, I knew I wanted it to include shapeshifters. I’d never written urban fantasy before, so I was looking forward to including a little bit of magic. I haven’t read many stories about shapeshifters, and they’ve always fascinated me. I couldn’t wait to get started. Of course, I knew next to nothing about what my shapeshifters would be like. I didn’t think that mattered and started writing, anyway.

    Soon, I hit a wall. I got to my first big shapeshifter scene and realized I had no idea how any of it worked. For me, a great deal of writer’s block comes from not knowing where to go next, so I had a massive problem on my hands. I needed to correct it or I’d never get any more work done on the project.

    As nervous as I was about moving forward—I had no idea how to develop any kind of mythology!—I was certain I could do it. And anyway, I had to.

    So I got to work. When developing a mythology, like worldbuilding, I figured I needed to come with answers to a few crucial questions. After half an hour of brainstorming to determine what I needed to know, here’s what I came up with:

    • Who/what created the shapeshifters?
    • How did they get their power originally?
    • What are the strengths and limitations of their abilities?
    • If their power isn’t endless, what motivates it? Do they have a personal power source?
    • Does each individual have unique abilities or distinctive traits, or is everything uniform?
    • What is their “kryptonite”?

    These weren’t all of the questions I came up with, but they did form the framework for the introspection I had to do to move forward. I took about another hour to think through each question, jotting down every thought I had without censoring myself. When I was finished, I had some answers. Here are some of them:

    • Someone traded his or her fertility for the ability to shapeshift—this is also how a shifter can become a tribe leader
    • It comes from gemstones that have been imbued with power by other shifters
    • Shapeshifters (well, mine, anyway) can only shift into the guise of another human, and they can’t pick and choose what to change. For example, if you’re a shifter and you want someone’s nose, you have to also take on the form of their whole body
    • Each shifter’s power is store in their crystal, which must periodically be “topped off” by a tribe leader
    • Each shifter has a specialty, and some are more adept at shifting than others. Each shifter also has a unique gemstone that can only be used by them
    • A shifter’s true form is revealed in their reflections, shadows, and photographs. Shifts can also be broken by extreme emotion

    Once I put all of this information together, I had a solid foundation to work from. In addition, I had my own unique “brand” of shapeshifter—and I knew the basis for almost every character in the novel. The feeling was incredible. I could now move forward with my writing.

    Since then, I’ve hit a couple different snags, but none related to this mythology I set up. I might talk about some issues I’m facing in my next post because I think that some of you might be able to help me solve them. For now, though, I’m content with the progress I’m making.

    While writing this novel, I’ve definitely had to focus more on planning and worldbuilding than usual. That’s one of my favorite things about writing, though–the more you do it, the more you learn. No wonder I keep going. 🙂

    How do you create a mythology? What are your tips for worldbuilding?

    Tweet tweet:

    What’s your worldbuilding process like? Author @brianawrites shares her process for her novel #Reflections. (Click to tweet)

  • Novel Playlist: REFLECTIONS

    Note: I shared some of this playlist in a previous post, but since the Blood and Water playlist got a post of its own, I feel like the Reflections one should, too. Also, I’ve added more songs. Enjoy!
    Novel Playlist: REFLECTIONS

    love making playlists. Like I’ve mentioned before, one of the first things I do when I start a new WIP is make a playlist to listen to while I’m working on it. And since I just started working on Reflections, I just had to share the playlist I’ve created.

    Creating a novel playlist is a great way to get you in the mood to write your novel. As soon as I press play, my brain knows it’s time to get into the zone. I make sure to only listen to this playlist when I’m writing Reflections, so the association is set in stone. If you’re feeling stuck with a project, try putting together some songs that remind your of your story so far.

    For my Reflections playlist, I chose songs based on their lyrics, tempos, and moods. Check out the track list below.

    REFLECTIONS SOUNDTRACK

    1.  Waiting for Love by Avicii 2. Shut Up And Dance by Walk the Moon 3. Elastic Heart by Sia 4. Fight Song by Rachel Platten 5. Photograph by Ed Sheeran 6. Vintage by High Dive Heart 7. Hold Me Down by Halsey 8. Roses by The Chainsmokers 9. Smooth Sailin’ by Leon Bridges 10. Ghost Town by Adam Lambert 11. Majestic by Wax Fang 12. Fools Gold by Fitz and The Tantrums 13. Seven Wonders by Fleetwood Mac 14. No Rain by Blind Melon 15. South by Hippo Campus 16. Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival 17. Swing Life Away by Rise Against 18. Not in Love by Crystal Castles 19. The State of Dreaming by Marina and The Diamonds 20. Recover by CHVRCHES 21. Mirror by Ellie Goulding 22. Devil May Cry by The Weeknd 23. Silhouettes by Of Monsters and Men 24. Shelter from the Storm by Bob Dylan 25. The Sound of Silence–Reprise by Simon & Garfunkel 26. Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine 27. Devil May Care by Half Moon Run 28. Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promises by The Avett Brothers

    Want to listen to the playlist for yourself? Click here.

    What other songs should I add to this playlist?

    Tweet tweet:

    What songs would be on your novel playlist? Check out the soundtrack to @brianawrites’ novel #Reflections! (Click to tweet)

  • All About REFLECTIONS

    Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember me tweeting about trunking a novel, The Palest of Pinks, that I started for NaNoWriMo this year. I despise trunking novels, so I try to do it as little as possible (read: never). I haven’t put a manuscript away since Mud Eyes (which I am determined to bring back into the light someday), so tucking this one in for a long winter’s nap was difficult. Still, I’m putting it aside in favor of a YA urban fantasy I’ve been kicking around for a while. It’s called Reflections, and it’s a murder mystery, but with shapeshifters.
    all-about-reflections

    I’ve had plot bunnies for Reflections knocking around in my head for half a year now. The same thing happened to me with Blood and Water, which is why I’ve decided to focus on writing this one–it could be an indication that I’m onto something big.

    Now, I’m still very much in the planning process of writing this book, but I thought I’d share a few things I know about it so far.

    Setting

    For a long time, I’ve wanted to set a story in the mountains. Most of my extended family lives in West Virginia, and I’ve visited the state so many times that it’s impossible to get the landscape out of my head. As a result, I’ve set Reflections in the portion of the Appalachian Mountains that extends through West Virginia. The majority of the action takes place in Aldale, a fictional small town just shy of the New River.

    Characters

    For me, I can’t write a novel unless I’ve fallen in love with the characters. My stories are so character-driven that I often have the protagonist’s voice clamoring for my attention long before  put my fingers to the keyboard. It happened with Jay in Blood and Water, and it’s happening with Ramachandra now. Here are some of the key people I’ve “met” already:

    • Ramachandra “Rama” Ganeshan (17)–the novel’s protagonist; a bright, temperamental girl with low self-esteem.
    • Banu Ganeshan (13)–Rama’s younger brother and Unma’s twin; a prankster with a heart of gold.
    • Dhayal Ganeshan (39)–Rama’s father; a funny, kindhearted man who runs an Indian restaurant with his first love and wife, Piya.
    • Piya Ganeshan (37)–Rama’s mother; a stubborn woman with a warm heart beneath her rough exterior who runs an Indian restaurant with her husband.
    • Unma Ganeshan (13)–Rama’s younger sister and Banu’s fraternal twin; sensitive like her sister, but much more introspective.
    • Vincent Harrow (33)–Leader of the Appalachian Shifters; charismatic, charming, and lethal.
    • Carter Gabriel (18)–A young Shifter who befriends Rama
    • Nathaniel Langdon (25)–Vincent’s second-in-command and Leda’s husband; his loyalty to Vincent seems endless.
    • Leda Langdon (22)–Nathaniel’s wife; she has only recently become a Shifter and is struggling to adjust to life under Vincent’s rule.

    There are two other characters I know right now, but I don’t want to share them with you because it’ll spoil something! Let’s just say you’ll know them as soon as you read them, eh? 😉

    Key objects

    I almost wanted to title this section “motifs,” but I’m not quite sure the moniker fits. Nevertheless, there are several items that will be important throughout the novel, including (but not limited to):

    • windows
    • mirrors
    • crystals
    • water
    • tattoos/scars
    • keys

    The crystals will be especially important, which is why I’ve spent so much time looking at and sharing pictures of them lately. I can’t wait to see how everything comes together.

    NOVEL INSPIRATION

    Like Blood and Water, I’m drawing on several different sources of inspiration for Reflections. If you’d like to get an idea of what the story is about and what Rama’s world is like, check out the Pinterest board and Spotify playlist. Also, make sure you’re following me on Instagram–I’ll be posting some inspiring photos there as well!

    Clearly, I’m excited about this new project. I can’t help feeling like I’ll learn a lot from this novel, and I can’t wait to share the journey with all of you, too. Thanks, as always, for your support! It truly means the world to me.

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    Curious about @brianawrites’ new project? Check out this new post in which she discusses #Reflections! (Click to tweet)