I was tagged in a little questionnaire exercise, and I thought why not? Something fun to do in an otherwise dull and unproductive week.
Because I’m not really in the mood to talk about The Wizard’s Heart right now—edits are beyond exhausting right now and me and the book are just not on good terms at the moment—I’m going to answer questions about Dark Lord in Training, the middle-grade fantasy that I am oh-so-slowly drafting.
1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Alden Millard. Fictional.
2. When and where is the story set?
The story is set in the Kingdom of Erilea, but most of the story takes place inside the Evil Lair of Ryxik Hathmor the Blackhearted. It’s a standard fantasy setting, upgraded slightly, because apparently they have decent plumbing and gas stoves. So, I don’t know. Maybe it’s like a weird mid-1800s tech-level fantasy world. That works, I suppose.
3. What should we know about him/her?
Alden likes to think that he’s cursed with bad luck (and maybe he is! I haven’t quite decided yet.), but on the whole, he’s a pretty positive, go-with-the-flow kind of guy. This is life. Make the most of it. Otherwise, he’s not so sure he’s cut out for being a Dark Lord. I mean, he’s not really evil, is he? He doesn’t think so. But Fate has decreed that he is to be a Dark Lord—someday, The Dark Lord—so, he’s going to have to figure this whole evil thing out sooner or later.
4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Before all this, he just wanted to apprentice to a master in Rosehall (the royal capital), something exciting, but not dangerous—definitely not accounting, decidedly—but then he was apprenticed to a Dark Lord. I wouldn’t say it messes up his life, but it does change the course of what he expected his life to amount to.
I’m not so sure there is a main conflict so much as a lot of little conflicts. I think this story is going to be more about the journey and the characters than the what-happenses, if that makes sense. Alden has to learn how to be evil, even though he doesn’t feel evil. He’s going to have to learn how to be a proper Dark Lord so that his master can retire from the business. He’ll have to overcome the machinations of a particular hero who is bent on vanquishing him. You know, fun things. I suppose it’s a kind of coming-of-age narrative.
5. What is the personal goal of the character?
He doesn’t want to be a disappointment. For someone who thinks he has a curse of bad luck on him, he doesn’t want to let it get the best of him, so he’s determined to make the best of his new Dark Lord status. He claims to want a normal, simple life, and he does want to make enough money to support his mother and father back home. But secretly, I think he wants to be remembered for something. He doesn’t want to be another nobody. That’s just what he expects because he’s never been encouraged to be something more. Generally, people worthy of remembrance come to untimely deaths. So, I think he’s secretly excited at the prospect of being someone who might have an impact on the world, even if it is through evil. And I think that surprises him, since he’s only ever aimed for mediocrity.
6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
As mentioned before, this story is called Dark Lord in Training. I haven’t talked much about it, but if you check out the #DarkLordinTraining tag on Google+, you can read snippets that I’ve posted for #SaturdayScenes.
7. When can we expect the book to be published.
Who knows? I’m drafting very slowly, as I only write a little bit week to week, sometimes as little as 300 words, sometimes 1000 or so. I’m only 11,500 words into the first draft, and I expect it will probably be at least 60,000 words. That’s the goal anyway. But with all the other projects I have going—and have coming up—I doubt I’m going to get to spend a lot of time on it anytime soon. However, I would like to have it finished sometime next year. If I choose to self-publish it, you’ll probably see it before the end of 2015, but I think I’m going to try the query-go-round with this one and see if I get any bites from traditional publishers. Being middle-grade, I think I’d have a better shot at reaching my readers through a traditional publisher, so if that happens, who knows when it will actually release?
Thanks Sarah Brown for tagging me in this questionnaire! It was a fun distraction.