34 pages in and Roland is perfectly summing up what it’s like being a 20-something year old. Jokes aside, I laugh at how often he admits to this. It’s definitely among my Roland’s top 10 quotes list.
I haven’t shared music from my characters playlists in a couple of months, and thought January would be the perfect time to start. I’m constantly adding new songs to these, and occasionally listen to them while I write.
Most of the scenes that I write with music happen to be Roland’s, so his playlist is the longest out of everyone’s. The first song is by a band I used to listen to a lot when I was younger. I started teaching myself one of their songs on the guitar the other day after it popped into my head, and then I went and found the album.
I hope none of the songs provide any series spoilers (they shouldn’t), but I do hope you find one to add to your own playlists.
I’ve written a lot of scenes with Roland to this cover by Chase Holfelder. I highly recommend checking out his music on YouTube, he’s got a lovely voice and his arrangements are really nice.
Roland’s got one of the moodier playlists, but it’s also one that I like to listen to in my free time, or when I’m just hanging out. I’ve found a lot of really beautiful songs while writing this series. Try to Change is probably one of my favourites that I’ve come across while creating this series.
Vermin is Out Tomorrow
Tomorrow is my novels debut! I’m thrilled! Ecstatic! Totally pumped! I don’t think there are enough words to express how absolutely, incredibly excited I am to have this book out in the world.
I would definitely love to do signings and things in the future but with the pandemic, it’s difficult so instead I’ll be having a small celebration with my family.
This past week was filled with so many wonderful events, and I’m so grateful that I get to share my release with my family and friends.
Thank you so much to everyone who has added Vermin to their reading list, shared posts about it on social media and expressed support. It means so much to me, and I hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it!
If you haven’t already, check out @nuggiedraws on instagram to see the character art she did for the first book. I absolutely adore her take on my characters!
A handful of songs featured throughout the series will be available to listen to this week, along with a sample reading!
I can’t wait to share the world of Vermin with you!
Tomorrow’s the day!
No way. Your father hates me.
I think this quote would make for a really good song title. Not sure why, but it makes me picture a mid-2000s pop-punk/emo band.
Speaking of songs, I recorded songs featured in The Vermin Series. I had fun incorporating music into the series, and figuring out how each song relates to the world of the series, or characters. It’s hard for me to imagine worlds without music, so I chose to create songs that fit directly into the setting. Some of them are written by the leading characters, while others are popular songs that might be played on the radio, performed in the street or sung by children on the playground.
While writing this series I also created playlists dedicated to each of my characters (even the minor ones) to listen to whenever I needed inspiration or just wanted to get into that characters headspace.
I’ve found a lot of great music while writing this series, and I’m sure I’ll continue to find more as time goes on.
I pulled this song from Roland’s playlist. This is a song I’ve known for a long time now, probably since I first started writing the novel back in high school.
I might record a cover of it…potentially doing a softer version of this because I think it would really suit Roland if it were done that way. Maybe I’ll go do that now?
Okay I’m back!
I had to improvise the chords because I couldn’t find a them listed anywhere, but luckily I’ve known the song for a long time so it wasn’t too difficult to play something that made sense with the lyrics.
Do you associate songs with characters from books (your own, or ones you’re reading) with certain songs?
Right now I’m reading Daughter of Black Lake by one of my favourite authors, Cathy Marie Buchanan and certain songs definitely come to mind when thinking about Young Smith, Devout and Arc. I haven’t thought of a song for Hobble yet, but she’s such a great character. I really like her chapters!
Chapter 1 Snippet
I pulled this quote from the first chapter of Vermin. One of my favourite things about this chapter is how it showcases the dynamic between Rose and Roland, which I’ll try to describe here without giving away any major spoilers.
These two interact more like siblings versus an uncle and niece. They have a close relationship to the point where even when they’re rolling their eyes and disagreeing with one another, it’s clear that they enjoy each others company and also respect one another.
Roland as an uncle, versus Roland with his friends is something that I find amusing and enjoy writing. He always seems to be trying to balance being a “responsible adult” and his natural exhausted, yet impulsive self. He’d probably sleep and snack all day if he could get away with it. As I’ve grown with this character, it seems as though Roland has this curated version of himself for when he’s out in public, and even at times struggles to revert back to his natural state while he’s at home. That’s why those scenes where it’s just him and his family spending time together are some of my favourites in this first book, because at a certain point he stops trying to “act” and allows himself to just be.
I think his youngest nephew brings that side of him out the most.
Do your characters have special hobbies or interests?
When building my character’s personalities and backstories I like to include as many details as possible. I’ve created character profile pages like the ones in manga, which usually include a list of things like favourite foods, blood type, star sign etc. Not only is it fun but it also allows me to spend quality time with each individual character.
I love watching my characters go from being an idea to a fully fleshed out being…well fully fleshed out on paper (haha).
Each of these types of questions gives me a chance to think about who my characters are. What makes them happy? What frustrates them? Do they have trouble sleeping at night?
I may never use this information, but I find knowing it allows the story to progress naturally. I don’t have to think hard about how each character would respond because I’ve taken the time to get to know them as if they were a close friend.
So…do my character’s have any special hobbies or interests?
Nicholas likes to draw. Many of the things he’s good at he considers hobbies as they were things he used to do with his grandmother. He’s always done them, so he hasn’t acknowledged that he might actually have a talent for them. He can also play music by ear, something that he picked up as a little kid. These are things that actually come up in the novel.
He also loves to explore and make friends with small animals. Mainly frogs or rabbits. He’s known in his family for bringing home new “pets” every once in a while.
Rose likes to read. She’s the type of person who can’t go into a library or a bookstore without walking out with a book. She’ll reread her favourites over and over and will even come up with her own stories to share with her family. Aside from that, Rose collects ribbons that she uses to accessorize with her outfits.
I’m not exactly sure why I always associated her character with ribbons but from day one that’s how I pictured her. I like that she’s a talkative, fashionable bookworm. Even when she reads, likes to read with or to someone. She’s what my Nana would call a little chatterbox…but it’s one of my favourite thing about her character.
Roland plays the piano. He can also play the guitar but it isn’t his favourite instrument. He just likes how portable it is. He quit playing before he reached his twenties and gave up on the idea of being a professional musician. Prior to that he dabbled in writing his own music and was forced by his teacher to sing solos at the school’s Frost pageant. Before that he was shy about playing or singing in public but after he gained a lot of confidence. Performing made him really happy. Now he claims not to have time for it but every so often he’ll sit down and play something.
He doesn’t look anything like Soul when he plays…I thought I should add that. Although it would be funny if he hunched over like that and smiled at the keys.
Dianna likes to travel. She did a lot of it while she was in college, especially between semesters. She’s very adventurous and loves meeting new people, which is mentioned in the first book. She even does some travelling in it! She doesn’t have her own car but if she did, she’d probably spend most of her time on the road. A lot of the time she travels by train. She also learned a new language while she was in university, which comes in handy (but no spoilers!).
I’m not sure if anyone other than Peter would consider this a hobby…but he really likes hanging out at the pub. He likes the food, the people and the music. I don’t believe he’s actually shown hanging out there in the first book but it does mention it a few times. A lot of the time he’ll go there to catch up with old classmates or to kill time. Unlike some of the other character’s Peter has a lot of time on his hands, so he spends it either doing something stupid with Roland (like most bored people), going on the odd date or hanging out at the pub.
Well, I’d say it’s time to get back to work! I’ve been back and forth between recording, work and catching up on my TBR list (which never stops growing!).
I really want to see how much of the sequel I can knock out before the end of the month. If you’d like to see some of my process, I posted some writing vlogs on my YouTube channel.
This one features me painting my home studio, a portion of my manga collection and my sister’s Persona 5 posters haha. The sparkly guy in the thumbnail was made by my niece. He’s a love bug.
Today is the anniversary of the completion of my first draft. I can’t believe so much time has passed since I finished writing that novel. So much has happened since then!
Yesterday I finished recording an audiobook, which was incredibly fun. I learned so much from working on that project. The story and it’s character’s really mean a lot to me. It challenged me in so many ways as a voice actor, and inspired me as a fellow creative. I hope my character’s get people as excited as the ones in this book did!
As I mentioned in my last post I’m currently working on Book #2 in the series. I’ve missed writing so much. I thought it would be fitting to do a little writing on the anniversary of my first novel’s draft. The draft completion date for Book #1 is also in the same month as my character Roland’s birthday…so, happy birthday Roland!
Funny enough I also had cake today. My niece made it. It had baby Yoda/The Child on it. It was so cute! It was almost too cute to eat–it was also delicious. It was nice to have a mini social distance visit. She’s gotten so much taller since I last saw her in…what? August…September maybe? It’ll be nice when we get to have sleepovers and do tea parties again but having that short visit was nice too. Talking on the phone just isn’t the same. Hopefully things turn around during the winter and we’ll be able to spend time with our loved ones come spring.
Write a brief scene between your character and someone who hurt them.
His father’s face softened as he inched forward, stretching out his hand.
Roland smacked it away, his chest tightening as he drew in a shaky breath.
The two stood in silence; the son with his head lowered, desperately biting his tongue and the father calmly shoving his hands into his pockets, looking up at his wife as she tiptoed down the stairs.
“What’s are you two arguing about at this hour?” his mother asked.
Roland raised his head and wrinkled his nose.
His father turned his back and headed toward the parlour. “Go wash up. You’re getting blood on your shirt.”
“What happened?” his mother said, firmly. The sharpness in her tone caused his father to turn his head. She pulled her son’s face into her hands, twisting his head from side to side examining the purple and green bruise running between his left brow and cheek.
Roland glanced over at his father.
“Does it hurt?”
Roland wriggled away from his mother and wiped the blood from his brow.
“Roland, let me look at you.”
“He’s fine.” His father muttered. “Roland, go clean your face.”
He forced a smile through gritted teeth and turned toward the front door. His hands shook as he turned the lock.
His father glared at him. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“I don’t have anywhere to go.” Roland whispered, slipping between the frame of the door and into the warmth of the summer air. He jumped as the door swung shut behind him. He stumbled off the porch, his body trembling. Something bubbled up from within his chest and erupted from his lips. A sound. A scream. A feeling. Whatever it was, it made him numb.
Write a brief scene between your character and someone they admire.
He used to tell stories, but something changed. She wasn’t sure if his laughter faded when the bullets struck or when his unsteady fingers stopped tracing the black and white keys of his piano. She listened to his deep sighs, slurred words, the way his feet shuffled; his head flopping against the pillow in the early hours of the morning when he finally returned home from places he never spoke about.
He never seemed like a grown up but now he seemed small and distant. His tired eyes, wincing with every breath as he forced himself up out of bed and helped her and her brother get ready for school. She noted how his face tensed up every time the baby cried. How he rested his head in his hands while his mother lectured him about his late nights, his messy hair, the harshness in his voice.
She thought back to when his voice was gentle like her father’s. Like tea and honey. When he’d call her “Flower” and sing silly songs to her while they baked pies together or when they would play follow the leader.
Everything changed that night. No matter how many wishes she made at the creek where they used to play, her uncle remained lost like her mother and father.