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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Roland would never admit it but the person who influenced him the most, was also the person he’d grown to loath more than anything.
He loved Tabitha. She gave him whatever he’d been missing or at least she tried, but she wasn’t his mother. Leon did the same as did Roland’s older brother. They tried to provide some sort of father figure for him but it was difficult.
Roland had parents. A mother who at times was absent, getting lost in her art or inside her own little world. More absent every day it seemed, as her melancholy came in and out without warning. A father who remained distant, not even acknowledging Roland as his son…and rarely addressing him as such. A father who called him “the boy” as if saying his actual name was some kind of curse. A father who never laughed or smiled in his presence, no matter how good Roland tried to be.
He never wanted them to influence him but as he grew older he realized he’d adopted some of their habits. The way his father paced around when he was frustrated, his mother’s anxious rambling. It was bad enough he continued to get compared to his father based upon his looks, but now even his father’s nature. The things that once separated them, he somehow managed to inherit.
He tried desperately to be anything but. He wanted to grow up to be like his brother. Funny, full of imagination, always smiling. A person who could light up a room with their loud laughter. He wanted to be like Tabitha, kind but firm. Always looking out for others. Stubborn but not entirely unreasonable. He wanted to be like Leon, a man who only said what was necessary. A man who thought things through. A good listener. A good friend.
Sadly as he began leaving his childish ways behind him, he’d morphed into the ugliest creature he’d ever come across. A loathing, jealous, stubborn creature. Not even human. He barked at everyone, cursed at them. He was violent. He had fits of rage. Broke things. Broke himself when he could. At first he thought he was punishing his parents but soon he realized, after an argument with his father in the parlour turned violent, that it was possible he’d taken things too far. He thought the anger, the violence and the cockiness made him feel whole. Made him feel stronger. Made him impenetrable. That was until it didn’t and he realized that it never would.
And so, Roland shrank within himself. There was no more loathing, or anger. A bit of his stubbornness remained but the loud, aggressiveness of it all faded. He couldn’t justify it anymore. He didn’t understand it or himself.
In his attempt to get some sort of acknowledgement from his parents, he frightened those who had loved him all along. He’d forgotten them. Their kindness, their friendship, the way they comforted him. Some left him for good. Disgusted by his behaviour. Others, as he shrank, realized his walls were crumbling along with him and reached out, hoping to find beneath it all, the charming little boy they loved so dearly.
You don’t ever have to be stronger than you really are When you’re lying in my arms, and, honey You don’t ever have to act cooler than you think you should You’re brighter than the brightest stars
Lana Del Rey
I was listening to this song the other day on my way home from work, and thought of Roland as a teenager and the people in his life, especially those who saw the changes in his character. He’s made some really amazing friends and has such a loving chosen family. The lyrics really popped out to me. I really hope as Roland grows in this series that he’ll come to realize how truly blessed he is to have them in his life.
As a child Roland was charming. Greeted the staff with a warm smile, remembered his manners and mostly kept to his room, which he helped tidy when asked as it rarely ever was tidy.
The little boy practically lived in his room, only leaving when he was well enough or when he was too sick to be cared for at home.
On good days he’d follow his older brother around the house, eager for some attention. His brother spoiled him. Sometimes even paying Roland in candy so he could get a moments peace.
Roland adored candy. From licorice to chocolates.
His father kept some in his office on his desk, a silly place to keep candy with sneaky little hands around.
Roland would hide a top the stairs and peer through the railing, until his father left the office to join his mother for their morning coffee. Then he’d very quietly, like a mouse, sneak down the steps and into the room. He was always careful to remove the lid from the candy tin. Then he’d reach in for one, although he somehow ended up with two pockets full.
His father knew. He’d seen the candy wrappers beneath the little boys bed, as did everyone else, but he allowed Roland to play his game and refilled the tin later in the day.