April is almost upon us and that means it's time for Camp NaNoWriMo and yes, I'm participating. I've changed my mind a couple times on what I'm going to be doing, but now I've finally got my mind made up. At first I was going to start a new project, Horses of Fire. But between research that needs done first and the desire to get A House for Charity finished, I changed my mind to continuing that WIP (work in progress). But for the last week or so I've just been stuck with where to take it. And then something awesome happened. A writing friend of mine is starting to do ebook cover design and she shared a picture on Facebook that I absolutely fell in love with. Knowing that I wouldn't get very far with Charity with as stuck as I've been, I changed my mind again for a new project. (By the way, for those of you who saw A House for Charity would be coming in late spring, this will change the release date for that story. Sorry!)
So, what will my camp novel be?
To Keep a Star, a fantasy novel combining elements of two of my favorite things: stars and Greek mythology. I've always been fascinated by the stars and love that in my very small town, I can see them every night (unless it's cloudy out). As a girl, I often went star-gazing with my daddy and he showed me how to find several constellations, some of which are favorites to this day. I always search for Cassiopeia, the Big and Little Dippers, I trace out Draco and Orion. I just love the night sky. And I love the myths and stories surrounding the various constellations.
This novel takes some of its inspiration from the story of the Pleiades. Most of us remember the story of seven sisters being chased by an unwanted suitor and pleading to the gods for help. They were changed to sparrows before then being placed in the heavens. But there's another part of the story that is lesser known. For they could only see six of the stars (though we now know that the Pleiades is in reality a large cluster of several stars and heavenly bodies) and explained this by saying that Electra, one of the sisters, left her place when Troy was destroyed and because of the sisters' grief, the constellation has been dim since.
But, what if Electra didn't just choose to turn away? What if the star's light was taken?
I don't want to give away too much today, but that's where the idea started to take shape for To Keep a Star. Each day leading up to Camp NaNoWriMo, I will write a blog post introducing one of the characters to you. Today, I'm going to tell you a little about Laria.
Some of you might remember that name from the Charming Academy series. If you don't, she's the hot pink fairy who delivers mail to the school. But, this is not the same Laria. I had the inklings of an idea for this story many years ago and immediately decided the main character would be a girl named Laria, as the name means star in Latin according to one of my many baby name sources. But since the idea wasn't going anywhere, I abandoned it in favor of other projects that were showing more promise. When the idea came more forcefully this time, I decided to keep the name rather than changing it. There's nothing wrong with having two.
Laria in this story is an avid star-gazer. She loves it so much that she's decided to study astronomy in school and make a career of it. I was going to share a character sketch with you, but my precious one-year-old gave the sketch some interesting tattoos. So I'll just have to describe her myself. She's pretty average in height and build with very long, pale blond hair (except for a streak of bright blue) and gray eyes. She's a jeans-and-tee kind of girl, loves the outdoors and especially camping. She is always wearing a silver star pendant which was a gift from her grandmother. Laria likes for things to be simple and while she has a great imagination, prefers to keep her feet firmly on the ground. While doing her homework one night, she discovers a luminescent glass spere which will turn her whole world upside down.
So that's your first glimpse into this fun adventure. Do you have a favorite star, constellation, or myth? Tell me about it!
P.S. My Facebook fan page is almost at 300 likes! Do me a favor and share with your friends so I can make that goal. There will probably be a small, celebratory giveaway in the near future if I get there. :)
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius