Blog Tour: interview with War Of Loyalties’ Jaeryn Graham // feat. secret agent. doctor. precious gingersnap I will fight for.

This is a very special day. I am introducing you, Wrenlings, to a couple of my favorite people. One is real. The other is less so.


[Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash]

Every now and then in life you encounter someone who you know instantly will be a kindred spirit and soul-friend. Schuyler McConkey is one of those delightful people. She also happens to be a writer who just published her debut novel War of Loyalties exactly one week ago.


(in which the 11th doctor has the perfect reactions always)

Jaeryn Graham happens to be a Highly Important Character in said novel and also a precious gingersnap that I fell head-over-heels for the moment I met him. For me, Jaeryn is right up there with all the other infuriating, lovable, swoon-worthy men of literature, e.g. John Thornton, Dustfinger, Mr. Rochester, Holmes, etc. Today I have the privilege of featuring this enigmatic doctor + secret agent here on Curious Wren and I am OVER THE MOON ABOUT IT WITH DELIGHT. deep breaths, Annie. deep breaths.

First, here’s a bit about War of Loyalties.

April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the coastal town of Folkestone, England. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover which British citizens are traitors to their country. When his first attempt at espionage falls prey to a trap laid by German sympathizers, the security of the British Secret Service is threatened. Feeling lost in a strange country and aching for a steady place to call home, he wants to resign and go back to his American medical work. But when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with the mysterious Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered.

In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham’s British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his new mission in the Secret Service should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But after encountering death and alienating two agents, he finds the road to victory isn’t as easy as he thought. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.

About the Author: Schuyler McConkey is a writing teacher, book reviewer, and ministry leader living half of her life in happy fellowship with her family and spending the other half in angst-filled fictional worlds. She is passionate about classic, Dickensian stories and characters who encounter deep struggles touched by grace. Irish music, British movies, and chai lattes provide the fuel for her dreams.

 Let the interrogation interview begin!

Annie: Welcome to Curious Wren, Jaeryn; I’m so pleased to have this chat with you today. *pours cup of tea and scoots chocolate cake closer* Tell us about yourself, if you please.

Jaeryn: Thank you, Miss Hawthorne. I have references available, if you would like me to add you to my patient roster. I’ve been living in Folkestone for the last few months starting my first practice. Before that, I was finishing school and completing various residencies.

Annie: Thank you for your thoughtful concern for my health. I’m quite touched, but at the present, I don’t need any medical care. Speaking of which, what led you to pursue medicine as a career?

Jaeryn: I am glad to hear you are in good health, Miss Hawthorne. Please don’t hesitate to call if you ever find yourself ill. I decided to be a doctor when I was around fifteen. I like to use my skills to keep illness from harming families and to oversee the wellbeing of a town. I have the capability to make quick and precise decisions, and I enjoy the sense of power that this work brings.

Annie: Your reasons are admirably noble, if I may say so, but I’m fascinated by your statement that you enjoy the sense of power that being a doctor gives you. What do you think that means regarding your personality, and does such a feeling ever concern you in any way?

Jaeryn: Some men are born to be leaders, and I have sensed from a very young age that I was one of them. I can’t say that it does concern me, Miss Hawthorne. Without sounding conceited, I feel confident in my ability to control my controlling tendencies. They haven’t run away with me yet, and as long as I exercise some common sense, I don’t think they will.

Annie: I’m glad to hear that you exercise such fine self-control. If you consider yourself as having been born to be a leader then how does that translate into the life of a doctor? You could have pursued politics or perhaps the clergy or even espionage.

Jaeryn: The clergy was not something I ever considered pursuing. Politics can be powerful, but one is at the mercy of elections and the cooperation of other men. In this field, I can work alone and set my own course for the things I consider important in life. While it doesn’t happen in every case, a doctor can control the course of illness and sometimes death, and enjoys a position of influence in society for causes that are important to him.

Annie: Without intending to flatter you, I will say my respect of you has deepened due to this conversation. But, I’m curious, since you’re a doctor and frequently come in contact with illness and death and all the difficult emotions related to that, is it a struggle to distance yourself from your patients or do you find yourself becoming too empathetic? Do you tend to keep your emotions bottled up or do you have a companion you can vent your thoughts to?

Jaeryn: I can control many things, but there are occasions when illness and death get the best of me—or treating them is draining seeing the impact that it has on the patient that it is hard to watch them suffer. I feel grief. On many occasions I feel grief mixed with anger in the face of pain I cannot cure. I am strong, and not debilitated by what I see, but I am also not untouched by it.

When I am thinking about occasions like that, a friend of mine seems to have a sixth sense on what evenings he needs to stop by. He has an uncanny ability to listen in the midst of all his chatter.

Annie: You seem to have all the right abilities to make an excellent doctor, and I’m pleased to hear that you have friends who can give you a listening ear when you need it. That’s so important. On that note, and not all intending to be impertinent, have you ever been married or wanted to be?

Jaeryn: I do not wish to be married. A wife would want to read over my shoulder and go out to social engagements, and both of those things would be distressing. I prefer to stay home as much as possible unless it’s connected to my work, and I do not allow anyone to read my papers.

Annie: What if the woman was blind and preferred a good cup of tea and knitting by the fireside to social gatherings?

Jaeryn: In that case she may have difficulty knitting, Miss Hawthorne. Neither could she make tea. While I would try to take good care of her, this sounds more like a patient than a wife. Perhaps I should cut this interview short, if we are going to delve into deeply personal questions.

Annie: My apologies. Have another cup of tea. I just have two more questions for you, and I’ll do my best not to pry. What is one of your fondest childhood memories? Vice versa, what was something that you struggled with as a child?

Jaeryn: My fondest memory is lying out on the grass, in the fresh air, on a Sunday afternoon. I had company I loved, in a place that I loved, and I knew that as soon as I went home there would be supper on the stove.

I struggled with loss.

Annie: One last question: when you picture your future, how do you see yourself in it and are you pleased with what you expect the reminder of your life to be?

Jaeryn: I picture the future as struggle and secrets, calculation and power, victory and life. And if what I see comes to pass, then I will die pleased, however long or short that life may be.


*Jaeryn sympathetically lays a hand on your arm*

My dear Miss Hawthorne, you have been a very inquisitive but kind companion, and I am happy to have done you a good service. Allow me to suggest a cup of tea and perhaps a quiet nap this evening. It does a great deal to calm the nerves when one wishes to regain tranquility.

*writes you a prescription which you may keep as an autograph if you wish*

(don’t forget to enter the book giveaway!)


Favorite Couples in Books // top ten OTPs

top OTPs in Books

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner I thought, “Why not share about my favorite couples in literature?” I have many, oh, so many.

(throughout this post I’ll be throwing out terms like OTP and “shipping.” OTP stands for “One True Pairing.” As for shipping? Well, it means you really want a couple to be in a relationship, because reasons.)
(also, linking up with the Broke and the Bookish for this.)

Are you ready?


  1. Eanrin and Imraldera (Tales of Goldstone Wood).

Okay, ‘fess up. How many of you had a feeling these two would be first on my list? They are easily my favorite couple in recent literature. Eanrin is a faerie-bard (he likes to stay in cat-form 90% of the time) who speaks much sass and gives me multiple feels continually, and Imraldera is a spirited, sweet human/immortal/I-don’t-even-know-what.

“Her eyes pleaded with him to understand, to try. Under that gaze, Eanrin had no option but to sit and stare at the scribbles in the dust, stare with all the intensity a cat can muster. His pupils dilated until the golden irises were like rings of eclipsed sunfire. Imraldera watched him, chewing her bottom lip and waiting.
At last the cat lashed his tail and raised his whiskered face to her. “I’m sorry, my girl. It looks to me like the Greater Stick Bug pursues the Lesser Stick Bug over the back of a giant alligator. Can’t make a thing of it otherwise.”
― Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Starflower

Also, they are the most infuriating ship I have ever taken over.


2. Foxbrush and Daylily (Tales of Goldstone Wood).

They are polar opposites and perfect suited and I’ve shipped them ever since Foxbrush’s interest in Daylily was mentioned in Veiled Rose. Their journey together made my heart ache (in the best way possible) more than once — beautifully done, Stengl.

3. Mir and Eva (Monster).

ACK. Mir and Eva are absolutely adorable. They have such a huge impact on each other’s lives, and I’m quite sure I will never tire of reading their story. All the inspiration and emotion and beauty and strength. Just wonderful.

4. Thorne and Cress (The Lunar Chronicles).

Speaking of adorable. This couple is the cutest EVER. I can’t handle the cute sometimes. And I love how their relationship evolves. It’s beautiful because it’s real, not all emotions and swooning over each other’s attractiveness — though, that does happen.

And did I mention the cute?


5. Sydney Carton and Lucy (The Tale of Two Cities).

I will continue to ship these two beyond all reason.

6. Dan and Bess (Jo’s Boys).

The way their story ended still irritates me. Especially since it didn’t have to be that way. Excuse me while I curl up and cry over the injustice of it all.

The second window framed a very picturesque group of three. Mr March in an armchair, with Bess on a cushion at his feed, was listening to Dan, who, leaning against a pillow, was talking with unusual animation. The old man was in shadow, but little Desdemona was looking up with the moonlight full upon her face, quite absorbed in the story he was telling so well. The gay drapery over Dan’s shoulder, his dark colouring and the gesture of his arm made the picture very striking and both very striking, and both spectators enjoyed it with silent pleasure.

7. Margaret and John Thornton (North and South).

This love story is one of my all-time favorites. Everything about it is so beautiful, in the best and most realistic way. It makes me happy when love grows out of mutual respect for each other’s intelligence and opinions. It’s splendid when couples have in-depth discussions about politics and religion and what-have-you, and not just heartrending, swoony scenes.

Although, those are nice too.


8. Valancy and Barney (The Blue Castle). 

Another couple whose love grows out of friendship, except they were married first so that makes things slightly different. I will probably never recover from that unexpected twist on a proposal scene. Also, Barney is one of my favorite male charries ever.

“Didn’t I promise you I’d never tell you a lie? Love you! I love you with all there is of me to love.”

9. Arrietty and Spiller (The Borrowers series).

I will ship these two until the end of time. Can you imagine all the cute and awkward and general perfection of this?


10. Callie and Mr. Barnett (Fly Away Home).

The chemistry and friendship between this couple gives me warm fuzzies.

Who are your favorite couples in literature? What is your top OTP?

“And the winners are…”


This is the day, my friends! Today you learn who the three winners are of the SEA Scribblers short story contest. Everybody all shriek in excitement together!!!

This contest was an amazing experience, and I was blown away by the sheer amount of people who entered. The talent and the clever usage of the prompts, the fascinating stories… there was so much to be in awe over, and Schuyler, Emily and I are incredibly honored in having the privilege to judge. You all did not make it easy on us. O.O

Anyone curious about who won?



*suspense builds*



Third Place:

We Three Gifts written by Sarah Holliday

Second Place:

Red, Yet White written by Victoria Marinov

First Place:

Song for Liselei written by Elisabeth Hayse

Congratulations, ladies, and well done! I’m so excited for you all. ^_^



I will be sharing Red, Yet White here on Curious Wren and you can visit Schuyler’s blog to read We Three Gifts and Emily’s blog will feature Song for Liselei.

As for those of you who didn’t win, rest assured, your stories were wonderful. We had a torturous time nearing down to the Top Three and because of that we are each going to have an Honorable Mentions section to honor the talent of some of you amazing writers. Seriously, I was so happy and pleased by all the entries. Thank you to everyone for making this the best experience for the SEA Scribblers that we could have asked for!

Honorable Mentions

Stardust: a retelling

Final Choice

The White City 

Night Mission

And now for the Second Place entry…..

Red, Yet White

​Doesn’t Aunt Mae get it that the last thing I need right now is a boyfriend? Especially not one who goes to a fancy private school and has rich parents. Or has never known any pain in his life.

​I storm out of the back door and shut out Aunt Mae’s voice, pleading me to come back. No, I’m not going back. Bradley is an obnoxious, stuck-up brat. Anyone can see that. And besides, when he finds out who I really am, it’s going to break his shiny little heart made of golden foil. I don’t see why Mae is trying to set us up.

​I mean, she and Uncle Tim aren’t annoying people in general, except that they resemble the nerds you see on Animal Planet. Uncle Tim could’ve gone and had a brilliant career in Wall Street, but instead they came here to the middle of nowhere in Virginia and bought a few acres of forest, for no other reason except to make a “sanctuary” for baby wolves abandoned by their pack because of deformities. They raise the wolves here. They – the wolves – are all supposedly tame, but I still don’t like going out in the back yard too often.

​It’s much better than if I had gone to stay with Great-Uncle Carl, my other choice for Christmas. He’s this old, quiet dude with a mustache and he used to work with strategic intelligence. And besides, all the aunts on the other side of the family like to gossip that he was a spy for the KGB once. I’m not sure I believe that, but there’s no way I’m spending Christmas with him.

​The cold air forces me to button my jacket and rub my arms where the raw skin is. I wish I had put ointment on them. The cuts are over a month old, when I had my last fit, but for some reason they’re not healing. And the cold is making my skin all dry and weird. I never get that in California. Nor do we get snow.

​I leap over a patch of it, and Fassbender limps from behind a tree, wagging his tail. He comes up and sniffs my hands, and I rub his thick, warm fur.

​From the first day I arrived, I guess Fassbender took the responsibility of watching over me. I didn’t think wolves have a protective instinct, but I guess tame ones do. He’s really sweet, and somehow the presence of another broken being soothes me. Although he has it better than me. He’s deformed physically, with his foot. I’m deformed mentally. And that’s breaking me physically.

​I wonder why there isn’t a sanctuary for broken humans. Why is it that animals seem to get so many more privileges than people? It’s ridiculous.

​As I continue walking through the forest, I see a couple younger wolves running playfully in a circle. A robin, feathers puffed up against the cold on a branch I pass under, sings a couple notes before taking off. My ears are beginning to get cold, and I let my hair down from its ponytail. It’s one advantage of having ridiculously thick hair. I can use it to warm my head.

​Suddenly I realize that the candy cane Bradley gave me is still in my pocket. It’s all crushed now. I’ve never really liked candy canes. They remind me of myself. Bent, and so easily crushed. And red stripes.

​I shove it back in my pocket and reach over to touch Fassbender. His presence is reassuring. I’ve never really realized what a difference an animal can make, and I’m sort of glad he’s by me. After several minutes I reach the fence that ends the property. The gravel road passes right by it, and I lean against the fence and stare at it.

​There’s something inviting about roads. They stretch forever into the horizon, and you don’t know what’s over the bend. It could be something bad, but it could also be good. You would think with all that’s happened in my life I wouldn’t be so optimistic, but I guess I am. There’s always a chance for something different, if not better. I think that’s what’s keeping me alive. The hope that something better will come. I wish I have a promise that something better will come, because hope can seem so pointless sometimes.

​This road has a bend too, and I want to see what’s beyond it. So I climb over the fence and tell Fassbender that I’ll be back in a little bit. He sits down and looks at me with those large, soft eyes of his, almost pleading to come with me.

​“Sorry, boy,” I rub his head over the fence. “I’ll take care of myself, I promise.”

​The gravel turns to rough pavement shortly after the bend. The forest grows thick around the road, but ahead I see a clearing. I walk toward it, not really expecting anything, just wanting something to keep me going down this road. Because I need something. Desperately. Before I do something stupid.

​There’s a parking lot in the clearing, and it’s empty, except for an old pick-up truck that doesn’t look like it’s been driven since Charlemagne was crowned emperor. Across the parking lot a small, whitewashed church huddles in the clearing. Its steeple rises up toward the overcast sky, standing securely through the cold wind which suddenly blows through the clearing. Sudden memories come to me, of when I was in high school a couple years ago and my choir went on a trip to Europe, and we visited a cathedral. It had been so peaceful to sit in the old wooden pews with carved angels keeping guard high overhead.

​I don’t suppose a small church in the middle of nowhere will have that same effect, but I walk up to the doors anyhow. They’re unlocked. I tug them and walk inside. The lobby is empty, and a couple papers on the bulletin board flutter when I close the door. The sanctuary doors open more smoothly, and I shyly tiptoe in. The floors creaks under my steps, and it sounds frightfully loud in the empty building.

​I find a pew near the front and sit on the edge. It’s quiet and peaceful, but so terribly lonely. Loneliness feels like the ideal environment for dark thoughts to reproduce. And yet, the silence inside this church is soothing, in a way. The high ceiling and the grandness of it all somehow reminds me that my problems don’t really matter in the world. Nothing is going to be changed by my failures, and they won’t hurt anyone I love. There really isn’t anything to cry about, and I don’t really cry that much, but a couple tears slide down my cheek.

​Then I hear the door open, and someone walks across the sanctuary. It’s probably just a janitor or something. I hope the person hasn’t noticed me. The last thing I need right now is someone to disrupt my precious privacy. Maybe coming here was a bad idea.

​“Would you like me to sit with you?”

​I look up. There’s a guy standing by me. If these emotions weren’t here now, I would probably laugh, because he really looks like such a typical nerd. With the glasses and messy brown hair and the sweater and everything. But I really don’t care now. I shrug.

​“Sure, go ahead.”

​He sits beside and looks ahead, and I try to ignore him. This is awkward. I’m always awkward around guys. I’m always awkward around everyone, actually.

​“So, have you recently moved into the area?” he suddenly asks. “I don’t think I’ve seen you before.”

​I wipe my nose on my sleeve, wondering why I wasn’t asked the normal “why are you crying” and “can I help you” that strangers normally ask me when they see me and my depression in the park.

​“Kinda. I’m visiting my aunt and uncle. The Reynolds.”

​“Oh, really? The ones who take care of the deformed wolf pups?”

​“Yeah, those.”

​“It must be great.”

​“Yeah, I guess.”

​I want to end this conversation. But I suddenly feel really rude, so I ask something before I realize it’s really stupid.

​“Do you live here?”

​“Yup. Just around the bend. My dad’s the pastor of this church.”


​“So is your family here too?”

​“No. My parents sent me here because they’re busy with some … legal things.” Their divorce, that is. I mean, they’ve never wanted me around anyway, so I’m sure why they really sent me away was so they wouldn’t have to drag their embarrassment of a daughter around at Christmas parties.

​“Hey, I know this is awkward,” he says, “but is there any way I can help you? I just saw you were kind of sad, and–”

​“It’s fine, really,” I cut him off. He won’t understand, especially if he’s a pastor’s son. There was this kid in my tenth-grade class who was a pastor’s son, and he was so perfect and holy and annoying, and I can’t stand these people.

​He shrugs. “Alright then, I just though I could help. I guess I’ll leave.”

​I watch him as he stands up. In a way, I don’t want him to leave. Someone else’s presence helps me from believing that I’m worthless and stupid, but he would never understand. He must have thrown his coat in the front pew and he reaches for it, and then I notice something, and stare, adrenaline surging through me. On his arms, there are lines, in the same places where my cuts are. Except mine are red. His are healed scars.

​“You too,” the words breathlessly tumble out of my mouth before I can stop them.

​He turns around and looks at me. “What?” Then, somehow, he understands. “Is that what–”

​“Yes,” I nod, and the tears come again. “I – I hate myself.” I pull my hand from my pocket and see that I’m still holding the crushed candy cane, and stare at it for the lack of anything else to do.

​Again he sits down by me and puts his arm around me. “I know,” he says after a moment of difficult silence. “I’ve been there. I did it too. I – I hurt myself too.”

​So I’m not the only one in the world. I resist the tears that force themselves through my eyes and wonder what to say. I don’t know what to say. My feelings sometimes feel too complicated to be put into words.

​“Have you ever heard of the legend of the candy cane?” he adds after a moment and points to the one I’m holding.

​I remember something vague from when I was in kindergarten. My teacher read us a picture book about the candy cane or something, but I don’t remember anything. “No, I haven’t,” I answer.

​“On Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth,” he says. “He came to be a shepherd to those who love Him.”

​When I was little and my dad still dragged us to church I used to hear this stuff. I’ve never really thought about it since then, though.

​“That’s why the candy cane is bent,” he continues, taking it from my hand. “Like a shepherd’s staff.”

​“Oh,” is all I can say.

​“You know He came to die as a sacrifice, right?”

​I nod.

​“The red stripes – they represent the blood that He shed for us on the cross. He suffered so we wouldn’t have to. You don’t have to bleed anymore,” he softens his voice, “because He already bled for you.”

​Why would anyone bleed for me? Why would anyone die for me? That’s what I never understood. “What about the white?” I ask hoarsely, running my finger across the candy cane.

​“We can be white – washed clean of our sins, if we turn to Him,” the young man tells me. “As white as snow. Your wounds will be healed if you believe that He died and rose again for you.”

​Not bleeding sounds wonderful – something that hasn’t sounded wonderful in a while.

​“Can– can I come here on Sunday?” I ask. I suddenly want to know more. Maybe this guy can help me. Maybe – maybe I really don’t have to bleed anymore.

​“Of course. Everyone’s invited.”

​“Thank you,” I try to smile appreciatively. “Thank– thank you for everything. Well, I probably have to be going,” I stand up after a couple silent moments.

​“Would you like me to walk you home?”

​“If it wouldn’t be out of your way …”

​“No, it wouldn’t,” he reassures me.

​We walk out of the church. It’s gotten cold, and definitely darker. And it’s snowing. There’s something magical and refreshing about snow. As white as snow, my companion’s words echo through my head. I suddenly realize that I want to be like that.

​We climb over the fence, and Fassbender comes trotting up and wagging his tail.

​“It’s alright,” I see my friend’s reluctance and laugh. How good that feels. “He’s perfectly tame.”

​“If you say so,” he says with a smile and reaches out to pet my wolfish friend. “What’s his name?”


​“Like the actor? That’s an interesting name for a wolf.”

​“Oh, I don’t know. I don’t really watch movies.”

​“What do you mean you don’t watch movies?” he looks at me incredulously.

​I shrug. “I don’t know. I’ve never really been interested. I don’t even remember the last time I watched anything.”

​We continue silently through the woods and soon reach the house. I guess most of the sanctuary’s inhabitants have retreated into their kennels, which I’m thankful for. I wouldn’t feel safe in a dark wood with wolves around.

​“Well, this is me,” I say. “Thanks for, uh, everything. I feel better.”

​He smiles. I never noticed until now how kind and genuine his smile is. “I know what you’re going through, and I’ve gone through it. And I want to help you.”

​“Thanks,” is all I can say.

​“By the way, I was thinking, do you want to go see a movie together? After church this Sunday?”

​“Um, sure, I would love to. I’ll ask my aunt, but I think she’ll be okay with it.”

​“Alright then, I guess I’ll see you then. Oh, wait, what’s your name?”

​That’s right. We don’t even know each other’s names. Awkward.

​“I’m Destiny,” I say. “You?”

​“Gabriel,” he answers. “And you have a unique name.”

​“Thank my parents for that,” I smile and open the door.

​“Oh, and, Destiny, I forgot to return your candy cane.” He hands it to me.

​“Thanks,” I accept it and fumble for a moment in the dark. “Have a good evening.”

​He returns my farewell and walks away into the dark. I close the door, walk into the lighted kitchen and dust my boots on the carpet. Uncle Tim and Aunt Mae are talking in the dining room. By their voices I can tell that they’re not discussing me, so I head that way. But before I head in, I look at the candy cane in my hand, and stop. It’s not my crushed one. This one’s whole and new, and bigger.

​I smile when I realize that Gabriel must have had this one and given it to me. Fingering it, I think of our conversation in the church.I don’t have to bleed anymore, because One already bled for me.

​I think from now on candy canes will taste better.


Beautiful Books — Witchling

Today I’m introducing you to my fledgling future NaNoWriMo novel. Obviously, I am terrified about this.

But before you all start reading super fast to get to the actual questions (from Beautiful Books hosted by the ever talented Cait and Sky.) I have a Thing To Say. It is this: I write books longhand — as the darling regular bloggy readers know — which means that the most I’ve written in a single day was roughly 2,500. And I almost died afterwards. slight exaggeration.  My point?

I am not aiming for the usual 50,000 words. 

I know that means I can’t officially win, but I don’t mind — I think the glow of passing my own set word-count will be more than enough to make me happy. Plus, there’s other less-than-fifty-thousand-words NaNo-ers (such as her lovely self) who I can jog along with. My plan is to write roughly 2,ooo words every week day — taking weekends off — and that should end up being roughly 40,000 words all together.

I’m giving myself some leniency ahead of time since I’m a plantser (hybrid plotter/pantser) and currently I have a beginning and an ending, but the middle is lost in grey haze. HALP

In the meanwhile, it’s time to introduce you to my precious baby.


1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

It’s actually the sequel to I am Juliette, which is the first book in my light sci-fi series of fairytale re-tellings. Witchling was born from a chance sentence a character spoke in IAJ (I think this is the first time a charrie has been so helpful in the history of ever) and I’ve been collecting bits and pieces of inspiration for about a year now.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

Because espionage and poisoned gingerbread and futuristic tech and terrifying snakes and precious child-siblings and hypnotizing voices and deep space legends and assassinations and foot chases and battles of wits.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

Witching is a re-telling of Hansel and Gretel. I haven’t written a synopsis or even a tiny blurb, but basically being hypnotized happens and also gingerbread. Think Hansel and Gretel, but in space and futuristic and with twisty storylines and chilling antagonists.

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

The Witchling







The Wolf Master


(except more wolfish and villainous.)

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!

Hands down, it’s the Witchling (who, despite her name, isn’t a witch. Only a bit too enchanting and mesmerizing for her own good..) The Wolf Master will be fun to write too, because I enjoy writing villains far too much. because clearly I have issues.

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

Fulfilling each and every one of her orders. What stands in her way? Hansel and Gretel and, ultimately, herself.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

It swaps back and forth between earth and space, but mostly it’s in space. So lots of spacey-wacey things going on.



8. What is the most important relationship your character has?

The Witchling has three main relationships in the book. I would say the most important are the bond she has with the Wolf Master (because he cages her in) and with the children (because they show the Witchling her bars).

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

She realizes that masks are actually pretty traps, and making someone the center of your world, to the point of idolizing them, is not wise.

Poisoning gingerbread is not such a brilliant idea either.

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

Not standing up for what you believe will put you in a cage. Just make sure what you believe is the truth — and you will be set free.

NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

Since this is my first time participating in NaNo, I don’t have any advice really (except, rewards are Important Things, lovelies).

Why don’t we swap this around, and all of you experienced NaNo-ers tell me your advice for surviving National Novel Writing Month?

And while you’re at it, if you want to buddy me I’m Curious Wren over there!

Also, I will be sharing snippets on my twitter because I won’t be able to resist.

November is going to be so exciting, humans. O.O

Let’s do this thing.

(Oh! On Sunday I’m posting the finalists for the 2015 Blogger Book Awards — Best Character. And on Monday I’ll be making a Very Exciting Announcement along with Schuyler and Emily. Which I am stoked about so be on the lookout, everybody!)

Curious Wren launch party Day Six: Interview at Fullness of Joy

Woe, and alas, it’s almost the end of my blog launch party. 

Hold the funeral dirge! We still have one interview left today (which I will mention in a mo) and tomorrow I’ll be sharing my answers to the blog party Bookish Tag, as well as my answers to Emily’s blog launch tag. Lots of bookish fun in both tags, so keep an eye out. ^_^ The Curious Wren blog party ends officially Wednesday, and the giveaway ends at midnight of that day — don’t forget to enter if you haven’t already!

Also! You can now follow my blog on Bloglovin’! <a href=””>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

On to the interview: back in March 2012 I stumbled across Joy’s blog and left my first comment (this was back in the days when I hadn’t the faintest idea that there was supposed to be a space between sentences when typing. Most embarrassing). I continued to “stalk” her site and it wasn’t long before we realized what kindred spirits we were and became fast friends. Joy is my oldest, and one of my dearest, on-line friends; the Samwise to my Frodo, the Watson to my Holmes, and I am thrilled and honored to be hosted on her blog today! Grab a mug of tea or coffee, and some cupcakes and join us while we discuss why I write, the authors who’ve influenced me, my current favorite TV shows, particular writing quirks, what my WIP is, how I balance writing with other activities, the actress I’d choose to play myself if my life was a movie (weird thought, that. O.o), literary side-kicks special to my heart, what my secret talent is, and more! (I had such a blast answering these questions, humans.)

My heart is rather full of excitement right now! I am so thrilled in fact, because I’ve been anticipating this day for years now, and it makes me so happy to finally be able to feature an interview here on Fullness of Joy with one of my very dear and closest online friends…. read more.

Curious Wren launch party Day Four: Interview at Solar Powered Life. 

Dragons, the meaning of essence, favorite sound-words, the inspiration behind my blog name, what characterizes my writing style and more! Elizabeth Kirkwood (better known to me as “Bets”, my special nickname for her) is one of my dearest friends. We’ve laughed and exchanged writings and private jokes and difficult moments of life and cried over AoS, and generally get along very well. I’m honored to be hosted on her blog today! Why don’t you drop by and give the interview a look-see? 

You know how there are some people you talk with for a few moments, and you inexplicably feel like you’ve known them all their lives? That’s pretty much how my friendship with Annie Hawthorne (my petname for her is Cinthy, since she reminds me of hyacinth flowers) started: we clicked right off the bat…. read more.

Curious Wren launch party Day Two: Interview with My Lady Bibliophile

Today I talk with my sweet friend Schuyler about my current work-in-progress, what it’s like having writer siblings, why I’m so fond of owls, and about finding the silver linings in life. I also share story excerpts. Come join us! There’s pizza. *wink*

Friends and fellow bibliophiles, I’m excited to introduce to you Annie Hawthorne, a dear friend of mine who just launched her first blog. (Tis the season! So exciting!) Annie is a dear, whimsical, sweet girl who has send dozens of encouraging tweets to me in our acquaintance. We’ve laughed together, discussed stories over the phone… read more.