Know the Novel – Part One: Introduction (2022)

After a two-month hiatus, I figured a link-up introducing my latest writing project would be a good way to ease back into blogging. I get a relatively easy post to start with and y’all get an introduction to what I’ve been working on during my long silence. So first off, thank you to Christine Smith for hosting the Know the Novel link-up, and with that… let’s get started!


1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

I honestly don’t remember. XD I know it started with the characters Rhys and Alaric and their relationship, because a couple of scenes between the two of them were what I first wrote in November of 2017, but I don’t remember what prompted any of those ideas.

I also don’t remember when Erika, Nyla, and Ash showed up, or why.

I do remember that I wrote the introductory scene while I was doing a blogging challenge in April of 2018, sharing snippets from story ideas starting with each letter of the alphabet. At the time, Lightning was titled “Grantech” (which wasn’t confusing at all…) and it was the only G I had, so I wrote up the intro and really enjoyed it!

While I was going back through my archives this August, I came across that again and decided it would be fun to write. (Re-watching The Maze Runner about that time was also a factor, partially because they’re both dystopian but moreso because Thomas Brodie-Sangster is the faceclaim for Ash. XD)

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!

The scientific mega-corporation Grantech dedicates a large percentage of its resources to the manipulation of Esleon’s natural “magic” to create a line of super-soldiers (known to the public as Genetic Deviants or GenDevs). The main characters grew up in this program: Nyla, whose powers didn’t integrate properly and cause her chronic pain; Erika, whose powers never seemed to manifest, causing her to be “eliminated” from the program; and Alaric, who uses his powers at Grantech’s behest to bring more kids into the GenDev program, despite his guilt.

Along with some help from ordinary Grantech employees who are starting to see the truth behind Grantech’s propaganda, these GenDevs must find a way to escape Grantech’s control—for themselves and for the others stuck in the program.

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects of the setting?

It takes place in a far-future New York city, after an apocalypse and several centuries of rebuilding. Though, to be honest, the setting is one of the elements that needs the most work. XD It currently resembles our own New York too closely and I haven’t done the research and finagling to make it totally its own thing yet.

But I do like the urban setting in general; it’s very bright and shiny, glimmering even at night. Basically, the total opposite of somewhere I’d actually want to live, but a fun setting for a story. XD

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Ooh boy. There are five of them, so buckle up. XD

Erika is the first POV character the reader meets. She’s sarcastic, doesn’t take (or dish) any nonsense, and likes to think she’s invincible. She’s often abrasive and thoughtless, but she pushes everyone else to face the truth they don’t want to see and to do what needs to be done… and she does have a heart under there somewhere.

Nyla is the next POV character, and the majority of the chapters are from her POV. She’s kind and selfless but tends to think the worst of people when it comes to relationships, assuming they must want something. Ever since Grantech’s experiments on her, she’s dealt with chronic pain and malfunctioning powers that she generally tries to pretend away.

There are no scenes from Ash’s POV, but since he’s most closely connected to Erika and Nyla I’m putting him next anyway. Ash is the guard that Grantech has assigned to Erika to ensure she doesn’t endanger herself–or Grantech. He’s a firm believer in the idea that Grantech is a bastion of order and the GenDevs wreak havoc and destruction everywhere they go–unless they remain under Grantech’s benevolent authority. But he’s also a man of reason and enjoys a fair number of respectful debates with Nyla over Grantech’s character and methods.

Rhys also works for Grantech, but more for the resources they can provide her family than because she believes in their cause. She’s a skilled analyst, good with computers, and optimistic to a fault. She sees the best in everyone and does what she can to bring out that quality when it’s been buried.

Alaric is a GenDev within Grantech’s Sentinel program, entrusted with tasks like containing rogue GenDevs and bringing in new subjects for enhancement. Alaric’s tasks normally fall into the latter category, and he hates it, but he’s been trapped in the job so long that he feels there’s no escaping it–or the stains on his soul–despite his efforts to hold onto some last shred of integrity.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Grantech has two primary faces: Erdiana Class and Tamerin Lance.

Erdiana is head of the scientific division. She’s elegant, precise, and has a superiority complex. Yet despite said complex, she believes that mankind isn’t good enough and ought to be pushed into the next state of evolution. She’s seeking to create the perfect race, with the power to access their full mental and genetic potential.

Tamerin is head of the security division, and he simply likes the flavor of power. He likes toying with people to see how they react, and shaping the world to his own whims–at least insofar as Erdiana and their superior allow. He’s actually quite personable with most people, but there’s always some ulterior motive under the surface.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

Ooh, good question! I think the character relationships are the biggest thing. There’s such a variety, and all of the characters react to one another so differently, and all of the arcs are going to be so fun to watch play out… So yeah, the character relationships are really fun. ;D

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

A duology! It was going to be a standalone, and then I started plotting in earnest and realized I needed a second book, and suddenly it fell perfectly into place with those two parts and titles and everything. ;D

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

I started with a scene-by-scene outline and then pulled out Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland and used that to plot out the first book in broader strokes, so I’m actually reaching the end of my detailed outline and stepping into more mysterious waters soon. (I started drafting last month. XD) So I guess plantsing is the most accurate for Lightning?

9. Name a few unique elements in this story.

Ooh. Chronically ill superheroes (and superheroes who deal with mental health issues). A mix of 1st and 3rd POV. The more “sidekick” character becomes a hero in her own right. It’s not an especially action-heavy sci-fi (at least in the first book). I’m sure at least most of those have been done before, but hopefully those give some idea? XD

10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

There are a playlist and a Pinterest board for the overarching story on my new book page, so here are the boards for each of the characters:


Comment below which character you’re most excited to read about, or what you think of Lightning in general, and let me know what you’re working on this fall if you have a novel (or short story) in the works!

If you’d like to get further updates on Lightning as they become available, sign up to my newsletter!

16 thoughts on “Know the Novel – Part One: Introduction (2022)

  1. THIS. SOUNDS. SO. FUNNN!!! I especially, especially love the idea of superheroes with chronic illness?? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before, but as someone who deals with chronic illness I think this is wonderful. And oh man, every single one of these characters sounds so fun and unique. I don’t know if I can even choose a favorite. Having them all interact sounds like it’s going to be a BLAST.

    Thank you so much for joining the linkup and sharing all this goodness. I do hope the writing goes wonderfully!

    1. Thank you! I’m really excited about the chronic illness element, too. This is my second big project with characters who deal with chronic illness (my published novel, Calligraphy Guild, has chronic illness rep as well!) and it’s something I’ve come to appreciate the opportunities to write about since it’s something my mom and a number of my friends deal with and not something I see very often in fiction–especially speculative fiction.

      My pleasure! Thank you again for hosting! ^-^

  2. GIIIIIIIIIIIRL. I ADORE this already!!! Fifty cents say Rhys (gosh, I can’t type that without thinking of my debonair male character Rhys XD), Nyla, Ash, Erika, and Alaric are gonna be my absolute favs! *realizes that’s everyone* Oh well. Nyla sounds like the kind of heroine I ACTUALLY like, and Erika already reminds me so much of Rina, which is a huge compliment. *grins*

    SO excited!!! Best of luck with this project, girl! <3

    1. Yeah, I haven’t decided yet if that will be her name in the final draft or if I’m going to change it eventually, since 1) it’s usually a male name, 2) I have at least one other character from a different project who’s *also* named Rhys, and 3) it’s rather similar to my pen name (Rysa). But we’ll see. XD
      I look forward to introducing them all more fully! ^-^

      Thank you!

  3. Wow, this looks so interesting!!!! And I LOVE those Pinterest boards! I think Erika and Ash are the characters I’m most excited to read about! ;)

    1. Thank you! Erika and Ash are definitely fun. ;D Erika is probably the most fun to write (she or maybe Alaric) and Ash might be my overall favorite. ;)

  4. That sounds super fun! I love superhero stories.

    I’m currently working on editing the second book in my Wonderland trilogy. I would love to draft another novel this year if I have time, but I’m not sure about that yet.

  5. Wow, this sounds amazing! As someone with chronic illness, I find the idea of a chronically ill superhero really exciting. The whole concept is so interesting, I’m a big fan of both dystopian fiction and also (especially) superheroes, so this sounds right up my alley! I think my favourite character thus far is maybe Alaric, I love me a really conflicted character, but they all sound so much fun. I’m excited to learn more about all of it, I hope your writing goes well.

    1. Thank you! Hopefully I do the characters and the concepts justice on paper, lol.
      Yay! I love writing Alaric; his first few chapters, especially, might be among the strongest I’ve written so far. (I’m looking forward to smoothing out the quality of everything in edits. XD)
      I look forward to sharing more soon! ^-^

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