Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.
Ohhhhhhhhhh am I excited about this month’s Beautiful People! Most of BP posts discussing The Keeper’s Curse have showcased characters I’ve been working with for 3 years. Which means I know them pretty well at this point. Today’s, however, ventures into (mostly) unknown territory.
Last November, when Cait and Sky did Beautiful Books in honor of NaNoWriMo, I decided to share my brainstorming on a novella I’m planning to write (or start writing) when TKC is with beta-readers. I already know one of the protagonists well (it’s Eva from TKC, though 13 years old instead of 17). Her “co-star” – not so much, apart from the little bits in his character profile so far.
Some quick facts about Nomaro: He’s a 28-year-old Feiri, with brown-streaked black hair and blue eyes. The Beautiful Books post also revealed that he’s a former Councilor of Selanaan who was expelled for the story world’s equivalent to a drug addition, then fled home and joined the Twilight Order, a guild of assassins and spies – only to defect from the Order years later. Let’s see what other kinds of dirt we can dig up about him.
1. What first inspired Nomaro? Is there a person or actor you based him on?
Nomaro came to be when I was brainstorming Eva’s path to becoming a Councilor. In truth, she was taking the first steps to prepare for avenging her parents’ murders – and for that, she needed to learn more about her magic and to fight with more than just a bow and arrow. However, the Fei in her world have traditional beliefs regarding women’s roles in society, so girls aren’t allow to learn how to fight. So… that meant Eva would have to break Fei law and be trained in secret, by someone who was willing to take on that risk. That’s where Nomaro comes in.
In essence, Nomaro is a mentor figure to Eva. However, I didn’t want him to be the typical mentor. I wanted him to be troubled, complex, and slightly dark. A mentor who’s been banged around by his own poor choices as well as life’s twists and turns, and is now trying to get back on his feet. Most importantly, I wanted a mentor who would recognize that Eva may be heading down a similar destructive path – and would be inspired by try to steer her in a better direction. So, in some ways, The Novella’s needs shaped the mentor I was looking for, and therefore began shaping Nomaro’s character and backstory.
As for a particular person or actor I based Nomaro on…. Well, no one, really. The collage above will help you give an idea of how I picture him. But he’s not inspired by anyone in the real world or from my personal life.
2. Describe Nomaro’s daily routine.
When The Novella begins, Nomaro has recently returned to the Fei forest of Kasialonen and is hiding out in his parents’ abandoned kagende, a split-level dwelling that’s half underground and half in the tree limbs. (His parents went looking for him years ago, but never returned and are now presumed dead.) As a result, keeping a low profile defines his daily routine. He’ll go outside to hunt, fish, and gather other foods. Otherwise, he never goes into town and spends most of his time in the kagende‘s underground half, which houses the kitchen, sitting room, and storage rooms.
How does he keep himself busy? By reading his father’s books, exercising to stay in (relatively) good shape, wood-carving… and taking care of his basic needs. It sounds sad, but at this point in his life, Nomaro has no idea what to do or where else to go. So, he’s biding his time and trying to figure out his next move.
3. If Nomaro joined your local high school, what clique would he fit into?
None. XD Seriously. Nomaro would avoid cliques altogether. He’s always marched to the beat of his own drum.
4. Write a list of things Nomaro merely tolerates (e.g., certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives).
Nomaro isn’t a fan of small talk. If he needs to have a conversation with someone, he prefers that they get right to the point and not ask him how he’s doing, what he thinks of the weather, etc. But he knows that’s impolite, so he just grits his teeth and tolerates it as best as he can.
5. How does Nomaro react in awkward silences?
Nomaro isn’t the nicest or most socially adept person. If there’s an awkward silence, he’d contribute to it further by staring at the other person and waiting for them to speak. Or, if he’s annoyed with them, he might ask a sarcastic or pointed question. He’s also the kind of character who would unintentionally create an awkward silence, then look up to find the other person staring at him and respond with a very blunt, “What?”
6. Can Nomaro swim? If so, how did he learn?
Yes! The Fei in this story world typically bathe in local rivers and streams, so Nomaro learned to swim at an early age because of that. Though he’s not a fan of swimming. In fact, drowning is one of his worst fears. 😮
7. What is one major event that helped shape who Nomaro is?
His expulsion from the Council of Selanaan. It happened about 9 years prior to The Novella, when his addiction to taigila blood had taken hold of him. (Taigilas are the story world’s equivalent to griffins.) Once his fellow Councilors realized his problem, they had no choice but to expel him per the Council Code. No second chance, no time to clean himself up – they simply cut him off and told him to seek help. That had a huge impact on him not only in terms of his next major life choice (fleeing home), but also emotionally and psychologically.
FYI – Nomaro is no longer an addict during The Novella. The Twilight Order forced him into “detox” a few years ago.
8. What things does Nomaro value most in life?
Loyalty, honesty, and respect. Despite those values being tested, Nomaro still holds them dear. He wants friends and allies, and to feel like he’s not alone in the world. He just doesn’t admit it – or, perhaps his life experiences have made him numb to that longing.
Nomaro also values his independence. He wants to live his own life, make his own priorities, and not be a pawn in other people’s agendas.
9. Does Nomaro believe in giving other people second chances? Does he have any trust issues?
First question: No. Second question: Yes. 😦
Nomaro’s time as a spy and assassin taught him not to trust others easily or take things at face value. He’s also been betrayed by people he once cared about or was loyal to – not just the Council of Selanaan, but also fellow members of the Twilight Order and a Human woman he fell in love with toward the end of his Order tenure. And as badly as Nomaro wanted that second chance when the Council let him go, it made him realize that not everyone is willing to give such chances. Now, he’s hardened himself to the point that he, too, finds it difficult to offer that generosity to others.
10. Nomaro is having a rough day. What would he do to cheer himself up? Is there anyone he can interact with to improve his mood?
Unfortunately, Nomaro makes little effort to cheer himself up. He simply goes on with his plans for the day, convinced that his mood will pass. (It usually does.) Because he’s chosen isolation, he doesn’t interact with or talk to anyone. If anything, he might make extra time for wood-carving. It helps him take his mind off of things for a while.
That concludes this month’s edition of Beautiful People! What are your thoughts on Nomaro? Do you have other questions that can help me / us get to know him better?