Beautiful People and #MoreHappyThanNot

Beautiful People is a linkup hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further in, where writers answer questions about their books/characters. In retrospect, it wasn't such a smart idea to plan to join this month's Beautiful People, right as exams begin.

But I kept missing it, so who cares. Also, this month's questions were made in heaven for my character.

Today, I'll be unveiling a character from a somewhat secret WIP. This month's #WatchMeWrite will reveal more about the WIP, but I'll tell you know the main character's called Thomas and he'll be answering these questions. *pokes him out into the takeout spotlight*

1. Do they know both their biological parents? Why/why not?

I'd prefer it if you spoke to me if I were actually here. My mother has lived with me and mentored me for my entire life, so I daresay I know her well. My father always took the time to visit me, although circumstances meant it was difficult for him to be around.

Alyssa: What he's not saying is that his parents weren't married.

A private wedding, if you please. And I'd argue that his murder for political dissent was a more significant factor. I do hope to reclaim my inheritance soon.

2. Have they inherited any physical resemblances from their parents?

A striking resemblance to my father, I'm told. Much to the dismay of certain onetime rivals in the capital. Although we do try to encourage that viewpoint—well was it said that looking the part is halfway to being the part.

3. What's their parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!

My mother tends to dress more modestly, with a veil or a headscarf, to avoid attracting undue attention. We'd hardly want the northerners to know about me. On the other hand, my father—

Alyssa: Ahem, the question said 'parental figures'. Besides, we can't let Shadowplay readers know whose son you are.

I beg your pardon. My uncle, who escaped with me to exile after my father's death, prefers more richly embroidered fabrics. He is a merchant at heart, and only left to assist me.

4. Do they share any personality traits with their parental figures? And which do they take after most?

*nudges Thomas offstage* I'll take this one.

Even though Thomas' father wasn't present for much of his life, Thomas is very similar to him. He's wary and likes to have as much information as his fingertips as possible before making decisions. He also feels somewhat entitled to others' support, since he's the only living heir of a political dynasty.

But like his uncle, he's a very good judge of character. Other people's, that is, based on his uncle's information network. He's not a very good judge of himself, which is why I'm here. For the next question, too.

5. Do they get on with their parental figure(s) or do they clash?

I haven't decided a lot about southern culture, but I'm fairly certain that family would be a huge aspect, especially the mother figure. Besides, Thomas spent half of his life in exile when he could only trust his mother and uncle, so he respects both of them. He reserves unlimited admiration for his father.

6. If they had to describe their parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?

My mother is ambitious—on my behalf, that is. She will open her veins before she lets the northerners force us into hiding for the rest of my life. I don't mean to disappoint her.

My father was a revolutionary. He died befitting one, although ideas and legacies don't die out. They live on and break through the night. Although this particular sun rises from the west.

My uncle is kind. A strange trait for a merchant, you'll agree, but his empathy means he's extremely good at predicting others' moves and mistakes. And he's always been there for me.

7. How has their parental figure(s) helped them most in their life? + 10. What’s their favourite memory with their parental figure(s)?

My mother and uncle raised me in exile, and they continue to advise me as I return to the capital. And my father—he once gave me a silver coin and showed me the two sides. The sigil of the Republic, on one side, and on the other one of our Prime Ministers. Power and death. He gambled on that and the honour of his rivals, and lost. I intend to win.

8. What was their biggest fight with their parental figure(s)?

Alyssa: *endows Thomas with the power of author's foresight*

When my mother decided to remarry. To be sure, she was acting in my interests, but she would settle for half-measures when I would have fought until my last breath. It was not her choice, her sacrifice to make. I am her son, and my father's, and no one else.

9. Tracing back the family tree, what nationalities are in their ancestry?

*jumps back in* I haven't decided what real-world equivalent race he'd be, although his homeland is a cross between Spain and Egypt, so somewhere in the Arab world is likely. On that note, the pictures of Thomas don't necessarily represent his ethnicity.

Then—gloriously—Shelumiel over at Bookish and Awesome created the tag #MoreHappyThanNot. I figured I might make Thomas answer this extra question:

What makes you #MoreHappyThanNot?

I'm more happy than not to be the son and legacy of a great man, of course, and to defend his reputation under the guidance of my mother —

Alyssa: Don't be dull.

Apologies for being dull, as you phrase it. Do you know, I've always wanted to be in the capital. They northerners think all we do in Valz Sommari is feast and fight and wait for summertime, that we can't be trusted with our own province. In their eyes, we're monsters without the scarves of the desert nomads, looking to run every passerby through with a sword. Who's more monstrous, the blunt or the blind?

I'm more happy than not to prove Mallister wrong, walled up in his castle of red bricks. If he looked out of his window, he might notice us outsiders taking over his capital, what with our barbaric silks and tapestries and jewelled knives. The truth is, the capital is the place where history is made, and history isn't just made by the northerners. I'm more happy than not to make history.

(Restrained myself SO HARD from using stage directions. Not super happy with the voice, but it's a start.)
I'm tagging Christina @ fairy skeletons, Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight, Emily @ Loony Literate, Aimee @ Deadly Darlings, Chiara Sullivan @ Delicate Eternity, or basically if you want to do it, consider yourself tagged and let me know in the comments so I can add your name and link here!

Thoughts on Thomas? Shadowplay readers, guess who Thomas' father is? Oh, and if you're in either of the link-ups/tags, drop a link in the comments!

Want to know more about this project? I write monthly letters with exclusive writing updates to my newsletter subscribers!

Oh, and I've removed the faulty related posts widget and added a new one -- let me know if it appears and if the posts are actually relevant :)

*Disclaimer: I haven't read More Happy Than Not before, but Simon Vs was fabulous.


  1. I like this. His family has a lot of depth.

    Also I really like Thomas' voice. His voice seems to suit someone who is more educate than he is first presumed to be and also happens to be a lost heir trying to reclaim his inheritance. He appears a bit cocky, matter-of-fact, insistent on what he wants, intelligent, and passionate about the people he cares about. Or that's what he sounds like to me at least. . .

    Also I love how you kick Thomas off the stage for a moment or two. ;) Usually my character and I just stand there squabbling over technicalities.

    I don't know much about the story yet. But it sounds intriguing so far. :)

    1. I'm glad you think so, Ashley! Wow, that's a pretty accurate description of Thomas as far as I've outlined him :D And yes, regaining control over my characters is important. I AM THEIR QUEEN.

      Thanks for dropping by, Ashley!

  2. This is awesome! Thank you for doing the Tag with Thomas! He sounds . . . intense? Like, there's so much to know about him. Keep on writing and good luck with that WIP, Alyssa!

    PS. Bonus cookies for mentioning Simon vs!!!

    1. Thank you! Intense is definitely a theme I'm going for, so yay! I'm still discovering more about him as I plan!

      PS: Oreos, hopefully? :D

  3. AHHH! You probably remember how I totally barged into your Tumblr inbox a while back demanding to know what WIP that tagline was for, and I'm so glad you're finally giving us more info on it. (Also: SHADOWPLAY. SEQUEL. I NEED IT, LIKE, YESTERDAY.)

    Thomas seems like a really interesting character—I have a hunch whose son he is but MY BRAIN WON'T GIVE ME THE NAME. These questions definitely do seem tailor-made for him. *happydances because Alyssa + new WIP = more for Christina to read soonish, yes?*

    And thank you for tagging me! I'll try and get to it (I'll probably copy you and lump it in with this month's Beautiful People).

    PS: Simon Vs. is on my library TBR right now. Sitting in my house. I'm so excited to read it, but I'm probably going to read The Wrath and the Dawn first ;)

    1. I REMEMBER. (I did respond did I not? Unless I accidentally jabbed queue instead of answer privately. In which case we can wait for a very long time for it to resurface.)

      Keep your hunches :P I do believe the answer is in this month's #WatchMeWrite, so keep an eye out! And probably yes, and I predict I'll be putting out a call for alpha readers at some point over the summer :)

      Yay! I wonder who you're doing for this month's BP? I remember Charles had a mum, so maybe him? (I mean, I wouldn't mind more Yvette + mum -- Octavia, was it? -- talk, but I don't suppose you'll talk about her twice in a row.)

      P.S.: OMG WRATH. I needed that yesterday too.

  4. I read more happy than not on monday. It was great (though very teenage boy) I loved this character. I think that you have Thomas's voice nailed. I love this post, because it was really interesting. And I'm excited to hear more about this WIP'

    1. Ooh really! Will you be reviewing it on the blog? :) Aww, thank you, I'm glad you're interested!

  5. Thomas sounds like an especially interesting person! Very mysterious, very driven, and I think, very concerned with family and legacy. He sounds like a fascinating character—I look forward to learning more about him!

    1. I'm glad he does! That's a pretty accurate description of him, at least the way he thinks he is himself. (I should probably do a round of BP sometime of characters saying stuff and me adding what they left out.)

  6. Oh, I actually love that your MC's parent's aren't married! We often see characters whose parents are divorced, but not much when they were never married in the first place, so kudos to you for that!

    I get the frustration about possibly having a step-father, too. Sometimes it baffles me how some main character so easily accept a new member to their family, especially if they've known their parent for their whole lives.

    "I'm more happy than not to make history." <-- This is so glorious and I am in love with this sentence.

    Thanks for the tag as well, Alyssa! <3

    1. I'm glad! I literally just pulled up a list of "Son seeks revenge for killed dad" tropes and tried to subvert as many of them as possible. Unmarried parents was a fun subversion that hasn't been done as much as genderflipping or such recently.

      Mmm, right, that bit is probably going to be one of my favs to write. It's not going to be so much playing with the wicked-stepmother trope, though, because ... let's just say Thomas would view this particular marriage as outright failure.

      Aww, thank you! That sentence does sums up Thomas nicely -- he has these glorious ideals, but in the end all he really wants to do is make a name for himself. Whoops, was that a spoiler? Well, you're welcome anyhow -- I look forward to reading what makes you #MoreHappyThanNot!

  7. DUDE. He sounds fascinating. I can't think of much more to say than I WANT TO READ THIS GIMME. *grabby hands*

    1. AAAH. THANK YOU. I will pretty much be relying on your bad boy/nice guy posts as a compass as I write this. (Keep an eye on the newsletter. I will be looking for readers quite soon!)

  8. Thomas is an EPIC name for a character! I HIGHLY APPROVE. XD and I quite enjoyed getting to "meet" Thomas like this...bit sassy there at the beginning. ;-)

    1. I can certainly see why XD I might actually change it once I've decided what real-life ethnicity he is, but then again I might not because his name has bonus history allusion points. Sass is the most important thing in the absence of dragons, is it not? XD

  9. This was so fun to read! The culture in your story sounds super interesting, and I think it's awesome how much it influences Thomas' family...which, of course, it would do in real life. Anyway. It was really well written. Good luck with your story!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Worldbuilding, especially for culture, is one of my favourite parts to explore. Especially when said culture emphasises family over individual, because that's always a fun conflict. Thank you!

  10. Great post! I had a lot of fun reading it. Thomas sounds like a complex and interesting character to explore. And the world sounds super cool, too. :D Good luck as you keep writing!

    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! He is more than he really seems, and I'm glad you like the worldbuilding. Thanks for the luck!

  11. Oh wow, this is fantastic! I have been waiting until I had time to sit down and read the whole thing, and my goodness, Thomas sounds like QUITE the character! And seriously, you interacting with him!? GOLD. I am so impressed, I must say! I look forward to reading more about him, and your writing in general :)

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    1. Aaaaah, thank you! I constantly break the fourth wall in my head to chat with my characters, and I find it really helps! Thanks so much for all the compliments, and I hope to read your post soon!


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