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  • Writer's pictureKristina Elyse Butke


Sunflowers growing in a field on a sunny day. Fantasy Indies June
Photo by Aleksandr Eremin on Unsplash

Today's post is the monthly #FantasyIndies meme on Twitter! This meme was created by @ChesneyInfalt and @LydiaVRussell  and is meant to be done once a day on Twitter, but as we know, I like to make things into one big blog post. We'll be learning more about my WIP, The Name and the Key. I don't intend The Name and the Key to be indie published; my goal is traditional publishing. However, these questions are so much fun to answer that I'm participating anyway.

1. Introduce yourself and your WIP

Hi! I'm Kristina and I write YA fantasy. My current WIP is The Name and the Key, about a girl named Lily who discovers her mother's dead body in the marshes. A curse soon follows her, where she sees her mother's corpse in every mirror and reflective surface. Her best friend Andresh may be the key to solving the curse, but he has his own dark secrets that threaten them both.

2. Favorite side character

I'm still writing her, but I made a new character named Adanya Caliday who is throwing the biggest party of the Season, The Celestial Ball. She has a thing for Andresh but respects his feelings for Lily. Since I've just written her, I'm not sure how far I'm going to go with her character, but it's been a fun beginning!

3. What are your Last, Current, and Next Reads?

I last read the BL manga Bite Marks and Fluorite and I'm not currently reading anything because I just finished that manga last night (I tend to read in the evenings). I can't decide if I should read a middle grade book or nonfiction for my next one. I'll probably end up being indecisive and read a manga instead!

4. WIP Tropes

Magic - Demons - Friends to Lovers - and I can't think of any more at the moment!

5. What character in your WIP has surprised you, and why?

Andresh has surprised me a little more in this version of the book. The Name and the Key was originally my graduate thesis, and this version is a complete reboot of the book. Andresh is far more affectionate with Lily than in the first iteration. And he lies a little bit more, too.

6. Music in WIP

The only music that really appears in The Name and the Key would be the sounds of the bosun's whistles on the ships, and the small orchestra that plays at the great dances during the Season.

7. Free Friday or WIP comp titles

I only have one comp title so far, and that's Margaret Rogerson's Sorcery of Thorns.

8. Saturday Snippet: Jealousy

Lily and Lainey are jealous of each other. Lily is jealous of Lainey's appearance, and Lainey is jealous over Andresh's attention to Lily.

9. What inspired you to start writing?

I started writing when I was really little, and with a fanfiction-like mentality: there were stories out there that I liked, but wanted to make my own (and make better!). I wrote adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...but it wasn't until college that I wanted to write my own original stories. They still are influenced by other writing (I don't think any writer can help that), but the plot and characters are definitely MINE.

10. Animal sidekicks

Not in The Name and the Key, but The Step and the Walk (book 2)...there's a fat calico cat that serves as the mascot for The Saint Calico Players, a travelling theater troupe that Andresh joins.

11. Empathy in WIP

I think Andresh tries to show Lily a lot of empathy for her situation with her curse. After all, Andresh knows a thing or two about this stuff.

12. Family in WIP

Lily's got family she lives with--her father, grandmother, and sister. Andresh's family is back in Sindalia, and consist mostly of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

13. Your writing habits

Well, I've been having trouble writing for a long time and have gotten out of the habit, but I used to write around 11am for a couple hours a day.

14. Free Friday or favorite line from WIP

I have a favorite line from the original The Name and the Key but as of current writing, I don't know if I can save it and keep it in the new version! I don't want to share it because of plagiarism and data-scraping for AI, but I will tell you that I paid voice actor David Matranga to record it because his voice sounds like Andresh's in my head.

15. Saturday snippet: Joy

There was a lot of joy in chapter one when Andresh and Jolan (Andresh's father) returned from a long trip to Sindalia and came back with presents for everyone. I really enjoyed writing that scene.

16. Whump in WIP

I have no idea what this is!

17. Do your characters collect anything?

Lily collects ingredients for her soaps.

18. WIP fun fact?

The first two titles of the books in the series, The Name and the Key and The Step and the Walk have been in my head for years...but the title of the third and final book in the series, The Fear and the Flame, only popped into my head a few months ago. It used to be called The Eye and the Storm but those symbolic elements have been cut from The Name and the Key and The Step and the Walk and it didn't make sense for me to keep that title. The Fear and the Flame works much better.

19. Your comfort reads

BL manga and webtoons! I used to read BL (Boys' Love) in secret, having discovered it when I began attending anime conventions but never having anyone to talk to about it. Plus, some of the manga can be sexually explicit so I was too embarrassed to admit my love for BL. Then I moved to Japan and it was all out in the open everywhere, and I met fellow BL fans, so I got over it and now loudly and proudly consider myself a fujoshi.

20. Social media tips

DO NOT EVER LISTEN TO ME GIVE TIPS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA! I'm really bad at it. It took me five years to get over 1,000 followers on Twitter, and almost no one interacts with my stuff.

21. Free Friday or shout out indies

A couple indie authors I want to shout out are Arden Powell and Kellen Graves. I have more indie authors downloaded in Kindle, but haven't read their stuff yet because of my never-ending TBR list and desire to read manga!

22. Saturday snippet: Wound

Andresh is well-acquainted with getting wounded, unfortunately.

23. Side characters stealing the show

Mr. Milanie, who owns an import shop, was a really fun character to write. He is a carryover from the graduate thesis version of the book, only I gave him a new name. He's just a sweet, goofy person.

24. What is summer like in your WIP?

Lily and family live in Mariner, a coastal city, right up on the water, so even though summers are hot, the ocean makes the air more comfortable.

25. Let others ask anything about your WIP

If you want to know anything, please ask in the comments below!

26. Plotter or Pantser

I'm a pantser. I have tried so many times to plot things and that method just doesn't work out for me because I make so many changes all the time.

27. Character quirks

Lily washes her hands all the time, almost like it's a compulsion.

28. Free Friday or talk about your other hobbies

My hobby is cosplay but I don't get a lot of chances to do's an expensive hobby! But hand-sewing calms me down and makes me focus, and is a great relief. I love wearing costumes but none of my stuff fits right now...

29. Saturday snippet: Argue

I haven't decided yet, but Lily and Andresh may have an argument with each other.

30. Monthly Wrap-up

I recently realized I have a lot of big mistakes in my current draft, so I just started a new one to try and address those issues. I know that you're not supposed to self-edit as you go, according to the Great Writing Gods of the Internet, but if I don't fix a problem when I see it, it'll compound and be harder to fix later. Wish me luck on my repairs, please!

From Twitter/X


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