Today I am so pleased to welcome Sophie Whittemore to Joyfully Jay. Sophie has come to talk to us about their release, Wake the Dead. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Sophie a big welcome!

 

I wanted to discuss the creation and evolution of my character Lili– the jaded, cynical, and tired immortal turned into a hardboiled detective. From “lone wolf” to protector of monsters and her newly-found found family. She’s also the main character of my Gamin Immortals Series including Catch Lili Too and Wake the Dead  (though begrudgingly, she’s drawn into these plots by outside forces beyond her control. I feel that she’d much rather eat French toast and drink hot chocolate– or watch her friends do so while she nursed a cup of steaming hot, blended pig’s heart.)

 What’s interesting is that Lili initially started out in the series as a much more violent character. She still has fairly comic book levels of kick-the-bad-guys-butts, but she toned down a lot from the initial drafts where she was ruthless. In the earlier drafts, she lured Jason Sweeney down an alley in Catch Lili Too, and she nearly killed him too. Later on, I felt the character went from being a stone-cold-killer to just being a tired immortal who stops in a bar and doesn’t know quite what she’s getting into (she finds a pesky poltergeist in her room—that’s what happens!). Sure, she hunts, but she’s also just exhausted. A feeling I feel we all can relate to: even immortals need a nap.

Lili’s inspiration was drawn on my own experiences with mental health. She was written during a time of deep depression in my life, and her entire personality of being a tired immortal was based off that. Dissociation, exhaustion, constant fatigue. It was a feeling I’d drawn on from my own mental health battles. When every day felt like forever, felt like it would never end.

I didn’t get drawn out of those depths by a nosy poltergeist who wants me to solve a murder (unlike Lili). But I did have the help of amazing punk-rock QTPOC friends who helped me build my community. I felt less alone and was able to seek help. That’s a big reason why I feel so close to the Gamin Immortals series’ characters– of their dorky levels of love for one another and being sweet together. It’s the feeling of community I tried to capture (even if they’re all a cast of colorful, mythological creatures and monsters). And being Indonesian American, it’s important to me to include a cast of diverse myths and characters overall– to show the richness and complexity of life. 

Ultimately, in later drafts, Lili genuinely grew into the character she was meant to be. She was allowed to be vulnerable, to let her guard down and make asinine decisions, and even, at times, make absolutely awful puns (she makes so many puns– fair warning). I think, partially, her evolution came about in writing her in drafts and seeing how she reacted to the other characters around her. From jock necromancers to innkeeper witches to mandrakes in the backyard, poltergeists on the ceiling, and now with Wake the Dead– a whole winged battle boar and a boxing botanist. I like writing scenes where Lili is happy exploring the punk fantasy world around her. Which is a bit of an odd duck request considering I’ve written her as the main character of a murder mystery, but c’est la vie! 

Overall, I wrote Lili as a queer demisexual character who fights her battles with depression based off my own experiences with mental health. Even millenia-old  immortals can have their Coming of Age story– and Lili has that with this series! 


Blurb

wake the dead coverAn ominous presence awakens in the small town of Gamin.

Fairies murdered by crazed monsters. Magic that makes immortals lose their minds and their heads (literally). Whispers of a vendetta against the fairy crime lords who own the infamous Kraken Club.

One ace siren detective, Lili, is dragged back into defending her turf…and hopefully, she doesn’t die this time around.

Warnings: violence, survivors, mental illness


Bio

sophie whittemore bio photoSophie Whittemore is a Dartmouth Film/Digital Arts major with a mom from Indonesia and a dad from Minnesota. They’re known for their Gamin Immortal series (Catch Lili Too) and Legends of Rahasia series, specifically, the viral publication Priestess for the Blind God. Their writing career kicked off with the whimsical Impetus Rising collection, published at age 17.

They grew up in Chicago and live a life of thoroughly unexpected adventures and a dash of mayhem: whether that’s making video games or short films, scripting for a webcomic, or writing about all the punk-rock antiheroes we should give another chance (and subsequently blogging about them).

Sophie’s been featured as a Standout in the Daily Herald and makes animated-live action films on the side. Their queer-gamer film “IRL – In Real Life” won in the Freedom & Unity Young Filmmaker Contest (JAMIE KANZLER AWARDS Second Prize; ADULT: Personal Stories, Third Prize) and was a Semifinalist at the NYC Rainbow Cinema Film Festival. They’ve published in multiple literary magazines and also worked as a staff writer for a time at AsAmNews and Her Campus Media. Ultimately, Sophie lives life with these ideas: 1) live your truth unapologetically and 2) don’t make bets with supernatural creatures.


Giveaway

Sophie is giving away a $20 gift certificate for NineStar Press with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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