The Order of the Key by Justine Manzano
Publication date: July 9th 2020
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Jacklyn Madison never expected to be attacked by a beast on an evening snack run. Add a rescue mission enacted by a trained regiment of teenaged warriors, and her night officially becomes just like a scene from one of her beloved comic books. Turns out, her parents were once members of the Order of the Key, gifted humans that protect humanity from creatures spilling through inter-dimensional rifts. Unable to control her newfound abilities, Jacklyn and her family rejoin the Order.
After an attack on their headquarters leaves Jacklyn questioning their leadership, Kyp—the boy who led her initial rescue—reveals a darker secret. The Order’s leader may be corrupt, and Jacklyn’s questions could put her family in danger. Drawn into the search for proof, Jacklyn must use her guts and magical brawn to protect her family, her friends, and herself from the monsters spilling from rifts, and those hiding within the Order.
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Q: In what ways has writing affected other aspects of your life?
A: When you’re writing a story, I believe all the characters become little bits of you. This, of course, means I have a menagerie of characters in my head. It also means I say weird things like “This is Kyp’s song,” or “Jacklyn wouldn’t go for that,” to the people who live with me. It also means that, in a weird way, my characters have become my friends.
A character begins as the seed of an idea. For me, when I’m writing, I usually know the plot first, before I have any idea of who the characters in the story are going to be, I have a plot idea. But it’s usually very flat. Maybe not even really a plot, but a concept. Something I would like to explore. It’s the characters, however, that make the concept a plot. The characters who make the story. And they begin to spring from one thought:
What would I do in this situation? And if I was more angry? Then, how would I react? What if I was conflicted? Then what? If I looked at this situation as someone who has never been dealt a similar hand before?
I look at the situation from all the angles I can imagine. And most times, all of those points of view make it into the story somewhere. But there’s more to it than that. Story building is a lot of weaving. There’s a great deal of building from shattered parts. Character aspects of people I know find their way into the mix. Character aspects of other character’s I’ve loved in the past slide into it as well.
And then they stew together in my mind. When I write, I take a long time building my outline. Sometimes a year. In stories that end up being back burner to others, they can sit for longer. For whatever the time, I allow the characteristics to spin together in my mind. To bubble and brew until a fully-formed character arises from the primordial ooze.
And then, once I know one, others form. Often a reaction to the first, they become the original character’s friends or foils. And before I know it, I have a cast.
Character building is truly one of my favorite parts of writing, because I’ve always loved magic. Magic is how it feels to me. Like creation magic. And once I have spawned these people in my mind, I get to enjoy them for years to come. And then, after some time, so do you.
Justine Manzano is a YA author and editor living in Bronx, NY with her husband, son, and a cacophony of cats. Her novel, The Order of the Key will be available from Black Rose Writing in July 2020. She can normally be found at her website, www.justinemanzano.com,and she’s on all the usual social media haunts. If you’ve looked in all these places and can’t find her, she’s probably off reading fanfiction. She’ll be back soon.
Author links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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