Beautiful Books: October 2016

Beautiful Books is hosted by Sky and Cait. While Beautiful Books is focused toward NaNoWriMo, you can still join the linkup using any WIP. To find out more and to join in the fun, check out their blogs!

As I posted about here, this year’s NaNo project is a historical scifi venture called Tolling Bells.

1.) What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
There was a family discussion regarding Victorian era superstitions and vampires, which prompted a vague idea of a zombie story set within the time period. That was over a year ago, and the idea has changed quite a bit since then as characters have introduced themselves and their potential storylines.

2.) Describe what your novel is about!
I actually have a blurb this year!
Tolling Bells is set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Philadelphia when professional rivalries pit doctor against doctor in the quest to change the game of science and medicine.

In his search for bringing a new level to the human lifespan, Doctor Henry Ovalle has made enemies, including the brilliant but cunning Albion Daye. Both men are willing to go to any length to make their mark on history and the world.

Theodora Gensworth has been assistant to the eccentric Doctor Ovalle since she was nineteen years old. It’s a messy job, and a strange one, but it puts food on the table and—if the doctor’s dreams come true—could change the field of medicine as the world knows it. But can she keep the doctor from losing his humanity before it’s too late? And is she willing to risk her life for his work too?

3.) What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
It’s messy and dirty and medical-y. I’m currently putting together a Pinterest board, but it’s difficult to find pictures that are similar to what I’m looking for. I have some character collages made though. These are for Theodora and Doctor Ovalle:


4.) Introduce us to each of your characters!
Theodora Gensworth: She’s been the assistant to Doctor Ovalle for a while now, learning what she can about medicine from him. Her parents died when she was young and so she lived with her aunt for a while. She wants to be a doctor.

Doctor Henry Ovalle: He’s borderline-obsessed with his work, but is fascinated by medicine and the strides being made in the field. He wants to make up for some of his mistakes.

Leo Courtenay: He’s wannabe journalist with an eye for the sensational.

Albion Daye: He’s got a deadly sense of curiosity and a desire to change the world.

5.) How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Every project varies. For Tolling Bells, I’ve researched different aspects of the nineteenth century, especially the field of medicine. I’ve got scattered notes for characters and scene ideas, but I’ll be doing another Novel Plot Week to streamline the notes and everything later this month.

Also, there will be a chocolate stash somewhere, I’m sure.

6.) What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Oh dear. It’s just one of those story ideas that’s so different from what I usually write. I’m excited about the challenge and to see what will happen as the plot unfolds.

7.) List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Medical colleges. Dark rooms. Desks covered in ink-splattered pages.

8.) What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
I’m still figuring out some of these, but here’s what I have for now.

Theodora: wants to be a doctor but attending a medical college isn’t something she is expected to do.
Doctor Ovalle: wants to escape his past but can’t seem to get away.
Daye: wants many things and people keep creating obstacles for him.
Leo: is after a good story but can’t seem to find it.

9.) How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
This is still being determined. There are a few potential changes, and I’m still trying to see which it will be. I probably won’t know until the draft is actually finished.

10.) What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I think redemption will be a big question in Tolling Bells, along with curiosity and guilt and determination. I hope readers will feel invested in the characters and the story and enjoy it.


  1. Oh my goodness, I loved reading both your posts about this novel. I am FASCINATED by the concept you have. Not to mention in awe at your dedication to researching. I'm way too lazy to research things like 19th century medicine! Lol.

    But JAMESON. This is such an intriguing story idea! And the characters sound really interesting. I just know you're going to have a blast writing this. You'll HAVE to share snippets once it's written!

    Also, your cover and collage are so eerily beautiful. I am in love!

    1. Thank you! I'm so eager to write this one, so I hope it turns out okay. It's SO different from my other stuff which is intimidating. The research was pretty fun! I found a couple of audiobooks that were really good and super helpful. I think I'm most nervous about the setting though...

      Thanks again! :)

  2. Victorian zombies is a great source of inspiration. Love your character collages!

    1. It's been quite interesting to see how that conversation turned into a book idea, haha. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. This sounds AWESOME! I love the dark/medical feel!

    Are the zombies gone or are you still doing that?

    Also, be comforted: I am having an insanely difficult time putting together a Pinterest board for my book, too!

    1. Thanks! I want to say they're gone, just because of how the idea has changed, but I'm not totally sure yet. It's still an idea that I think would be fun to write! :)

      I usually find it's easier to make a Pinterest board after it's written, since I have a better idea of what I want to include...

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. OOH your story sounds so good, Jameson! I'm super intrigued by it :D. Best of luck with NaNoWriMo! (also, what's your username? I want to add you as a buddy :D)

    ~ Savannah

    1. Thank you! :) Best of luck to you too!

      I'm TnBabyGirl on there. (I thought I'd added a link in this post but I guess I forgot. Sorry about that!)

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  5. Oooh! Zombies in the Victorian era! Yes, yes, yes. And you've put together a great aesthetic there! I really like the idea of this twist on the "mad scientist" plot.

    Elisabeth @ Inkspelled Faery

    1. Thanks! It's funny how the idea had turned from a conversation point to a full novel idea. I'm hoping it turns out okay! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!


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