I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Amy McNulty, author of Nobody's Goddess, a new YA fantasy from Month9Books. I love a little more insight into characters before I read a book, and Ms. McNulty was kind enough to indulge me :)
Meet the Characters from Nobody’s Goddess
Noll is seventeen for much of the story, although you see her as a child in the prologue and she’s sixteen at the start of the plot when some important events occur in her life. Noll’s a rambunctious tomboy with voluminous, curly black hair. (Her full name, Olivière, is too “girly” for her tastes.) She loved playing with the village boys as a child and taking them on “adventures” to fight “monsters” such as sheep and shadows and old women. Never content to do what anyone else tells her, she insisted on being their leader, calling herself the “elf queen,” two words she learned from the village’s legends of mythological kings and queens.
When the last of her friends found their goddesses among the local girls, Noll became sullen and removed from most people, although she still enjoyed playing with the adventurous younger children in the village and her dearest friend Jurij. She’s both embarrassed by the idea of a man finding the goddess in her and humiliated that she’s one of the oldest women ever to still not have her man find her, although she’s reluctant to admit that out loud. She’s never gotten along with her gentle sister, Elfriede, and things grew even worse between them when Jurij found the goddess in Elfriede. Noll didn’t realize it at the time, but she had a crush on him that’s evolved into love as they grew older. She’s so blinded by her feelings for Jurij that she’s afraid for his life. His Returning celebration is around the corner, the day when Elfriede proclaims her love for him and he can remove his mask—but if her love isn’t true, he’ll die. Noll thinks Elfriede doesn’t know the extent of her feelings, that she can’t love Jurij as much as Noll does, so she’s putting Jurij’s life at risk.
Quote: “I’m a woman and I can love where I will, even where love will never find me!”
Jurij was a quiet and submissive child, which makes his role as a man devoted to his goddess easy for him. He’s rugged but not overly well-built with short, wavy dark hair, and he’s probably good-looking, but he wears a mask (usually a stag design), so how would most people know? He, like the rest of the men in the village, has pointed ears you can see behind his face coverings.
Jurij appears as a child in the prologue and is fifteen at the start of the story but eventually ages to seventeen by the end. He’s devoted to Elfriede, the young woman almost two years older than him in whom he found the goddess as a child. He loved playing with his friends before then, but he was often teased for being weaker than the rest of them and happily let Noll take him under her wing as he became the “elf queen’s” most devoted servant. After he finds the goddess in Elfriede, he still considers Noll his friend, which is an oddity in the village, as most men care little for others beyond their goddesses and their families after they fall in love. He has no romantic feelings for Noll whatsoever. It’s impossible for him to feel that way because of the nature of love in the village. Ever good-natured and supportive to those he loves, it’s difficult to make Jurij angry, although Noll somehow manages to upset him from time to time.
Quote: “It’s her or no one. Her or the commune. Her or death.”
Elfriede is about ten months older than her only sister Noll and is seventeen and then eighteen for most of the story. She’s dainty and enjoys housework and cooking and hates dirt and disorder, so she and Noll clashed from an early age. She was the one who inspired Noll to become the “elf queen,” though, as she called her that when she placed a crown of flowers on her head. Elfriede is a fairer brown than her sister and has golden, wavy hair like their mother. She didn’t like little boys much growing up, although she and her many girl friends had crushes on older men who would never love them, since they’d all found their goddesses by then.
Elfriede is known to be sweet-natured and helpful, but she does get angry easily when things don’t go her way. Noll is the most frequent recipient of her anger, which usually comes in the form of a sharp rebuke and tapping her feet with her arms crossed—nothing too frightening, but enough that Noll doesn’t think of her sister as the gracious woman she appears to be to everyone else. She was horribly embarrassed when a younger, awkward boy found the goddess in her and it took her a while to get used to his affections. She has, however, embraced her destiny and considers herself in love with Jurij. Whether her love will prove true enough to keep him alive when he removes his mask remains to be seen.
Quote: “Noll, how could you? How could you be so selfish? You won’t be happy until you have Jurij for yourself. You’d rather he die than be with me.”
Not much is known about the village’s mysterious lord. He never comes down from his castle, instead sending his mute, pale servants down to the village to request things in writing, and allowing men in the village to deliver goods to his castle beyond the woods. He doesn’t tax his people, and his only decree that interferes in their lives in any way is that they invite everyone in the village whenever there’s a Returning celebration in which a woman seventeen years old or older proclaims her love for her man and he can at last remove his mask. Not everyone has to attend, but everyone must at least be invited. No one’s defied this order to see what would happen if the invitations weren’t all made, though.
Some people call him the “heartless monster” and there are rumors that he’s lived a long time because he has yet to find his goddess, and no man will die before he finds his goddess. He wears clothing made of black leather at all times, and even wears black gloves to cover his hands. Instead of wearing a wooden animal mask like the rest of the men in the village, he prefers to cover his entire head with a black veil, which he pins together at his shoulders and covers with a pointed black minstrel-style hat.
Quote: “Men have no choice but to love, for that is their curse. Women are free to love, for what good it does.”
Thanks for the awesome post! This novel sounds quite intriguing. It's on my TBR list, and I can't wait to read it.a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Never Veil #1
April 21, 2015
In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.
Seventeen-year-old Noll isn't in the mood to celebrate. Her childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her.
Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither is willing to lose.
About the Author
Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.