The Spies Just Shy of Legendary - Beautiful Books #2

by - 9:14 PM

Êl síla erin lû e-govaned vîn! Today, I'm joining forces with Cait and Sky to bring you Beautiful Books, a linkup dedicated to discussing your works in progress. Although I'm not able to do NaNo this year, my overactive writer's brain is still cooking up lots of ideas. I know I've discussed this novella series of mine before, but it's the project I'm most excited about at the moment. I hope to start working full-time on it soon. So without further ado, I bring you The Spies Just Shy of Legendary!

1. What inspired the idea for your novel? How long have you had the idea?
I don't know precisely where this particular plot bunny came from, but I got an idea sometime back in February (wow, I can't believe it's already been that long!) to write about a group of spies disguised as a book club. The idea's been constantly morphing throughout the months, and it eventually arrived at its current form: a secret home for freelance spies.

2. Describe what your novel is about!

This sounds like the opportune moment for an elevator pitch.
I'm the actual worst at elevator pitches.
So, uhhh....have an equation??
Vengeful gang leader + hackers + spies + casually running from dangerous people who want to kill you + gayness + grocery cart races + lots of blood + MORE GAY = these books??
Basically, Nagisa Ikoma was a rapidly-rising gangster who's been disgraced. They (agender) are gathering a group of the best spies, hackers, etc. they can find in order to plot + launch their vengeful comeback.
Then, because this wouldn't be a story if shit didn't go wrong, shit goes wrong.

3. What is your book's aesthetic?

[see more here.]

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
UH. There are a lot??
Okay, I'll do my best.

Skylar Clickman: The Strategist

loyal yet ruthless - whimsical yet moody - the ends justify the means - the only thing he loves more than his bowtie collection is pizza

"Skylar may only be the Lancelot in everyone else's stories, but he sure as hell is the Arthur in his."

Siobhan Galbraith: The Mad Scientist

clinical yet caring - perfectionist yet protective - meteoric mind - the newest recruit - a healthy sleep schedule? what is that.

"Finley is beginning to understand that this is her thinking face, which, because she's Siobhan Galbraith, is basically her default face."

Sage Kolominov: The Info Broker

very very (very very very) gay - has few friends, gives fewer fucks - casually has a kill list

"He is like a storm incarnate, crowned by ice and radiating thunder."

Finley Dratch: The Hacker

very very (very very very) bi - smollest of the cinnamon rolls - king of grocery cart racing 

"'It would take more than a good hacker. It would take a great one.'
'Good thing Finley's record isn't good, then. It's perfect.'"

Eloise St. Amadine: The Muscle

transgender - half-Angolan, half-Guatemalan - dreams of vienna. dreams of an easy life. dreams of Skylar cleaning his room for once in a lifetime.

"Skylar might stick his tongue out at her if it weren't for the fact that she's Eloise St. Amadine. No one sticks their tongue out at Eloise St. Amadine."

Nagisa Ikoma: The Leader

Japanese-American - what are emotion? - no thorns, no throne. no cross, no crown.

"'I presume we're done being self-destructive idiots?'"


5. How do you prepare to write?
Outlining. I also let my idea marinate in the back of my head for a long time.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
The contemporary setting, odd as that may sound. I primarily write fantasy, but this might be the first contemporary I can actually get to work for me. I'll be able to bring so many new elements into my writing and the story.

7. List 3 things about your novel's setting.
1. It changes with each book. The first one is set in Charleston, SC; however, the characters have to go on the run at the end of the book. I have plans for the second one to be in Washington, D.C., and one of them should be in San Francisco. Basically, it's a tour of Ellie's favorite U.S. cities.
2. The Charleston headquarters are located in an old Victorian townhouse.
3. Copious amounts of Finley's POV takes place in bookstores because fight me.

8. What is your character's goal, and who/what stands in the way?
Nagisa wants to return to power. Eloise wants to retire. Finley, Sage, and Siobhan want to escape. Skylar wants to avoid being caught by Interpol, a pretty important goal since he's wanted by multiple countries. (Good job, Sky.)
As for who's in the way: Sakoda and the other leaders who kicked Nagisa out are in their way, and Nagisa's in the way of pretty much everyone else.

9. How do your protagonists change by the end of the series?
They learn what matters. They learn how to tell what that even is. They learn how to love. They learn how to lose. They learn that love is not weakness and weakness is not strength.

10. What are your book's themes? How do you want the readers to feel when the story is over?
A central theme of this book is the inequality between the rich and poor. Some way or another, that's the reason most of these characters turned to crime in the first place. And once they've started a cycle of crime, they find it's nearly impossible to escape. As cheesy as it sounds, I also have some stuff in there about being confident in who you are.
I want people to not know how they feel. I want them to be "ASDFGHJKL, SO MANY EMOTIONS." It's a lofty goal, but there's no harm in trying.


Whew! Okay! That was long, sheesh. Anyway, y'all should tell me about your WIPs! Are you doing NaNo? Comment below, and have a lovely day.


P.S. - this will probably be my last post until I return from hiatus (Oct. 16). At least that'll give you enough time to fully peruse this monster of a post.

You May Also Like


  1. a spy gang disguised as a book club? Genius!! Super cool idea (also, love the name, Spies Just Shy of Legendary is an awesome name!) Good luck in writing it! :D

  2. This was such a fun post to read. I LOVE THE IDEA OF THIS and your characters sound awesome. Skylar is my favourite, I think.

    1. WELL THANK YOU AHH. Oh my, I certainly won't tell Eloise. ;)

      - Ellie


Thank you for your comment :) they make my day. Feedback is always welcome.