C.S. Boyack Discusses the Empress in The Yak Guy Project

I’m really happy to welcome talented author, Story Empire colleague, and treasured friend C. S. Boyack back to the site today. He’s just released a fabulous new book called The Yak Guy Project, and I asked him to talk to us about it.

When he was writing the story, he blogged about his process. It’s fascinating. He used tarot cards to plot the story. Today, he’s here to talk about what he did, and he’ll be focusing on the empress card. You’ve got to check this out. Here he is; let’s give him a warm welcome.

Thanks for having me back, Staci. I’m here to talk about my newest book, The Yak Guy Project, and some of the research that went into it. Yak Guy is a journey of personal discovery for the main character. He starts out as a pretty worthless young man and winds up in a respectable position after learning some hard life lessons along the way.

The story structure for this one is rarely seen today. It’s based upon The Fool’s Journey, as represented by the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I’ve got to tell you it was quite the personal challenge. In this story, the Yak Guy is The Fool.

I stopped short of using all the cards because they take The Fool into some territory that would be absurd in a novel. Beyond that, I took them in order. There are additional characters to flesh out the setting and create a storyline that satisfies.

Much of my research involved the meaning and symbolism behind each card. Some I only glanced off of, like the Chariot or Strength cards. Others I went quite deep into, like the Empress.

The Empress card symbolizes fertility, femininity, beauty, nature, and abundance. In my own deck, she is called The Lady, which made things easier for me. In my story, The Lord is her father, and not her husband. That makes her the same age as the Yak Guy, if you catch my drift.

The Lady in my book is keeping her people alive and fed by organizing public gardens and overseeing various farming operations. She also sets up Yak Guy to harvest some things in nature to help her people. There is a bit more here, but it would be a major spoiler to her story, so I’ll hold that part today.

I recycled some characters into the situations that fit The Tarot storyline, but not overwhelm my story with too many characters. Therefore, when The Lovers comes up, I already have two characters that fill the role. Yak Guy and The Lady become a thing.

Not every character or situation has something to do with Tarot. My ultimate goal was to deliver a decent novel above all. Most of Yak Guy’s important lessons come from the Tarot situations though.

This novel required a lot of research, but it was fun research. You don’t need any familiarity with Tarot to enjoy the story. If you are familiar, you might enjoy spotting some of the characters and situations along the way.


Cover and Blurb

The Yak Guy Project by C. S. BoyackImagine waking up in the desert with no idea what happened to you. You have clear memories of situations and places, but a complete loss in personal matters… like your own name. This situation is bad, and you have no idea how to get home.

When you’re rescued by a talking yak, the situation gets exponentially worse. You’ve obviously lost your mind. The immediate needs of a ride off the salt pan and searing heat, along with a drink of water, outweigh the concerns about your mental state.

This is exactly what happened to the Yak Guy. In fact, he’s been placed in an alternate world and given a chance to start over in life.

Can this selfish, almost parasitic, young man learn to start over in a world where charity is hard to find? Life is brutal and short here, but he’s going to have to adapt or perish.

The Yak Guy project is loosely based around The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. Those with experience in Tarot will spot people and situations from the Major Arcana.

Purchase Link

See? I told you it was fascinating. And as I tend to enjoy stories with a bit of romance in them, I thought this post was perfect for me.

Having read his book, I can tell you. It’s WONDERFUL. There’s a little something for everyone in this story. A man with a lot to learn. A love interest. Quest and adventure. Danger, uncertainty. I’ll be writing a review soon, but until then, rest assured he’s got a winner here.

If you’ve got any questions or comments for him, I know he’d love to talk to you. Sound off below!

Published by Staci Troilo

A writer fascinated with interpersonal relationships, the importance of family, and the relevance of heritage. Learn more at https://stacitroilo.com.

43 thoughts on “C.S. Boyack Discusses the Empress in The Yak Guy Project

    1. There are hundreds of different decks. I have two Celtic themed ones, because I liked the artwork. The Fools Journey is filled with life lessons, and makes a workable plot structure. I had to tweak and combine for the sake of a novel, but it was a valuable exercise. I would not be afraid to draw one random card to break out of a writing quagmire some day. Hope you enjoy the story.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Exactly. My Celtic deck has a Lord and Lady as opposed to an Emperor and Empress. Don’t know why it took that to click with me, but maybe someone isn’t an Empress until they marry an Emperor. She can be a Lady as his daughter.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s funny how different things strike people in different ways. When you sent me the file, it said, “Staci Troilo The Empress” and I thought it was some kind of reference to Story Empire. Then reality dawned. And I laughed at myself.

        Doesn’t surprise me that it took a while for the Lord/Lady=Emperor/Empress thing to sink in. If you didn’t tell me, I still might not know.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. In another world, you could be the Empress. If you just look at the file name, it’s kind of funny. I wanted the Tarot as a plot system, but not something at the forefront of the story. If people miss the references, that’s okay too.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, you always put a smile on my face, Craig.

        So cool what Jan did. Doesn’t surprise me, though; she’s very creative.

        I bet Pinterest has oodles of tarot art. (Is tarot capitalized? I don’t even know. Hope I haven’t been writing it wrong. Even when I looked online, I got conflicting answers.)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you familiar with tarot, Charles? I love Craig’s explanation of his process, but I’ve never seen cards or studied them (other than what I’ve learned from TV or movies).


    1. My pleasure, Craig. You’re always welcome here.

      As for the graphic, thank your cover artist. I just “borrowed” his work. Glad you like it. I thought it would be nice to open the post with the title character.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I admit to being utterly clueless about the Tarot but I think it’s fascinating that Craig used it as the basis from which to build his story. Even without any knowledge of that, the book is highly imaginative and enjoyable. The Lady and her father make excellent characters. I was a huge fan of the General too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve never even seen a deck in person, although a friend of mine does readings. I agree with you, Mae—it is an interesting way to plot a story even if every character doesn’t come from a card (I think that would be REALLY hard to do), This was incredibly inventive and brilliantly done.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Some of the cards are more situational, but I wove them in. The story needed more characters than the cards could provide, so I created them. It was a great personal challenge, and I learned a lot by doing it.

        Liked by 1 person

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