I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

TOPIC: World-Building with Pamela Palmer

As a reader have you ever wondered how paranormal authors go about building the worlds their characters inhabit? Or are you a paranormal romance author looking for hints on how to world-build?

Come join some of the paranormal romance world's best known authors and learn from them how they do it!

Today, I have Pamela Palmer as my guest!

Where do you start with your world-building - the world or the characters - and how do you develop your ideas?
Each of my series/worlds has started a little differently. My Esri series came about from a Bk#1 was reading titled Scottish Fairy Beliefs. It said that as recently as a couple hundred years ago there were learned men and women who still fully believed man-sized fairies/elves were to blame for much of the evils that befell people.

I got to thinking…what if they were right? What if there were such creatures in this world at one time, but there aren’t any more? And what if they found a way back? In Bk#1, The Dark Gate, an evil elf, an Esri, finds his way into modern day Washington, D.C. and soon all of human civilization is in danger.

My Feral Warriors series was sparked from a single scene idea. A woman finds a large, handsome stranger in her kitchen—a male who claims she’s not only immortal, but the savior of his race. From there, my imagination began spinning. Who was he? What was he? Eventually, I realized he was a shape-shifter, one of the last nine left in the world. This became one of the first scenes in Feral Warriors Bk#1, Desire Untamed.

Feral Warriors Series
My Vamp City series was sparked by a concept—a vampire otherworld connected to our own. The vampires can travel back and forth at will, but not their human captives or enemies. From there I had to figure out everything else, including where this vampire otherworld was located. When I realized it shared space with Washington, D.C. and would be Washington, V.C., Vamp City, I knew I’d hit on the story I wanted to tell.

Keeping track of details in series seems like a good idea given the complexity and/or length of some series. I like to use a series bible but what notes or methods do you use to ensure continuity and clarity of the nitty gritty?
I’m a very logical person who has no trouble whatsoever organizing my time, my day, my life. But when it comes to organizing stuff, including facts, files, etc., I’m hopeless. I can think of seven different places to file something…anything…and when I go to retrieve it, I’ll come up with seven more. When I put things away, whether in my house or on my computer, I often fear I’ll never see them again.

When I started Vamp City Bk#2, I forced myself to take the time to create a bible. And it’s wonderful! But I’ve never done that for the Feral Warrior series and I regret that every time I start a new book.

At first, I re-read the previous books before I started working on each new one, but I’m a slow reader and as the series has grown (I’m now working on book 8), that task has become increasingly unwieldy.

One thing I have done is taken the time to highlight key facts in each of the books, especially those throwaway facts that come back to bite me later because they weren’t important at the time and I forgot I ever mentioned them. But, for the most part, it’s all in my head. I WILL put together a Feral bible one of these days. Eventually.

Which of your series have been the most challenging to world-build? Have you struck any interesting problems while researching/developing your series?
I’d have to say the Vamp City series has been the most challenging, or perhaps just the most interesting since it’s set in a place that actually existed and does no longer…1870 Washington, D.C. Vamp City is a doppleganger of the Nation’s Capital created in 1870 by a powerful sorcerer, then handed over to the vampires. A land where the sun never shines.

Imagining this place was incredibly interesting. Not only did I have to thoroughly research the D.C. it was created from (a city with dirt streets, a half-built Washington Monument, and acre upon acre of rolling countryside), but I had to imagine what it would have become after 140 years of vampire occupation and neglect. And no sun.

I decided that no sun meant no plants, no trees, etc. In fact, I decided that the doppleganger world would have no living things at all except those intentionally brought in by the vampires—horse and humans.

Then, as I was finishing up Bk#1, A Blood Seduction, I saw the cover art and there were all these wonderful, spooky trees. (Cover artists rarely get a chance to read the books before they create the covers. Usually, we’re still writing them!) And since I still had the ability to change things, I did. I added trees to Vamp City. Lots and lots of dead trees.

Vamp City Series
Most of your series have woven paranormal aspects into a contemporary setting. Is there a sub-genre (ie. post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, fantasy) you haven't tried but would like to develop into a new series?
At this point, no. I like the urban fantasy take on the paranormal—basing my stories in our world. As a reader, I prefer this. I find it far easier to enter a story when the world is familiar. And, ultimately, I write what I want to read.

Pamela, thanks so much for sharing your insights into world-building. It's been wonderful having you here today!

For any reader who's already her fan, Pamela's next releases are available February & June 2013:

Reading order of Pamela's book list:

The Feral Warriors
Desire Untamed
Avon, June 30, 2009

Obsession Untamed
Avon, July 28, 2009

Passion Untamed
Avon, August 25, 2009

Rapture Untamed
Avon, June 29, 2010

Hunger Untamed
Avon, February 22, 2011

Ecstasy Untamed
Avon, October 25, 2011

A Love Untamed
Avon, December 26, 2012

The Vamp City Series
A Blood Seduction
Avon, May 29, 2012

The Esri Series
The Esri Series
The Dark Gate
Silhouette Nocturne, April 2007

Dark Deceiver
Silhouette Nocturne, July 2008

A Warrior's Desire
Harlequin Nocturne , January 24, 2012

Warrior Rising
Harlequin Nocturne , March 20, 2012

Hearts Untamed
Avon, September 18, 2012

You can follow Pamela on Twitter, or sign up for her newsletter here.

1 comment:

  1. Pamela and Kylie, what a cool post! I love hearing how writers build their universes.