For as long as I can remember, books and reading have been a vibrant, essential part of my life. My infatuation with fantasy and realms beyond the familiar started with C.S. Lewis and quickly grew to encompass the other greats like J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Anne McCaffrey.
Reading those authors taught me so much about world building for fantasy and paranormal romance novels, though I didn’t realize I was learning it at the time. I’ve read plenty of action books too, and I quickly learned I’m not the reader who will pore over every detail of a weapon. Pulls me out of the story.
So I sorta gloss over those parts when I’m reading. Same goes for historical novels if a dress or carriage description spans several pages. I just jump to the next section of dialogue.
Now, as an author of both urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels, I believe world building is as much about the author’s vision as it is about the reader’s enjoyment. I want to paint a complete picture, but I want the reader to be swept into the action and characters’ adventures.
In my urban fantasy Shadows of Justice series set in 2096 Chicago, I share a gritty version of the amazing city and populate it with bigger than life characters who have surprising talents or skills due to genetic manipulation or changing environmental conditions. (In case you haven’t heard – caffeine is a regulated substance in 2096 so superpowers are practically essential for survival).
The Matchmaker series, my lighthearted paranormal romance novels, are set in present day Charleston, South Carolina. The characters sport magical abilities or mythical lineage and they have quite a time on their quest for each happily ever after.
It’s been great fun to use both cities, taking a few liberties of course, but staying true to what I value most in each setting. I find Charleston a delightful, romantic city full of history and drama and my goal is to share all that beauty and day to day magic with the reader.
You might be surprised to know it’s Chicago’s history that really fuels my 2096 future. Researching the evolution of Chicago is a fascinating and inspiring adventure for me and I try to infuse my urban fantasy novels with that same resilient sense of spirit.
Though I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both cities have outstanding shopping districts.
Live the adventure!