Hey there, everyone. I’m Tory Michaels, author of the Dream-Walker War Series, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy blend series and I’m here to talk about world building for your books. I don’t have scads of experience (I don’t have 40 books published to my name like some authors do), but I know what’s worked for me so far.
Let me be perfectly forthright. Deep down, I’m incredibly lazy. I don’t like drawing maps, or having to come up with weather patterns. So, though I have a fabulous fantasy world series in my head featuring elves, dragon riders, and soul-stealers, I somehow doubt it will ever get written and published. I love the paranormal and to me, have the fun in reading that sort of thing is seeing how an author can take our familiar, comfortable real world, and then put their own spin on it.
Sometimes, like in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, there’s a plague that wipes out a huge portion of the human population. This forces the non-humans out of the closet, thus completely re-writing the timeline from the date of the Angel virus (somewhere in the 50’s or 60’s).
In Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter/Dream Hunter world, the world at large is still unaware of the non-human population, but there are quite a few non-humans running around, not to mention gods of the myriad pantheons. She also makes Atlantis real (albeit sunk) and adds in an entirely different pantheon for it, along with all her shifters, and so forth.
In my case, I decided that the non-humans (comprised of the Blood (vampires), dhampires (mortal vampires), shifters, and the mage-born) came out of the closet at the beginning of the Great Depression, making a huge announcement. Up until that point, nothing in the timeline really required much tweaking because the non-humans had just blended in. Afterward, I decided time pretty much passed as it would have, with some small alterations. For example:
1) Under the umbrella of the Department of Health Services (instead of Health & Human Services), you find the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs. It handles all the licensing requirements of the various races (including regulating the blood-bank system in America).
2) In World War II, both the Allies and the Axis tried to use the non-humans to gain an advantage over the other side. Anthony, the hero of my first book Blood Rage, worked briefly for the Nazis so that he could travel without question in war-occupied France to watch over a family he’d been protecting until the family’s relative (in the form of the book’s heroine, Dara) could get there and pull them out. He made it clear that all he would do for the Nazis was be certain no vampires were roaming the streets spying for the Allies.
3) The United States still went through its Civil Rights Movement in the 50’s and 60’s. The only difference (in my world) is that the non-humans fought for civil rights too. They were treated as something like second-class citizens until they finally won some protections (the vamps, for example, can work slightly off-normal shifts, to account for their daylight vulnerability, provided the altered shift doesn’t cause the employer undue hardship. Shifters aren’t required to work the graveyard shift the three nights of the full moon, though they do need to make the time up elsewhere in the month, without penalty or threat to their job security. And so on.)
As you can see, while the world is still (mostly) our world, there are distinct differences, and as the author, it’s our responsibility to track those changes so that you don’t have inconsistencies. One of my biggest regrets, one that I periodically try to motivate myself into going back to change, is that I didn’t create a series/world bible, to write down every single little detail as I went along. It makes it painful when I know I might have quoted a particular “book” in my world, or cited a law, and can’t remember the year the legislation passed. I have to weed through the two (almost three now) books I already have written to find the material. If this series was slated to go more than four books, I’d probably force myself to sit down and do it. I will just have to work very hard to make sure I don’t have any slips. Luckily, while I’m responsible for the content, my super-duper editor will catch certain details. But it’s better not to rely on her.
So, that’s my little bit on world building. I’ll leave you with the blurbs of the first two books, and hope to see some of you drop by my blog at www.torymichaels.com in the future!
For eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived in relative peace together. The peace is threatened when three bodies turn up less than a mile from the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs in Tampa, all bearing the signature of vampires who once terrorized Europe.
The Bureau’s chief liaison to the vampires, Dara MacKechnie, learns that the Tampa victims are not alone when her ex-lover, and head of the vampire’s Great Council, Anthony Caldwell comes calling. The pair discovers the lie that separated them two centuries ago only banked their passion, not extinguished it.
Dara must decide whether she can trust Anthony with her heart a second time as they try to head off the war that threatens all they hold dear.
In the eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived side by side, relatively at peace. In an attack that leaves his wife dead, Jordan MacNaught is caught up in the start of a war meant to turn the other races against the vampires. He knows beyond a doubt the vampires of yesteryear are not involved in the attacks. They’re all dead, except for him.
Jordan asks for Chris Javert’s help in hunting those who murdered his wife. She’s no stranger to hunting vampires. After all, she nearly destroyed Jordan when she ended the reign of his Aristocrats in Europe two hundred years ago.
Despite doubts about Jordan’s innocence, Chris joins forces with him, the man who once tried to kill her, to save the inter-species pace from the new Aristocrats before war consumes them all
Originally from the Sacramento Valley, Tory packed up and moved all the way to Southwest Florida in 2004 with her husband (a Florida native) under the premise that ‘hurricanes almost never hit that part of the state.’ That year, 4 blasted the area. 4 more came the following year, and her husband blames her for bringing the hurricanes. She now resides in Jacksonville and is relieved that, thus far, no more hurricanes have followed her around.
She began writing in kindergarten when a turnip wished to be human and, other than a hiatus shortly after getting married, has never stopped. Her love of vampires began somewhere in junior high, and combining the two loves didn’t take long. She loves music, considers herself a ‘book slut’ whose reading habits would break her family financially if given free reign, and is (usually) delighted to be a mommy of twin Shrimpettes and a Shrimp.