Thursday, June 27, 2013

World Building

I grew up on science fiction and fantasy.  Podkayne of Mars, The Hobbit.  One took the world I knew and fast forwarded it.  One built a whole new world.  When I started writing, I thought I might write sci fi/fantasy, but I felt pulled to the romance genre.  I loved taking two people and watching how they overcame hurdles and differences in order to build a life together.

Most of my books have been set in or around my hometown, Erie, PA.  Now, you wouldn't think I'd need to world-build in a real city and I certainly didn't put that name to it when I started, but looking back, I realized that's exactly what I did.  I wrote a series of books for Silhouette Romance that were set in Erie's very real Perry Square.  BUT I sort of usurped the Square and added my own businesses (Snips and Snaps Beauty Salon, Titles Bookstore & Monarchs Coffee house—owned by Erie's own royalty no less)  to it.  I populated the Square with all my fictional people.  Basically, I took reality and bent it to my fiction.

Since then I've actually world built a number of small towns that surround Erie proper.  Towns like Whedon, PA (for the locals, think Edinboro), Valley Ridge, NY (set between the very real North East and equally real Ripley, NY) and this week, I'm starting a new town...Cupid Falls, PA.  It's right outside of Erie (locals, think Waterford-ish).

As I write the opening of the book, I'm adding in a cast of
secondary characters, like Jenny whose scumbag ex walked out on her and three kids.  I'm adding in businesses, like The Cupboard Restaurant.  It moved into Terri McQueen's Cupboard General Store.  The built on a kitchen addition, but kept as many of the historic feature in the dining room as they could.  You can look at the shelves, and buy local crafts, from quilts to baskets (yeah, I worked in the baskets).

It might not be science fiction, but I'm hoping that by the time I'm done 'building' Cupid Falls, readers will feel as if they've been there.

So, that's my week...I'm world building.  You can find out what books belong to which of my 'worlds' at my Book Series page, where they're in order.

Do you have any favorite fictional towns that you've enjoyed visiting in the past?



  1. Nancy Goldberg Levine5:20 PM

    Lots of them, Holly, the W(h)ine region in your last three books, Lake Eden, Minnesota in Joanne Fluke's books, and I have a soft spot in my heart for Mensocket (now Morganville--name was changed for the town's bicentennial) from my own "Tempting Jonah," and the sequel I'm working on "Knowing Naomi," as well as the prequel. And I set the "Practically Perfect Heroes" series in Cincinnati, but I re-built the suburb where I grew up and added Nutsie Nan's Cafe, Karla's Ristorante and the Orient Cab Company. I also added the suburb where I live now, St. Bernard, which as a bakery again, "Tasteless of Cincinnati Bakery." LOL!

  2. Oh, I love the bakery name, Nancy!! And love the regions!