Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nina Croft: The Order of the World

This month, Bittersweet Magic, book 2 in my Order series released, so I thought I’d talk a little about the world of the Order.

I write all sorts of romance, but usually with elements of paranormal or science fiction and sometimes with both. And I’ve come to realize that one of the things I love about writing speculative fiction is that absolutely anything can happen—as long as you make it believable.

And that’s where the world-building comes in.

For me one of the pleasures of reading is to suspend reality for the duration of the book. I need to believe that vampires are real and other worlds exist. The last thing I want is to be pulled out of my new world by something that can’t possibly happen. So the world-building has to be consistent and convincing.

But whereas I’m a total plotter—I spend ages getting to know my characters and I outline my novel scene by scene—I’m going to admit that I only do the bare minimum of world-building before I start to write. That minimum usually includes just the where and the when. Most of my world-building is done as I go along or even after I’ve finished the first draft. Often, I find I have to go back and change facets of my world throughout the story so that things don’t seem contrived or worse—impossible.

The Order series takes place mainly London, a city I lived and worked in for a number of years. I think it can give a real sense of authenticity to write about places you know well. Then all you have to do is give them a little twist to create an alternate reality.

When I started Bittersweet Blood, the first book in the series, I had the urge to write a vampire story, but I also wanted the book to be part of a series and I didn’t want to limit myself to vampires only. So my world had to include a whole range of supernatural creatures to give me lots to choose from in later books. But London might have gotten a little chaotic with all those paranormal races battling it out and so The Order of The Shadow Accords came into being. The Order is the organization that polices the supernatural world and makes sure the other races, mainly demons and the fae, don’t misbehave too badly and bring attention to themselves or destruction to mankind. The Order is run by vampires but they’re willing to employ a few other things as well, witches, warlocks, werewolves…

So I guess my world-building process is; I decide what I want to do, who I want to do it with and then I build a world that enables me to do it.

What do you think should come first—characters or world? Let me know for a chance to win an ecopy of Bittersweet Blood.

Bittersweet Magic – Blurb
Roz has been indebted to the demon Asmodai for five hundred years, and her freedom is just around the corner. All she has to do is complete one last task for him—obtain a key that had been hidden in a church centuries ago.
Piers, the Head of the Order and an ancient vampire, is intrigued by the woman who comes to him for help. She’s beautiful and seemingly kind, but she’s hiding something. And he’ll find out who she is and what she really wants once he uses his power to get inside her head. But Piers has no idea that Roz is immune to his mind-control...or that he is simply a pawn in her dangerous mission for freedom.

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.  Nina writes all sorts of romance often mixing in elements of the paranormal and science fiction.
Find Nina at: Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter


Anonymous said...

I always end up with characters first... maybe I'll give world first on the next try. Just for something different. :D

Moira said...

Characters. I think if you have a great character foundation they can help you build your world and the rules.

erin said...

I'm always invested in characters. So much so that the world building isn't so important to me, it's "background". If I can't invest in a character, it doesn't matter how awesome the world building was, the book will be put down. Congrats to Nina on the new release and thanks for sharing!!

Nina Croft said...

Me too! Maybe next time...

Nina Croft said...

Exactly my thoughts, Moira.

Nina Croft said...

I think that's it exactly, Erin, most readers get invested in the characters, setting and background are a bonus.

Eli Yanti said...

Characters too for me

Jennifer Shirk said...

I'm a characters first person too. That's what I love most when reading too.