Monday, November 2, 2015

Blog Tour: Svatura Series by Abigail Owen

Series: Svatura
Titles: Blue Violet / Hyacinth / Crimson Dahlia / Black Orchid
Author: Abigail Owen
Publication Date: October 2015
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

One will come out of hiding to protect others like her from a similar fate. One will find her path to leadership after being released from a hellish prison. One will try to start a new life only to discover that her path lies where it always has. And one will feel a loss so terrible that only oblivion can stop the pain.

Individually they are strong. But together these sisters of the heart are a force before whom even their most powerful enemies will tremble. However, that may not be enough. Is power or love the key to their salvation?

Goodreads | Amazon (Book One) | Amazon (Book Two) | Amazon (Book Three) |Amazon (Book Four) 

Award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

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Giveaway:  $50 Amazon giftcard courtesy of the author. Ends 11/3

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When I first started publishing my books, I was confused about what people meant by world building. I think it’s because I started out writing paranormal romance. I thought they referenced building up the fantasy world in which that book is set. And that’s partly true for genres like that. But world building also means showing the readers the details--whether those details are the room in which the heroine is sitting, or the magical world in which the story is set.
A good rule of thumb, regardless of what genre I write, is to assume the reader has never seen this world before.
Since realizing this, world building has become one of my favorite things to do as a writer, only behind character building. Because the world your characters live in shapes who they are and how they react. These days, I have four major areas I focus on when I do world building. I find these tricks help tremendously.

Know the Infrastructure

Especially important for paranormal/fantasy writers, I could go on and on about this, but will give you a basic idea. Think about the infrastructure of the world (thinking of our own world helps) and start developing anything you can both at a world level (example – how do people pay for things in your new world) but also at a character level (example - how does your character make money?). There are tons of blogs and workshops that will give you lists of things to think about in terms of infrastructure (money, work, transportation, social services, customs, religion, education, and on and on).
I’m a pantser (I don’t plot a lot) so this part is difficult for me. I’ve found that it works well if, with each scene, I ask questions. How’d that castle get there? Does it have running water? How does that work? Why isn’t it hot if it’s in the middle of the desert? And so on.

Dress the Setting

Part of world building is helping your reader picture the setting. I am not a huge fan of long, flowery descriptions. Personally, as a reader, if they are too long they pull me out of the story. If they go on for ages, then I skip them all together. My method these days is to describe some aspect of the setting each time the setting changes. If my characters have never been there I’ll spend a paragraph, maybe two. If they’ve been in that room before, I’ll describe something else about that space, but keep the description shorter.
Don’t describe everything. Give the vibe. Give a general layout if it’s a brand new setting. Call out one or two details. Even better if you can work in details organically. For example, have a character walk to the window and take that chance to describe the window. It’s old or new? Does it have glass or no? Large or small? Pretty pains or one large sheet of glass? And we haven’t even got to what’s outside yet.

All 5 Senses

Hands down the best advice for world building I ever got was from every world building and self-editing and basic writing workshop I ever took – try to incorporate all 5 senses on every single page.
Now, I find this to be a little excessive – remember that I don’t do the flowery long descriptions thing. But I do try to have at least 1 sense on every page. And I try to make sure every sense is incorporated in every 5 pages.
The tricky part with senses is the show not tell aspect. So easy to slip into “She felt the wind blow.” But that falls dangerously into telling and is a pretty boring sentence. “The wind slid across her skin like the whisper of satin sheets,” is better. Don’t you think? The reader feels what the character is feeling.

Character’s Eyes (a.k.a. Deep POV)

I recently read a blog post from Rebecca Zanetti on this that really stuck with me. The basic idea is that someone will look at a room, a setting, the world in general, with different eyes/filters than someone else. Character A might walk into a room and notice the ornate fireplace. Because she grew up poor and has disdain for displays of wealth, she finds it gaudy. However, Character B is an architect and finds it fascinating. Check out Rebecca’s post which describes this even better. When writing I now approach the world building through the eyes of the character whose point of view I’m in. What would they notice? How would they feel about it?

World building is focused on differently by different writers. I use mine to make the world real and to impact my characters. I’m a character driven writer by nature, so I have to consciously add my world building. It most often gets added during the 2nd (and later) drafts. I’m far from perfect at it, but, like I said, since learning these tricks above, I find I now have a lot of fun with it!


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today! Loved the topic request. I could talk world building all day. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Jana! World building used to mystify me, but workshops and experience are wonderful things. Now I love it. :)

  3. Terrific information on writing. Your book sounds fun, too : )

    1. Thanks Allison! I had a lot of fun writing this guest post.

      I hope you'll check out the series. :)

  4. I agree with Abigail. That was a great topic. Thanks so much for hosting, Kyra!

  5. Yes, world building, even for authors who don't write paranormal is a great topic. It reminds us to ground the reader in the world we've constructed, be it historical or contemporary. And using all five senses is something we all need to remember to do in every scene. Great interview!