Selling some books! Check out this list! (PH Only)
  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista
  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jennifer Estep Guest Post + Touch of Frost Giveaway! (Intl)

Hi everyone! Today we are hosting Jennifer Estep, author of Touch of Frost on our blog where she'll be talking about the importance of world building in a book. Her YA novel comes out in a week! Please help us welcome Jennifer on our blog, and if you have any questions for her, please feel free to leave her a comment!

How important is world building to a story?

JE: World building is always important in a story, no matter what genre you’re writing in. You always want to transport readers to another place, whether it’s a small town, an alien planet, or a medieval castle. You want to make folks feel like they are right there in the story with your characters, having a burger and fries at the local diner; or exploring a hot, muggy, tropical rainforest; or even feeling their toes go numb as they trudge through a mountain blizzard. You want people to connect with your characters, and bringing your world to life is one way to help do that.

However, I would say that world building is a little more important when you’re writing a fantasy/sci-fi book. Readers who enjoy those genres expect to see a lot of magic, sorcery, science, technology, etc. You have to create a world where those things are possible, and then make readers feel like they are in the middle of your world, whatever and wherever it is.

While you were writing Touch of Frost, did you already have an idea in mind for a setting/location for Mythos Academy or did you have to do some research for it?

JE: The great thing about writing fantasy is that you get to create your own world. I didn’t really do any research about the setting/location. I knew that I wanted Mythos Academy to be a private/boarding type of school with a Southern, mountainous setting, so I came up with Cypress Mountain, my fictional suburb that’s supposedly near Asheville, North Carolina.

After that, it was just a matter of deciding what sort of buildings the academy needed and how I could use the buildings and their descriptions to give the whole campus a dark, creepy, mythological feel.

Is Mythos Academy patterned or inspired by any building/structure you've visited or come across?

JE: No, the academy isn’t really patterned on any specific building. But several years ago, I visited the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, which I thought had some really cool architecture. Visiting the Parthenon reminded me how much I’ve always liked mythology and made me think that it would be fun to write a mythology-based story someday. And now, I have.

How do you decide what to include in your description of Mythos Academy (buildings, etc)? Was it difficult to write Mythos Academy at all?

JE: It wasn’t too hard for me to dream up the academy. Since it’s a school setting, I knew that there needed to be some school-type buildings, so I designed an upper quad where students spend most of their time. The quad features five buildings – the Library of Antiquities, the dining hall, the gym, the math-science building, and the English-history building.

Basically, these buildings tie in with everything that students would normally do, as well as some things that only the Mythos kids do. These buildings give students a place to eat (the dining hall); a place to go to classes (English-history and math-science); a place to train with weapons (the gym); and a place to study and socialize after classes (the library). There are also student dorms on campus, along with some other outbuildings.

I decided to use these buildings because I thought I could stage a lot of different scenes in and around the various buildings – everything from Gwen weapons training with the other students in the gym to her wandering through the library to her walking across campus late at night.

Complete this: Mythos Academy would cease to exist if _____ is missing. (Can be a person, place, an object, etc.)

JE: The Library of Antiquities. The library is a seven-story tall building with towers, parapets, and balconies. Gwen says it looks like something out of an old, Gothic horror movie. The library is also covered with statues of mythological creatures like gryphons, gargoyles, dragons, chimeras, and more, which adds to the creepiness factor. Inside, the library features hundreds of thousands of books, along with glass cases that contain artifacts that have been used by various gods, goddesses, heroes, and more – things like armor, weapons, jewelry, etc. There are also marble statues of gods and goddesses on the second floor balcony of the library.

The Library of Antiquities definitely the centerpiece of the academy and where a lot of the action in all the books in the series takes place. It’s also a place where the kids can Hang Out and Be Seen, as Gwen puts it.

Any advice for writers on how to effectively build worlds for their books?

JE: I think you just have to think about your story, your characters, and go with your instincts. What do you want your setting to be? How will it impact your characters and the overall story? Where are the places that your characters are likely to interact? What can you do to make these places special, interesting, unique, and memorable? How can you give a house or restaurant or graveyard a distinct look, feel, and personality of its own and make it almost become another character in your story?

Those are some of the things that folks might think about when it comes to world building. Also, you don’t have to go overboard on the description of a house, restaurant, etc. Small, subtle touches here and there can really add up and give your world/book a lot of atmosphere and personality.

Happy reading, everyone! ;-)


You can follow Jennifer via Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.


Jennifer is offering a copy of Touch of Frost which ONE lucky reader can win!

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Ends July 26th.
Fill out the FORM below.


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