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I Belong


Blog Tour: Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla

My guest today is debut author Amanda Bonilla.  The first book in her new Shaede Assassin urban fantasy series, Shaedes of Gray,  just launched on December 6, 2011.  Please join me in welcoming Amanda here today to Dark Faerie Tales. You can read the first chapter of the book here.

Thanks to Amanda, one lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of the book.  As always, details are listed at the end of the post.

Welcome Amanda!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Welcome to My World

First of all, thanks so much to Dark Faerie Tales for hosting me today! You are awesome!

World building can be one of the toughest obstacles for any fantasy writer. Not only do the rules for your world have to make some sort of sense, but you have to pull it all off in a way that allows the reader to suspend his or her disbelief for the duration of the novel.

When I wrote Shaedes of Gray, it was a 100% from the hip endeavor. I’d never plotted a novel before and I embraced the pantser style of writing, letting the story unfold as I typed the words. But as my amazing agent later pointed out, I’d left holes in the world building that needed to be filled. My foundation wasn’t quite strong enough and it took a couple of tries before those building blocks were solid enough. Since writing the first book in the Shaede Assassin series, I’ve become more of a plotter. It becomes necessary when outlines need to be turned in before the novel is written. And along with embracing the plotter’s way, I’ve learned to be a more comprehensive and thorough world builder.

 I have a pretty over-active imagination. I built my Shaedes, Lyhtans, Jinn, and Oracles from the ground up, giving them their own creation myths, abilities, and weaknesses. When I plot, it’s not a restrictive endeavor. I craft a very loose outline to give myself a little breathing room and the first thing I work on is the world building. I usually use poster board, but my husband bought me a nice white board for Christmas last year that I use as well. I get funny looks from guests and repairmen when they come over and see the large white cardboard hanging on various walls. I have two in the den, one in my bedroom, and I used to have one in my dining room (I get antsy and have to walk to think, sometimes). One board is completely devoted to world building. This is when I break out the color-coded sticky notes. The top row of colored notes represents the characters. Under each character’s name, I add new notes (different colors of course) that list what creature the character is, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and what its relationship to the other characters is. After that, I’ll make special notes about the character’s diet, job (if they have one), how they live or make money (if they don’t have a job), if they speak another language, and how to best kill them (my MC is an assassin, after all).

The toughest thing about world building is forgetting that there are no restrictions. As the author, I’m in charge of each creature’s heritage, physique, diet, hair and skin color, language… In the first draft of Shaedes of Gray, my Shaedes didn’t eat. Anything. Not at all. And as I started writing the second half of the novel, I realized that I’d restricted my character’s personality by not allowing her to eat. So of course, I went back and revised. With my Lyhtans, I knew they ate, but I never thought about what. That is, until my agent asked, “What does a Lyhtan eat, anyway?” It ended up being the million-dollar question. In crafting a response, I realized that I didn’t know nearly enough about these creatures. And from there, an entire tragic backstory was born.

There are some pretty basic questions that should be answered right away in establishing the world-building in an urban fantasy. The first and most important is: What is the supernatural community’s relationship to the human population? In Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, the supernatural world has been exposed to the human populace, and part of the story arc deals with how the two factions learn to live harmoniously. In Richelle Mead’s Succubus series, the supernaturals live in secret, perfectly happy with the rest of the populous not knowing of their existence. Personally, I’m a fan of the whole keeping-the-supernatural-world-a- secret. Next, you have to establish a societal structure. Do your supernaturals govern themselves in a democracy? Monarchy? Dictatorship? And how does each faction or kingdom exist in relationship to one another? Do they live in the world as we know it today? Or in a fictional city like Kalayna Price’s Nekros City. Once the societal structure is set, you can move on to each individual creature or species and go from there. World building in fantasy is like constructing a pyramid. You have to have a sturdy base in order to build up.

What are your favorite books in terms of world-building? Do you prefer your supernatural creatures “out” living in the open? Or would you rather have them hiding their existence from humanity?

Thanks again to Dark Faerie Tails for hosting me today!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

About Amanda:

Amanda Bonilla lives in rural Idaho with her husband and two kids. She’s a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshipper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves the outdoors, black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. In the summer, she can be found sitting by the lake, enjoying the view from her dock.

You can visit Amanda around the web here: Website | Blog |Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Amanda Bonilla?

Shaedes of Gray

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

This giveaway is provided by Amanda Bonilla

One winner will receive a copy of Shaedes of Gray: A Shaede Assassin Novel

by Amanda Bonilla

Available on December 6, 2011 from Penguin/Signet Books

About the Book:

In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind-an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.

When Darian’s next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she’s taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished…

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Order from

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29 Responses to “Blog Tour: Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla

  1. Rain maidenNo Gravatar
    1

    I can swing both ways when it comes to monsters out or not out. Thanks for the post and giveaway. I enjoy reading about assassins and all the boogies that come their way.

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  2. Heather SNo Gravatar
    2

    In terms of world building I believe Kresely Cole has done a fantastic job with the Immortals After Dark series. Love it! I also love the various series by Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews. They are all so different but awesome.

    I’m also open to both ways but I do prefer the out in the open. To me it make the ‘world’ seem a little more real though there are some great books/series with them hidden.

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  3. SandyG265No Gravatar
    3

    I don’t mind if the monsters are out or not.

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  4. RebeLovesBooksNo Gravatar
    4

    I love Patricia Briggs’ and Ilona Andrews’ world building. Both have the “monsters” living in the open, which makes for some fun plots, but I have to admit that I also like books with worlds that keep the magic secret.

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  5. Mandy RNo Gravatar
    5

    I think I like them to be “out of the closet” just because that outcome is so improbable. Makes things more interesting and creative.

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  6. Barb PNo Gravatar
    6

    I actually don’t think that I have a preference. I’m fine with them either in or out in the open. I like it all. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway and I would love to read the new book. ten.labolgcbsnull@31146kcirtapb

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  7. AmyNo Gravatar
    7

    I’d prefer them to be out in the open. I really love the fascinating world of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series.

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  8. Amanda BonillaNo Gravatar
    8

    Thanks again to Dark Faerie Tales for hosting me today!!! :) Looks like most of us don’t care if our monsters are out in the open are not–we love them either way!

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  9. DeAnna (@SacredmOOn1)No Gravatar
    9

    I love them “both” in different ways. The angle of the stores differ from that. Example ~ I love SVM’s out in the open world. But I also love the BDB that is still in the dark to humans. I’d say it depends on the author and story they are telling. But I love them all equally. Thanks so much for having this giveaway! DeAnna Schultz

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  10. Bethany C.No Gravatar
    10

    I’m fine with either way, but I often find interesting worlds that either have recently transitioned, are about to come ‘out’, or are on the verge of being forced to come out. Like in Kim Harrison’s Hallows series, where there is a clear before and after. I also like in that series (and others) that some races are out while others need or prefer to retain their anonymity.

    b(dot)cardone(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  11. JenniferKNo Gravatar
    11

    I like my supernatural characters out in the open. My favorite world-building books would be Patricia Briggs and Nancy Holzner. Thanks so much for the giveaway.

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  12. LexiNo Gravatar
    12

    The Fever series has amazing world building. So much detail but enough questions to keep you going. But I do enjoy books both ways.
    It will be interesting to see how your series evolves!

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  13. Bella BunnellNo Gravatar
    13

    I love a richly and fully imagined world. I prefer my “monsters” out in the open. Living openly in and commanding the world they in, as in Anne Bishop’s The Black Jewels trilogy or Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series.
    The Shaedes sounds wonderful in every way and Darian looks kick *ss. I’d LOVE to win a copy, but I’ll definitely be buying one.

    Thanks Dark Faerie Tales AND Amanda, for the great giveaway!

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  14. VivienNo Gravatar
    14

    I prefer them out in the open. Makes the world much more interesting!

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  15. Barbara ElnessNo Gravatar
    15

    Some of my favorite books in terms of world-building are: Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse, Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin, Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson, and Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock. They all have very believable worlds with just enough differences to make things very interesting. In all of these series, the supernatural creatures are “out,” so I guess I prefer that.

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  16. TouyaNo Gravatar
    16

    Wow. That’s a tough question. It really depends on the situation. I’ve read them in both styles and I really think whether or not the supernatural creatures are public is based on the plot. For instance In the book series the Infernal Devices they do a bit of both depending on their preference. However, in the series Wicked Lovely they live among the normal people but aren’t seen by them. So, I mean it really depends on what the story is aiming for.

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  17. Ned LeffingwellNo Gravatar
    17

    I prefer creatures hiding in the shadows, although I have recently been pleasantly surprised with some of the monsters in the open stories I have read.

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  18. WrenNo Gravatar
    18

    I would rather have them hide from the world. It would be almost impossible to be what they really were in the real world. But I also think that they could be among humans but never allow them to really know what they were.

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  19. JenMNo Gravatar
    19

    I think I prefer them to be out in the open because whenever they are secret, I’m always taken out of the story wondering how it’s possible for the secret to be kept. For example, people murdered by vampires – you’d think eventually, some humans would notice if a fair number of people either went missing, or showed up drained of blood. I find it harder to suspend disbelief when they are hidden.

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  20. Brooklynn GibbsNo Gravatar
    20

    I go both ways. Adds a lot of drama and a very good story line. Kinda like… True Blood, or Twilgiht. Each are an exaple of both.

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  21. Amanda BonillaNo Gravatar
    21

    I have to agree with you guys on some of your favorite fictional “worlds”. The Riley Jensen series has great world-building, as does the Mercy Thompson series. I think another great example of world building where the creatures are “out” is Kalayna Price’s Alex Craft series. She goes a step further by creating entirely new cities and pockets of land that open up after the magical outing.

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  22. blackroze37@yahoo.comNo Gravatar
    22

    im loving the covers

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  23. blackroze37@yahoo.comNo Gravatar
    23

    out in the open!

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  24. Lori StronginNo Gravatar
    24

    Awesome post! Shame that the worlds we see in our heads don’t often translate immediately to the page, eh? I used to be a pantser, too, but I’ve definitely noticed fewer plot and world building holes in my books now that I plan them out beforehand.

    Fav. book in terms of world building? It would currently have to be the Hunger Games series? But if we’re going for classics, Lord of the Rings. Tolkien even invented *languages* to add another layer of depth to his Middle Earth!

    Thanks for the giveaway op!

    Smiles!
    Lori
    serena423[@]yahoo.com

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  25. Stephanie EcksteinNo Gravatar
    25

    My favorite kind of books in terms of world building are urban fantasies with some romance and some Mystery, I really like it when the heroine is a cop or a detective. In books I prefer it when the creatures are outed to the public, it makes the world with in more interesting. In real life I think I would prefer to be in the dark when it comes to monsters,aliens and paranormal creatures.

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  26. Darin HenningerNo Gravatar
    26

    I actually like it best when the monsters are in the closet. Kelley Armstrong does this in an interesting way by leaving it looking like there is only one type of supernatural.

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  27. latisha depoortereNo Gravatar
    27

    I love to read about vampires alot in books!I like if they live out in the open one of my favorites are cat and bones!
    Thank you for the great giveaway!

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  28. thegirlonfire27No Gravatar
    28

    Well I tend to think it is cool both ways. I prefer hiding out though. I think it is epic to add in the secret element.

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  29. Brenda DemkoNo Gravatar
    29

    I think I prefer them to be in our world but hiding amongst us. It just gives a little more to the story. I read them all though! :-)

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