World Building: An Inside Look Into Secrets
Author Dawn Kirby gives readers an inside glimpse into how she approached creating the world within her debut novel, Secrets.
When I started writing SECRETS I thought long and hard about where I wanted the book to take place. Since there would be packs running around I needed lots of trees and vegetation; preferably green vegetation. That pretty much nullified me using the part of Texas I’m from. The only vegetation we have here is dry and most times, nothing more than weeds. Then I thought of a gorgeous place we’d driven through a couple of times on our way to Ft. Worth, Weatherford.
It’s a growing town outside on the outskirts of Ft. Worth and it is beautiful. Though I’ve only been there a few times, I could still see it clearly. The trees there are huge. The grass green. The vegetation was perfect. It’s big enough to cater to a pack of werewolves, yet small enough to keep them off the grid. They’d have lots of space to run without one person ever seeing hide or hair of them.
It’s also an ideal spot for a vampire to stake a claim. With so much land available, one could buy acres upon acres, build sprawling estate and never once come into contact with another person. Perfect for those nights when fresh blood is on the menu. Even better when those rare occasions spring up that they decide to host another not-so-human life changing event.
Once I had my setting, it was onto creating an amazing world I thought any supernatural creature would be proud to be a part of.
That’s where lots of research into style and furnishings comes in. I wanted them to have the very best of everything, but still keep with some of the old vampire traditions. Expensive artwork, bookshelves filled with every piece of literature imaginable. Despite a certain aversion to wood, there’s a certain warmth and sophistication it adds to Donovan’s home. In fact, you’ll find few cold, sterile coffins there. Light-tight, handmade, pullout beds complete with silk sheets and soft mattresses have taken their place.
While the vampires live it up in opulent style, the werewolves are content to hold onto the creature comforts they’ve always held dear. Good food, close friends and family and a warm, loving environment are more their speed. Pride also runs deep for them. They may enjoy the money, but they work very hard for everything they have. As long as they have a place to run and a pack to run with there isn’t much more they could ask for.
Most of all I wanted the general atmosphere of the story to reflect so many different emotions at once. In my mind, creating a range of characters to help with that was a natural choice. Through them I could do more with a scene than any amount of narrative description ever could. Having one personality play off the other, whether the circumstance be good or bad, was fun for me. I tried very hard to put myself in their shoes to keep the mood as real, as plausible as possible.
It seems odd to say that about a make-believe world, but when I close my eyes and think about all the elements that went into building Leah’s world, it’s really the only way I can describe it.