We’ve talked a lot about world building on this blog. I’ve had guest authors talking about world building and the importance of setting. I’ve been on world building panels at Euro Pride Con (both times I attended). I guess you could say I’m super into world building. It sort of comes with the territory of writing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.
First off, what worlds have I created?
A vampire world (Urban Fantasy)
A werewolf world (Paranormal Romance)
Several sci-fi worlds
A witch world (Urban Fantasy)
Several contemporary settings
From Many Worlds to Fewer Shared Universes
The first big merging that I plan on doing is to merge the vampire world (Bad Blood series), the werewolf world (the Tales of the Werewolf Tribes series), and the currently in-development witch world (Witches and Other Misfits – you can read an excerpt of this here).
This one is easy, as the seeds for this were planted from the start (at least in my mind). Alexa, who is the protagonist of Bad Blood (the first three books), had a childhood friend called Vicks. If you’ve read the werewolf books, you know Vicks is a secondary character in the two stories that are already out. I plan to further merge these worlds in a future crossover.
The witch books, featuring Shayla, are also an easy integration. Heck, I’ve already teased Shayla at the end of The Fall of Darkness, which is the third book of Bad Blood. Her witch world will also play a big part in the events of the next three Bad Blood books.
The second merger is currently just a thought, as most of this hasn’t been put on paper. But does anyone remember the lovely small town of Riverbrook? It’s where Travel and Spice protagonist Dante returns for his high school reunion. Dante’s story isn’t location-dependent, much like his travel blogger career, but other things happen in Riverbrook.
Basically, Riverbrook will become the US variant of quaint English villages where murder is the most popular hobby. I have an entire cozy mystery series planned out in that small town. And a spinoff book that will be part of a cozy mystery collaboration with authors Clare Kauter and TA Woods.
Oh, yeah, and there’s a contemporary gay romance series happening in Riverbrook, all centered around an inn. And did I mention OWL Investigations, the LGBT mystery series I am currently working on, has some still unrevealed links to Riverbrook?
The Challenges of Merging Worlds into a Shared Universe
Timelines are the worst! It’s hard to keep track of them through one series, but making sure the timelines of three different series line up? That’s insanity. So… I’m definitely going to do that!
The other challenge is the limited reader crossover. The witch and vampire series are marketed to the same audience. The werewolves? Slightly different.
Supernatural beings galore. Yeah, there will be a ton. The three races I am focusing on and many, many more… All of them with subdivisions. Keeping track of all of them will be a time-consuming project.
Why Merge Worlds? What Are the Benefits of Shared Universes?
Despite the slight difficulty in marketing, there are great benefits in cross-promoting books. I can tease the witch books to the vampire crowd and entice witch fans to try my vampire series. Plus, they might want to try the werewolves and discover the wonderful world of gay paranormal romance.
The second great thing? Once I figure out my world and my rules, I don’t have to rethink them for all the series. I just have them and apply them.
In my particular case, it does help that the existing series only dealt with one type of supernatural so far. So the rules are establish and they work well together. I don’t have to change werewolf rules from other books, because there have never been werewolves elsewhere.
Who Will Love This Idea the Most?
That’s an easy one. My superfans!
Wait, I don’t want to sound like I’m full of myself, but I know of a few people (I still have enough fingers to keep track of them) who read everything I write. And for those readers, seeing hints at other characters they already love will be an extra thing to enjoy.
Plus, it gives me a lot of room to play with interesting concepts like… what would happen if Shiki from Strength to Let Go would run into Anthony from Bad Blood? I mean… can you imagine?
Shiki vs Anthony