My gracious host, Scott Sandridge, has requested that I talk about the worldbuilding I did when writing Blue Spirit: A Tipsy Fairy Tale. My first reaction was, “but the world was built for me already, I used Indianapolis as a base!” But when I thought about it awhile, I realized that the world of Blue Spirit is more than the modern time period and urban setting. My “urban fantasy” setting is different than, say, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, or Red Tash’s Trollogy.
Since we’re talking worldbuilding, we need to consider what makes my world different. First of all, my main character Skye spans two worlds, and is aware of yet another world. Her “origin story” is as a side character, mostly comic relief, in Sinking Down, the second book in my Road Ghosts Trilogy. In that book, she’s possessed by a demon, and though she “got better”, the healing process left a bit of her soul on its own, separate but linked. Though the demon came from the Shadow world, the twilight realm between ours and the afterlife, Skye’s detached bit of soul has its own properties; it is a spirit being named Minnie, and it resides in what we’d call Faerie.
The Fairy world, like the Shadow world, is overlayed over our own, and meets it more directly in some places, but maps quite differently at times. In one place it might stretch out into a small pocket universe, while over there a single step could carry you great distances in our world. Because of her connection with Minnie, Skye sees into this other world, and often sees the true form of people and creatures that seem ordinary to everyone else.
Because of the crossover with the Fairy realm, there are special, magical places in our world that are enhanced. For example, Holliday Park is a city park with a hilly wooded area riddled with trails, creeks and ponds, and also an enormous group of sculptures and columns made to look like a ruins. In Blue Spirit, these are more than they seem to be. The image of ruins is just a fairy glamour, which hides a wicked Queen’s castle and dungeon. Where several trails meet at a circle of stones is a portal to strange otherworldly places. Unseen by mortals, frogman guards patrol the trails for their Queen.
People aren’t really part of worldbuilding, but creatures and entities impossible in the Indianapolis I live in populate Skye’s worlds. The city’s bus system is ruled by the whimsical yet powerful Transit King, who grants magical favors in exchange for the promise of collecting favors in return at a later date. In his brewpub downtown, Greg Heath concocts alcoholic potions in the form of “special” beers which can enhance Skye’s powers. Homeless teens aren’t what they seem, having been enchanted into half-wolf beings, drafted into the Queen of the Hunt’s pack.
So, from a simple premise of worlds that intersect our own, Indianapolis is transformed from an everyday city into a more mysterious, magical place; fertile ground for Skye’s fantastic adventures to grow.