Today Alex Keller, author of Haywired, shares a few thoughts with us..
One of the most fun things about writing Haywired was the opportunity to create an entirely new world for me to write about.
When I was young, I loved drawing maps. They weren’t of anywhere I knew, but of entirely made up places. They were islands usually, where any potential explorer would have been only able to walk a few feet or so before they’d come face-to-face with some life-ending peril or other. I think this may be where I began my interest in fantastical worlds.
As I got older, I tending to veer towards stories that took place in completely new worlds. I loved looking at the maps meticulously drawn in the first pages of whatever book I was reading and trying to work out where the adventurer was going and where they had been. They let my imagination wander outside of the story too, and I could wonder about who or what lived in the dark corners of each world; in their forests, mountains and seas, even when the author hadn’t written about them.
When I finally got round to writing my own story, I had to set it in an entirely new world. I couldn’t resist!
The world of Haywired is not too different from our own. Pallenway, the country where Ludwig and his father live, is very much like England perhaps in the 18th or 19th Century (although I imagine it to be warmer). The world is not as technologically advanced as own (besides the HELOTS of course), but still has ships with engines, trains, and pistols. The world is strange, but also recognisable so anyone who reads it shouldn’t feel too lost.
After I had the world, I had to bring it to life some more. Another part of the fun that can be had with world-building is the history you can create. History is quite important to Haywired; old grudges and family histories especially, and it’s so enjoyable to not only think of the world as it is while the story is being told, but how it came to be that way too. This also helps were creating characters. One thing that caused me to take a long time writing Haywired was the desire to create the entire personal histories for each character, and if my editor let me, I could have quite happily written a book that’s 200,000 words and had of these histories in it!
Anyway, before I ramble on, I’ll leave you with this. For any budding fantasy writer looking for inspiration, I recommend taking a pencil and piece of paper and drawing a world of your very own. Work out what’s in it and why, and who would live there, and you’ll find the stories come flooding out!
Thanks, Alex. Haywired is out in September, and we’ll be bringing you our review of it soon.