It is our great pleasure to welcome author Carolyn Jewel to My Book Addiction and More, so sit back and join us.


MBA: What challenges does writing a magical story have?and how difficult are they to write?

Thanks for having me here and for asking such an interesting question!
I write both paranormal romance and historical romance so I think I have a pretty interesting perspective on stories that include magic since my historicals, so far, have not included magic. There are some surprising similarities, though.


The obvious challenge for books that contain magical elements is defining the magical world and the rules that operate — the world building. How do you keep your magic-using characters from becoming god-like people? If you could really do magic, would you ever bother to get out of bed? Couldn’t you just lie there and direct the world as you see fit? Suaron in his Mordor Castle was a scary villian, but in Tolkien’s series, Suaron wasn’t on the pages much except as that creepy eye looking to deal Frodo some hurt. I still wonder if Sauron ever got out of bed . . . A world of Saurons lounging about in their beds just isn’t very interesting. 

I can think of several novels that do a fantastic job setting up their world. Fantasy has, of course, been dealing with magical world building for a very long time and some of the best examples are found there. First and foremost for me, is Patrick Rothfuss’s brilliant Name of the Wind. Another is Brent Week’s new series that starts with the Black Prism. Within Romance, I think Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series is a really great example of rich world building that operates within a set of rules. Dark Hunters are affected by daylight, there are physical consequences when two Dark Hunters are in physical proximity. They gain these powers through the intervention of gods, and there is a well defined set of rules for how a Dark Hunter can regain his soul.

For me, the challenge of world building is complicated by the fact that I’m a total seat of the pants writer. I could spend months creating a world and rules and the like, and I can guarantee you that when I sit down to write, 99% of the advance work would go right out the window. I have to know what the characters do on the page.

I started the My Immortals series with the fairly vague idea that I would have a world where demons really existed and were in opposition with magic-using humans, and, further, that neither side was entirely right and good. As I wrote, I paid close attention to what powers I gave the characters and what effects they had, and did my best to make sure I wasn’t creating future problems or that any future problems would at least be interesting ones to have. For subsequent books, I have to make sure I’m not violating those rules. In some cases, that means changing an event because, alas, the established rules meant that couldn’t happen.

As to difficulty, I have to say that for me, all writing is challenging. Whether it’s historical romance or a paranormal, every story needs an internal consistency for the world and the characters acting in that world. I work really hard to make that happen.