Friday, February 19, 2010

Guest Blog: Author David Niall Wilson


Just when I thought I was going to have to do something boring for my guest-blogging spot, along came Amanda's review of Vintage Soul, and I knew what I'd write. That's two gifts she's given me today – the review, and an idea.

One of the things that Amanda mentions is world building. This is something that authors handle in very different ways, and to very different degrees, so I thought I'd write a little about my own methods, and at the same time fill in a little more information on Donovan DeChance, and the city of San Valencez, California.

One school of thought on world building is that you should cram a lot about your world, like all the rules and the major players, into the first few chapters of each book so people are "up to date" and can comfortably drop back into your particular universe. I understand the logic behind this, but at the same time, it has a formulaic feel that itches at my nerves. I just can't do it.

What I have tried to do in Vintage Soul is to drop bits and pieces of information into place, hints of a bigger "whole" without providing an information overload that slows the pace of the actual story. While the DeChance Chronicles will be a series, I want each book to stand alone, and above all – this being my shot at showing how I would write the sort of fiction I created for White Wolf publishing without the constraints of their "rules" – I don't want to bog readers down with back story. I want it to come out gradually over time.

I do intend to write the book that reveals more of Donovan's past. I suspect that one is about four or five on the list. The third book, unless something changes my mind, will be titled "Kali's Tale," and will follow the quest of one of the young vampires in Vintage Soul as she track's her "maker," with Donovan and Amethyst's assistance and guidance.

Donovan has been alive a very long time. I hint at this in both of the first two books without nailing down times and places. I believe, though, that he has always lived in America, and that limits me somewhat, since he's not a Native American. His roots are in the old west, and the times just before California became "Gold Country." He began as an apprentice, and it was the act of shaking off that apprenticeship that set him on his own quest – to gather the magical text and knowledge of the world, categorize it, organize it, collect it – and above all – protect it. Donovan DeChance helps to guard the "balance" of powers in the world. He's one of the good guys on an epic scale, though he often finds himself entangled in much more personal squabbles.

To keep myself from wandering too much, and to be certain that I provide continuity between novels, I convinced one of my fans to help me start putting together a sort of "series bible" for these books. In it we record the characters, the settings, the amulets and charms and rules, and anything else of relevance that will help me build a recognizable, familiar, and comfortable world for a long-term fan base. I think we're on the right track.

It's interesting to note that San Valencez, California, as well as Lavender and Friendly California, Random Illinois, and Old Mill, NC are all cities I've created over decades of writing. I have several novels set in San Valencez, as well as two other series. It's a place that attracts the strange and the magical. My upcoming novel Maelstrom takes place in Lavender, just outside San Valencez, and involves the Shady Grove Cemetery, which also appears in Vintage Soul.

Over the years, all of my works have begun to wind in toward a shared center. I like the way that feels, and I hope that some of you will buy my books, follow along, and make yourselves at home in my world.

You can find me daily at

On Twitter at :

And on Facebook at:

I have my own digital publishing company, where many of my novels (including the vampire cult classic "This is My Blood," and the first in one of the other urban fantasy series set in San Valencez, "Deep Blue," can be found in digital format, as well as a lot of my other work).

Macabre Ink Digital Publishing :

Review copies can be sent on request of the e-books in whatever format you prefer…I'm always available for interviews and guest blogs, or to discuss my work.

Thanks for your time



Amanda Leigh said...

Thank you so much for your guest post today!
I understand what you mean about world building. It can get tiring when a lot of books all try to just give back story and world building for the first few chapters. I like that you're making me wait to learn more. Also, thank you for the info on Donovan's background. Oh, and I can't wait for Kali's story! I think it'll be great!

David Niall Wilson said...

I think Kali was one of the best characters that didn't get a big part in the book. Vein is a bit too...arrogant? (lol)

You'll hear more about all of them, but in Heart of a Dragon, the next volume, it's all voodoo and dragons - though there is a quick drive-through werewolf section...


Amanda Leigh said...

Yes, Kali is fantastic, well what we got to see of her so far. I was hoping we would get to find out more about her especially. And arrogant is definitely the first word that comes to my mind when thinking of Vein.

Hearth of a Dragon sounds interesting as well. I love the different ways voodoo can be used in stories. Drive-through werewolf? Interesting.