Thursday, February 2, 2012


I'm excited to have Maureen O. Betita as my special guest at Kathleen's Place to Reflect.  She is my friend and fellow Decadent Publishing author. Her third book in The Kraken's Caribbean,The Pirate Circus, will be released Friday Feb. 4.  I'm giving her the floor today to talk about World Building. Her ability to write books with characters who live in places we could only dream of, continues to fascinate me. 

Welcome, Maureen!

How to Build a World

I love to build worlds. I can’t say I’m an expert at it, but I love to play the great creator and dally with this or that. I’m not big on rules but since the majority of my world building starts in a dream, I tend to let the rules settle in as I meander.

For example, the world of the Kraken’s Caribbean, is partly the result of chatting at a blog I’m part of, The Romance Writers Revenge and partly came from my back to back to back to back reading of every Nightside novel by Simon R. Green. That is a man who knows how to spin a tale and create convoluted worlds that dance on the head of a pin - or pen, if you would.

The Revenge blog models itself as the writer’s version of Pirates of the Caribbean and the crew are all writers. After numerous discussions regarding historical accuracy in writing, flying by the seat of your pants, a list of why I shouldn’t do this or that and can’t do something else…I had to fire back. And sat down to write a story set in a Caribbean with a different set of rules, totally turning my back on historical accuracy of any sort.

Blending in the total everything and the kitchen sink, shower, tub and outdoor faucets technique from Nightside I came up with the Kraken’s Caribbean. He’s in charge, he’s the guardian…he may not be a he, I haven’t decided yet…

That’s pretty much the way I world build. I set rules as I go, almost nothing beforehand. I don’t like to limit my imagination.  I did come up with a few fairly iron-clad rules. Inhabitants born to the Kraken’s Caribbean can’t travel to other worlds or times. Though technology can travel through the portals, weapons of mass destruction can’t. (No machine guns, ray guns, explosives – though I do make one exception eventually.)

So, how did I build this world? Flying blind and wielding a determination to have fun. I gave the world portals because I love tossing modern terminology and concepts into the past, which I have fun with in The Kraken’s Mirror. I needed a reason for the technology to work so I answer all of that in the second book, The Chameleon Goggles. I needed a rational for why the place hadn’t been overrun by machine gun hauling travelers, or space aliens with ray guns…so I made the Kraken the guardian of the portals and of the Caribbean in general and he says no advanced weapons. He/she is also a romantic.

I also wanted to acknowledge that the world isn’t defined by Tortuga standards, so in The Pirate Circus, available on February 3rd, the main conflict is more one of preconceptions of Old World vs. New World. Not a lot of otherworld stuff in the third book! But plenty of adventure, an evil circus ringleader and a few younger characters who can’t seem to stay out of trouble! (No, this is not YA!)

This is the norm. I decide what I want to include and then establish the rules as I go. Or decide to have no rules.

The Kraken’s Caribbean, where anything can happen. And usually does!

I’m Maureen O. Betita and I write adventure for the experienced individual. Seasoning everything I write with life and pushing it to the edge. I can be contacted through my website,, where you can sign up for my newsletter. I also blog regularly at www.romancewritersrevenge as 2nd Chance and I’m often at A Daily Dose of Decadence Come find me on Facebook as Maureen O. Betita Author or on Twitter.

Questions, anyone? Come on! Post a question, or an observation…include your e-mail and I’ll chose one comment to receive a copy of The Pirate Circus!


VampedChik said...

How have I not read these books yet!!!! I LOVE your concept. And you totally caught me with the title cause come on who doesn't love pirates and the circus. LOL Thanks for sharing! All are definitely going on my wishlist!

Liz said...

I do get the world building thing---its just that my worlds are ones utterly familiar to me, but more or less completely unfamiliar to many: Breweries, and their inherent stresses, brewers as "artists", AND I'm working on a series of soccer-based "world building". Maureen you do a FANTASTIC job in your series. keep up the great work.

Maureen said...

Morning, VampChick! I do tend to fly by the seat of my pants with building my worlds... I know nothing about the circus, which left me free to invent!

Liz! I have relatives who are real beer aficianados and I bet it's more complex than any of us realize. My hero in Circus is a brewer/distiller. But I didn't even try to chat about what he does. He just does it!

marybelle said...

I always appreciate the worlds that are created with such care & attention to detail.


Maureen said...

Me, too, Marybelle. I always find an intricate world so much fun to play in!

Jennifer Probst said...

Absolutely fascinating! I love reading about how writers spin their worlds for readers - and yours sounds wonderful! Big congrats on the release!

Maureen said...

Thank you, Jennifer! I always enjoy hearing how we all do it differently!

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