It is with great pleasure that Janelle Stalder is back on my blog with more on her Eden series, one of my all time favorite series!! She’s talking about Creating Eden today. (For more on the Eden series read my review of Eden, review of Eden-West and get to know Janelle.) Makes sure to leave a comment and you could win a copy of Eden, the first in the series! Make sure to leave your email addy. I will choose a winner on FRIDAY, SEPT. 21, 2012 using random.org *
Creating a whole other world is actually something I’ve come to do easily. I think this has to do with my overactive imagination growing up. When I was little, I was constantly creating new worlds in my head. It was just a matter of writing it all down when I began the Eden Series. The only difficult thing I found was making a map. In the second installment of the series, you’ll see a map of Eden at the beginning of the book. When I sat down to start mapping out the world of Eden, I realized seeing something in my head it completely different than actually translating it visually onto paper. I think I went through a whole tree’s worth of paper before I achieved the general idea for the map. It looked like a four year old had drawn it (not exaggerating) but it was still roughly what it needed to be. Thankfully the very talented Damon Adachi of Sevenfold Marketing (and my big brother :)) made it into what it is today (see below). It is pretty amazing considering what he had to work with.
When I first started imagining this new world, I started with a more European mental picture. Each section of Eden kind of represents different areas or people of Europe in my mind, except the east. I wanted each place to not only differ in the look and feel of each city, but also of the people that reside there. The cultures and customs in all the different parts needed to stand out and interest the reader. I want people to wish they could be there and experience what the characters experience when they’re in the different cities.
The north was modelled after Germanic people. In my mind they are more of a barbaric class of people in their style of dress and culture. They live in the mountains, so I always think of lots of fur, and very sort of rough people. Similar to the way Brutus is described, they have thick beards and long hair, and are bulky in stature. The culture is more subdued in the sense that they live in harsh climates, so they’re not out in the streets partying like other areas of Eden. They gather in one dwelling with huge fires to conserve heat, and celebrate with huge feasts and lots of ale.
The Riders in the west were modelled more from a Celtic, Irish/Scottish sort of idea. I picture the land being vast areas of green fields and hills. They live in stone cottages with large gardens. They have large outdoor feasts, and dance to jigs. The lifestyle is definitely more laidback than any of the other areas in Eden. Their neighbours are the Forest People, who can only be compared to the Faerie. They don’t have wings or anything like that, but they aren’t quite human, and have a magic quality to them.
The south and the Sun People in the city Nysa always had a Mediterranean feel to me. Since the beginning I pictured Italian or Spanish type people. Olive skinned and dark haired. In the south the air is always warm, and the sun shines bright. It is a city of peace and love. They don’t focus on militaries or war; they focus on throwing large balls and festivals, and enjoying life. In my mind, the perfect vacation spot!
The east was modelled after a more Arab culture. I haven’t travelled to this area yet with my readers, so it is pretty new to both of us. Since I haven’t written about it, there are details in my mind that haven’t been made up yet. I think this area of Eden is going to be something that needs to be discovered by all of us when I write book four. What I know up to this point is they are expert swordsmen. They have a deep knowledge of magic and potions. This also gives them a gift for medicinal advances that the other areas do not have.
Central Eden, where the Capital and the High King dwell, is the main focus of the books and was modelled around the English. Because it is located in the center of the lands, it is influenced by all of the surrounding areas. It has the high walls, and stone buildings like the north. It is surrounded by the large fields, and forests. The people who live outside the walls are similar to those in the west. They are farmers who have smaller stone cottages, and large pieces of land. They have festivals for each season out in the streets like the south. And they are spiritual in their love for the Goddess and God that they worship in their temples, and perfect their weaponry in the infamous King’s army like the people in the east. All of the main business that happens in Eden mostly takes place in the Capital. Travelling traders and merchants from all four points of the land meet in the Capital to do the majority of their transactions. It is the “big city” in all of Eden, which is why it has the biggest population, and the biggest army. It is also why the leader is called the High King, and why his decisions impact the rest of the land. The leaders in all the other cities look up to him, and for the most part follow his lead.
When building a world, it is important to think of all the aspects from the people to the land, the buildings, the climate, the clothing, the culture, the religion, etc. In my case I had to think of each of those times five, since each place is different. It is a lot of detail, but those details are what makes the world really take shape, and becomes believable in the reader’s mind. If I can create a clear image and idea of an entire world that is brand new then I’ve done my job!
I hope everyone enjoys experiencing Eden as much as I do creating it. I can’t wait to share the next two books in the series with all my readers. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey so far! There is a lot more to come :)
CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
Facebook: Janelle Stalder
I am not liable for sending the copy of Eden.*