Friday, 23 August 2013

Guest Post - Kia Zi Shiru - Disturbed Connections Blog Tour - Series, Series, Series

Today, I am welcoming back, Kia Zi Shiru, author extraordinare, to my blog as part of her Disturbed Connections Blog Tour. So, without further ado, over to Kia!

Series, Series, Series

Sophie asked me to talk a bit about writing a series and how I plan them. For me it depends on the series but I’ll talk about both types since I tried both the “follow one (group of) character(s)” series and the “same world” series.

My first series, Black Sheep Trilogy, and my upcoming series, nameless still, are both of the first type. Other series like this are things like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. They follow a few characters and have both one large overarching story arch and multiple short ones. These series are story arches in story arches in story arches, namely the series, the books and the different parts of the books. They are quite straight forward to plot, though are harder to write out of order since a change in an earlier or later book can mean a whole rewrite of earlier stories.

For Black Sheep I had only planned that there would be three parts and even changed the ending of the last book to the ending of the second book. This change influenced the whole third book but it became a better story because of it. These series are often nice to sit down for and plan. You can explore a lot of it while you go.

For Otherkin Spirits I tried the other type. I use one world and place multiple stories within it while still keeping the stories connected. These are all stand alone stories and can be planned separately. I could write them out of order even though I’m not doing that. Stories don’t immediately connect on a basic level but they do on a broader level. For Otherkin Spirits I did this in 3 different ways: by time, by characters and by topics.

The time element of this series are the seasons. The first book, Disturbed Fate, is set in the winter. The second book, Disturbed Connections, is set in the autumn. The third and fourth book are set in the summer and spring respectively. Each story has settings that people associate with the season and some events that are seasonal, like Christmas and New Year’s in Disturbed Fate. Though the direction of the seasons is in reversed order, not for any gimmick but that it felt the right thing to do. This way each story takes place about 9 months after the last story, enough for relationships to develop stronger.

This comes to the second connection I make between the books, the characters. In all books characters from previous stories will show up. This both sets the books after another since the events of previous books will have already happened but at the same time it is a nice reference for people who have read the other books. In Disturbed Connections there are multiple scenes where some characters of Disturbed Fate are referenced, they are not major characters but at the same time they are part of some plot elements. For the story themselves it doesn’t matter much that these characters were in other books as they are treated like any side character in the new book. I’m having a lot of fun with putting this in the books.

The third one is topics, or better said, races. The first book has a narrator who is a seer and a psychic vampire, the second book has a psychic vampire and a werewolf and the third book has a seer and a werewolf, the fourth one has two sanguine vampires. But that doesn’t mean those races are the only ones in their own story. All those races show up in each story, growing the world and your understanding of everything a bit more in each book, but at the same time you don’t need the other stories to understand the books on their own. These races are all important to each plot and I love exploring what they mean for each book.

What the most fun was about this was both coming up with single story arches, things I could talk about in one book, and all sorts of characters. None of these characters are the same, they have different dynamics, different backgrounds and different lives. I can explore all these characters and I’m loving it. Each couple in the story has their own reason why I love them and finding scenes to show this is great.
I got this idea for the series while reading Daisy Harris’ Men of Holsum College which uses this same idea of having a different set of characters each book and also having characters show up in other books. Finding those gems was always my favourite thing about the books (apart from the great sex scenes that is) and I’m hoping people will also like it in my stories.

The main difference between writing and planning Black Sheep and Otherkin Spirits is that I don’t need large overarching plots for Otherkin Spirits. The stories are all stand alone. Each story is their own story so people can pick and choose the ones they do and don’t like to read. I like that about writing it, I’m not as stuck to a plot as I would be with a series with the same characters.

Writing both types of series is interesting. For one you use larger overarching plots and for the other you use the world where it is set in as a connection between the books. I personally love reading and writing both types of series.

About Kia Zi Shiru

Kia Zi Shiru is a Dutch girl who did her bachelor studying English and Creative Writing in the UK but has now returned to the Netherlands to do her masters. Amongst her interests she finds writing, reading, doing research and learning different languages (including but not limited to: English, Dutch, French, German, HTML, Java, PHP and Assembly). Her writing and reading habits include books with Young Adults, gay themes, strong female or minority characters and fantasy elements (more often than not all at the same time).

You can find Kia:
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Disturbed Connections

A werewolf and a vampire, forbidden love. What could go wrong?

CHRIS, a werewolf on the run from his abusive clan, hides in a vampire house. ALEC, a vampire who has comfortably lived in the house for years, has no intentions to ever leave it.

Their connection is obvious from the first time they meet. But the house rules are strict, werewolves and vampires can not date. Unable to fight their attraction and unwilling to leave, they instead choose to hide their love.

Then Chris’ old clan finds him and takes him back. Will Alec ever see Chris again?

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On impulse Chris unlocked his door, opened it a fraction and sat on his bed with a book. He hoped he could catch a glimpse of Alec without seeming too obvious. He started reading the book though he kept glancing up at the door. Anything to not seem too stalkerish, because that would be a bad first impression to make. He heard the door to the bathroom open and footsteps in the hallway. Travis had told him that after taking a shower they usually didn’t use the doors directly to their own rooms since it would fill up the rooms with steam—annoying maybe on other days, but lucky for Chris today.

He caught a glimpse of Alec as he walked through his line of sight. Then the footsteps stopped. Chris quickly looked at his book, acting as if he hadn’t opened the door on purpose.

He heard Alec come over to his door and knock on it.

“Hey, you settling in okay?” Alec’s voice was light, not as deep as he expected it, but it was melodic, happy even.

“Yeah, everything is fine.” As Chris answered, Alec pushed the door open and leaned against the frame. Chris swallowed as Alec dried his long black dreadlocks and stood there, all innocent and open, in just a towel. He seemed to be unaware of his staring and Chris got enough courage to look him up and down.

Alec looked even better than the last time he had seen him. Not too bulky, a slim frame with strongly defined muscles. His chest and arm muscles moved gracefully under his tanned skin as he dried his hair. The moving stopped and Chris looked up, catching the sly smile in Alec’s eyes.

“Very well, I see.” The guy grinned. “I’m Alec.”

“I’m Chris. You’re Travis’ sparring partner, right?” Chris acted like he didn’t know much about him, though he probably knew more about Alec than he himself did.

“Yeah. How do you know him? You don’t seem like the type he normally hangs out with.” Alec walked into the room a bit further, one towel now fastened around his huge bundle of dreadlocks and the other still around his well-defined hips.

“We went to the same school.” Huge understatement, but Chris knew that there were parts of himself that Travis would rather not talk about. His past before he awoke as a vampire was one of them.

“Cool. So what do you think about the rest of the house, have you met them yet?”

“They seem nice, especially Jasper.” Chris grinned.

Alec reflected that same grin. “Nice doesn’t really cut it with him, but he is okay. He’s a good guy under all that scary muscle.”

“Good to know.” Chris looked away from Alec, trying to keep himself under control and not pull the towel off of him.

“Hey, um, I’m getting dressed. Do you wanna go to the party downstairs after? They seem to be having a great time.” Alec turned around and Chris got a good look at his back before he found his voice.

“Yeah, sure. I’ll join you.”

“Great, I’ll be back in a bit then.” Alec shot him one last glance over his shoulder before he closed the door behind him.

Chris sighed. Damn, Alec was even sexier than he remembered. Chris didn’t get why Travis didn’t want him—Alec was way hotter than that Nick Travis was dating now.

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