GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Mayandree Michel, author of BETRAYAL

Today, Mayandree Michel has stopped by A Backwards Story to share how she came up with the world for her debut novel, BETRAYAL, the first in THE DESCENDANTS trilogy. She discusses world-building, one of the most important components of any good, compelling novel.

BETRAYAL can be purchased as an e-book (for 99¢, what a steal!) or a paperback from sites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Today’s blog tour stop also features an interview with BETRAYAL cover designer Samantha Oyola and a review of BETRAYAL for Mythological Mondays!

To find out more about Mayandree, please visit her blog or website featuring THE DESCENDANTS.

I wanted the fantasy world of the Ischeros, the descendants of the twelve Olympians, to come alive in the reader’s mind and be tangible and real. World building in fantasy is imperative because it allows a writer to bring a visual reality to the world contained in the novel.

My book is set is in the overlapping time periods of the western gold rush and the stylish and elegant Victorian era. In order to allow readers to experience the time and place I visualized, I studied the Victorian time period and how the standards of behavior influenced the culture and customs of people living in tiny western towns during the gold rush. Then I worked on the basics like climate and geography, and mapping out the fictitious town of Nickel City.

After the setting and premise is chosen, the actual world building gets trickier because detail is paramount. In creating the world of the Ischeros, I used what I knew of established Greek mythology as well as plenty of other folklore and myths to make their world magic-rich. This included each family of descendant’s individual powers. I had to make a decision about magic. How much is there? Who uses it? What are the rules governing it? How do the characters feel about it?

I set up all the rules and expectations for the Ischeros families, Apolluon shadows / vampires and mortals, which had to be consistent and coherent so that I wouldn’t confuse the reader. I was advised by a generous friend who is also a writer that all this had to be established before actually writing the story. Boy, am I glad I took her advice because once the rules were in place, it was still tricky keeping track of all the details at times. My memory is shot after having two kids, so I don’t trust myself to remember a thing. I kept a three subject spiral notebook close by along with organized notes tacked on a corkboard to stay consistent with the elements of the story.

Well executed world building adds a sense of depth to the writing and relevant details make the story tangible for the reader. Little things like the symbolic medallions worn by the Ischeros, the gods disguised as monuments, even the element of time travel, which unlocks limitless possibilities, enrich the story. Most fantasy writers will agree that world building is time consuming, but I enjoy creating magic that suspends the reader’s sense of disbelief while they are consumed with the story and elaborate cultures within historical settings. In my opinion, I think world building is one of the most fun aspects of fantasy writing.

Enter to win an autographed copy of BETRAYAL by Mayandree Michel! You do NOT have to be a follower to enter! :)

This contest will run until June 1, 2011.


  1. I think this cover is beautiful. Some aspects of the story sound compelling. I'm not a big historical fiction buff though, so I'm slightly scared off. However, .99cents sounds like an offer I can't refuse!

  2. This is a great post. It's something I struggle with when I write. I sorta rush into telling the story before gettimg all the facts together. I think the author is right about alot of things especially getting the details decided before the actual writing. I will keep this in mind. thx for the post!

  3. Oh wow, I am completely enamored with this cover! It's gorgeous!! The story and setting sound really fascinating, too - even if I don't win the giveaway, this one's going on the list.

  4. Very, very interesting to read about the establishing of rules and the notebooks. Frankly, I think that is very cool. If I were an author I would probably do the same thing.

    Rules within a story and maintaing said rules are very important to readers, to me. Yes, well excuted world building adds greatly to the story, and important.

    I think the whole Greek mythology aspect is very appealing. I am intrigued.

    Fantastic guest post; thanks.

    By the way, the cover is amazing.

  5. @Gina: Isn't it gorgeous? It's not historical in a way that will slam you over the head. That isn't the biggest focal point. Don't be scared. :)

    @Debrah: I know, world building is such an intrinsical part of writing! Sometimes, it takes me a while to write because I want to research and build my world first!

    @Marissa: Isn't this cover fabulous? And at a mere 99 cents, it's a steal!

    @ibeeeg: I think world-building is really important, too, especially in fantasy!

  6. Thank you for posting! Betrayal sounds so good! >_<
    Please enter me only if the contest is international.

    Thank you! :D

    Giada M.

  7. Wow, I don't think I could ever write a book and have to world build! So much goes into it!

    Thank you for such a great giveaway!

    Jennifer of Little Shelf

  8. enter me please if it's internationally..
    the book really sounds good..


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