Worldbuilding in the Sourdough Universe

Slatter-Jennings02So, today is the actual book day for Of Sorrow and Such in the US. I celebrated early, then while I was sleeping the book was born! Easiest. Birth. Ever.

Over at I talk about the building of the world in the Sourdough stories. Kathleen Jennings beta read the article for me, then turned in some illustrations just for fun coz she’s nice like that.

Amongst the sweetest phrases I’ve ever heard from my mother’s lips are “I love you,” “I’ve made lemon meringue pie” (those two meaning, essentially, the same thing), and “Once upon a time.” All three still fill me with roughly the same degree of happiness, but I don’t hear that last one anymore. It’s not for lack of trying; I do keep asking.

“Tell me a story?”

“You’re forty-eight years old.”

“And you’re seventy-one, so tell me a story before you forget how!”

So far no luck. Come to think of it, the lemon meringues have been a bit thin on the ground, too. Hmmm. Slatter-Jennings03

Nevertheless, the thrill of “Once upon a time” never leaves me, never dims. It’s the story addict’s equivalent of a ringing bell and the response is equally Pavlovian. I know, when I hear those words, that I will be transported. That the room or train carriage or café or bus in which I’m sitting is about to disappear; I will be elsewhere. It might be familiar, a beloved territory visited over and again, or a place unexpectedly remade and strange. It can be as static as my memory chooses or as mutable, sometimes with just small details tweaked or enlarged, a colour shaded from pale pink to blood red, with snow-white sequins or wings as black as ebony added in for good measure.

The once-upon-a-time world is one I’m (mostly) in charge of, so when I decided to write it should have been the easiest thing on the planet to do the worldbuilding, right?

Apparently not.

The rest is here.

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