We’ve got a special treat today – a guest post from fellow author Amie Gibbons. Paxton fans, I think her stuff is right up your alley.
Take it away, Amie!
I’m Amie Gibbons, attorney by day, author by night. I’m mostly known for my Psychic paranormal mystery series, which is on the lighter side and has a lot of girly romance stuff, but I took a hard right recently into the world of paranormal horror.
Not girly. Not romantic.
And strangely fun to write.
Creeping yourself out is fun! Especially when you know it’ll creep out others. 😊
I have a few different series, all in their own magical worlds with their own magical rules, but my worlds are all loosely connected.
Okay, okay, don’t bail on me. I’m not a ‘I got the idea of a multi-verse from Marvel’ writer… I say that because I was writing about alternate realities before it was cool. Oh great, now I sound like a Hipster.
I started writing in 2006 in college. (Please don’t do the math on my age right now; I’m hitting a milestone I am not happy about next month.) I’ve been obsessed with the idea of alternate realities since I was a kid watching Sliders. (Again, I’m dating myself.) My mom is a huge sci fi geek, so I grew up watching Sliders, Star Gate, First Wave, Quantum Leap, Farscape, and even some of the Star Treks, though those were when I was a little younger and mostly uninterested. Mom also loved X-Files, but I was too young to watch those with her without nightmares. I really should watch those now; I bet they hold up.
The concept of alternate realities captured my imagination. The idea that everything exists somewhere, that whatever you imagine, and beyond, exists somewhere. So when I sat down, said, “I think I’ll write a book today,” (yes, that’s basically what happened) I wrote about reality traveling witches.
That’s the Sphinx series. It still hasn’t seen the light of day because those were my first books. And first books are like the first of anything: pancakes, paintings, sex, etc. They’re a throwaway. BUT, there’s a lot of good ideas in the bad writing that I am still planning on scrapping for parts.
Right now, I have the ‘Evie Jones Urban Fantasy Mystery’ shorts, the Ariana Ryder ‘SDF Paranormal Mysteries,’ ‘The Laws of Magic,’ and ‘The Scorpions Demonic Thrillers.’ The ‘Order of the Sphinx’ books will be out when I can rewrite them, but the point is, the main characters there tie all my series together because they can literally go to those different realities.
When I started writing, I wasn’t even planning on linking my worlds. It just kind of happened. I thought the witches could be part of the backstory of one of my SDF characters, so they were in a flashback, and it went from there.
I have references to the reality jumping witches in Evie Jones, there’s a huge connection to them in the Ariana Ryder SDF series (that I have to wait to unveil until I get the first few Sphinx books out, which is why I have to get on that), they tie into The Laws of Magic series in a backstory, and will tie into The Scorpions series in the future.
The beauty of writing different realities is you can try out different magical rules. My SDF series is very psychics, witches, vampires, and magic heavy. My Scorpions series is much more grounded in our reality. Magic is slight, some of it is faith based, and demons are based in Christian beliefs, where they are fallen angels, whose goals are to corrupt humanity, one soul at a time, to spit in the face of God.
Very different types of books for me. Different reality rules, different tones, different genres. But just because things are different, doesn’t mean they can’t compliment each other. A lot of writers think you can’t write fluffy, paranormal romance mysteries, and then chilling demonic thrillers (at least without branding them under separate pen names), and they may be correct. I’m having a hard time launching Scorpions because my fan base is mostly paranormal mystery romance readers, but I like it. I like being able to explore what’s possible in those different types of worlds, and still have them be able to connect in a realistic (as in, not breaking the rules of the reality) kind of way.
A general rule with world building is you want the rules to be internally consistent. So if a magical shield works a certain way in Book 2, then it should work that way in Book 10. A way to account for mistakes, because they happen, they just do, is to have an “unreliable narrator.” This is where the book is in first person, or close third person. Where basically everything the audience knows about the world is through the eyes of the characters. So if a shield works differently later on, it’s because the character learned something new.
When the books are based in different realities, they can have different rules. Rules of magic, physics, biology, laws, all of it. But you have to keep them consistent in that world, because some of us see those differences, especially when it’s a favorite series we read over and over again, and it bugs us. It wrecks the suspension of disbelief.
The first in my Scorpions Thrillers series just came out. It’s set in normal, everyday Chattanooga, Tennessee. The main character is a broken-hearted, depressed woman back with her parents after her life and post college plans fall apart. She has to deal with an ex from high school, and has a crush on a new friend. Sounds like the beginning of a romantic comedy, right? It could’ve been.
But I’m kinda twisted.
Oh come on, what writer isn’t?
I made it into a paranormal horror thriller about a depressed woman seeing things and brushing them off as her regrets and depression getting to her… until she can’t deny what she’s seeing. In this world, demons exist like they do in the Catholic faith, they’re fallen angels with a grudge and way more power than anything human. I got the idea for the series from a friend of mine who is a devout Catholic. I also was getting back into horror movies, so I watched all the movies in The Conjuring universe, which are based on real demonologists, The Warrens.
And thus, the Scorpions reality was born. It’s like our world, with the Catholic faith being basically correct, but more magic to the world than is usually depicted in the Catholic faith. The magic available to humans is very limited, but it can be harnessed, and some power is based in faith.
I could’ve written it as a paranormal mystery that was lighter with essentially the same plot, but a completely different tone. That’s what my Psychic series is. What could’ve been something cute like, “If you love spunky heroines fighting from within, plunge into this heartwarming and thrilling paranormal suspense from bestselling author Amie Gibbons…
From dead love, magic sparks, and the battle between good and evil is determined by the human heart.” becomes something more like this:
“If you love chilling, demonic horror that’ll keep you up at night, and stories of the ultimate battle between good and evil for humanity’s soul, then plunge into this pulse pounding, paranormal thriller series from bestselling author Amie Gibbons.
Since The Fall, demons have walked the Earth. Most people these days don’t believe. But as the world grows darker, what they don’t know will hurt them.
Sarah Blakely’s back home in Chattanooga after her life falls apart. With no plan, no direction, and no hope, she could use something to believe in. Especially after her depressed mind starts playing tricks on her.
She’s seeing and hearing things that aren’t there, that can’t be there, because the supernatural isn’t real…
Sarah’s either losing her mind, or there are more things in Hell and Earth than are dreamt of in her philosophy, and they’re using her depression to break her. She’s not sure which would be worse… but she’s about to find out.”
The first one isn’t a full blurb, because they are such a pain in the ass to write, but you get the idea. They are very different types of stories.
You can have different series in the same reality, that focus on different things, are in different genres, and have different tones. They should be different series though, because books being in different genres throughout one series could confuse and piss off readers. (Then again, who knows, anything is possible. One of you try that, and let me know what you come up with. 😊 ) And you can have different realities with different rules in the same genres if you want. I know a lot of authors in the paranormal romance arena who do that. I think the first is more fun. I wanted different magical rules for mine, so they had to be in different realities, but the general concept of having them be connected and sometimes making cameos in others’ stories is the same.
So, in conclusion, buy my book if you like paranormal horror thrillers a la The Conjuring. 😊
I’m not completely joking, but the big takeaway from this is when you’re writing, you want to keep the rules of your world consistent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play around with them.
If you do like paranormal horror thrillers, you should check out ‘Scorpions of the Deep,’ because I think you’ll enjoy it. If you don’t like horror books with scenes straight out of a very imaginative mind’s nightmares, don’t get it. No, trust me, I creeped myself out writing it, and there are a few scenes I wrote straight from my nightmares.
The next two books in the series are coming soon. ‘Scorpions of the Air,’ in July, and ‘Scorpions of the Earth,’ in August, and I’m working on number four.
If you like lighter, more fun paranormal romance mysteries, check out my Psychic series. Vampire romance, psychic FBI agent, and a sassy flying carpet sidekick.
And, as always, reviews or ratings help readers find books they’ll like, so they’re always appreciated.