Today I am so pleased to welcome Ally Blue to Joyfully Jay. Ally has come to talk to us about her latest release, No Small Parts. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Ally a big welcome!
Writing in a Shared World
I expect a lot of you reading today are already followers of the Bluewater Bay series. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Bluewater Bay isn’t actually a series in the traditional sense; it’s really a shared universe. Each author who contributes a book sets it either in the fictional town of Bluewater Bay, Washington, or on the set of the fictional TV series Wolf’s Landing. Usually both, since the town and the show are intimately entwined. Each book can be read as a standalone, and you can read the books in any order you want, but they’re also connected by a common location and some common characters.
This is the second time I’ve written something set in a shared world. The first time was a short story—or episode, as they were called—for the very tongue-in-cheek Boxer Falls: A Gaytime Drama. It was challenging, and a lot of fun. Bluewater Bay turned out to be a whole other level of both: much more challenging than I expected, and even more fun than I’d thought it would be.
With the setting being a shared universe, I knew I’d be working with an established locale and some established characters. I looked forward to that. It was fun working in some of the recurring characters—such as Anna Maxwell, the director and co-producer of Wolf’s Landing. I like her. She’s cool. Weaving in the places other authors had already set up was awesome. My fellow Bluewater Bay authors had already created a living, breathing town. I felt—still feel—quite lucky that I was invited to play in it. Call me weird, but every time one of my guys talked to another author’s character, or went into a business another author had dreamed up, I felt a little thrill. For me, there’s just something wonderfully satisfying about tying my own story to someone else’s in that way.
Of course, the things that made writing No Small Parts extra fun also made it more difficult than a book set only in my own world would’ve been. When I used an established character in any way—whether that character spoke, walked by, or was simply mentioned by someone else—I had to make sure my facts about that person were correct. If they spoke, they needed to “sound” right. Their personality needed to be right. I found out the hard way that I needed to be extra careful about what characters do and do not want to be called (example: don’t shorten someone’s name before you make sure that character’s okay with that). I also spent a lot of time studying the street map of the town and the surrounding area. Every time one of my characters needed to go someplace, I had to make sure that stroll down the street was even possible.
With so many details large and small to consider, I’m so grateful both to Chris, the Keeper of the Bible (who makes sure everything stays up to date), and to the best team of editors anywhere. They caught the things I’d let slip and made sure I fixed them. Like me inventing a hospital when others had already established that the closest hospital was in Port Angeles, the nearest large town to Bluewater Bay. I’m here to tell you, these folks are what keeps this series running so smoothly. None of us could write a single story in this universe without our dedicated team making certain every detail matched the world as it’s been laid out thus far. I’m deeply grateful for every single person who laid eyes on my book and made sure I didn’t do anything stupid. Y’all are seriously the most awesome people in the world. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
One thing I really enjoyed about joining Bluewater Bay was introducing a new secondary character who might later become the star of her own book. Solari Praveen plays a large role in No Small Parts as a secondary character with a subplot of her own. I think she’s an amazing woman, and I’m hoping one of my fellow authors will see fit to write her Happy Ever After in a future book. Are y’all listening, Bluewater Bay crew? You ready to give my girl the happy ending she deserves? Yeah, I know you are. I have faith in you.
So, yeah. Basically, creating a story in a shared universe was as difficult as you might expect, and even more rewarding. I hope you’ll all check out not only No Small Parts, but all of the Bluewater Bay books. I’ve read a bunch of them, and I’ve loved every one. I know you’ll be glad you tried them.
Thank you for reading, and for being a part of our world. Don’t forget to comment below for a chance to win your choice of a book from my backlist. Happy Holidays, everyone!
Nat Horn is almost living the dream. His part as a werewolf extra on the hit show Wolf’s Landing has somehow turned into a regular role. Beautiful rising star Solari Praveen has taken an interest in him. He’s even making enough money to think about getting out of Bluewater Bay someday. Except his retired dad’s dependence on pain medications seems to be getting worse, and Nat’s the only one around to take care of him.
When Nat learns that Solari’s interest isn’t romantic, his disappointment is surprisingly short-lived, because in getting to know her, he also got to know her assistant, Rafael. And Rafael turns out to be the kind of friend—and potential boyfriend—Nat never dared to dream about.
Distracted by his astonishing new life, new friends, and new possibilities, Nat lets his guard down, and suddenly his life goes careening out of control. Racked by guilt, he tries to push his new friends away, but the bonds he’s formed are already too strong. In fact, they’re strong enough to pull him forward, into the future he’s been longing for—but to get there, he’ll have to let go of the past.
Ally Blue is acknowledged by the world at large (or at least by her heroes, who tend to suffer a lot) as the Popess of Gay Angst.
She has a great big suggestively-shaped hat and rides in a bullet-proof Plexiglas bubble in Christmas parades. Her harem of manwhores does double duty as bodyguards and inspirational entertainment. Her favorite band is Radiohead, her favorite color is lime green and her favorite way to waste a perfectly good Saturday is to watch all three extended version LOTR movies in a row.
Her ultimate dream is to one day ditch the evil day job and support the family on manlove alone. She is not a hippie or a brain surgeon, no matter what her kids’ friends say.
Connect with Ally:
• Twitter: @PopessAllyBlue
• Tumblr: therealallyblue.tumblr.com
• Facebook fan page: facebook.com/pages/Ally-Blue/98548113963
• Facebook profile page: facebook.com/AllyBlue.author
• Group blog: fictionwithfriction.com
• Goodreads: goodreads.com/PopessAllyBlue
To celebrate the release of No Small Parts, one lucky winner will receive an ebook from Ally’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 24, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
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