Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of Novel: Maps!

Maps of the Novel World, Margen Duchy, and Ruezdad Castle

To share my excitement of “Don’t Marry the Cursed” coming out, I thought I’d share a little sneak peek to the world of Novel.

Remember when I shared my very first–very rough–map of Novel in my post of Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 1? I also said that a more official version would be available in “Don’t Marry the Cursed.”

As a visual person, I need to see something before I can describe it. I created my official map of Novel originally by using an online map creator. Over the years I changed bits and pieces of it to make it more specific and personalized.

So…HERE IT IS! I found a cool little feature that lets you slide a bar sideways to reveal the Easter eggs that I included.

(I tried to make this mobile-friendly, but the slider visualization is better on a tablet or computer)

Hmm, that red font is smaller than I expected, so in case you can’t read it, here is:

Azkaban in the top of Horror (it’s a long way from Hogwarts)
A lake shaped like a question mark in Mystery
Lincoln Island (AKA: Jules’ Vern’s Mysterious Island) just off the coast of Mystery
A mirrored version of Middle Earth to represent Middle Novel
Jurassic Park Islands off the coast of Sci-Fi
A glass slipper-shaped lake in Faenor, Fairy
Atlantis off the coast of Urban Fantasy
Heartbeat River in Romance
Islands of Berk (from How to Train Your Dragon) off the top tip of Children’s
Treasure Island off the top left coast of Children’s
Neverland off the top right coast of Children’s
Coastline of Narnia on the right of Children’s
Tom Sawyer’s Island in the middle of the river down Children’s
Lakes of a dog face in Children’s
A Cat Face River in Children’s
A Bunny Bay in the bottom of Children’s
A Horse Head Peninsula on the bottom end of Western

When adding all of these little extras, I finished…then forgot to save. So I actually had to make all of those twice.

That map will be included in the front pages of “Don’t Marry the Cursed.” I created a couple other maps when writing the sequel to help me organize Theo’s homeland a bit more in my head.

Theo’s father is Duke Konrad Fromm of Margen, which includes the cities of Aven, Divinity, Eimad, and Vluz (Eimad is the capital). Theo’s aunt is Queen Alovera of Fairy, and her three children oversee the Faenor Duchy.
Don’t worry, I explain this all again with reminders through “Don’t Marry the Cursed,” and you won’t be quizzed about the information. (Pansy will be).

As a fun side-note, Margen is the location for all Grimm’s fairytales, so here are the German translations:
Marchen = Fairy Tale
Heimat = home, homeland, native country
Hafen = port, harbor, marina
Fluss = river
I created a couple different languages with different alphabets for a separate YA high fantasy novel that I’ll probably never publish, but I used the “language of magic” here. It has 16 letters, put together to create the Walvibrendyomugz. Yes, it has a written form too. Yes, I spent way too much time worldbuilding.
But, using that specific alphabet, Marchen became Margen, Heimat became Eimad, Hafen became Aven, and Fluss became Vluz.

Divinity is named after the northern Divining Mountain Range…which was originally named “Dividing Mountain Range,” but after years of bad handwriting (and the people didn’t mind the misspelling), Divide became Divine.

Faenor is Welsh for “manor,” then I also liked the play on “fae” (a common name for fairy creatures).

Theo grew up in a castle in the middle of Eimad city (the capital of Margen). That castle is named Ruezdad (Ruhestatte is German for Resting Place). As an avid The Sims 3 player, I created Ruezdad multiple times with various layouts.

First version of Ruezdad. Yes, I made this wall by wall. Yes, I spent way too much time on it only to take it all down and replace it.
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Edinburgh, Scotland. Such a neat city. I visited for the Tattoo Festival (drums, not ink), and there were more people in kilts and costume than regular clothes.

I only created the main keep in The Sims, but the fortress-turned-palace also includes housing for servants, guards, stables, a royal chapel, and a wine and bake house. The whole of it sits on a rising cliff in the middle of Eimad city, like Edinburgh Castle.

I based the interior with Hanover Court in mind. Hanover Court is the home of the Tudors of England (King Henry VIII and Queens Mary and Elizabeth I). I love that place. It’s one of the few places in England that I’ve visited twice.

After my second visit, I rebuilt Ruezdad with the East and West wings going diagonal to include more grassy courtyards.

The Sims 3 lets you build 5 floors high, so I had fun with that. The front entry way reaches 4 floors, then there’s an outlook tower on top of that. The library, lobby, presence chamber have loft ceilings of two floors, and both courtyards are open to the sky. (The Sims doesn’t naturally let you plant trees in the middle of walls, so I had to build that carefully).

For a simpler blueprint, I also created it in paint.

Again, you can use the slider to see the majority of the labeled rooms.

The front (southern) rooms are part of the Main Keep, and the first two floors are public. It includes the Main Entry, lobby/waiting room, and library. Only the Main Keep reaches the third floor for the private dining.
The East Wing is public (first floor for entertainment, second floor for sleeping), and the West Wing is private [(with)drawing rooms on the main floor, royal bedchambers on the second].

Again, the average reader doesn’t need to know all of this. This is all Behind the Scenes extra research that I did to help myself visualize the locations, paths, and journeys that the characters take.

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