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The Art of Creating New Worlds with Words

The Art of Creating New Worlds with Words

Jaleigh Johnson | The Children’s Book Review | March 12, 2016

The Art of Creating New Worlds with Words

One day almost a year ago (it was probably a Monday) I sat up and realized I was working on four books at the same time.

I blinked. That couldn’t be right.

But in one way or another, it was. THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY was out in the world, and I was promoting it with various events. My second book, THE SECRETS OF SOLACE, was in copy edits and almost ready to leave my hands. I was drafting the third (back then untitled) book in the Solace series, and just a few days before, I’d started making tentative character notes for a new book set in a completely different world, a brand new project.

Four books fighting for position in my headspace.

It was an…interesting time.

But working on all those projects at once taught me so many things about world building, especially for the Solace series. I learned that making a world guide would save me a whole lot of time hunting through past manuscripts to see if I thoroughly explored things like the fashion choices of chamelins. And to check the spelling of the word. Writing an ongoing series, even if the books could be read as standalones, also gave me the opportunity to see how the world of Solace would evolve over a period of years. How would my characters react to the circumstances they found themselves in? Lina Winterbock, my protagonist from THE SECRETS OF SOLACE, was in many ways living in a different world than Piper from THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY. And where would I take my world in the future? Would it have a future, after the turmoil in the previous books?

But that’s what I love so much about exploring other worlds, whether as a writer or a reader. As a child, I got lost in fantasy worlds, always wanting to know what happens next or what’s going on in that remote corner of the map? I wanted to know! For me, the best worlds were the ones that felt alive, that felt like they existed whether I was reading about them or not. That’s the place I come from when I come to the Solace series. I want the place to feel lived in, to make readers want to explore every corner of the map—and maybe even places they haven’t yet seen.

About Jaleigh Johnson

Jaleigh Johnson Author Photo credit Mark Jones

Jaleigh Johnson
Photo credit: Mark Jones

JALEIGH JOHNSON is a lifelong reader, gamer, and moviegoer. She loves nothing better than to escape into fictional worlds and take part in fantastic adventures. She lives and writes in the wilds of the Midwest, but you can visit her online at jaleighjohnson.com or on Twitter at @JaleighJohnson.


Written by Jaleigh Johnson

Publisher’s Synopsis: Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns. Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, so instead, Lina spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home.

The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths and abandoned rooms, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists. And in one of the collapsed chambers, Lina discovers a secret. Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.

Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever.

Ages 10+ | Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0385376488

Available Here: 


The Secrets of Solace, by Jaleigh Johnson | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Secrets of Solace, by Jaleigh Jonson.

One (1) winner receives:

  • A copy of The Secrets of Solace

Age Range: 10+

Hardcover: 384 pages

Giveaway begins March 12, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 11, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Click here for the entry form »

Jaleigh Johnson, author of The Secrets of Solace, wrote this article: The Art of Creating New Worlds with Words. Discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review tagged with , and .

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