When I decided to get super serious about my writing, I dived deep into paranormal and urban fantasy (it's still my main love--someday I'll get back to it). One of the aspects of this genre that I love so much and find so much frustrating fun, is world building. Creating something out of nothing, getting to set my own boundaries of reality and seeing what clicks is addictive. Also, as a writer, it gives me incredible freedom from having to be "accurate" when it comes to those worlds--accuracy gives way to consistency (I just have to remember the rules I set in place).
Switching to contemporary romance came with a certain amount of challenges for me, and while I do get to world build (via small towns), it's not quite the same thing. This is where my side hobby (alas, it has taken a major hiatus lately) comes into play. My decompression coping mechanism: dollhouse miniatures. Here's one of my favorite projects, called StarBooks:
When you work with miniatures, your brain sees things in entirely different ways. For instance, and you probably can't see it here, the coffee cups are actually tops to glue bottles and the smoothie cups are wire caps. The Espresso machine was made out of a plastic canister and all those little letters for the menu items? They're pasta letters (for soup!).
Small disclaimer--I made StarBooks for one of Brenda Novak's annual diabetes auctions (before I worked for her). The winner was a good friend of mine, author Allison Brennan, but she didn't have space to display it--so I got to keep it! For now, anyway. Shhh...no one remind her!
Here's another of my favorites, a vampire pub called Dusk to Dawn:
Told you I used to write paranormal, LOL. Yes, that is a "coffin" table and the vampire cape is made out of one of grandmother's old leather gloves (I put something of hers in almost every project I do). I carved the bookcase out of foam board before painting it and...if you look closely enough, you'll see the casks of "blood" for various types.
There have been times when my reading habits have inspired my miniature projects and that was definitely the case with this Greek cafe I called ACHERON'S after Sherrilyn Kenyon's iconic Dark Hunter character.
I've always had an affinity for Greece, so using the Acropolis as a backdrop was a detail I couldn't resist. I made the flowers out of streamer/crepe paper and the marble floor is a special clay. The rock wall is just that...small landscaping rocks that I puzzled together. In case you're wondering, there's a bottle of Ouzo and feta cheese on one of those platters on the table. Can't go to Greece and not have Ouzo!
There's something so magical about creating these pieces and as my writing career has finally taken off, I haven't done a project in a very long time. That's about to change, however. One of my best friend's daughter is about to have twin boys...so she's getting a nursery room box for her shower gift (shhhh....). All I have to do is turn in my first full-length Harlequin Heartwarming, THE BAD BOY FROM BUTTERFLY HARBOR and I can go world building again! Oooh, my heroine runs a diner...I haven't done one of those in miniature before!
Do any of you have any decompression hobbies you like to dive into when you have some spare time? Please share in the comments! I'd love to know. Until next time, happy reading!
P.S. If you'd like to see more detailed (and larger) photos of these and other projects, please hop over to my website.
USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family centric romances with happily ever afters for the independent heroines she writes for both Harlequin and Berkley. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). Visit Anna online at www.authorannastewart.com.