Building a City

The Blood Rights Series (formerly known as the Adelheid Series) is built on one basic premise: that a law has been passed that makes all preternatural creatures (vampires, werewolves and more) legal citizens. They don’t have to “play human” to have the same rights and privileges as everyone else in the United States.

The series is based around the fictional city of Adelheid, CT, where a lot of preternatural beings live.

Growing up in New England, I’ve always known that this area’s long history is rife with paranormal fodder. Salem, MA, is just a couple of hours away from me and the history of that city is well known.

When I first conceived this series forever ago, I set it in Salem. (It was called the Preternatural, Unlimited Series then.) I was sixteen and had just visited Salem for the third time in my life. I originally chose to use it because it is so rich in history, lore, and personality.

Unfortunately, I don’t live there, so I started to feel like I couldn’t write about the city and do it the justice that it deserved.

Years later when I began to work on the series again and overhauled it, I wanted to get my world and setting straight before I even wrote the first book. I decided to make my own city and plant it in my home state of Connecticut. I modeled it slightly after the town I grew up in, but expanded on it to accommodate all I needed it to do.

I decided to give it a short history. Even if I never used that history in a book, I liked having it written for my own knowledge. I decided the town was founded by an immigrant who came over in the mid-1800s. After a little research, I learned that the most common nationalities immigrating into Connecticut in the 1840s were from Germany and Ireland. So, the founder of my town was German.

This is the official history of Adelheid: “Historically, it was founded by a man named Martin who emigrated from Germany in 1848 and brought his wife over in 1851. He was a farmer who fought in the Civil War. He founded the town several years after that, and it was established as Adelheid (named for his late wife) in 1897.”

The unofficial history — at least so far as the human world was concerned — of the city is that there is a strong source of power there. Martin was Turned to a vampire some years after the death of his wife and was attracted to the power of Adelheid, which is why he founded the city there and why it has so long attracted other preternaturals.

I chose to place it in Connecticut, because I am most familiar with it and because this area of New England has a lot of forest. There’s a lot of rural land out this way and Adelheid needs it. It’s full of shapeshifters who need to change at least once a month into their animal forms and run free. (Many of them choose to do so even when it’s not a full moon!) I needed lots of land for them to do this.

New England having its old, rich history also would make it a comfortable place for vampires, because many of them are old and rich too.

I even went so far as to establish other details, such as: “It currently covers approximately sixty square miles and has a population of approximately ten thousand people, as of the 2000 census. It’s located near the I-95 corridor towards the coast of Long Island Sound.”

I maintain a rough list of businesses in the city, to help keep track of the thriving little community I’ve created.

Creating the city has helped cement it better in my mind and given me freedom in writing it. Since it’s planned to be a long series, I want to make sure I’m comfortable living there and can write it accurately. To anyone in the area, I would recommend the part of the state near the Sound, though I wish I could say you’d find a real Adelheid there! Still, if you do find one, be sure to say hello to Sadie for me.

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