My Experience with this World:
Here we have another one of my own worlds. The Rowa.
The Rowa is my oldest world, the one I cut my teeth on, and it has, perhaps, changed more than any other world I've ever written. It has also had the the most varied array of adventures in it. I don't remember where the name came from, but I do remember, quite clearly, the morning when I walking into the school room and announced it to my mother and sister. They accepted it as good and we have never looked back.
As I'm sure I've mentioned before, the Rowa was inspired by Middle Earth. My sister and I were obsessed with hobbits, and wanted to write books about them ... but they were, of course, copyrighted, so we made up our own short, hairy-footed peoples called Elvings. They, unlike hobbits, were more adventurous and liked trees.
The main characters of our stories never changed. It was always Tiger Lilly and Mary Gold Bunnitoes. Friends and relations came and went, but we never changed ourselves.
Off the top of my head I can recall three different "sets" of stories that have been set in the Rowa. Originally, our stories were basically our own lives and antics set in this psedo-medieval world. When we got a little brother, so did Tiger and Mary. When we decided to set up a top secret girls-only club with a friend of ours (who will be mentioned again when I talk about Rizkaland, just a heads up!), Tiger, Mary, and Maggie had the same brilliant idea. The only one of those stories that I finished was the Christmas one.
Eventually, however, we tired of those plots, and I began my stick and herb obsession. V must have become interested in the hobbit again. (We had possibly found the old cartoon video and watched) since we decided to go back to our roots and retell The Hobbit. To say the least, it was interesting, since it involved four elving girls (all of whom were still very young things) instead of old Bilbo, magic sticks (I'm not going to begin to tell you what all they did), pocket knifes (For cutting herbs), and a contest to see who would be the next kings or queens of the Rowa.
That was during our "act out the stories" heyday. It was fun, I'll give it that ... but eventually it went back where it belongs. In a drawer (or perhaps the trashcan, since I have never found the notebook), not to be thought of again until I wrote this post.
The adventure that Tiger will eventually officially take is Infiltration, which was my NaNo of '11. Surprisingly enough, Mary actually wasn't a main character. I blame that on the fact that she lost her sense of adventure and hid with the goats most of the time. I tried to include her more, I really did, but some of the other characters stole the limelight. I will rewrite the book (hopefully next year) and I do plan to draw her out better.
But Inflitration is not the only book that will be set in this world. Tiger's daughters have informed me that they are planning a sequel that involves lots of underground tunnels, and my sister has kidnapped a few of the elvings to take to the stars. It's really quite interesting.
Originally, I thought this world was in a separate universe, but my sister informed me that it was not so. In truth, it's part of our universe, and shared our creation. (Err ... pretty much.)
However, Rolimbo was an uninhabited world until ten elves from one of my own world, and ten very short women who had *cough* forgotten *coughcough* everything about themselves except their names. They get married and live happily ever after.
Wait, you say, you just called it Rolimbo! Yes, I did!
You see, the elvings (as they were now called) came from fallen parents, and they were, as a result, fallen, so many of them turned their backs on Yshew (what they call God). Eventually, Yshew got fed up with this and cursed the non-believers (though the how of the cursing is forgotten - it is assumed that it meant that they all died, but there is evidence to suggest that this isn't so). He grew a special Hedge around a good-sized section, and all of the believers went to live there. He gave them Rings of Faith to mark them as His. Since then, the part inside of the Hedge is called The Rowa, and the part outside called Limbo.
Geography is not an important element to any of the three books. I really don't know the slightest thing about it, other than what I have already said in the origin part. There aren't even any really cool physics craziness, thanks to my sister insisting that it existed in our own universe. I wanted it to be a inverted sphere world inside our own, but, no. It's over in the Andromeda star system.
Peoples and Culture:
The only inhabitants of this world are the Elvings. They're half elf, half something else, though there are traces of human DNA in them. This is through the elf side, but I can't tell you how because it's top secret!
There are, however, two different types of elvings, the Rowans and the Limboians (who are, contrary to popular belief very much alive on the other side of the Hedge). The Rowans have a very utopic life. All of them serve Yshew with all of their hearts, for if they fail to believe, they do not get their Rings of Faith on their 24th birthdays. Actually, if you count by Limboian years, they're actually 48, and they only look 12. Complicated, I know. One of the side effects of the Rings is the fact that it extends the life of the wearer. I have done up a nice lengthy post here about all of the ins and outs of Rowan culture, so I shan't say anything more.
Limboian culture, on the other hand, is very different, and actually not unlike our own. Since they don't have those really cool rings, they have put all of their efforts into making up for it with technology. They have cars, telephones, guns, even Hedge Destroyers IX6's! However, none of this truly satisfies them. They choose to take out their anger and dissatisfaction on the Rowans, who are blissfully unaware of their existence, by sending specially trained "Infiltrators" through the Hedge to destroy the faith of the Rowan children who have not yet received their Rings of Faith. Many are successful.
What I like about this world:
Well, obviously I like this world, or otherwise it would have crumbled into non-existence years ago. I love those Elvings. They're such fun, you see. I especially like their Rings, whose original purpose was only as a means of telepathic communication. They're still used for that, but they're now so much more.
What I don't like:
The fact that it must be set in a normal world with normal physics. I don't mind having real plants - I like that part of it, actually. Makes Tiger's herbalism lectures actually informative. But I wanted this world to be an inverted sphere inside of our own globe, the bridge between being the rainbows you can actually catch. You can still get there by catching rainbows ... but now you're travelling several hundred (thousand?) light years across the universe, rather than a few hundred feet.
She did this to Ooladada, too. She's a very frustrating sister, honestly. I should never have let her get addicted to Star Trek. It was a very bad move all around.
Also, I'm finding it frustrating the fact that Infiltration hasn't put itself together properly. As I told my mom, "Why is it that my new stories, Bookania Quests and The Ankulen, flow properly and without any major hiccups ... but when I sit down to write anything set in the Rowa, it just ... fizzles?"
What I learned from this world:
To take chances and don't be afraid to be weird. The best stories are those whose authors aren't afraid to step out of the box and do something NEW. Besides, if it's too weird, all you have to do is bury the notebook in your backyard and never even think about it again.
And since I don't have a map of The Rowa, I'll share the working cover art for Infiltration.