Welcome to this weeks edition of Ask the Author! For this time I'm bringing you the amazing L.E. Sterling, author of True Born, who took some of her time to answer my Qs for you guys. Check out her amazing sounding book (I'm actually currently reading it and it's really good so far) and As below!
True Born by L.E. Sterling
Published: May 3rd 2016 by Entangled: Teen
Number of Pages: 304 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: Yes, book #1 in the True Born Trilogy
Welcome to Dominion City.
After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated...and their genetics damaged beyond repair.
The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…
And then there's Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.
When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?
As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood. (goodreads.com)
Interview with L.E. Sterling
1 – Describe True Born with a haiku.
How about this?
Moody antlers rule
What the Fox twins’ blood reveals –
The blond panther snarls.
2 – What sparked the idea for True Born? The sole idea of writing a sci-fi tale involving a apocalyptic world stricken by a plague or something completely different?
There are a few things that led to the book but the most interesting is the incredible story of my great-grandmother, who was born in England and sent to the U.S. to be an indentured servant. As the story goes, she was very young when she was shipped over, and I imagine the whole voyage was traumatic, because apparently my great-grandmother forgot her identity through the crossing. When she finally arrived in the U.S. she gave them her twin’s name. And she lived her entire life, until she was a middle-aged adult, as her twin. I loved the idea of having a bond with someone that was so close that it took over your own, so I explored this in a fictional world.
3 – What was the most challenging thing about writing True Born and which scene was the most fun to write?
I really, REALLY loved writing the action scenes – which were, of course, also among the most challenging. I wanted these scenes to seem believable and not too gory but also really kick ass. These are harder to write (and more fun) when the characters doing the ass-whooping aren’t quite human.
But now that I think about it, the thing that I really struggled with was trying to fit these really odd people, the True Borns, into a plague world where everyone else is so frail, so fallible and human.
4 – What do you like most and least about your main character, Lucy, and her sister Margot?
Ohh, great question. I adore Lucy – she’s got spunk and depths that she’s only just beginning to explore. But at the same time she’s really trapped by the thought paradigms she’s grown up with. I think that strange duality leads to some of the best tension in the book, because she’s always fighting with her desire and inclination to play it safe, play by the rules of her parents and her upper class world. In the end, she just can’t. She just isn’t that person, no matter how much she wants to be. She’s far bigger, and the world is not going to let her forget it.
As for Margot…well. Margot is a whole different problem. I don’t like that Margot is not a responsible character and continually lets Lucy hold the bag for her, so to speak. She doesn’t even seem to be aware of the privilege she has within her family – and it’s so arbitrary! Lucy is identical to Margot, after all, so why are they treated so differently?? At the same time, she needs to be free. I love that Margot seems to use all the systems she lives in against themselves to help her bust free of what she views as painful constrictions.
5 – In retrospective, is there anything that you’d change about the story or are you happy with the way it turned out in the end?
I’m extremely happy with the book! In many ways, I’d say that this book turned out much better than I could have ever imagined. It’s the most nuanced, layered, complicated, FUN book I’ve ever written.
6 – I heard the story has previously been published on Wattpad. How did you handle the transition from posting your story on there to moving over to the publishing world, getting an agent and publisher?
Funnily enough, I already had an agent when I published the story as a novella on Wattpad! I wrote the story to work the kinks out of a world that I wanted to set a whole other series of books in – the world of Dominion. And I posted it with the hopes of drawing more attention to my second novel, Pluto’s Gate, which I published with a very reputable small press – who did absolutely no marketing of the book.
But the True Born story just…really took off. The response was so completely overwhelming (the sections I posted were read 500K+ times) that I realized I’d better just finish the whole novel and see if my agent wanted to sell it.
7 - How did you feel now when thinking about the fact that in only a couple more weeks your book will finally hit the shelves and people will able to buy and read it?
Scared. Nervous. Exhilarated. I feel a bit like the whole world is about to see me with my pants down, if you know what I mean. Publishing anything is such a vulnerable experience… and I’ve already published two books previous to True Born, so I know what of I speak!
8 – What do you think about the cover for True Born? Does it do the story justice?
I adore the cover – it’s a moody, hypnotic, symbolic cover. I love that the leader of the True Borns, Nolan Storm, has a characteristic (the antlers) that can be used to tell an interesting story on the cover. The antlers define him, certainly, but it’s what those antlers point to, his unseen qualities, that are really his power.
I can hardly wait to see what the designers do for Book 2 and 3 of the series!
9 – Do you have a writing routine or do you write whenever creativity strikes?
I get up at 5 am to write. Every day. So obviously, there’s coffee involved. I don’t have a lot of time because I have a full-time day job (and I’m a mom to a little kid) so I get pretty busy. I write in a journal before sitting down to the novel, though, because I need to empty my mind. It’s a very zen experience for me. Writing is a career for me, even if I can only get it done very part-time.
10 – What advice could you give aspiring authors?
You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about this question. The advice I would always give is to read and write as much as you can, because that teaches you everything you need to know. The other is to treat writing as a business. Learn as much as you can, learn from each and every rejection, because those will teach you far more about what you need to do than your successes.
11 – If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Do I really need to pick just one??? I think I’d have to pick immortality… it’s the one power that would allow a person to develop in so many amazing ways. Think of all the languages one could learn, the places one could travel, the books one could read and write!!
About the Author
L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate.
Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.