Author: L.E. Sterling
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Fantasy
Your fate is in your blood…
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 leader, Nolan Storm, and the beautiful but deadly Jared, who tempts her as much as he infuriates her. 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.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/true-born-le-sterling/1122537957
Entangled Publishing: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/true-born/
First I have to say thanks to YA Reads Book Tours and Entangled Publishing for allowing me to read an egalley of this title. The synopsis above is what sold me right away. When I finally picked it up, I was hooked, and when I finished, all I know is that I need a sequel now!
The main character is Lucy Fox. She is a twin, at birth she was joined to her sister Margot's foot with one of her own feet. Margot is kind of the "perfect" daughter, although she is the one who has lately found something, a boy probably, who is keeping her sneaking out of the house, and also making her not be as open with Lucy as normal. The two of them have a connection, they can communicate when they're not even in the same room, they feel emotions and can send pictures or thoughts. Margot and Lucy are very close to their own "Reveal" Party. That is where they will find out if they are Splicers, or True Borns. But something strange is going on. They have to keep going back to do the tests over and over. It is about this time that their father has hired some new security people. They are True Born, people who are born with genetic "throw-backs" or traits that seem to go back to our ancestors in the evolutionary path. For instance the guy in charge of security, Storm, has antlers.
Then there is Jared, the snarky, cocky guy that Lucy first runs into, literally, at the top of a staircase at her school. There is something about him, but she uses her "status" to look down on this guy that she doesn't know, even though he's very cute, just because of the way he comes across in their first meeting. Turns out that he also works for Storm, as part of the new security detail, and he is also a True Born. But there is something between them. Even though it is wrong for them. Lucy must be with whoever her parents decide. And Jared, he doesn't want to be interested in a girl like her, a privileged girl, that stands for all the things that have kept people like him, True Borns, down.
About this same time, Lucy senses something is wrong with Margot one night when she's snuck out. Lucy gets Jared to go with her to find Margot. And they end up at the clinic where the testing goes on, only someone is not testing Margot, but drawing something out of her body, blood or something. They have to rescue her, and it doesn't happen without a fight. Jared shifts into his panther-like body to do this, and then there feels as if something has changed between them. But not only that, with their parents having gone out of town, Margot is now not herself. You can tell she feels traumatized. In order to keep the girls safe, they go to Storm's headquarters. While they are there they find out that maybe something else is going on. Maybe there is something in the girls' blood that could be very highly sought after by people wanting to save themselves against the plague. At the same time the Lasters, the people who cannot fight the plague, are beginning to rebel.
The story has so many twists and turns it keeps you on the edge of your seat. All the different types of True Borns are neat to hear about, and to try to picture in my head. The heat between Jared and Lucy is really good, I enjoy the back and forth between them. I enjoy all of the stuff that builds into the world. My only problem was that I feel there are still so many questions left unanswered. And I wish there would have been one or two more of these answered. But I guess the author knew what they were doing, because I'll need to read the next book soon!
1. What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start? Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)? If you plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, note cards, post-it notes, etc.?
I typically start with a burning image in my mind - either a scenario or a final scene - and I just work through the tangles until I have all the threads sorted. Sometimes I’ll start with a scene, stop, then start developing the rest of the narrative. Planning, especially for long projects, is essential! Having said that, I always maintain flexibility as my imagination adds to the world, layer by layer.
I keep track of everything in what I some authors call a Story Bible (and sometime, as with True Born, I have more than one floating around). Right now, for instance, as I work on the True Born series, I have 3 or 4 different story bibles filled with notes, as well as a chapter by chapter breakdown of what I think is going to happen… and I fill that with obsessive notes, as well!
2. How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
Ha! Great question – and very difficult to answer! Every story is different. But, in general I would say that the imagination is like a vast library. Like most people, I think I file everything that I have ever experienced, read, thought into that library, so that when an idea pops into my mind, it’s drawing from a hundred different sources: history, the state of the world, an extrapolation of where I think we’re headed, science articles I’ve written, researchers I’ve interviewed, and so on.
3. How long have you been writing?
I published my first article in Owl, a kid’s magazine, when I was in grade three, so I must have started around then! I went on to write my first novel at age eleven… it was terrible! I started taking Creative Writing classes in High School, then continued studying Creative Writing in University…I can’t remember a time when I didn’t not know that I wanted to be a writer.
4. What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
Read. A lot. I have met people who aspire to being published authors who claim (proudly) that they never read anything. But honestly, I can learn more from reading a single page of one of my favourite authors than I ever did listening to anybody, or attending any class. You need to trust your gut, but you can learn so much from how other people tackle writing problems: an action scene, for instance, or paranormal characters.
I would also say that the more I write, the better I get. I’ve been keeping a daily journal for nearly 20 years now. I write in my journal before I get started on my books. Every day. It’s now so much a part of me that I couldn’t imagine my days without it. It’s cheap therapy, for one thing – and it frees my mind up so much for more imaginative work!
5. How important are names in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds, or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Names are so important! Some names I draw from myth or classic literature that adds layers to the story. For instance, with my last novel, Pluto’s Gate, the heroine’s name is Percy (short for Persephone) Clare (meaning light). The narrative is a contemporary retelling of the Pluto (or Hades)/Demeter/Persephone myth, so this works really well.
In True Born, this process is a little more intuitive. My lead character, Lucy Fox, is named for a character in Dracula, believe it or not! True Born, while not a vampire story, is a novel obsessed with blood!
6. Since this has a science fiction feel to it, did you do any research into the science parts?
I actually worked for some of the world’s top scientists for a couple of years. I would get to interview these amazing biomedical engineers about the crazy stuff they are working on (like: engineering living, beating heart tissue, or nanoparticle delivery vehicles for chemo drugs) and all of that really made its way into the world of True Born.
7. As a former teacher, one of the best parts of that is hearing back from students who learned something or felt they got something from being in my class. Can you name a teacher that you felt was important in your life in some way?
One of my mentors was a man named Matt Cohen. He was a Governor General award winning author (this is the holy grail of writing prizes in Canada). I kept winning ‘best story’ prizes in his writing workshop – I think I won three of the four prizes that year – and he pushed me to consider going on to a Masters in Creative Writing (I did). To be honest, I feel like he was really the only person who ever made me feel like I was talented or could really do this. I have never forgotten him for it. Sadly, he died shortly before the publication of my first book. It’s dedicated to him anyway.
Some fun questions
Sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy: Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Cassandra Clare, Tanya Huff, Ilona Andrews, Karen Chance, Maria V. Snyder.
Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica
Arcade Fire, Billy Holiday, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen
Social Media Site? I’ll let you know when I find one.
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.
Author Website: le-sterling.com
Author Twitter: @le_sterling
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LESterling22/
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LESterling
“Isn’t it a little weird that we have to do our tests again? Was there some kind of mistake with the first one?” Margot says it innocently enough, a slight twang to her voice to match the nurse’s rabble-like twang.
“Well, hon, sometimes they get mixed signals, you know? Like when you think a boy likes you but then he goes all hot and cold?” She winks. Margot’s fingers tighten on mine.
“Uh huh.” Margot nods. “So there’s a problem with your machines? Or with the staff?”
The nurse frowns. “Not this staff. They’re five-star amazing. Must have just been a bad sample or something. Try not to worry about it, sweetie.” She pats Margot’s arm just before she shoves the needle in my sister’s vein.
I squirm on my seat. The skin on my arm crawls from the sharp pain originating in my sister’s arm. Relaxed beside me, Margot doesn’t move a muscle. She knows what I’m feeling even if she can’t do anything about it. This is just how it is with us.
“How much are you going to take this time?” My voice shakes as our coltish nurse comes around to me and drives a needle into my arm. It doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as Margot’s did. Our hands stay folded together. There’s a note in our file about letting us. One of the perks of being born us.
“Oh.” For the first time she looks a little dismayed. “I’m sorry, hon. Didn’t they tell you? We gotta go through the whole protocol again. The whole shebang.”
My twin and I did know. We’d been told. Still, it bothers us. A full day’s worth of giving blood, going through tests, having your organs measured and documented. Urine samples, more blood samples, hair samples. We’d already been through this two times in the last two months. We no longer believe they’d gotten “bad” samples—not that we’re going to let on to the nurse.
And funny thing is, each time we come, the Protocols Nurse is new. This is the third we’ve had, each as clueless as the last.
We know better than to ask our parents. The deepening silence and constant rounds of testing and lies must mean the news is the worst. Late at night we lie together, holding hands and whispering under the deep canopy of one or other of our beds. We’ve thought about what it will mean if one of us turns out to be a Laster. We’ve talked until dawn about what we’d want, what we’d do. I tell Margot I’d want to go with her, but she’s against the idea.
“One of us needs to survive,” she said to me, her gray-green eyes as serious as I’ve ever seen them.
“What if it’s not that?” I asked her.
“What do you mean?”“What if we’re, you know,” the words mere whispers, “True Born?”
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