True North recently released on April 4, 2017 and I have been anticipating this book since last year when I was lucky enough to snag an early copy of True Born. Today, L. E. Sterling who is an amazing author and really sweet person agreed to be interviewed on the blog!
Hello and thank you for letting me interview you today.
Thank you! Really delighted to be doing this!
1. I have to start off by asking, what was your inspiration for the True Born series? When I read it I got a very Xmen meets Bioshock vibe, which I loved.
The series was inspired by a couple of things. My great grandmother was a twin. She was separated from her family when she was very young and ended up taking on her twin’s identity. I was really fascinated by this deep bond between these two girls. That’s the inspiration behind Lucy and Margot Fox.
I’ve also spent the last several years working for some of the world’s top biomedical engineers. They have some pretty crazy stories to tell. My imagination was ignited from their stories of nanoparticles that use genes to do things like detect diseases or even treat them. And from there, this whole world just evolved in my head — and from there were born the True Borns.
2. What does a typical writing day look like for you?
Typical, huh? Typically I’ll get up at around 5:30 in the morning and write in a journal on my laptop for a bit. I find this really helps me focus. And then I’ll get down to the actual work. I often keep open a file just for taking notes and reminding myself where the story is going/characters, etc. (this is called a Story Bible).
3. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I’m a little bit of both. I start with an image or scene in my mind, and then I’ll start plotting back or forward from that scene. But these can often be pretty broad strokes. I tend to fill in plot once I know the characters a little better, know how they’ll react in a situation, what they’ll do. And then, there are always surprises.
4. Do you do any research for your stories or is it all pulled from your imagination?
I do research! I have done a ton of research on ancient mythology in the past, which wove their way into the True Born Trilogy. And then, as I mentioned before, my day job has literally been to interview famous scientists about their work. I have taken liberties with everything, of course. I believe in allowing my imagination free reign with writing. I think that’s the only way I’m ever going to get these books finished.
5. What is one thing you could never live without?
My laptop. I can’t imagine life without it. It’s my canvas and brushes. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t have that as my outlet. I’d probably be a neurotic mess with an extremely clean house.
6. If you were sent to space and only allowed to take one book with you, what would it be?
Man, how would I survive that? ONE BOOK?!? It would have to be a very long book. Maybe I’d take Pride and Prejudice, which I haven’t read in a while.
7. If you were a character in True Born or True North would you have any powers? If so, what would they be?
Gah! Great question. I would want to see into the future, I think, but be smart enough to change it. Some of the characters in the novels have that power and I think it’s pretty awesome.
8. Have you read any good books lately?
YES!! I’m deep into Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, a Nigerian-American writer (genius). This book has been hailed as the “Nigerian Harry Potter,” a description I would not at all argue with! I also have been deep into The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater’s marvellous 2nd book in the Raven Cycle. Man, these books are deep! But I’m a huge fan of finding tarot readers and diviners in books. I read tarot myself. As does Maggie, if I’m not mistaken.
9. Do you have any advice you would like to give the YA Community? Or fellow YA aspiring writers?
I don’t think I’d give advice to the YA community — I think this is a smart community that knows what it is about. As for aspiring writers, my only advice at this point is to do it. You don’t get better unless you do it all the time, every day. And it doesn’t matter if it’s good or publication-worthy. What matters is that you’re happy and have learned something from your writing journey. Sounds a bit corny but it’s true.
10. Last questions, if you could say anything to your former self (young, in college, just last week, it doesn’t matter) what would it be?
I would tell myself not to sweat the small stuff. I’d also probably have pushed myself even harder, demanded more of myself. I think I could have done a lot more a lot sooner. But you know, having said that, it took as long as it did to find out what I really wanted to write and what kind of writer I wanted to be, so it’s really hard for me to be critical of myself — I’m back to telling my young self, “don’t’ sweat the small stuff!”
Thanks for having me stop by!
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.