UFI welcomes Author L.E. Sterling. Thanks for Joining us!!
What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?
Hmm. Great question. One thing that would likely not be widely known is that I used to be a college/university level professor (I started pretty young). I taught Creative Writing workshops, American, Canadian and British Literature, Post-Colonial Literature... But my favorite classes by far were courses inspired by what I wanted to read and write. In an American Lit class I got to teach books on Voodoo. At a College, I taught a course on Vampire Literature (Twillight was on the syllabus, of course), and that same semester I also taught a class on Superheroes (my students read The Watchmen and had to put the characters on trial). FUN!
What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
I suppose I like to do what most writers do on their down time: I read. A lot….which is pretty amazing considering that I have a 5yr. old and spend most of my (spare) time entertaining him.
What is your Favorite part of writing?
There is always this moment in writing when I disappear and just inhabit the world I’m creating – for me, this is the whole point of writing. Some writers call this “the Zone,” and it’s definitely the moment when I’m happiest. Happily, I can even get there when I’m in editing mode.
Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
I am pretty routine-driven, although I have some flexibility. I’ll get up at 5 a.m.(ish), make a cup of strong coffee. I’ll sort through some articles on line for a few minutes, then dump my brain into a journal for a few minutes, and then I’ll get busy with the book. I find the first part of the routine to be incredibly important – journal writing, for instance, really helps free my mind up for the Big Show.
What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
Oh, there are so, so many! I love Charlaine Harris – author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Patricia Briggs – her Mercy Thompson series. Tanya Huff, The Enchantment Emporium, any of the Gale women novels, Kelley Armstrong - all of her work. Cassandra Clare – wow. Pick any. They are so great. Oh - and a recent find: Karen Chance. She has two series of books that I love but I started with the Cassie Palmer novels. Amazing! And I can’t leave out Ilona Andrews. There isn’t a single book by that duo (husband and wife writing team) that I haven’t adored, although I first fell under the spell of the Kate Daniels series of novels.
How would you pitch True Born to someone who has not heard of it before?
True Born is the story of identical twins, Lucy and Margot Fox, who were born different. In this world, people are dying of the Plague, and the only ones who are surviving are known as True Borns, born with genetic variants that draw from animal DNA. The twins, though, have a secret hidden in their blood, and throughout the novel the girls’ try to unravel the mystery of who and what they really are.
Can you tell us a little bit about the world that True Born is set in?
True Born is set in a plague-ridden world. Everyone in Dominion (except the True Borns) is susceptible to this Plague, which is literally devastating the planet. But there’s a domino effect going on: power stations are shut down; most of the buildings are empty, all the trees have been cut down for fires, which has also devastated the town (very few cops or firefighters remain to keep order).
But within all this chaos and devastation there is also a great deal of wealth. My main characters, for instance, Lucy and Margot Fox, come from the Upper Circle. This is the decadent upper crust, which has access to daring DNA-based Plague treatments. They have lavish parties and balls – for instance, at age 18 the young adults of this upper society are given lavish Reveal parties, in which their fates (splicer – one who can receive life-saving Plague treatment; laster – one who can’t; or True Born – another species altogether) are revealed.
Do you have a favorite scene in True Born?
I love the badass action scenes where Lucy and Jared (her love interest) have to fight, and there are a few of them in this novel. Turns out I really like to write action scenes with gore and violence.
Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
Lucy Fox (from True Born) is by far my favourite heroine. She is so gutsy, so brave, and so utterly ignorant of her power or effect on people. She tries to lead this quiet life, just doing what her parents want her to do, and yet she’s incapable – and no one would let her, anyhow! Beyond that, I love her relationship with her twin: these girls share an amazing bond, which would be obvious even if they hadn’t developed their own secret twin language!
I would say the hardest character I ever wrote was the character of Simon in my second novel, Pluto’s Gate. Simon is very special, and from a very magical family (he and his grandmother, who is an elder, fought with evil spirits trapped in a painting, for instance). But he’s so magical that it was hard to pin him down. And then there’s the evil spirit trapped in the painting. Bad guys are always tough to nail down. I mean, really. Why so evil?
What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
Well, I’m busy hammering out Books 2 and 3 of the True Born series. But after that… well, we’ll just see how this goes first! I have a couple other books I’ve written that I’d like to go back and revise. One is a Voodoo detective novel. The other is a YA urban fantasy about fairies. I love both of these novels and would love them to see the light of day!
For a while I turned my back on the genre in favour of ‘high-brow’ literary texts. Ironically, it was my doctoral degree that saw me circling back. There’s something about the way postmodern literature plays with the arcane that had me utterly fascinated, and it wasn’t long until I fell headlong back into my old ways and haven’t looked back since.
My first novel, which isn’t in the Urban Fantasy or Fantasy genres, isn’t high literature, mind you, even if it tangles with some serious statements about politics and the way our western world runs. My editor described it as something between Charles Dickens and The Catcher in the Rye: Serious Fun, in other words.
My second novel, Pluto’s Gate, is where I’ve come home to myself: it’s a contemporary retelling of the Demeter-Persephone-Pluto story from Greek mythology. Folded into the mix is a Shaman-in-training, a magical book, Underworld Gods, a world covered in ice, a three-headed dog, and one lousy ex-boyfriend.
But I’ll tell you this much: I believe in the power of words and stories to transform our inner worlds. Whether the characters be vampires or vagabonds, a good narrative sucker punches so-called reality anyhow.
Find L.E. Sterling and her books
True Born Trilogy #1
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.