Enjoy some teases of the TRUE BORN trilogy ender from L.E. Sterling herself!
L.E. Sterling’s True Born trilogy is comes to an end this month with the recent release of True Storm, the third novel in the genetic thriller trilogy!
The series follows Lucy Fox, who lives in a world where genetics have been ravaged by plague, landing people in one of three categories: True Borns enhanced by the chaos, Splicers who use science and medicine to fight their shortened lifespan, and Lasters, whose DNA is so corrupted that they could die at any moment. By age 18, everyone knows which category they fall into– except Lucy and her twin sister, Margot. When Margot goes missing, Lucy teams up with two powerful True Borns, Nolan and Jared, to get her back.
Series ender True Storm sees Lucy’s world turned upside down as her family is betrayed and she’s forced toward a political marriage as her city lies on the brink of war. Can she gain the strength she needs to live life on her own terms?
We talked to L.E. Sterling about writing Lucy’s journey, what she loves about her characters, the big twists book three will bring, and her inspirations for the series. Take a look!
The True Born trilogy is coming to an end! How did it feel to complete Lucy’s story?
You know those series that tie everything up in a neat bow and everything is perfectly packed and uncreased? Well…that’s not this series. And frankly, I’m kind of proud of that. I do feel like there are important elements to Lucy’s story that are wrapped up (I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘neatly’), and I really enjoyed plotting out the various machinations and cross-machinations at work in this book. But the thing I love best is that Dominion teeters on the brink of this incredible sea-change at the end of the novel (no spoilers!!). It feels like real life to me, in that when we reach the end of one chapter we also reach the beginning of another. I find that really inspiring, both as a writer and an avid reader.
But yes, absolutely: I love this series so much it will be very hard to let it go (sniff).
What first inspired the twisted world of True Born?
Oooh, I like that you call it “twisted!” I consider that the highest of compliments! I really do believe that the role of the writer, especially sci-fi/fantasy writers, is to look at the world as it is and extrapolate what will happen. So I started to play with some dystopian ideas I had brewing…and then fate stepped in! I began working with some of the world’s leading biomedical engineers, who were cooking up some incredible, game-changing scientific discoveries. I learned so much from these amazing scientists and was so inspired. Somehow the books I was writing and what I was learning on the job coalesced into the True Born Trilogy you see today.
I was also very inspired by a story about my great grandmother, who was separated from her identical twin at a very early age. So early, in fact, that she forgot her own identity and took on that of her twin’s! I loved how her love and connection with her sister carried on, even in a subconscious way, over oceans and across continents. I really wanted to explore what a bond like that would be like. And voila! The Fox twins were born.
How did it go from there? Did you meticulously plot out every detail once you had the original idea or are you more of a pants-er?
I’m the kind of writer who likes to know certain key elements ahead of time and have something solid to build on, but at the same time, I need to discover things as I go. For me, one of the most fulfilling things about being a writer is that I constantly get to learn new things about the world I’m building, make new serendipitous connections.
There were a number of discoveries after I first conceived of the True Borns, for instance. I do a lot of research for my books, and I remember the moment I stumbled across this incredible rendering of Cernunnos, who I envisioned as Nolan Storm’s and the True Born’s ancestor in the novels. Cernunnos is such a mysterious figure. I found myself returning again and again to the little bits of information I could cobble together of this Horned God as I plotted out each of the books.
Lucy’s story so far has followed her efforts to save Margot, her twin sister. Now that Margot is back, will we see their relationship play out a bit?
Ha ha! NO SPOILERS! But yes, I think I can safely say that Margot and Lucy finally come to a few important understandings in Book 3. Their bond, once so fantastically close, is tested and strained over the events of the first two novels. In the final book, though, a lot that was bubbling under the surface in the previous installments comes to light. I think readers will be left with an entirely new perspective on the Fox twins!
Speaking of relationships, Lu has very interesting relationships with three hot guys and some extreme pressure to choose a husband! What do you love most about Nolan, Jared, and Alistair?
I swear I don’t know how Lucy ended up with three suitors! That plot point kind of snuck up on me. It was always important to me to explore marriage as a political tool in the world of Dominion, though, and I was very amused by how things turned out.
Alastair is a great character for how willing he is to go out on a limb for people he doesn’t know very well. I think he’s very well-intentioned, even if he messes things up. And I wonder what readers will say about this, but I personally believe that Nolan Storm is similar to Alastair in that he is also always thinking about the bigger picture––his cause is much greater than any one person. I really admire Storm for the way he thinks and acts. He’s a force so mysterious that I feel like, even at the end of this trilogy, I really want to know more. Jared, though, is…gut-wrenching! I can’t help but fall for this guy! He tries so hard to be honorable and think about Lucy’s future, but he is so captivated by our girl he never seems to be able to break away from her fully. I think that’s what makes him so swoon-worthy and why, I think, readers are so into him.
Who’s your favorite character to write in the series and why?
Lucy Fox, hands down! I genuinely love this character and am going to miss her so much!! Even when she’s confused or doesn’t know what’s going on, she’s strong and relies on her greatest weapon: her mind. She’s not always right (what character is?) but her heart is always, always in the right place. She really is constantly thinking of others and wants to make sure the people she loves are safe and well. And she’ll go to almost any lengths to achieve that aim.
What are some of your favorite books or movies featuring characters with strange genes or unique origins?
I dearly love Laini Taylor’s monsters in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. This is such a creative series. Who could have thought of monstrous people (the heroes) fashioned from magic and teeth? At the moment, though, I’m binge-reading Alwyn Hamilton’s incredible Rebel of the Sands novels. I literally can’t put them down. Here, the non-human characters are Djinn or Demjinn, and have such fascinating powers (one character can travel through solid rock, for instance).
Other characters with unique genes I am in (book) love with:
Everything ever written by Ilona Andrews (shifters and daughters of gods, and people with all sorts of incredible powers)
Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels (half fairies and vampires. Need I say more?)
True Storm (True Born #3) is out now. You can snag a copy via…
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Indiebound | Kobo | Entangled Publishing
ABOUT THE BOOK
Lucy’s twin sister, Margot, may be safely back with her—but all is not well in Plague-ravaged Dominion City. The Watchers have come out of hiding, spreading chaos and death throughout the city, and suddenly Lucy finds herself under pressure to choose her future: does it lie with her handsome new friend, Alastair; her guardian, the enigmatic True Born leader Nolan Storm; or the man who makes her heart trip, her savage True Born bodyguard Jared Price?
But while Lucy ponders her path, fate has other plans. Betrayal is a cruel lesson, and the Fox sisters can hardly believe who is behind the plot against them. To survive this deadly game of politics, Lucy is forced to agree to a marriage of convenience. But is the DNA of her will stronger than the forces opposing her? And can she turn the tide against the oncoming storm?
As they say in Dominion, rogue genes can never have a happy ending…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance, to which she remained faithful 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 cult hit YA novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick) and the Urban Fantasy Pluto’s Gate. True Born, first in the True Born trilogy, won the Athena Award® from the RWA. Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van––inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Canada.