Saturday, April 8, 2017

0 L.E. Sterling, author of TRUE NORTH, on writing a novel being like knitting a scarf

We are delighted to be joined by L.E. Sterling to discuss her latest novel TRUE NORTH.

L.E., what was your inspiration for writing TRUE NORTH?

I wanted to bust Lucy Fox and Jared Price -- the heroine and hero of the True Born Trilogy -- out of Dominion City! Dominion City is amazingly dark, a twisted city. I wanted these two to be able to travel and explore their world a bit. There was so much to be discovered!

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I found it really difficult to write the first couple of chapters of this novel. There’s a ton of backstory to get through because True North is the second novel of a trilogy. I found it difficult to imagine what a reader might remember -- or forget! In the end, I think I did a pretty good job. I really like how the novel opens now.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or vice versa?

A number of readers have compared the True Born Trilogy to Daughter of Smoke and Bone -- I take that as a real compliment! And some have compared the world to X-Men, which I think is pretty cool.

How long did you work on TRUE NORTH?

I’ve been working on True North since I finished True Born! So, I guess around 3 years? I spent a lot of time in the development stage for this novel and the next. I wanted to make sure that the sequel to True Born made sense. There’s a very particular story arc across the three novels in this series. To make sure I didn’t mess up the third book I had to be pretty careful with this second book, True North.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I think every project furthers your development as a writer. In this particular case, I think a small bit of me was worried about whether I could pull off a series. True Born is the first full series I’ve written. Did I have the chops to write three books with the same characters? Could I keep each book fresh and meet the high expectations of the readers while deepening the situations and relationships in the book? Turns out, the canvas still isn’t big enough! I still have so much to say and show about this world and these characters! I could write a whole other series set in this world… and just might.

What do you hope readers will take away from TRUE NORTH?

I am really pleased with True North. I truly think it’s the best novel I’ve written. What I’d like readers to feel as they close the book is to feel utterly satisfied, yet want to read on. I want them to feel as though they’ve been immersed completely. I will feel like I’ve done my job as a writer if they want more.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I suppose I got lucky. I published my first novel right after finishing it. But publishing is about each and every book. I wrote three novels after my first, but only published one of them.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

Writing a novel is more like knitting a scarf than assembling an automobile. You just chain your world together, one stitch at a time. The best part about the process is when you actually finish a draft -- I think that’s always the time I have my aha! moment. What do you mean, I’ve just written this 300 page novel?

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I love working in coffee shops when I can. I end up with my favorites: those delicious places with music that isn’t too loud or annoying. Lately, though, because I do most of my writing at 5 am (not a good time to find an open coffee shop) I write at my desk. It’s peaceful and perfect, and I zone out while I listen to music and chop out my worlds on my best friend, my lap top.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

I think those who aspire to writing are all to be commended. If you can finish a novel that means you have a kind of stamina and commitment to your creative idea that not a lot of people can master.

People can get really bogged down by their inner critic. My advice? If you’re going to spend these hours of your life writing, enjoy it! Let yourself go, let yourself create and follow your own process. Whatever you end up with can be endlessly shaped, so don’t worry about it! Just be proud of what you’ve done.

What are you working on now?

Hmm. I’m currently flipping back and forth between a novel I wrote before the True Born Trilogy -- a voodoo detective novel whose heroine is a rodeo queen nurse and a new series of books set in the world of Dominion, but with the shadowy, mysterious Nolan Storm at its center!


True North
by L.E. Sterling
Entangled: Teen
Released 4/4/2017

Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there's been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters' blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

Purchase True North at Amazon
Purchase True North at IndieBound
View True North on Goodreads


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.


Have you had a chance to read TRUE NORTH yet? Do you have having stamina and commitment to your creative idea? Do you feel bogged down by your inner critic? Remember to enjoy the process. Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

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