I would like all of my readers to welcome L.E. Sterling, whose first book in a new trilogy, True Born, releases May 3rd. This book is on my TBR this month and I have truly enjoyed connecting with the author. With further adieu......
It’s kind of fitting that I’m posting something to Barb’s blog today. I’m getting the feeling that Barb (Boxer mommy) adores animals…. while my upcoming novel, True Born, is actually all about animals. Well, sort of.
In the world of True Born, Plague is devastating the human population. While the very richest of society, known as Splicers, can afford to have their unraveling DNA patched up, most people in this society, the Lasters, are too poor.
But in this fictional world, set in the sprawling city of Dominion, there is another kind of people: the True Borns. Most say that the True Borns’ genetics have jumped back in time, giving them the genetic characteristics of our animal ancestry. Some have fins, for instance. Others might sport blue skin or have inhuman strength.
Most importantly, True Borns don’t catch the Plague. They don’t get sick – and they don’t die from the devastating disease. That could be why they are kept on the margins of human society, all but ignored by the wealthy elites of the novel. But their leader, the charismatic Nolan Storm, wants to change all that.
Nolan Storm isn’t your usual human or True Born. He sports a pair of antlers that only a few people can see. His second is the fiery and handsome Jared Price, who shifts into a panther man. Storm and his band of True Borns burst into the lives of the novel’s protagonists, Lucy and Margot Fox, when the Fox twins come under threat.
You may be wondering: how could shifters and animal-people fit into a dystopian science-fiction narrative? Well, to my mind, science fiction is a genre that draws speculation from what already is.
The simple fact is, animals don’t get sick nearly as often as humans. Many species of animal life on earth do not fall sick with diseases such as cancer. From that starting point, this book winds its way back and forth through evolutionary theories and arrives at the True Borns.
If a terrible Plague did strike the human population, what would allow humankind to survive? Would it be medicine? DNA manipulation? Or would it be an evolutionary leap back into the past, a time when the homo sapiens and their kin were just starting to shake off their animal ancestry?
On the other hand, when you stick a True Born like Jared Price and a girl from the Upper Circle like Lucy Fox, in the same room together, sparks tend to fly…
“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 graygreen 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?”
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.
True Born can be preordered at the following sites or added to your Goodreads wishlist: