True Born, Bk. 1 drops 3 May, 2016!
What encouraged me to write True Born?
The nuts and bolts answer would be to tell you that I never initially intended to write True Born as a novel! I initially only intended to write this as a novella – which I posted on the story-sharing site, Wattpad. It was intended to help me develop a substantial backstory to another trilogy of novels I wanted to write set in the same world, and with a couple of shared characters.
But the novella was a big hit with readers on Wattpad, and I enjoyed what I’d written so much, that I decided to turn the story into a novel… and then into a trilogy.
Another inspiration was my family. I’ve been quite obsessed by the incredible story of my great-grandmother, who was born in England and sent to the U.S. to be an indentured servant circa 1900. As the story goes, she was very young when she was shipped over, and I imagine the whole voyage was traumatic, because apparently my great-grandmother forgot who she was through the crossing.
When she finally arrived in the U.S. she gave everyone her twin’s name instead of her own. She ended up living her entire life, up until she was a middle-aged adult, by her twin’s name. It’s such a fascinating tale – I really wanted to explore the idea of having a bond with someone that was so close that it took over your own, so I explored this in a fictional world.
“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?”