Saturday, January 19, 2013

THE PLEDGE Series: From Inspiration to Page

I recently did a guest post for Obsession with Books about where I got my inspiration for THE PLEDGE novels, and because you can't be everywhere on the Interwebz, I thought I'd repost it here in case you hadn't seen it. And, you know, in case you cared ;)

A lot of the world-building for THE PLEDGE was actually sparked by a German-American woman I met several years ago who’d grown up in WWII Germany.  She’d only been a little girl then, but her memories of her childhood were terrifying.  She told me about being awakened in the middle of the night to air raid sirens, and having her older sisters throw her over fences as they ran through the night to escape the bombings and hide in the mine shafts outside town.  She explained how Hitler’s reign over her country tightened in increments, as everyone was forced to at least pretend they were loyal to him.  If they didn’t, they were sent away on the trains.  And even though, as a little girl, she didn’t know where the trains went, she knew it wasn’t good.

As I was working on the idea for THE PLEDGE, and developed the idea of a girl who lived in this society divided by language—and the one girl who could understand them all—I kept thinking about Marie, the German woman I once knew.  I started incorporating her stories into the book, until she sort of became one of the characters: Charlie’s little sister, Angelina.

Charlie’s world is dark and violent, ruled by an old and bitter queen.  Technology is minimal, and people are afforded opportunities based solely on the class they’ve been born into.  As the people grow dissatisfied, Charlie is thrust into the middle of a brutal revolution, and she soon discovers that her unusual talent for language may be the key to saving her country.

Okay, and there’s kissing too…because that’s the way I roll.

[Warning: There are spoilers for THE PLEDGE in this next part, so avert your eyes if you haven't read it yet!]

In THE ESSENCE, the second book in the trilogy, Charlie has taken the throne of her country, Ludania, and is now in charge of trying to set things right. Unfortunately, the old queen is still around—her Essence is fused inside of Charlie. And as Charlie secretly struggles to keep the voice of the evil queen at bay, she is also being challenged by those who would like to see her dead.

This book is based on the idea that change—even change for the better—isn’t always met with open arms. There will always be those who oppose change of any kind. I borrowed a page from the civil rights movement, when integration was being challenged, and even included a scene where the children from different classes are being allowed to attend the same schools for the first time to show the way Charlie’s people are divided on the issue of assimilation

But ultimately the books are about relationships. I love the bonds between Charlie and her family, and the friendships and blossoming love stories. These smaller, more intimate details are what mean the most to me.

And did I mention kissing???

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