Today we have T. M. Franklin, author of the YA Fantasy MORE series, telling us a bit about how she creates her fictional worlds for the blog tour of the second book of the series, The Guardians. And to celebrate, we also have a giveaway for an e-book copy of The Guardians! As usual, a little about the book before we hop to the guest post:The Guardians (MORE #2) by T.M. Franklin
Published: November 7th 2013 by The Writer's Coffee Shop
Format: Ebook, 255 pages
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Ava’s life is . . . complicated.
After all, it’s not every day a girl learns she’s not entirely human, or unlocks hidden powers strong enough to make even the First Race sit up and take notice. After surviving an attempted kidnapping and standing up to the Race’s Ruling Council, Ava Michaels returns to college and what she hopes is a normal life. But Ava quickly realizes that for her, normal may not even exist anymore.
In fact, the Council wants her under their control, and they’re not the only ones. The mysterious Rogues have a plan of their own, and it turns out Ava’s a big part of it, whether she wants to be or not.
On top of that, her new relationship is tested in ways she never expected. Her boyfriend, Caleb Foster, has disappeared—accused of betraying the Race—and Ava herself stands implicated in a crime she didn't commit.
Clearing their names will mean uncovering a web of deceit and intrigue with Ava woven right in the center. To unravel the strands, she joins forces with some unlikely allies; a Protector who once haunted her nightmares, a young girl with secrets as unexpected as Ava’s, and a group of rebel Guardians who have their own fight against the Council.
Together they stand in a battle to find the truth, bring Caleb home, and secure Ava’s freedom—not to mention save her life.
Creating the World of The Guardians
When it came to creating the world of the MORE Trilogy, I had some constraints I had to deal with. After all, their world lives in our world. The idea is that the First Race, an ancient race of people with superhuman abilities, have evolved alongside us, but pretty much live in secret.
“You’ve heard the myths,” he said to the tabletop where his fingertip drew absent designs. “The Titans, the Nephilim . . . larger-than-life heroes and villains who fill up your history books. Mythology that’s not so much mythology, if the truth were to be known. We are part of that myth . . . the fairy tales come to life, so to speak.”
“That’s . . .” Ava sputtered. “That’s just . . .” Ava’s head spun as she tried to disbelieve, tried to write off what he was saying as ridiculous, a ploy to distract her from her present troubles. But she found she couldn’t. As incredible as it sounded, she knew—deep down—that Caleb was telling her the truth. “So . . .” Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat, took a sip of her drink. “You’re some kind of . . . gods?”
Caleb chuckled. “Hardly,” he said, shaking his head then running a hand through his hair, damp from the drizzle outside. “We’re really not that different from you. Our scientists have studied our DNA, compared the two races extensively, and we’re really more alike than different. There are just a few genetic quirks that set us apart from ordinary humans.”
“But, where did you come from?”
“That’s the age-old question, isn’t it?” he said with a smile. “Where did you come from? It’s what we all want to know, and nobody does for sure. Most people believe that our race developed alongside yours—with a few evolutionary glitches along the way. Some say we were created like you, but with a little extra pinch of this and that by whoever did the creating.” He winked, and Ava couldn’t help but smile, even in the midst of such a strange conversation.
She tilted her head, studying him for a moment. “And what do you believe?”
“Me?” He sat back in the chair, head falling back on his shoulders as his eyes hit the ceiling. “I think that essentially, we’re human,” he said after a long moment.
“Just a little bit . . .” He searched for the right word. “More.”
— MORE, Chapter 8
Now, that raises the question – if the Race is so superior to ordinary humans, why don’t they just take over? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, their moral code is just as strong as their physical bodies, and they’re committed to helping humans in their evolution and development. However, self-preservation is also a concern. There are many more humans on Earth than there are Race, and the Race has learned over time that humans fear what they do not understand. They know that if humans learned about them, it could put them in danger.
For me, this meant the Race had to have a way both to hide, and to interact with humans without being noticed. Their settlements are protected with camouflage and illusions, and they even camouflage themselves so they don’t get any unwanted attention.
Of course, there are those who don’t think they should have to hide. They think the Race should be in charge. These Rogues have broken free of the Council’s rule and live for their own pleasure and power. They draw too much attention, however, not to mention putting humans in danger. Remember the Cyclops from mythology? Medusa? Goliath? What if they were Rogues? It’s a good thing the Council sends out Protectors to deal with such threats, isn’t it?
And then there are the Half-Breeds, the offspring from the forbidden relationship between a Race member and a human. Because they’re half-human, Half-Breeds often have no powers, but sometimes they do, and those powers are erratic and uncontrollable. It’s no wonder the Council sees them as a threat as well.
Not everyone agrees with the Council’s methods, though, which is where the Guardians come in. Their mission is to seek out these Half-Breeds and get them to safety before the Council can grab them. Make no mistake, however, the Guardians may be compassionate, but they are still a force to be reckoned with, as Ava finds out when she pays a visit to the Guardian Colony in Ontario.
“Impossible!” In a flash, he was hovering over her, an angry snarl twisting his lips, and Ava could feel the edge of a blade at her throat, the rough bark of a tree pressed all along her back.
She gasped, disoriented for a moment as he twisted the blade, pricking her skin just shy of drawing blood.
Tiernan started to get up, but he was shoved back to his knees by two men and the woman she’d assumed was the leader, their guns pointed directly at his head.
Emma whimpered, and Ava could feel the girl’s power—feel her wanting to fight back.
“No,” she whispered, locking eyes with the girl over her captor’s shoulder. “Emma, no.”
The power receded, tendrils stroking her skin as it departed.
The man pressed the knife more firmly against her skin, his words forced out through clenched teeth. “Now tell me who you really are.”
“Maybe pull that thing back a little so I can talk without you slicing my throat?”
Ava barely dared to move her lips.
With a quiet grunt, the man slid the knife down a little bit, the tip catching in the cord of her necklace. Her pendant slipped out from beneath her shirt, bouncing lightly against her chest, and his fingers tightened on her arm as he inhaled sharply. In a flash, he spun Ava around and threw her toward another man, who held her arms behind her.
Ava tried to catch her breath, dizzy with the quick movement. “What? What was that for?”
The dark-haired man advanced on her and wrapped his hand around the pendant. “Where did you get this?” he asked stonily.
“That’s none of your business!”
He twisted the cord, and it bit into the flesh of her neck. “Answer the question.”
— The Guardians, Chapter 9
The Colony is quite different from the Race city of New Elysia, which is featured in MORE. Still, in the end, creating the world of MORE and The Guardians was more about creating a culture and a history than creating a physical place. I really wanted readers to believe the world of MORE and The Guardians could exist. That it’s possible these extraordinary beings are out there right now – or maybe right next door.
Maybe you should look a little closer the next time you see your neighbor at the mailbox. ☺
I’ve just finished the first book of the series, MORE, and I enjoyed it immensely. The worldbuilding is particularly spectacular, and I really like the two protagonists.
Thanks to T. M. Franklin for taking the time out to tell us about her world-building process, and for The Writer’s Coffee Shop for organizing the blog tour! Here is your chance to win either signed copies of MORE and The Guardians, or one of five copies of The Guardians in e-book format, open internationally!