Living in modern times can feel like the stuff of dystopian fiction — yet we never get tired of the genre. These kinds of stories can be like holding a mirror up to our society as it is now, or where it may be headed. But unlike the news or our current state of affairs, a great dystopian novel can be a thrilling, thought-provoking escape that you'll want to spend hours curling up with to read.
If you're looking for a great new dystopian novel, we've found your next read. Written by IRL twin sisters Ashley and Leslie Saunders, The Rule of One imagines a not-too-distant-future United States having adopted a one-child only policy. For eighteen years, twin sisters Ava and Mira have been swapping places to keep their family secret safe. The fact that their father is the head of the Texas Family Planning Division works in their favor. When they're exposed, they must flee everything they know and hold dear. They take off on a cross-country harrowing adventure to survive. But with law enforcement hunting them, will they make it?
Also, ever wonder what it would be like to write a book with your sister? We got a chance to chat with the sister team behind this compelling new book, to hear a little more about the research process, the sister protagonists, and the world they live in. Read on, and order your copy of The Rule of One from Amazon today!
1. What was the research process like for this book? We saw that you did lots of traveling...
Over the course of a year we read lots of books on climate change and heavily researched what a near-future America might look like in terms of technological advancement. About half-way through writing the book, we took a pause and decided to head out on the same path Ava and Mira take in the story. We really wanted to fully immerse ourselves within the isolating settings the sisters encounter, so for twenty days, it was just the two of us out on the open road. Some of our adventures ended up in the novel, like how we got stalked by a bobcat in Palo Duro Canyon State Park– except in the book we turned the wild cat into feral dogs. During our road trip, we absolutely fell in love with America’s national parks. Yellowstone was our first one, and now we’re at twenty-two and counting!
2. What does the process of co-writing a book as sisters look like?
We’re lucky that we both agree 99.9% on story and characters and are interested in the same themes and plot twists. We’re in the writer’s cave with each other sometimes up to 14 hours a day, constantly editing and pushing each other’s work. It’s amazing, actually, to have each other as writing partners. We’re very close and have shared the same life experiences since we were in the womb-- so we’re both just automatically on the same wavelength, living and dreaming up the same worlds in our heads.
3. Do either of you identify more with either Ava or Mira?
A really fun fact about The Rule of One is that the story is told through the interchanging POVs’ of the twin sisters. Ashley, the elder twin, wrote all of Ava’s chapters and Leslie took charge of Mira’s chapters, the youngest twin. It was both therapeutic and enthralling diving into the theme of identity and exploring the varying roles siblings tend to place onto themselves and onto each other.
4. We know there must be plenty of real-world inspiration for Ava and Mira, but what was the source of inspiration behind the plot for this book?
Being twin sisters, it was always very important for us to tell an authentic twin sister story. We love adventure and high stakes. We asked ourselves: what are the highest stakes we can put our twin protagonists in? We then thought of China’s former one-child policy and used that as inspiration to begin building a future U.S. that would impose such a ruthless law. We also love stories that are about the strong bonds of family and different types of people all coming together for a single cause. Can’t get enough of them.
5. We just finished book one and have to know — what’s next for Ava and Mira?
Ava and Mira continue their journey in the sequel, The Rule Of Many, which comes out May 7th. In the second book we open up the world to two new POV chapters outside of our twin heroes. We both wrote each new character’s chapters together, which made for an exciting, new experience for us. We also just started working on adapting the series into a television pilot, which has been a massive dream of ours.
This article is sponsored by Amazon Publishing. Order your copy of The Rule of One on Amazon now!