The following is an interview with Ashley and Leslie Saunders, authors of the recently released novel, The Rule of One. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with the Saunders sisters about the inspiration behind the novel, their shared creative process in bringing the story to life, what they hope that readers will take away from the novel, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, The Rule of One! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Ashley and Leslie Saunders: The Rule of One is about twin sisters born into a near-future United States that has adopted a one-child policy. Their world gets turned upside down when the governor’s son discovers their secret, and they’re forced to go on the run.
We love sci-fi/adventure stories, and we always wanted to tell a story about twin sisters. We asked ourselves: What is the highest stakes we could put our twin protagonists in, and we came up with a one-child law inspired by the former policy from China, then built the world of The Rule of One from there.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in writing the book, and what have been some of your creative influences? Likewise, how do you feel that your work as filmmakers may have aided your writing process?
A&L: The Rule of One began as a screenplay we first started writing years ago. We heavily outlined the plot together and shared writing every scene. For the novel, it was a lot of fun having interchanging POVs and dividing the chapters of Ava and Mira. Ashley wrote all of Ava’s chapters, being the elder twin and I (Leslie) wrote all Mira’s chapters, the youngest sister. It was very freeing to dive deeper into each character, writing in first person, writing actual feelings rather than sticking to the limitations of the visual skeletal style of screenplays.
BD: In looking back at your creative process, were there any challenges or experiences about writing a novel that you had not anticipated?
A&L: Having the screenplay (draft ten of a screenplay to be exact) was a tremendous help when we set out to write our first novel. Having sound bones and the arcs of every character already fleshed out made the process for adapting the story into novel form a much easier transition than it could have been. Our number one obstacle was time. As one can imagine, it took a lot longer to write a novel than a screenplay and we had to learn to be patient with ourselves!
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
A&L: We hope that readers will have a better understanding of the powerful, unique bond of a twin sister relationship. It’s also a cautionary tale for what can happen when citizens let go of too much control.
BD: Given that The Rule of One is geared towards a Young Adult audience, is there any advice that you would like to offer to our younger readers who may be interested in writing their own novel?
A&L: Read everything, even genres you don’t necessarily want to write about. We heavily outline before writing; it helps us set the structure, which for us is key to not getting lost in the middle of the story (the dreaded no-man’s-land). Ask yourself, what story can only you tell? Ask yourself why that story needs to be told right now. Set daily word counts or page counts and then write, page by page, until you have a complete story. Rome was built brick by brick!
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
A&L: We’re currently finishing up the sequel, The Rule of Many, and just began writing the television pilot for The Rule of One!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Rule of One?
A&L: Follow us on Instagram or Twitter (@saunderssisters) or visit our website, www.thesaunderssisters.com.