My special guest today is Sonya Clark, author of the absolutely marvelous Trancehack (reviewed here) and today’s review book Witchlight. I fell in love with the world of the Magic Born that Sonya introduced in Trancehack, so I was over the moon when she agreed to let us in on a few of the secrets behind her world creation. (I wouldn’t want to live on either side of her dystopia, but the way she put it together is awesome).
I can’t wait for book 3 (I’m so glad there is one!!!) In the meantime, this should help tide me over. A bit.
Behind the Magic Born World
by Sonya Clark
The world-building for the Magic Born series is drawn from a lot of different inspirations and ideas. The backstory includes a bit of alternate history: in the early aught’s, hacktivists discover documents proving that the US and other governments know about the existence of magic and use witchcraft in secret. (Remember all the Wikileaks document dumps of several years ago? Yeah, that.) The revelation is shocking the world over, but in some countries the fear of magic and witches leads to violence. The US government passes the Magic Laws which essentially strip the Magic Born of all rights of citizenship and forces them to live in urban reservations. This calms the fearful Normal populace and stops the bloodshed, for the most part.
But it comes at a price: infants undergo DNA testing, and if found to have magic in the blood, they are sent to live in the zones. This begins a breakdown in families that threatens the underpinnings of society. By the time the series starts, single-child families are the norm and many of the younger generation don’t want to have children at all. Hearkening back to our Civil War history, there is a new underground railroad. This time, it helps both Magic Born and Normals who want to flee the oppressive laws and find refuge in more open countries.
In this alternate history backstory, the US is not the only country to react this way, but it is one of few. Most of the world adapts to having magic out in the open. Eventually, economic sanctions are put in place against those nations that deny witches human rights. By the time the series starts, those sanctions have been in place so long that the economy is in pretty much permanent recession, with no hope of improving.
What did I base this on? A number of things. I read about Native American reservations and South African apartheid. I also drew a little from personal experience. My father is retired military and we lived in Frankfurt, Germany when the Berlin Wall fell. After the borders opened, East Germans became a regular sight in Frankfurt. You could easily tell them apart from their West German counterparts. East Germany and the other Soviet Bloc nations had been living under horrible repression and incredibly restricted economic conditions. Several decades of that took a huge toll, but that kind of authoritarianism proved ultimately unsustainable. Seeing East Germans discover life in the open, free West made for some lasting memories. So did seeing the result of placing ideology above reality, choosing fear instead of facing change.
There’s not a literal version of the Berlin Wall in Witchlight, but this is definitely the book where life gets tougher for the Magic Born. I don’t want to give away too much spoilery information, but I will say this: it is a romance novel, and it is the middle book of a dystopian trilogy. Make of that what you will. 🙂
Sonya Clark grew up a military brat and now lives in Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with a heavy helping of magic and lot of music for inspiration. Learn more at http://www.sonyaclark.net and sign up for her new releases announcement list at http://eepurl.com/bT3NL. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Sonya is kindly giving away a digital copy of Witchlight. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below.