Wednesday 4 September 2013

Guest Post: Natasha Ngan's Love Letter to The Elites.

The Elites by Natasha Ngan || Release date: September 5th 2013.

‘There is a rumour that the Elites don’t bleed.’

Hundreds of years into the future, wars, riots, resource crises and rising sea-levels have destroyed the old civilisations. Only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a city full of cultures – and racial tension.

Fifteen-year-old Silver is an Elite, a citizen of Neo-Babel chosen to guard the city due to her superior DNA. She’d never dream of leaving – but then she fails to prevent the assassination of Neo Babel’s president, setting off a chain of events more shocking and devastating than she could ever have imagined. Forced to flee the city with her best friend Butterfly (a boy with genetically-enhanced wings), Silver will have to fight to find her family, uncover the truth about Neo-Babel and come to terms with her complicated feelings for Butterfly.

Packed full of adventure, romance, exoticism and the power of friendship, The Elites is a highly compelling and beautifully written novel from a supremely talented debut author.


Guest Post: Natasha Ngan on how writing The Elites was like a love story 


When people ask me for an analogy to describe what it's like to write a book, I usually say a marathon. And it is - all the prep and training beforehand, the butterflies-in-the-stomach just before the start, that first flourish of energy where you can conquer the world. Then of course, the descent into why the hell did I sign up to do this and oh my gosh could anything in the world ever be any harder than this?! And then - the finish line! That final sprint, where everything tumbles into place and you realise you have conquered the world, and although you're all broken bones and tired heart, you made it, you did it, you won.

But for me, writing my first novel The Elites was also like falling in love. More than that, actually - the whole love story, from first sight to arghh I can't stand you, from feeling like all your dreams have been answered to realising hey, this is actually a lot of work and comprise, and sometimes you can't see what the point of bothering is. So here it is, the beautiful (*cough* realistic) love story between me, Natasha Ngan, and this lovely little idea that first stumbled into my life in my second year of university, all shiny and new and come-hither eyes. 

Before we Met (pre-Elites) 

Oh, I was doing ok before you came along, dear story, but there was just something missing. I'd daydream about meeting an idea like you. I'd go on dates with other ideas. But none of it felt quite right. I longed for an idea which truly captured my heart, which made my fingers fly across the keyboards. I knew you were out there. I just didn't know what you looked like.

First Meeting (initial idea)

I felt that rush of adrenaline the moment our eyes met. You tumbled into my mind, tentative at first, and then bolder when I didn't shy away. You didn't give much of yourself away to me at that point - just a single first line. A line that would forever unite us, a symbol of our love. You went as quickly as you arrived, leaving me with nothing but the taste of what our future could be.

First Dates (world-building, plotting, research)

We courted slowly. Carefully. You were shy and hesitant, unfurling slowly in my mind. I was cautious and realistic - in my heart, I knew this was something special, but I didn't want to ruin it, didn't want to throw too much of myself into our relationship in case you backed away, disappeared from my life. But the chemistry was there. Even those few first jotted notes and scenes contained the promise of something wonderful.

Relationship Status: In a Relationship (beginning first draft)

We were finally ready to announce our love to the world. I promised to dedicate myself solely to you - no other idea would distract me away from spending time with you. I saw you every day. We evolved together, you offering new sides to yourself I hadn't even dreamed of, and me working tirelessly to please you, to make sure I was doing you justice. The friends and family we told were supportive but cautious. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, they told me. Be careful. I was working full time and had two jobs, and outside of that I always made time for you. But I wasn't ready to fully commit yet.

Doubt (middle of first draft)

We were doing ok. We were still enjoying our time together, but I started noticing other ideas. They flirted in my mind, dancing up to me and winking, teasing me with their youngness and freshness. You were looking a little ragged, a little worse for wear. I was tired just keeping up with you. I won't lie - I was tempted. I took some of those ideas' numbers. But I never strayed. No matter how hard it got between us, I always came back to you.

Falling in Love (towards end of first draft)

I thought I'd fallen in love with you already, but I fell again. How beautiful you are, I realised! How gorgeous! You made me feel beautiful too just by being mine. We danced and drank and whirled our way towards what would surely be a proposal and life-long unity. I wanted to shout to all the world about how much I loved you, how brilliant you were. We barely slept, spending all our nights together. I longed to be with you whenever we were apart.

Doubt, part 2 (editing/revisions)

I started to see all your flaws. I'd seen echoes of them earlier, but now I really saw them, focused solely on them, worried about how I'd cope with them. I was scared you weren't everything I thought you were. I was scared I wasn't everything I thought I was. I started to pull back. But no matter how scared I was, you were there, reassuring me. We worked on our love. And it was hard, but we were so much better for it afterwards. We emerged back into the world, bold and brave and ready to take it on. 

Old Age (post-publishing deal)

Now here we are, happily married after decades (*cough* months) together. You do look a little worn, but for the most part I look at you and smile, knowing how far we've come. We even have children - new ideas, lots of them, born out of the things you've taught me. A few are growing up fast. Some are still young and tentatively taking their first steps. But I feel stronger, more able to look after them, because of all the things we learnt together. Thank you, dear Elites. You will forever be my first.


What a wonderful guest post, don't you agree?  Thank you so much for writing this, Natasha. 

The Elites is releases tomorrow, September 5th 2013 from Hot Key Books. 

You can find out more about Natasha by reading her BLOG and following her on twitter: @girlinthelens


  1. That cover is awesome and it sounds so good. Great guest post :-)

  2. Liz @ Planet Print4 September 2013 at 21:14

    Really loved this post! Very clever, and I can see how each step relates to the novel-writing process. Really excited to read The Elites as well! Fab post, thanks :).

  3. This is such a different but fun post Leanna. I love learning about how this story came about. This book also sounds like a fantastic read!

  4. ChristinaBookAddict6 September 2013 at 01:05

    Love this guest post... I will definitely be keeping my eye out for The Elites....The cover is fantastic!


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