For this week's July Debut feature, we're excited to welcome Emily Lloyd-Jones whose debut novel, Illusive, releases on July 15th! Illusive is a Sci-Fi adventure story about people who developed "adverse effects" or superpowers upon taking vaccines to stop a widespread epidemic. I thought it would be fun and interesting to know more about these powers so I'm thrilled when Emily Lloyd-Jones provided us with this cool guest post. Learn more about Emily Lloyd-Jones and the superpowers featured in Illusive, and enter for a SIGNED Hardcover copy of her debut below!
I have a confession: I'm addicted to world-building.
To write a novel, I have a compulsive need to know everything about it. For everything I write, there's about 10,000 words of essays, character backgrounds, and timelines that never make it into the actual text. Even in the world of Illusive, which strongly resembles our current society, I spent weeks going over everything from technological advances to character aliases.
One of the aspects of the world I spent the most time on were the superpowers. Or "adverse effects", as everyone in-world refers to them. Because these powers are side effects of a vaccine gone wrong, they're viewed as physical glitches instead of real powers.
Photo credit: http://giphy.com/gifs/UVQQrjRpUnUvS
My aim in writing Illusive was to create a realistic superhero story. To ground the powers in reality, I didn't want anything too out there--no laser vision or straight-up flight for my characters.
Then it occurred to me: what if the powers weren't new or exciting? What if they were things people could see today… in a Vegas show, perhaps?
Which is how all of the powers ended up being loosely based in stage magic. They are as follows:
Eludere - increased intuition
Eidos - perfect recall
Levitas - levitation
Dauthus - body manipulation
Mentalist - telepathy
Illusionist - projecting life-like illusions
Dominus - hypnotism
Every power has limits - for example, illusions cannot work on technological devices and mentalism is limited to skin-to-skin contact. As I created those limits, they began to inform the plot. For example, what if my main character was faced with security cameras? How would a mentalist dig into the mind of someone he has no real reason to touch?
These questions fed back into the plot of the novel, informing the conflicts that my characters had to face. And that, I think, is the fun of world-building.