Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Title: Follow Through Darkness
Series: Boundless Trilogy
Author: Danielle Ellison
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: 21st October 2014

BLURB supplied by publisher
The truth won't always set you free.
Less than a year ago, Neely Ambrose’s biggest worry was having the freedom to follow a path that wasn't chosen for her.
Less than a year ago, she believed she could trust the Elders who said they had everyone’s best interest at heart and who said they were keeping them safe from the outside.
Sixty days ago, she discovered what they had planned for everyone she loved—and that all of it centered around her.
Now she’s on the run through a dangerous wasteland full of killing machines, secret organizations, and people who want to sell her back to the Elders for their own safety. The whole world outside the Compound is living proof that everything in Neely’s life was a lie manufactured by the Elders, which may even include the boy she loves.
All Neely wants is the truth, but each new piece of it drives her further from what she thought she knew. With only forty days until everyone she loves falls under the Elders’ mind control, Neely must decipher who to trust, what questions to ask, and how to get one step ahead of the Elders, who will do anything to keep their secrets buried.


Danielle Ellison spent of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It's probably the reason she can't divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next  adventure. It's also probably the reason she's had so many different zip codes and jobs.
When she’s not writing, Danielle is usually drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. Danielle is also the author of SALT and STORM, a series about a snarky witch without magic. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

Author Website / Twitter / Facebook / Amazon / B&N / Goodreads


Building this dystopian world

There’s not an easy method to building a world. I worked on FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS for four years from conception to release, and the world was something we were constantly tweaking. I had the added challenge of building two worlds within one book: the world of the Compound that my main character, Neely, lives in and the world outside, the Old World. Even in that the Old World has various locations, traditions, ways of working (much like our country has southernisms and northernisms, etc.) so I also had to figure out what each of these felt and looked like, and the kind of people who lived there. Plus I had to determine the whole history of the United States, since this book is centuries from our time.

When I first started writing this book, I didn’t know any of those things. I had to figure them out, and to do that I started with the Compound. I knew the place had to be structured, very controlled, simple and Puritan-esque and almost predictable in order for it to be a place that Neely wanted out of. I made a list of rules that I knew would be present in the Compound, and then I just started writing. As it developed, the Compound became a place that felt very good on the outside. No problems, no questions, no disruptions—but all of that is obviously very suspicious. So I used it as a jumping off point and just went. That’s really where I started to find the rest of the story, the challenge, the reason people were hunting Neely. The whole story was born when I figured out what this world she was running away from was like—and then, through the revisions and editing process, all of these things became more layered and more developed.

Once I had the world she left figured out, I had to determine what the Old World, the world beyond hers, was like. With centuries of decay, of Cleaners prowling the world for humans, of nature just doing what it does—I knew the world had to feel lost and old. Very dark, considering the nature of how the it all ended, and dangerous. Initially, Neely was just thrown right into it, but through editing and revisions, I started to realize that there would be different types of people living in different regions. They’d have to adjust to live wherever they were, and it wouldn’t all be same. I did, however, want each area of life to have an underground bunker and lifestyle, considering that to live above with the Cleaners, completely in the open with no safe place, would be really dangerous for them.

One of area in the Old World is the Burrows. The people of the Burrows have taken up residence in old subway tunnels—which in my world stretch longer distances than just in major cities. The people here are dirtier, darker, and more bitter. They never go above, ever, and stay alive because of the Mavericks bring supplies and because they’ve learned to live in the darkness.

Meanwhile, above, each location of survivors operate a different way.  One of them, for example, lives mostly above ground because they got comfortable there, but they also have the underground zones. Another has built their camp into the crevasses of the mountains. As the series goes on, you’ll see more and more of these regions and varying methods of survival. You’ll really get to see and experience those areas and the differences between the people who live in them.

The last aspect of the world building is the history—the Preservation and the Elders, what happened to the Old World, and why the Compounds were built. I won’t go into all of that (you have to read the book!) but I do want to say that I had to really map out the entire history of everything and everyone in the story. I have a Boundless Bible (that’s what we call it) that details every aspect of the world. My favorite detail in the history is the Raven’s Flesh. To think that the U.S. was taken out by a simple disease that started with the birds is creepy because it very much feels like something we could experience today. The birds eat a disease-infested mouse, the birds die, the people get sick from eating the birds, the people die. I didn’t know that history until I wrote it, but it adds this whole other element to the world for me.

The one thing I love about this series is that there are so many different worlds within this one world. It makes it very difficult to write, but I also think it adds more realness to the place Neely lives, the places she goes, and the things she gets to experience. 


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