Enchanted by Laurie Lucking’s Common

Laurie Lucking, the author of the lovely fantasy adventure Common, is here to give us an inside look into the world building featured in the story. Also, yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Common‘s release date!

Happy Book Birthday, Laurie, and thanks for coming on the blog. For those who aren’t familiar with Common, tell us a bit about it.

Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Common is a young adult fantasy story recommended for pre-teens, teens, and adults who enjoy fairy tales with happily-ever-afters. :)

I love that the heroine is a maidservant. What sort of places will we travel to in the story?

Most of the story takes place at the royal palace of Imperia, Dorendyn Castle, which is a large structure with white marble, tall windows, wide arches, and beautiful gardens. When my protagonist, Leah, is forced to travel to Trellich later in the book, she finds the mountainous landscape to be beautiful but desolate. Glonsel Palace, the home of the Trellan royal family, is a much darker building encased by a wall and topped with pointed turrets.

Castles, gardens, and mountains–sounds beautiful. How are Imperia and Trellich different from our world?

On the surface, Imperia and Trellich don’t look too different from a historical version of our world. The plants and landscape have some slight variations, but overall I think most of us would feel like we’d been transported back in time rather than to a fantasy world. But the differences show up during the course of the story – dark magic exists in these countries, though the sorcerers have been driven into hiding. Also hidden away in seclusion are women who can fight that dark magic with a power of their own derived from the Luminate.

The nuns–those women hidden away in seclusion–they were some of my favorite characters. What inspired you to write about nuns with mystical powers?

As for the nuns, I knew a sorcerer would be involved in the plot against the royal family, and I needed someone who would be powerful enough to fight against him. But I wanted their power source to come from God. I’ve always enjoyed studying the saints, and there was a particular group of saints called mystics who lived in seclusion to achieve a greater union with God. At the height of such union, they might receive a vision or revelation. Using my creative license as a fantasy writer, I took the idea one step further and made the mystics in my story capable of calling on their amplified union with God to perform mighty deeds in His name, thus creating sorcerer-fighting nuns!

Learn more about the real-world inspiration of the mystics on MysticsoftheChurch.com.

I never knew there were a group of saints known as mystics. That’s awesome! So what makes Common‘s world unique?

The most unique aspects of the world of Common come from its history and customs. Imperia and Trellich have long been at odds with each other, making for a tense relationship between the royal families and a tightly-guarded border. The Gravedigger’s Bounty, an illness that spread quickly through Trellich and caused Imperia to close its borders completely for a time, only put further strain on their relations. While the royalty of each country have the opportunity to take pleasure in many lavish banquets and parties, the servants of Imperia look forward to the Peasantry Festival each year, when they’re allowed to take a day off to peruse food and goods vendors and enjoy music and dancing.

Peasantry Festival (inspiration)

Every story world starts with an idea. What idea inspired the story of Common?

My world was really inspired by the story itself – as my story grew, the characters’ world developed around them. I love fairy tales, so I immediately pictured my story taking place in world with a quintessential fairy tale feel. And back in college I had the opportunity to spend a semester in England, so my travels there definitely inspired a lot of how I pictured the landscape and castles in Common.

It sounds like you did a lot of research in writing this story. I know you have plans for a second book in this series, but can you share with us some of the research that went into this book?

Most of my research involved historical details about carriages, clothing, building materials, etc. Since Leah embarks on a fair amount of travel during the latter portion of the book, I looked into how much ground can reasonably be covered in a day on foot, on horseback, and via carriage. I also did some research into the mystics of the early Christian church, since they were my inspiration for the unusual group of nuns that provide shelter and aid to Leah. I wish I could say more, but…spoilers! :)

I understand. Definitely, don’t want to spoil the story for anyone else. :)

Grab a copy of Common at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, or iTunes.

I’m so glad you stopped by to talk about Common and the wonderful influences that went into building your fairy tale world. Thanks, Laurie!

About Laurie Lucking

An avid reader practically since birth, Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. When she gets a break from playing superheroes and driving windup cars, she writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of fairy tale romance. Her debut novel, Common, won third place in the Christian Women Reader’s Club Literary Lighthouse Awards, and her short story, “Threshold,” was published in a Fellowship of Fantasy anthology titled Mythical Doorways. Laurie is the Secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of Lands Uncharted, a blog for fans of clean young adult fantasy and science fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more by visiting www.laurielucking.com.

Connect with Laurie through her website, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find her on Lands Uncharted talking about books and the business of being an author.

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