Episode 235: Double Trouble: Writing Near-Fi Dystopia — Interview with Ashley and Leslie Saunders

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I am so excited to have Ashley and Leslie Saunders on the show!

Ashley and Leslie are award-winning filmmakers, twin sisters, and authors. Hailing from the suburbs of Dallas these two honed their love of storytelling at The University of Texas at Austin.

While researching their debut novel, The Rule of One, Ashley and Leslie fell in love with America’s national parks, as they traveled the path of their main characters (also twin sisters) Ava and Mira.

I’m reading The Rule of One right now, and OMG it is soooooo good! I was delighted to learn that this book will be followed by a sequel, The Rule Of Many, releasing in spring of 2019.

So listen in as Ashley, Leslie, and I chat about this awesome book, and and crafting a visually stunning near-fi dystopia on the page.

In this episode Ashley, Leslie, and I discuss:

  • Crafting a realistic twin sister relationship.
  • Worldbuilding techniques for “near-fi” stories.
  • The challenges of writing a novel vs. a screenplay.
  • How to build a visual story on the page.
  • Why connecting with other writers can motivate you to keep writing.

Plus, Ashley’s and Leslie’s #1 tips for writers.

About Ashley and Leslie Saunders

Hailing from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders are award-winning filmmakers and twin sisters who honed their love of storytelling at The University of Texas at Austin. Their first novel, The Rule of One, is available now and will be followed by the sequel, The Rule Of Many, coming in spring of 2019.

While researching The Rule of One, they fell in love with America’s national parks, traveling the path of Ava and Mira. The sisters can currently be found with their Boston terriers in sunny Los Angeles, exploring hiking trails and drinking entirely too much yerba mate.

To connect with Ashley and Leslie check out their website at thesaunderssisters.com.

The Rule of One

In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.

In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.

She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.


If you decide to check out The Rule of One or would like to pre-order The Rule of Many we hope you’ll do so via these Amazon affiliate links, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!


Link to Episode 235

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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