The Spark is a series of guest blogs highlighting new African fiction with authors writing about what lit up this book in their heads.
Melissa Delport is the author of The Legacy Trilogy. For ten years she owned and successfully operated her own specialised logistics company.ntil she woke up one morning and decided that it was time to put her English degree to good use and write books. In 2013, she was offered a publishing contract for her Legacy Trilogy, and followed this with The Traveler, Rainfall, and the recently released “Guardians of Summerfeld” series. While she does not miss the corporate world, she does sometimes miss the novelty of being taken seriously. Melissa resides in Hillcrest, Kwa-Zulu Natal with her husband and three children. None of whom take her seriously.
The Spark for The Legacy Trilogy by Melissa Delport
I wish I could say that the spark which inspired the Legacy Trilogy was ignited through a profound desire to write a literary novel the likes of which the world had never seen. Sadly, my motives weren’t that altruistic. My “spark” was ignited through a love of reading, and the steadfast arrogance of every new writer… the belief that I could do better. Seeing as though I haven’t ousted the mighty Suzanne Collins from her throne, this may have been slightly optimistic.
Three years ago I was reading a lot of speculative fiction, particularly in the dystopian and SFF genres. With the YA crossover, I ended up reading a fair number of YA books. I devoured them all, every story intriguing and inspiring me, but I felt slightly disappointed that in the direst of circumstances, it was always the most unexceptional, ordinary people who survived. In my mind, I imagined an extraordinary character equipped with the necessary skills and training to not only survive, but excel in these speculative situations. And so, Rebecca Davis – the protagonist of The Legacy Trilogy – was born.
The creation of Rebecca’s character then inspired me to write The Legacy. She was my greatest inspiration, my muse. Her story simply needed to be told and, as I breathed life into her character, so she became an entity all of her own. Her story unfolded as if she were telling it to me, and often during the writing process I felt that I was simply the instrument – a ghost writer for this exceptional character that had become so real to me.
Rebecca is so incredibly determined, strong and feisty, and prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause she believes in. She is also not unwillingly foisted into the war against oppression and tyranny. She makes a conscious choice, and that choice makes all the difference, setting her apart from other dystopian heroines. Rebecca takes the road less travelled, armed with knowledge of the risks involved, but she believes that the risks are worth it. And she kicks ass… a lot of it!
Another aspect of The Legacy that inspired me was the world building. I love that while the Rebeldom represents all the traditional destruction that characterizes dystopian fiction, there is the contrast of the opulence of the New United States. Speculative fiction allows us to stretch the limits of our imagination, taking the reader places they never expected to go.
The deeper I got into this story, the more inspired I became. It burnt a hole in my head until I got it all out, but ultimately, it started with one character. It’s probably why I wrote the Legacy in the first person narrative – that connection to that central character.