Ever wondered why the elves are being attacked by humans? In a fantasy world, surely there was another, more fearsome race who could pose a threat to the physically superior elves, right? Humans are the low man on the totem pole in most fantasy stories; they rank beneath elves, dwarves, dragons, and whichever other races happen to populate the author's particular world. They have no special culture; they have no grandiose halls or amazing architecture; they have swords and bows while others have supernatural weapons/skill/animals; really, the humans in most fantasy book are struggling to find their place amongst these stronger (and typically more interesting) people.
So I thought to my self: Self, what would happen if the humans were the bad guys in this book? What if they were the big, bad villains? They basically get stepped on by all these other fantastical, ethereal creatures in most stories. Maybe it's time the humans got a chance to take the spotlight. Typically elves and humans are forced into an often reluctant alliance in order to defeat the dark, scary villain (think The Lord of the Rings, or The Inheritance Cycle), and when it's all said and done, the elves can't wait to return to their ethereal, dusty libraries and get back to stoically contemplating their place in the universe. Thus, with my new idea of humans vs. ________ in hand, I elected to pit them against the elves. I wanted to see what they would do when (surprise!) the humans suddenly attacked and wanted them all dead! Would the elves be prepared after living lives of tranquil peace for centuries? Or would they panic and (figuratively) run around like chickens with their heads cut off? With basically no army to speak of, since they hadn't faced any legitimate threats in centuries, and only ancient family heirlooms for weapons, the elves would be facing a completely unprecedented situation with no way out. Since humans are usually regarded as potential allies for the elves in fantasy stories, this would throw a unique curve-ball at the reader.
And I really liked this idea the more I thought about it. Humans vs. elves—there had to be a reason the humans were back after centuries of supposed extinction, right? So I started creating an epic back-story (of which you will learn pieces in Book Two and the full explanation in Book Three) and really delving into the centuries of deep hatred that was festering within the remaining human countries. The elves nearly drove them to extinction during the War of the Red Moon, and now they were back and ready for revenge.
Here's what fellow author Marta Stahlfeld had to say about this particular facet of Sons and Daughters:
“A lot of people have told me that there's nothing new under the sun, and Mortimer Adler said in How to Read a Book that there are some plots that have been done to death. Young Falcon was not, repeat NOT, one of them. A general idea in Elizabeth Anne McKinney's book is this concept of back from the brink. Humankind was thought to be extinct, a fairy tale, no longer worthy of concern, and all at once they're back wrecking an epic revenge. Back from the brink has not been done enough, which is too bad because it is an epic way of telling a story.”
This theme will feature heavily throughout the entire series. If it's something about Young Falcon that you loved, stick around; there will be plenty more where that came from! :)