Today I am honored to have Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner on My Friends Are Fiction. If you follow me on Twitter or this blog you know that I absolutely adored their book, These Broken Stars. This is a must read for anyone that enjoys great characters, a sweeping story with a good helping of science fiction thrown in.
Thank you both so much for being here and answering my questions.
I read that you two have been writing together for years for fun but just recently have delved into doing it professionally. How does the publishing experience differ between doing it with a partner versus alone?
Co-authoring is a tremendous amount of fun when you find the right partner. One of the best parts is that you’re never alone; if you get stuck or you’re not sure something’s working, you have someone right there beside you who’s as intimately familiar and invested with the story as you are. It’s one thing to ask a critique partner for advice when you’re writing solo, but there’s absolutely nothing like having someone literally inside the story with you. And we’re so closely-linked that we’ll often get the same exact idea for a plot solution at the same time. We have dozens of time-stamped emails and IM chats where we’ve proposed the same twists and revisions to each other at the same time.
As I read These Broken Stars I felt that the entire book flowed beautifully and couldn’t help but wonder how you two co-write. Does each of you take on a character or work on the entire novel in tandem? Could you tell us a bit about the process?
We each take one of the two main characters as our own. In THESE BROKEN STARS, Amie wrote Tarver and Meg wrote Lilac—along with any of the characters associated with them. For example, Amie was in charge of Tarver’s brother, Alec, while Meg was in charge of Anna, Lilac’s cousin, and of course, Lilac’s father. We will play with these characters and act out the dialogue with each other via instant messenger, and get a feel for the development of the relationships, and then we alternate chapters based on POV. That said… once we hit revisions, we both rewrite and revise each other’s chapters heavily. So by the time the book is done, there are whole sections of it where we actually literally don’t know who wrote what. By the end, it’s a true melding of both our styles.
I felt that you were able to transmit such an amazing atmosphere throughout These Broken Stars, on the ship and once they had crash landed. Was there a certain setting that you found more inspirational?
We’re both big fans of survival adventure stories. Shipwreck stories are endlessly fascinating, but the best ones are always the ones where there’s some mystery about the place the heroes are stranded. So we knew straight away that we wanted the planet Lilac and Tarver crash on to be almost its own character in the story, a third character with even more mystery and back story than our main characters. Our decision as we wrote and planned the book was that no idea was too out there to propose, so this world took place with strange beasts and plants and a moon that didn’t make sense and voices and apparitions and general insanity. The planet itself was a big inspiration to us, in that way. We loved tying it all together and finally revealing what had happened to make it what it was.
I have heard that there will not be a direct follow-up but a companion novel; could you tell us anything about it?
THIS SHATTERED WORLD is, indeed, a companion novel. It’s set in the same universe, about six months after the events of THESE BROKEN STARS. It follows a rebel named Flynn Cormac, who’s fighting for the rights of the colonists on the newly-terraformed Avon, and a military captain named Jubilee Chase, who’s obsessed with ending the rebellion and protecting her people. Where THESE BROKEN STARS is a survival story, THIS SHATTERED WORLD is much more a war story, a rebellion story. It’s all about whether you’ve chosen the right side, and what you really want to fight for. And, because we could never resist, it’s very possible you might see a couple of familiar faces on Avon, as events transpire…
What did each of you want your readers to take away from their experience reading These Broken Stars?
As authors, we’re both all about what you can make your reader feel. We wanted a story that would take readers on a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs and twists, because that’s the kind of story we both love to read. A fast-paced plot or mystery is all well and good, but to us, if you don’t deeply care for the characters involved, it doesn’t grab you quite as much. So we wanted people to come away feeling like they actually knew Lilac and Tarver, and to carry them around in their hearts like old friends.
About the Authors:
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are the authors of These Broken Stars, a young adult science fiction novel forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion. They’re longtime friends and sometime flatmates who have traveled the world (but not yet the galaxy), covering every continent between them. They are sure outer space is only a matter of time. Meagan, who is also the author of the Skylark trilogy, currently lives in Asheville, NC, while Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia. Although they currently live apart, they are united by their love of space opera, road trips, and second breakfasts.
More about These Broken Stars:
Visit the These Broken Stars website for the latest news on the series and follow the authors on Twitter at @AmieKaufman and @MeaganSpooner. You may also sign up for their newsletter as well!
These Broken Stars is now available at your local bookstore, or online at your favorite retailer.