Interview with Meagan Spooner & Amie Kaufman + Giveaway

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.

  JointHeadshotTBSFinalCover

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.

Extras:
My review of These Broken Stars
Click here to see Lego recreation of the cover and fun tidbit about how Tarver got his name
Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments

  1. says

    Love this interview, Kristen! I am amazed at how these two are collaborating on this series…I don’t think I would work well enough with anyone to be able to come up with something as awesome as TBS…there would be slapping involved, at least. :P And they don’t even live in the same country! ;0) They certainly did make me feel…I rarely shed tears while reading, but I did in this one. The characters were brilliant, and I do so hope to see them in the next book. I miss them already! :D

    • says

      I totally agree Jen…there is no way I’d work so well with someone else. I’m terrified of the idea of co-blogging so co-authoring? Amazing that they mesh so brilliantly. I have read a few other co-authored books and did not enjoy them at all…I could feel one person’s work vs. the other which was highly distracting. TBS flows seamlessly and I would never had known two minds had worked on it. I miss the characters too…this was one of my faves of last year and has made my favorite books ever list for sure.

  2. says

    It’s interesting to hear how the writing works. I’ve always wondered about the process between co-authors. :)
    Re: surviving a crash. High probability of……no. I’m very much not a wilderness girl so I don’t think I can survive and fend for myself in an unknown place.

    • says

      I think it is fascinating thinking of how they work together so successfully. Honestly, TBS is the only co-authored book I’ve read that I enjoyed.

      I think my survival would depend highly on who I was with. My husband with me–then yes, he’d make sure I did :-)

    • says

      Thank you Amy! I had scheduled with them ages ago and was so happy to finally post their responses. They even co-authored the interview brilliantly!

      I wouldn’t survive if I were on my own–no chance.

  3. says

    I’m super excited for the companion novel now, especially with the back story that ties in all three books together. AND FAMILIAR FACES! Does that mean we get to see Lilac and Tarver again?? Because that would be awesome!

    • says

      To be honest when I heard it was a companion and not a sequel I was the slightest bit disappointed…but with their response to my question I was overwhelmingly excited. They are brilliant and I’ll read what ever they produce together or by themselves.

  4. says

    Well I don’t think I would survive a crash. Small chance. I’m not so much of a person to survive and I can’t even bake an egg to save my life. So I guess I’d probably die of starvation or anything if I hadn’t yet died in the crash itself because I was panicking :P THanks for the giveaway!

  5. says

    I knew that the sequel would be a companion novel, which is fantastic since Tarver and Lilac’s story felt complete, but this is the first time I’ve seen the scoop on the additional details!

    To anyone who has not subscribed to Amie’s and Meg’s newsletter, do it now. It’s the best author newsletter I’ve come across.

    If I crash landed on another planet, everyone had better hope I’m alone, because I would be a nightmare. Here’s just a brief list of the things I would complain nonstop about: no white noise machine, no Ambien, no proper bed, no soap or shampoo, bugs, no bottled spring water, I’m cold, I’m hot, I’m itchy, I’m dirty, I’m bored, why me, WHY ME???

    • says

      Their story did feel complete but I wanted more (of course because I’m greedy).

      haha! this made me laugh so hard. I would be complaining about everything, hell, I complain now and I’m comfortable. The I’m hot, I’m cold is so true of me too. And the food issue…you don’t want to be around me when I’m hungry.

      • says

        I can’t believe I didn’t think of “I’m hungry!” And let’s throw in “I’m thirsty,” too, because I imagine fresh water would be an issue. I have the weirdest body temperature. I am rarely comfortable. I can be freezing when everyone else around me is warm, or I can be sweating when it’s barely warm outside.

  6. says

    I’m so excited to read this book and This Shattered World sounds even better. I love the idea about the analysis of right and wrong and whether or not the rebellion is better for the better or not. I’m sure it will be filled with characters who walk the fine line between good and bad which I love! Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!

    • says

      haha, not funny but it is at the same time because I’m right there with you. My husband says I couldn’t survive Survivor so yea…not a good chance on a foreign planet.

  7. Kelly G. says

    I want to read this book so badly! I don’t know if I’d survive a crash landing, at least not on my own. My survival skills aren’t really up to par and I probably wouldn’t know what’s safe to eat.

  8. LAYLA says

    Unless I had some kind of power I don’t think I’d survive! :)
    Lovely interview I’m really excited to start reading this book!

  9. says

    I absolutely adored this book!! Great interview Kristen, I loved all the questions you asked and to find out more about their process for co-writing, it sounds fantastic, but something done with a high level of collaboration and trust! It’s so impressive that the book reads so seamlessly!

  10. says

    I absolutely adore this book! It has one of the best covers ever too. ;) And I could tell Amie wrote Tarver…since she’s the Aussie. Gosh! Tarver is so awesome with his sarcasm (he sounds very Australian). Such an awesome book! And great interview. :)

    • says

      I love the cover art too! It’s my favorite so far. I didn’t catch that Tarver sounds Australian! When I reread it I’m going to try to give him an accent when I read.

  11. Jenna says

    Much as I’d love to go all Katniss on the distant planet, I’m pretty sure I’d be the first to die. Bummer.

    Wizard interview! The thought of co-writing always seems kind of baffling but also fascinating, so I loved hearing about their process. Especially how they came up with some of the same ideas at the same time. That’s when you know you’ve found the right co-writer, haha.

  12. says

    I think I’d be pretty hard to deal with by the locals lol Either we’d make peace and everything would be okay, or I’d fight them. I guess I’ll never know!

  13. says

    Hm, Depends on the circumstances, but I’m pretty sure no, since usual plane crashes are hard to survive, not to mention crash landing into a completely alien surrounding.

  14. Ana Lucía says

    It depends of how exactly I crash doesn’t it? So I can’t be sure if I’d survive or not. IF I survive the actual crash I think I could survive AFTER that (If that is the question). At least for a while.

  15. Schen says

    Glad you had an interview with those two!
    It’s a good thing they don’t fight when they collab. I’ve experienced several quarrels in making homemade “novels.”
    _________________
    Would I survive? No.
    I think just even flying off from Earth would kill me.
    Guys should work out right? But.. I don’t actually, hehe.

  16. says

    Oh my gosh! On one of my daily tweet entries I accidentally put my twitter account and not the link for the tweet!!! So sorry!!! I just wanted you to know! :)

  17. _Sandra_ says

    Yeah, probably not! LOL!!! I mean, I would try, but still think my chances are slim to none.
    Thanks for a giveaway! :)

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