I absolutely fell in love with Beth Revis's debut YA novel, 'Across the Universe'. It was space-operatic brilliance and addictive reading.
So I couldn't pass up an opportunity to fire some questions at Ms Revis...
Q: How did you get published, agent or slush pile?I got an agent first—but I got my agent straight from the slush pile. I had no writing credentials or any connections or references—it was a cold query to my agent.
Q: Favorite book of all time?Probably THE SILVER CHAIR by CS Lewis. I just love the story, and Jill Pole is amazing.
Q: Favorite author?CS Lewis! But I also deeply love JK Rowling, Patricia Wrede, and Robin McKinley.
Q: How long did it take you to write "Across the Universe", from idea to completed manuscript?About a year—I had the idea over Christmas holidays 2008, and signed with my agent about the same time in 2009.
Q: Were you already a fan of all things Scifi, or did you start reading and writing in the genre after you had the idea for ‘Across the Universe’?I was a fan of sci fi for a long time—but mostly the movies, like Star Wars, Star Trek, Serenity, Firefly, Battlestar Gallactica, etc. A lot of the books bored me, to be frank—I think adult sci fi spends much more time on setting and scientific detail, and YA sci fi tends to focus on plot and characters instead.
Q: Your book has a very cinematic quality to it. It is really 'blockbuster' reading - so has the book been optioned for film rights?Not yet! But all my fingers and all my toes are crossed!
Q: Who would your fantasy draft movie cast be for an adaptation?I don’t really have a clear idea for many characters—their images don’t always match up with current actors, and obviously most of the people in the cast would need to be multi-ethnic. But Molly Quinn is the actress I visualized when writing Amy.
Q: If you could be cryogenically frozen, what year would you like to wake up in?Eep! I don’t want to be frozen at all! But if I had to be, then I would hope that my family would be, too, and that we could wake up together….preferably in a time period where space travel is cheap and available to everyone.
Q: There are a lot of red herrings, cliff hangers and curve balls in 'Across the Universe' - are they as hard to write as they are to read? How meticulously do you plan these pitfalls in your writing?I plan very little! I don’t outline or anything else while I work, and a lot of the twists surprised ME while I was writing!
Q: 'Across the Universe' is the first book in a trilogy. Can you tell us anything about book #2? Anything at all?I can say this: two things you think are true from Book 1 are actually lies!
Q: What advice do you have for budding young writers?Keep writing! Don’t give up, and write as much as you can. It might take more than one novel before you’re published—in fact, it probably WILL take more than one novel.
That said, if you’re given the choice to do something new or spend time writing, do the new thing. The first step to writing well is experiencing life.