Welcome to the official kickoff for the These Broken Stars tour! Our readers know we only host tours for books and authors we are crazy about, and I can tell you that in this case we love both the book (here is Kate’s adoring review) and the authors. I met Amie in person when I was in Australia a year ago, where we bonded over our mutual love of YA scifi and other bookish discussions.
Now here’s the thing: I rarely seek out real-life author interactions, particularly before I’ve read the book, because it’s inevitably awkward if I don’t end up liking it. BUT I LOVED IT, you guys. Lilac is that girl you wish you could travel with, because she’s independent and interesting and could fix your spaceship if it’s hit by an asteroid. (Well, maybe not an asteroid, but you know.) And TARVER. Tarver is one of the dreamiest boys to materialize this year, and on my island where the pretty YA boys roam, he’s giving Sturmhond a good run for his money. If you haven’t read These Broken Stars yet, you are in for such a treat next month, because it’s not a typical scifi thriller at all–it’s smart and action-packed, but the mood is also thoughtful and nuanced in a way you rarely see in YA scifi. I loved it, and I hope you will, too.
We are so pleased that Amie and Meg are sharing fantastic posts with us about their creative process for the book over the next couple of weeks, and you’ll be able to win ARCs and swag, too! Don’t miss every stop of the tour–if we weren’t hosting it, we wouldn’t be missing them, either.
Class and Culture: World-building for the Future
The future won’t look and feel just like today, only with added jetpacks. (Although we seriously hope there will be jetpacks.) Just as society has changed in the last hundred years or so, we’ll keep on changing over time, and writing a book in the future means thinking about how.
For us, world-building is one of the absolute fundamentals of writing good science fiction. It’s a chance to explore all the fascinating places society could go, and if you cheat or go too light, your reader will end up missing out on all that fun.
World-building for the Starbound trilogy involved research into physics, lessons in terraforming and space travel, survivalist websites and a whole lot of stuff that absolutely, positively has us on government watchlists. One of the parts we really enjoyed, though, was thinking about the people themselves—their attitudes, beliefs and values. In particular, we thought about gender, culture and class.
We decided that a few hundred years into the future, gender wouldn’t play a part in the value of an individual—aspirational thinking, perhaps, but science fiction is all about dreaming big, right? For all the times Tarver thinks poorly of Lilac—that she’s annoying, helpless or a total pain in the butt, he never once attributes this to her gender. It just doesn’t enter his thinking. It’s her sheltered, upper-class upbringing that he considers the culprit. Indeed, in book two of the series you’ll meet a female soldier who’s easily the most kickass character for miles in any direction.
We decided that as gender differences faded away, though, class differences would rise. With new planets being terraformed and settled all the time, we felt there’d be a hint of the Wild West about a lot of the border worlds, with folks staking claims and building communities, creating a huge difference between the ultra-rich on established worlds, the settlers on colonial planets, and the poor, sometimes called terratrash, who’d give anything for the chance at a plot of land to call their own. We felt their different situations would heighten class differences, with the experiences of the various groups so utterly different that they barely know how to relate to each other.
And finally, we thought a lot about culture as well. We don’t believe culture will simply disappear into one giant melting pot in the future. Different cultures and traditions have lasted for centuries and longer here on Earth. Amie wrote her thesis on Irish emigration at college, and one of the things that highlighted was that folks definitely bring their culture with them when they migrate. From Lilac’s father, who still affects the title ‘Monsieur’, to multicultural curse words, to the Irish-influenced settlers you’ll meet in book two, cultures have changed and adapted in the future, but never died out.
So, that’s just a little glimpse into how we tackled some of our world-building, in terms of gender, class and culture. It’s the tip of the iceberg, but we hope it offered a peek into the kind of work that goes into building a world before the story begins!
Win Amazing These Broken Stars Prizes!
Thanks to our friends at Disney-Hyperion and our lovely authors, we have the following prizes to give away:
- 5 shiny finished hardcovers
- 1 Grand Prize of an autographed/annotated These Broken Stars galley, along with a limited edition necklace + TBS swag!
Leave your info on the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win! You may also earn additional entries by visiting each stop of the tour and leaving a thoughtful comment, as well as by tweeting daily, sharing the contest on Facebook, etc.
Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and up, or 13 and up with parental permission. See entry form for complete details. Good luck!
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are 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.
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 will be available in North America on December 10, 2013.
Visit each stop for more exclusive These Broken Stars content and additional chances to earn prizes!
Monday, 11/11 The Midnight Garden
World-Building for the Future
Tuesday, 11/12 Love is Not a Triangle
Wednesday, 11/13 The Perpetual Page-Turner
Using Technology to Write with a Partner
Thursday, 11/14 Good Books and Good Wine
Audiobook Sample + Narrator Interview
Monday, 11/18 Review Stops:
Tuesday, 11/19 Books With Bite
Amie & Meg’s Favorite Things
Wednesday, 11/20 Xpresso Reads
Establishing Characters with Role-Playing
Thursday, 11/21 Great Imaginations
Friday, 11/22 Nawanda Files
Lilac’s Gorgeous Dress: A Look at These Broken Stars’ Cover Art
Monday 11/25 Promo stops (fun facts about the book!)
The Flyleaf Review, YA Romantics, WhatchYA Reading?, Scott Reads It!, My Friends are Fiction, Books and Whimsy, Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks, Forever 17 Books, Another Novel Read, In Bed with Books, Falling for YA, Forever Literary, Effortlessly Reading
Visit each stop of the tour for more opportunities to win amazing TBS prizes.
Australian friends, be on the lookout for an Aussie These Broken Stars tour soon, too! Our friends at Allen and Unwin will hosting it, and I know they’ll have wonderful things in store at each stop.
Images appear courtesy of the authors. Our thanks to Amie and Meg for sharing their visions of our possible future, as well as to all the lovely bloggers who are participating in the tour! Review copies and prizes are furnished by the publisher.