Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.
Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.
But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure thing. I was named after a Bond Girl. I named my dog after a Duran Duran song and my car after an assassin. I call my favorite color navy teal, but I’m pretty sure no one else does. My favorite thing in a night sky is a gibbous moon, mostly because I like the word gibbous. I used to love running, and I can’t remember the last time I did it. I also can’t remember a time I didn’t know how to swim, and I hope to pass that amnesia on to my daughter.
What do you do when you’re not writing? (For fun, that is!)
These days, I spend most of my “down” time chasing the most hilarious, clever, and charming person in my house — my toddler. After she goes to bed, I’m usually too exhausted to do much of anything beyond watch TV. My habits include drinking tea, hiking with my dog, and trying to coax vegetables out of the earth.
What are you currently reading?
Code Name Verity. Spies! WWII! Girl spies! Also, the new Cassandra Clare. And… oh God, my TBR is so embarrassing.
Regarding FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS: What specific similarities does the novel have to its “inspiration novel”, Persuasion, by Jane Austen? Can you list a few?
For Darkness Shows the Stars is a retelling of Persuasion, like West Side Story is a retelling of Romeo & Juliet and Clueless is a retelling of Emma. So they’ve got similar characters and premise. In both stories, a quiet but deeply devoted young woman from an upper class family fallen on hard times is reintroduced to the poor man she rejected years before. He’s now wildly successful and determined to make sure she knows she lost her chance; but they’re both, secretly, still in love. I had a lot of fun “translating” the characters and plot devices so they fit into my version of the story. For instance, in Persuasion, there’s a big to-do on a seawall in Lyme. In my book, I invented a set of massive seaside cliffs and a fallen rope bridge. Persuasion features a naval captain (Benwick) who’s mourning the loss of his fiancee by overdosing on romantic poetry; my book features a young man who composes emo ballads to his lost love. I loved making them my own, whether they were big parts or small.
FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS sounds like a thrilling sci-fi/dystopian/romance. What has it been like making the jump from contemporary stories (your Secret Society series) to this genre?
There was a lot of world-building in Secret Society Girl, but there was also a lot that the reader and I could take for granted. The drinking age is 21. Cell phones exist. New Haven is north of New York City. People know this. I didn’t have to make any of it up for the book, and people never got confused about what was “real” and what was part of my fiction. When you’re writing in a otherworldly fantasy (or unrecognizably post-apocalyptic world), you are inventing things whole cloth. I get emails now asking about the constellations they talk about in the book. They’re actual names for constellations, but because they’re southern hemisphere, they aren’t as familiar to readers in the U.S., and some readers wonder if that’s part of the world. Stuff like that.
What was your favorite chapter (or part of the book) to write and why? (Spoiler free, of course!)
The book is partly epistolary, told through letters sent between Kai and Elliot throughout their lives, and woven into the fabric of the story that’s taking place now. The letters were my favorite part — sometimes they were funny, or sexy, or heartbreaking. I loved watching their voices grow and change as they did, and juxtaposing who they were then to who they are now.
If there is ONE THING you would like readers to know about the book, what would it be?
You don’t have to read Persuasion first. ;-) I get that question a lot.
Can you reveal anything about your next book? *eye wink*
It’s frockalicious. Seriously, if you follow me on tumblr, I will regularly post “inspiration frocks”. My new heroine is frock-mad. It’s frocktacular.
The Last Unicorn or Legend?
The Last Unicorn (sorry, Tim Curry. I love you, but I’ve actually met Peter Beagle.)
Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate. Mostly because bad chocolate is better than bad vanilla, and that’s what I mostly get. Good vanilla beats the pants off good — well, almost everything else.
Pepsi or Coke?
Tom or Jerry? ;)
Jerry’s the mouse, right?
Is there anything more you would like to say to fans?
There’s something I want to say to Jane Austen fans: Sisters (and brothers) of my heart! Forgive me my trespasses. I love Jane as much as you.
Enter to win For Darkness Shows the Stars swag!
- …and more!
Open to US residents aged 13 and older only.
Giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.