Book Nerd Interview
He does not believe in happy endings.
Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, and Their Fractured Light (with Meagan Spooner.) She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.
I’m actually not one of those writers who always knew what they wanted to do. I always loved storytelling, but I didn’t dream of being an author. I wanted to be all kinds of things – astronaut, rock god, the usual. The writing came later. It’s never too late!
Amie: Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
As we so often hear, stories allow us to live the lives of others. And that’s important for so many reasons. Stories foster empathy, they allow us to live and learn from other experiences… and they also just allow us to escape, and have fun.
Jay: What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Never finish a scene during a writing session. If you leave whatever moment you’re working one incomplete, even going so far as to stop writing in the middle of a sentence, you’ll always have something to go on with the next time you sit down to write. It’s a great way to keep momentum going – you’ll never be dreading sitting down to write because you don’t know what to write next.
Amie: In your newest book; GEMINA, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Book one of the series, ILLUMINAE, tells the story of a group of refugees on the run after their planet’s invaded—it has explosions, a mad artificial intelligence, a plague, kissing, more explosions. GEMINA continues the story, and we like to describe it as “Die Hard meets Alien” – it’s full of awesome action sequences, beasties that want to eat your face, love and heartbreak.
On top of that, the series is written in an alternate format, made up of emails, IMs, schematics, word art, and in this new book, featured illustrations by multi-NYT bestselling author and super talented artist, Marie Lu!
Jay: Can you tell us when you started Project GEMINA, how that came about?
We started writing this series together after we’d been friends a while – Amie had a dream we were writing a book, and we started spit-balling just for fun, figuring out what it would be about if we did. We actually started writing this series for fun, thinking it was too weird to ever be published, what with all the extra design and new types of formatting on every page. But it turns out our publisher was as crazy as we were, and came with us on the ride!
Amie: What part of Hanna did you enjoy writing the most?
One of the things we wanted to do with Hanna was create a girl who could comprehensively kick ass – and Hanna likes to practice martial arts in her spare time, so she literally can – but has plenty of other aspects to her personality. She loves fashion, she keeps a visual diary full of her sketches. The best part of writing Hanna was that she’s never just one thing.
Jay: If you could introduce Nik to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Kaz Brekker from Leigh Bardugo’s SIX OF CROWS. They’re both awesome gangsters, and between them, they’d rule the world in no time. Wait, actually, maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea…
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
BOTH: We’re both pretty busy! Jay launched a new series with NEVERNIGHT back in August – it’s an epic fantasy about a school for assassins. He’s also previously the author of the Japanese-inspired streampunk Lotus War trilogy. Coming in the future, he’s got LIFEL1K3 on the horizon, a Romeo and Juliet meets Mad Max: Fury Road mash-up.
Amie’s already the co-author of the Starbound Trilogy, a sci-fi romance series, and she has UNEARTHED coming up next – she and her co-author Meg Spooner like to describe it as ‘Indiana Jones teams up with Lara Croft, in space.’ She also has a fantasy series for younger readers coming, called Elementals.
Oh, and we have a new series coming up together about a ragtag bunch of misfits who need to save the universe… if they don’t kill each other first. It’s called The Andromeda Cycle.
But first, we’ll wrap up The Illuminae Files!
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
AMIE: It’s time to go, are you going to get up in a minute?
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
JAY: Don’t listen to rules—don’t listen to people who tell you there’s only one way to do anything. Follow what feels right to you.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
BOTH: We’re both married (to other people, not each other), and our spouses are awesome. You have to be pretty awesome (and very patient) to be married to an author. They’re definitely our first phone call when things go wrong.
Who was your first boyfriend/girlfriend?
AMIE: I was fourteen, and his name was Mark! Our schools made us take old-fashioned dancing classes, and somewhere in the middle of learning to waltz, romance struck.
What are you most passionate about today?
JAY: Environmentalism. Put simply, we’re destroying the planet we’re living on, with no regard to the state we’re leaving in for the next generations. And it’s young people who’re going to have to clean up the mess. Get mad. Take action. Here’s some links:
World Wildlife Fund
What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
AMIE: Easy. Chocolate.
Where can readers stalk you?
BOTH: You can find both of us on twitter and instagram, and you can also sign up for Amie’s newsletter here – every month she has giveaways, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes peeks, and always lets you know when a new book’s out.
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik is the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known
universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this . . . they hope.
Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, GEMINA raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.