Monday, April 15, 2019

Audrey Coulthurst & Paula Garner Interview - Starworld

Photo Credit for Audrey: Evrim Icoz Photography

Paula Garner spends most of her time writing, reading, or making good things to eat and drink. She is the author of YA contemporary novels Starworld, Relative Strangers, and Phantom Limbs, which was a 2017 Illinois Reads selection for grades 9-12. Follow her on Twitter at @paulajgarner.

Audrey Coulthurst writes YA books that tend to involve magic, horses, and kissing the wrong people. When she’s not dreaming up new stories, she can usually be found painting, singing, or on the back of a horse.

Audrey has a Master’s in Writing from Portland State University and studied with Malinda Lo as a 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (April 16, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763697567
ISBN-13: 978-0763697563

Praise for STARWORLD

An unlikely friendship blossoms between two high school seniors…in the deft hands of co-authors Coulthurst (Inkmistress, 2018, etc.) and Garner (Relative Strangers, 2018, etc.), the well-realized main characters and deeply insightful descriptions of complex emotions combine into an unusually thoughtful novel…Readers seeking characters facing challenges with honesty, bravery, and kindness will appreciate this book with its reminder that our outward lives often don’t reflect who we really are. ―Kirkus Reviews

Can you tell us when you started STARWORLD, how that came about?
Paula: I think it was largely a way to satisfy (and maybe justify) our need to spend hours a day talking to each other, haha. Seriously, it came about because a) nothing made me laugh harder than all Audrey’s *talking in stars* shenanigans, and I begged her to write a whole book “in stars,” b) she finally agreed to do it, if I’d write it with her, and c) we had the thought, what would happen if high school-Audrey had run into high school-Paula? As different as we are and were, might we have been drawn to each other as we were as adults, and what might that have looked like?

Audrey: Where were you born and where do you call home?
Like Sam, the character I wrote, I grew up near Portland, Oregon. Now I live in Santa Monica, California, and find that I still miss the rain.

What part of Zoe did you enjoy writing the most?
Paula: That’s a tough question, because I had to revisit a lot of painful things from my own past to write Zoe. I did love writing her relationship with Sam, though, and the ways that, despite all the laughter and tears they shared, they each showed the other how worthy of love they were. 

Audrey: What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Starworld is my first contemporary novel; I mostly write YA fantasy. I’m thrilled to share that Of Ice and Shadows, the sequel to my debut novel Of Fire and Stars, is coming out August 13, 2019. Of Ice and Shadows continues the adventures of two princesses in love who travel to a foreign kingdom and face challenges that threaten to tear them apart. If I write another contemporary, I’d love to do a rom-com because they are my very not-guilty pleasure.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Paula: I would introduce Zoe to Jules in Relative Strangers. They could eat delicious things while commiserating about feeling like drop-ins and struggling to get it right in relationships with men.

Audrey: What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
I can’t specify a chapter without giving spoilers, so I’ll just say the ending. Paula and I went on a retreat in Portland to wrap up writing the book, and I’m pretty sure we shed tears in half the restaurants in town. It was amazing to be together in person during the process of finishing the book and to have each other to lean on as we figured out how to say goodbye to a project that had been our joy and safe haven for so many months. It was hard to let go.

  • 1. Sam and Zoe are based on high school-Audrey and high school-Paula.
  • 2. Whole chapters were cut in revisions, one involving a traumatic Halloween visit to a corn maze.
  • 3. Audrey met with an OCD specialist in her preparation to write Sam’s mother.
  • 4. Paula ate a lot of Taco Bell hot sauce during the writing of this novel.
  • 5. Audrey enjoys video games just as much as her character, Sam.
  • 6. Paula and Audrey went to Portland to cover some of Zoe’s and Sam’s tracks, even driving around to locate their houses.
  • 7. Paula had a lot of conversations with high school thespians while drafting this book.
  • 8. Some of the things that Sam does or that happen to her are based on Audrey’s actual experiences.
  • 9. The school dance scene almost didn’t make it into the final version of the book, but it was resurrected during revisions.
  • 10. There are about ¼ of the number of creative curse phrases in the final book than were in the original manuscript. 
At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?
Paula: The right for sure, because I drink with my right hand, but I’ll take both if I can. 
Audrey: Whichever one doesn’t involve the risk of touching other people. 

Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around.
Paula: The zipper pull that came off the change compartment in my wallet years ago, because apparently I still think I might reattach it. 

Audrey: I think the most unique thing is my wallet itself—it’s actually a cigarette case that was gifted to me by a certain co-author. *bumps shoulders with Paula fondly* 

Paula: Isn’t it, like, the size of a credit card? I just KNOW you use it as your entire purse… 
Audrey: I FEEL PERSONALLY ATTACKED. *shoves wallet deeper into pocket of ugly cargo shorts*

What is the most important object you own?
Paula: I am not super into “stuff,” but I do have an actual book from the 1500s that belonged to my birth father, who was a scholar of early music. I never met him, and it meant a lot to me when my birth mother gave it to me. 

Audrey: I own a classic car my dad and I restored when I was a kid. There are a lot of memories attached to it, and I think it’s the thing I’d be most upset to lose if my house burned down.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
Paula: I would go back to the day of the last flight I took and put all my valuables and favorite items IN MY CARRY-ON. #lostluggage 

Audrey: I’d go back to visit myself in high school and tell her that her suffering now will make for a great book later, and maybe to reconsider meeting that tall girl from the internet because no one who wants to meet at a chain diner is going to be your type.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
Paula: Before I fall asleep (and if I’m awake during the night), I’m usually turning over my current story in my head, trying to solve problems, figure out backstory, work out the plot and next scenes, etc. 

Audrey: I lie awake thinking about every time I’ve embarrassed myself or done something stupid. It’s super healthy. 

What did you do for your last birthday?
Paula: It was a hot day in July (it’s always a hot day in July), and I feasted on spicy, funky Malaysian take-out on my screened porch with my family. 

Audrey: I’d had a baby just six days before my birthday, so I was deep in the trenches of newborn hell with my wife and my mom by my side. We did order fancy Italian food for delivery, though!

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Paula: It’s a cliché for a reason: having children changed me more than anything else. 

Audrey: It’s not so much a moment as it is a state of being—being queer has given me so much more empathy for minorities of all kinds and driven me to listen carefully to the perspectives of others before passing judgment.

Who was the last person you slow danced with?
Paula: My neurotic cat and I have a lot of tender, waltz-y moments. Cats are people, right? 

Audrey: My infant son. But I’m pretty sure we were waltzing to something all wrong, like ABBA. He loves ABBA.

Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true self: the girl who was abandoned as an infant, whose adoptive mother has cancer, and whose disabled brother is being sent away to live in a facility. When an unexpected encounter results in the girls’ exchanging phone numbers, they forge a connection through text messages that expands into a private universe they call Starworld. In Starworld, they find hilarious adventures, kindness and understanding, and the magic of being seen for who they really are. But when Sam’s feelings for Zoe turn into something more, will the universe they’ve built survive the inevitable explosion?

In a novel in two voices, a popular teen and an artistic loner forge an unlikely bond — and create an entire universe — via texts. But how long before the real world invades Starworld?

You can purchase Starworld at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CANDLEWICK PRESS for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of STARWORLD by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner.. 
APRIL 16th TUESDAY Tara's Book Addiction TENS LIST
APRIL 17th WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT

APRIL 19th FRIDAY Pages Below the Vaulted Sky INTERVIEW

APRIL 22nd MONDAY Nay's Pink Bookshelf REVIEW
APRIL 22nd MONDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW
APRIL 23rd TUESDAY Insane About Books REVIEW
APRIL 23rd TUESDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
APRIL 24th WEDNESDAY Two Points of Interest SPOTLIGHT
APRIL 25th THURSDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW


Post a Comment