Today we’re excited to introduce you to Ava Jae and her YA Sci-Fi Beyond the Red which is slated to release March 2016!
- Why did you choose the setting for your book? Did you draw from any real places to create your world?So fun fact: I actually came up with Safara (the planet that Beyond the Red takes place on) long before it even occurred to me to use it for a book. I didn’t quite have the details in place, but I knew what it looked like, who lived on it, what the government was like, etc. So when I was brainstorming ideas for my next project and I decided I wanted to write about aliens, I remembered I already had a planet all set up that just needed some extra worldbuilding. As for real places, I looked to the Namib and Sahara deserts as well as the White Sands National Monument, Death Valley and the Valley of Fire for inspiration.
- What was your inspiration for BEYOND THE RED?Beyond the Red is basically a combination of all of the things I love—royalties, romance, action, Sci-Fi, dual-POV and snark. When I sat down to start writing, I knew I wanted to write a book that I wanted to read. A book that combined fantasy and sci-fi tropes and was about an outcast of society trying to navigate two identities and about a strong, but conflicted female character with a ton of responsibility. So those were the foundations that I built the book off of.
- What was your favorite part about writing BEYOND THE RED?The kissing. 😉 And the snark. And discovering more and more about the world that Eros and Kora live in and the cultures they’re trying to navigate, and telling their story through two wildly different perspectives.
- What was the hardest part about writing this book?The worldbuilding, for sure! My critique partners and agent really pushed me to make the world vivid and detailed, and I’m so glad they did because I couldn’t be happier with the final result.
- Who is your favorite rogue character from a book, TV show, or movie?Remy LeBeau (Gambit) from X-Men. That accent and swag and overall awesomeness gives him a special place in my heart.
- Which character in BEYOND THE RED do you identify with most, and why?Hmm, this is tough because I identify with both Kora and Eros, but I’ll go with Kora. She was a tough character to write, because she largely hides her emotions in an effort to appear strong and stoic, which is something I’ve definitely been known to do (my sisters joke that I don’t have emotions. I do, I just tend to keep them under wraps). She deals with a ton of pressure and responsibility and having to navigate that while also trying to figure out who she is and what she believes, which is a struggle I definitely identify with.
- You used nanite technology to create part of the world and conflict for this book; what resources were helpful in researching that fascinating technology?So, I didn’t really base that off current technology as much as I extrapolated what technology might look like in the future…on a different, technologically-advanced planet. I actually didn’t want to take too much from our technology because Safara isn’t Earth and the nanite technology isn’t the same as the nanotech we have here today. So I took the basic idea of what exists now, then blew it up and imagined what it might look like if it was much more advanced and integrated throughout all of society.
- What’s one thing you want readers to know about BEYOND THE RED?
Beyond the Red’s origin story is kind of like Avatar (the James Cameron movie, not The Last Airbender)—humans arrive on an alien planet and discover there’s already a native population…except instead of humans conquering and taking over, the aliens kicked the humans’ butts and enslaved them. Now the human population, many generations later, have been born on Safara as have their parents, and their parents, etc., and see it as their home. But the native population doesn’t see it quite the same way…
- Building sci-fi worlds is no easy task! Can you walk us through a bit of your process in building the culture and setting for BEYOND THE RED?
Building the culture and setting was an ongoing process from the first draft to the draft that went on submission. When I was writing the first draft, I had the basic building blocks in place: what the world looked like, what the governmental structure was like, basics about their religion, culture and values, and ideas about what the language would be like. As I wrote and revised, I began fine-tuning everything, which required really getting into the details: the structure of the language, the names of the cities, how culture varies from territory to territory, the cultural differences between humans and Sepharon, etc. It was a ton of work, but I really enjoyed it. Building a planet from scratch is a pretty awesome experience. 🙂
- Describe the type of reader you hope picks up this book when it’s on the shelves.
Someone who likes lots of exciting action, fight scenes, twists, young people making things happen and oh, did I mention kissing?
Ava Jae is a YA and NA writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or YouTube channel.