these broken stars
Thanks to all of you who voted, These Broken Stars has made it through to the semifinal round of the Goodreads Choice Awards! We’re so floored to have made it this far along with the other truly fantastic books up there. Most of our competition are bestsellers and second or third books in super popular series, which to us just proves that we have the BEST fans and readers authors could ask for!
If you voted for it the first time around, make sure you go vote again to see it through to the finals! Tell your family, tell your followers, tell your friends, tell your fish if your fish can navigate a web browser.
And if this is the first you’re hearing of it, then what are you waiting for? Go vote!
If you’re just hearing about my international Reader Appreciation Giveaway for the first time, don’t worry! It’s not even halfway over yet. We’ve had two our of the four weekly drawings, whose winners have chosen a signed copy of Skylark and a signed copy of Lark Ascending, and the grand prize (a package of ALL the above books, including the advance reader copy of This Shattered World) is still open. Winners for that will be drawn at the very end of the month.
Remember that while newsletter subscriptions still count for the most entry points, you can reblog the original post and the tweet linked there up to once a day, and each signal-boost increases your odds. Both winners so far were newsletter subscribers that were also signal-boosting!
BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
The Big Dry by Tony Davies (Harper Collins)
Hunting by Andrea Host (self-published)
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (Random House Australia)
The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn (University of Queensland Press)
I woke up this morning to find the news in my inbox and absolutely thought Amie was messing with me. It’s taken a few hours of refreshing things and looking at recaps but I’m pretty sure this is actually real.
We are 100% blown away—did not expect it in a million years! But we’re so honored and so excited to be listed among all these amazingly talented authors. Thank you so much to the judges, and congratulations to all the winners!
I came to this realization while reading “These Broken Stars.” If you haven’t read my review of the book, know this…I LOVED IT, but not at first. When the characters first crash landed on the planet where the story unfolds, I must admit that I was annoyed. With Lilac.
Lilac was born of…
This is pretty cool… one reader’s reaction to THESE BROKEN STARS was to realize that she’s a lot quicker to judge female characters for showing weakness than male characters, and come to love a character she’d originally hated.
It’s funny, because I had to constantly resist the urge to make Lilac more competent, to give her secret (and wildly out of character) survival skills so that she wouldn’t be useless in the beginning, to make her totally wow Tarver with her awesome specialness. Amie (who, by the way, never once lost faith in Lilac) can vouch for the fact that I’d occasionally go “I can’t do this, I have to give her a crossbow!”
I loved Lilac, and wanted readers to love her too… and that’s the easiest, cheatiest way to make a reader like a character. It’s Fiction-Writing 101. Make the character good at something, and readers will like him or her. But creating a potentially unlikable character who transforms into someone likable… that’s what I wanted to do.
I knew that many (if not most) readers would judge her for her failings in the first 1/3 of the book. I knew that there were going to be plenty of people who’d make their decision about her character and stick to it to the end. And that was a really tough choice, believe me, and one I may not have stuck to without the support of early readers. (I’m not nearly brave enough by myself.)
Willingly sacrificing some readers in order to provide others the arc you find more compelling is… rough. It involves committing to a level of trust in your readers that takes its toll on your confidence, especially when you can see an easier way out.
But that’s actually what has kind of amazed me since THESE BROKEN STARS came out. Yes, you see people saying things like “OMG I just want to SLAP Lilac!” in that first third. And, of course, there are people out there, I’m sure, who hate her, hate the book, etc. There always are. But I’ve been hearing from more and more readers about how much she grew on them and how much she came to represent for them. In a way I value these transformations of reader opinion even more than the people who say they liked her from the start (though obviously, that makes me glee too!)
As an author there’s absolutely no feeling like doing something that was really, really hard for you to do… and then having readers get it. It’s like a mind-meld. For a few hundred pages, those readers and the author, no matter how much time and distance separate them, are thinking the same thoughts and experiencing the same things.
Which is its own kind of magic.
The increase in requests for THESE BROKEN STARS swag has fiiiinally made me get my act into gear and open a new PO box. Hooray!
So! Once more my deal with you guys is open: send me a SASE and I’ll send you goodies. (If you don’t know what a SASE is, click here. Very important part of the process.) Signed bookmarks, post cards, and, if you’ve written a letter, you’ll get a reply from me too. I do my absolute best to answer everyone!
For my address, click here. Remember, do not send me actual books to sign, as the PO box isn’t big enough to hold them—and you will get them back unsigned (or not at all, I’m a bit unclear on that!).
Please note that we do NOT have signed bookplates for THESE BROKEN STARS. In order to get signed copies, right now, you will need to order them from Malaprops, which has the added bonus that you’ll get a signed poster, too!
I do, however, have bookplates for the SKYLARK trilogy available, so I am happy to send you as many of those as you require!
Unfortunately, posters and necklaces are not included in this deal… they cost too much to ship, and our supply is too limited! Keep an eye out for contests, on those.
So I got a question in my inbox that is chock full of spoilers, so I can’t answer it the traditional way. I’d still like to address the sentiment, though, so I’m going to block out the spoilery sections to make it safe for general consumption.
Why didn’t you explain what happened to [character] more? Now we don’t … even know if it’s a happy ending or not! I loved this book up until you did that. Tell me whether I’m suposed to be happy or sad!!
Well, first of all, I will say this: the thing, the event, the twist to which you are referring, is something that definitely divides our audience. Mostly we’ve had great feedback about it, which is lovely, to see people experiencing reading what we experienced writing it. We do occasionally get readers with your reaction, and that’s fine too. You’re allowed to feel however you feel about a book, just as authors are allowed to make whatever choices about their books that feel right to them as artists.
But secondly, and most importantly, this is science fiction. True science fiction asks questions of its readers. What does it mean to be human? How do we fit within this universe? What makes us different? What makes us the same? And while sometimes SF answers those questions, more often than not it leaves it up to you, the reader.
Science fiction WANTS you to struggle, and to ask questions, and to think about what you’re reading. If all books were easy, we’d never learn anything or change or be affected by what we read. We wanted people to ask the very questions you’re asking about [character]. It’s part of the experience.
Science fiction is very rarely black and white. If you want books that are easily categorized as “happily ever after” or not, if you want a book that spells out exactly how you’re “supposed” to feel, you might be reading the wrong genre.
So I’ll leave you with this: what do YOU think it means for [character]? Forget the words on the page, the black and white… does it feel like a happy ending to you? Because whatever you’re feeling… that’s what you’re supposed to feel. There’s no right or wrong response to a book, there’s only what you feel.
So as some of you guys may know, I was recently in Australia for the launch there of THESE BROKEN STARS. And it was crazy fun—check out the crowd! In addition to having a blast at the party, Amie and I made the rounds to a number of Melbourne bookstores to sign stock with the help of our fabulous Aussie publisher, Allen & Unwin. So, that means that if you’re in Australia and would like a signed copy of THESE BROKEN STARS, these are the places to order from!
Just be sure to check with them that they’ve still got signed stock, when you order. (Read more…)
So, you know that cover? The one with the stars, and the red hair, and the green dress? Yeah, THAT dress? Well, that cover was created via an actual live photo shoot. And the gorgeous girl in that photoshoot was wearing a dress custom-made for the cover. So you know what that means, right? That dress exists. It’s a real thing. I can vouch for this fact—I have held it! I have stroked it lovingly. I can testify to its insane volume and length.
You do not want to be shipwrecked wearing this dress. (Read more…)
Ever since we revealed the cover of THESE BROKEN STARS back in February, you guys have been telling us how much you covet it. (Don’t worry, we do too. We are super grateful to our cover designer, Whitney Manger, and our photographer, Tom Corbett!) Well, we’ve been passing along your praise and wishes to our publisher, and because they’re awesome, they listened!
Introducing: the THESE BROKEN STARS poster!
Hi guys! Though I don’t do a regular roundup (I wish I had the energy/time for that, because I love them!) there are enough contests and freebie promotions for my books floating around that I wanted to put them all in one place for you. That way, you can just click through them all and enter! Monday begins the official blog tour for THESE BROKEN STARS, so blog posts, tweets, and other social media will be flying every which way. I wanted to give you guys a heads up before all that starts!
FREE AUDIO BOOK
THESE BROKEN STARS is now up on Audible, which means that by signing up for Audible now, you can get TBS for absolutely nothing when it comes out. Pre-order by clicking here! Plus, once you’re a member of Audible, you can get audiobooks for cheaper alongside ebook versions. Nothing like being able to switch back and forth from text to audio at the touch of a button. (Also: If you’d like to hear a sample of the audiobook, check out our most recent newsletter for the first ten minutes.) (Read more…)