Amy Kathleen Ryan Interview

Written By: Kellie - Feb• 08•12

ReaWrite: Thank you so much for doing this. Glow was an especially enjoyable read for me as sci-fi can be a really engaging genre, but you just don’t see a lot of it combined with YA. Where did the initial idea come from, and at what point did it become a YA story rather than standard science fiction?

AKR: I actually started out trying to write a middle grade novel. I admire the middle grade genre, and have always wanted to participate in that grand tradition begun by the likes of E.B. White and Roald Dahl. But somehow everything I try to write turns into YA. While GLOW is perhaps one of very few YA space operas out there, there are lots of dystopian novels by writers like Suzanne Collins, Scott Westerfeld, and Veronica Roth, which to my mind very much count as science fiction. I’ve always seen dystopian novels as a sub-genre of sci fi.

ReaWrite: Did you know right away this would (ideally) be the first book in a series? How many books do see the Sky Chasers story spanning?

AKR: I didn’t know right away that it would be a series. I think I’d written almost 400 pages before I realized that the story wasn’t near being finished. WIth GLOW, I didn’t realize that I’d written an entire book until I put the last word on the last page, and it struck me as an excellent ending. Then it hit me I was writing a series, rather than a huge long tome.

ReaWrite: From concept to completion, how long did Glow take you to write?

AKR: The first draft took me about six months. Then I had to put it away for a while as I completed other obligations for my publisher. I took it out about a year later, polished it for another six months, and sent it off to my agent.

ReaWrite: What is involved in your overall writing process?

AKR: Lots and lots of revision. I think I go over every manuscript about a dozen times.

ReaWrite: Are there any plot points that have changed drastically from your initial draft of the book that you would be willing to tell us about?

AKR: Waverly started out as a young girl, about twelve years old. But as her story progressed, I realized that she was much older, and that the story would be more compelling if she was Kieran’s girlfriend instead of his protege.

ReaWrite: What was involved in coming up with the concept for a spaceship and it’s cultural structure? Do you think there are any significant differences between what you’ve done and creating the civilization for a fantasy series?

AKR: I wanted to write about the way religion works in a society on a political level, so it made sense to me to create one religious ship and one secular ship. I thought that would create an interesting counterpoint. As far as how it differs from the world building in a fantasy series, the technique is similar, but the elements you might use are different. Fantasy generally allows for magic to affect the world contained in the novel, whereas science fiction typically requires a scientific plausibility to everything that happens.

ReaWrite: Just last week I saw the cover for Spark, and love it. Any hints about what to expect?

AKR: GLOW is mostly Waverly’s story. SPARK is mostly Seth’s, about how he will try to redeem himself and win Waverly’s heart.

ReaWrite: Finally, what are you reading right now?

AKR: Right now I’m rereading the Penderwicks, a delightful middle grade novel by Jeanne Birdsall.

ReaWrite: A BIG thank you to Amy for answering all of these questions and getting us crazy excited for Spark, which is out on July 17th of this year! Yay! Be sure to visit Amy at her website.

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