Today I'm kicking off the blog tour for Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan. A story of a love divided set in space, Glow is a compelling read, and you can read my review: here.
Read on to find out more about Glow, the first in Amy Kathleen Ryan's Sky Chasers trilogy.
An intoxicating blend of sci-fi and dystopia, love and loss, Glow has something for everyone and is a gripping read from start to finish. What were your inspirations and influences for writing Glow?
I love The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. The setting felt claustrophobic and threatening in a way that I thought added tension to the story. I also have great admiration for science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin, Doris Lessing, Octavia Butler... the list goes on. Good science fiction operates at a very high level, with all the characterisation and lovely prose of the more established genres, but an added layer of world development that allows the writer to comment on society in a new way.
Dystopian fiction with its frighteningly dark themes is a huge trend in young adult fiction right now. What do you think it is about dystopian fiction that keeps readers coming back for more?
Short Answer: Writers have always been writing dystopian novels, but now publishers are eagerly publishing and promoting them after seeing the immense success of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
Long Answer: Right now the world seems to be in even more turmoil than usual. The post 9/11 era is much more chaotic and threatening than we’re used to, and I think a lot of people are becoming quite disillusioned with government in the midst of it. As a result, perhaps people enjoy seeing our society reflected in these dystopian novels, and the plots help us deal with our anxiety about what’s happening around us.
In Waverly you have created a strong, determined and likeable heroine who fights for what she believes in. What do you like most about the character of Waverly? Can you name any of your favourite female characters in books or movies who might have inspired her character?
In a crisis, some people shut down and try to make it through with minimal emotional engagement, dulling their faculties to minimize the trauma they experience. Some people, on the other hand, go into high alert, looking for a way to help themselves. Waverly is of this second type, and I admire that immensely in her. She doesn’t give up, no matter how frightening the circumstances become. Though I didn’t base Waverly on any character, I can say I’ve always especially loved books about fearless heroines, like Elizabeth Bennet or Jane Eyre. I try to give each of my female characters some aspect of their fire.
The action in Glow takes place upon two spaceships, the Empyrean and the New Horizon, with great attention paid to describing the ships and their workings. What kind of research did you undertake in writing this aspect of Glow?
Honestly, I didn't do very much purposeful research at all. I have always enjoyed science fiction, and you gain a lot of theory just reading that. Also, I have a husband who enjoys reading The New Scientist, and I’ll read interesting articles he points out to me. An article from that magazine about space travel gave me the idea for the way the two ships maintain artificial gravity by constantly accelerating to create inertial force. The rest of the theory was kind of already in my head.
Can you name three other books that readers of Glow might also enjoy?
Ask a writer to recommend three books, you'll get at least five:
Parable of the Talents and Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler
The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula LeGuin
Feed, by M.T. Anderson
The Martian Chronicles, by Raymond Bradbury
As the first book in the Sky Chasers trilogy, Glow is fast paced and exciting and left me wanting more. Can you give me any insight into the next book in the series? What can readers expect to happen next?
The second book, Spark, is mostly Seth’s story, concerning how he will redeem himself to rejoin his community after so spectacularly failing as the presumptive captain of the Empyreans.
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