Friday, August 17, 2012

Interview with Janet Edwards, author of EARTH GIRL

Hi everyone, I’m thrilled to welcome Janet Edwards, author of Earth Girl, to the Lucky 13s stage. Full disclosure: I’m Janet’s editor at HarperVoyager in the UK, so I’m a little biased when I say Earth Girl is one of the best debut YA Sci-Fi novels I’ve read. But I'm not the only one... reviewers have been raving about this fun, feisty novel: 

‘With a dash of action, sprinkling of romance, some teenage angst and a couple of collapsing skyscrapers, this novel contains everything you could possibly want to grab a teenage reader and keep them utterly enthralled’ Starburst Magazine

‘A break from the norms’ SFX magazine

‘In her debut novel, Janet Edwards has created an authentic futuristic world with enough history and adventure to keep readers captivated’ Amazon Kindle Editors’ Pick - August Book of the Month 2012

Here's the blurb:

Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove to the norms that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.

And now for the interview...

Hi Janet, congratulations on the release of EARTH GIRL this week! Where did the inspiration come from for such a far-future novel?

The original seed was a couple of stray thoughts that connected. The first was about how someone in a wheelchair can be excluded from taking part in something because of a flight of stairs. What if there was a new technology some people couldn't use? Suddenly, any one of us could find we were the ones excluded from society. The second was about prejudice, and about how humanity could overcome its existing prejudices only to invent new ones. The result was a novel set in the far future, so there was time for these things to happen.

Last week on the Lucky 13s we were been talking about publishing misconceptions – are there any you’ve encountered along the way?

I'm not sure if this is exactly a publishing misconception, but reading some forums for writers gave me the impression that agents and editors were fearsome, ten foot tall, and breathed fire, and all books are rejected at least 200 times before they get published. This turned out not to be true.

Who are your writing heroes?

The experience of reading a book is a combination of the book itself and the person you are at the instant you read it. For me, Dragonflight was a very special book, partly because of my age, mood and experience at the time I read it. Anne McCaffrey died in autumn 2011 at the age of 85. She was the author who took me riding dragons as a child.

Are you a pantser (fly-by-the-seat-of-your-plants) or plotter (lots of meticulous outlines) or somewhere in between when it comes to your writing?

I am very much a pantster, heading out into the unknown and enjoying discovering my own story. I usually do know the ending I'm heading for, and sometimes a few landmarks along the way. Where I do get a little into plotting is when I have multiple plot strands running in parallel, and I need to work out the most effective interaction of the two plots. I'm also fairly ruthless when it comes to imposing order on the final result.

What’s been your favourite moment of the publishing process so far?

I really can't decide between two of them. One is when I read the email saying two publishers wanted to publish my book, and ran round the house making excited squeaking noises. The other is when I held the finished copy of Earth Girl.  

And since the Lucky 13s are known to love sharing their superstitions, do you have any superstitions you adhere to?

Not so much adhere to, as suffer from. The superstition about not tempting fate. The fear that if I mention something really good, a malicious fate will instantly make something happen that wrecks it. This is especially true of publishing deals! 

Janet Edwards lives in the Midlands, UK. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, which included the works of many of the great names of Science Fiction. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework. Earth Girl was released in the UK and Commonwealth (including Canada) on August 16th 2012 from HarperVoyager, and a US edition will be forthcoming from Pyr Books (pub date to be announced). 

Visit Janet's website
Buy Earth Girl on Amazon
Follow Janet on Twitter

This interview was conducted by Lucky13s member Amy McCulloch, whose YA epic fantasy novel The Oathbreaker's Shadow will be released Spring 2013 from Random House Children's Publishers. The interview is part of an ongoing series of interviews with YA, MG, and children's book authors debuting in 2012. 

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