Beth Revis Expands Her Galactic Empire In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Some people write and write and the words they write come out fantastical. As if they’ve actually been transported to the place and time of their choice and come back as primary sources — eyewitnesses with first hand accounts of these new universes and the heroes that inhabit them — and they are the story-tellers of the future because of it. Archivists of fantasy and escapism and the brilliant spark of imagination that powers publishing today.
Beth Revis is one such powerhouse talent. She plots stories with checkmate endings, the type where you cannot safely predict if the lead character will indeed make it but you sure as heck hope so. The balance of power tips too often for surety though. If perchance, you’re the type of reader to care, immersing yourself in books without sparing a thought of the genius behind it; prepare to come out scathed to the core. Your insides exposed, scorched and tears streaking your cheeks. It won’t be a pretty sight, but you will survive to read another day. You won’t have a choice; you’ll need to know what happens next.
All the more impressive, for me, is that Revis does all this and manages an “omigosh” romantic thread while remaining in the Science Fiction arena. It isn’t easy being a girl sci-fi geek. Female characters who are leaders of the pack aren’t easy to come by, especially in this genre thought to be mostly written by males. Times are a changing and it pleases me to no end that more and more authors are saying they write what they wanted to read, and it just so happened that a lot of other people wanted to read the same thing too — it just had not been written yet.
Now if all the above were not enough to make me feel a kinship with Revis, and the fact we share the same name, the revelation that Firefly is her favorite show closely followed by Doctor Who certainly makes her a kindred spirit. Apparently she is in a race with her own mother to visit all the states and countries and since travel ranks high up on her favorite things to do (as well as mine!)… well that’s just the icing on the awesomeness cake I need to give this lady. Seriously, check out her blog for all the “boring” details. You’ll thank me later… and yes, Gargoyles was so underrated during its time!
The good thing though, after reading my spiel, you don’t have to just take my word for it. Okay… so Revis has double-jointed shoulders which I imagine should make bearing the weight of all the expectations I’ve just placed upon them easier but maybe not since this weight comes with a heavy dose of metaphorically speaking. However, that is why we’ve got an exclusive today for you. The one and only Beth Revis tells us all about publishing as she knows it and what it took (thousands of rejections) to get her own books in bookstores and on readers’ bookshelves. (See! I told ya she was tough.)
When submitting Across the Universe you said you thankfully found an agent who was able to find the right publisher for you. Were you ever encouraged by a genre editor to submit a sci-fi novel to them and do you plan on sticking with science fiction or branching out? You mention having ten finished manuscripts before you even got around to Across the Universe and most of them very different than the sci-fi genre you ended up in.
I’m not sure what you mean by genre editor? Do you mean, for example, an editor who takes unsolicited manuscripts? If that’s the case–nope, that’s not something I would do. I trust my agent 100% to find the right homes for my books, and she is my greatest ally and partner in publishing. I do intend to branch out of science fiction–in fact, both of my current works in progress are not sci fi at all (although one is fantasy and one is just…weird). I doubt I’ll ever branch out of YA, though–but there’s always a chance. All the ten manuscripts I wrote before Across the Universe were different forms of fantasy–a portal fantasy, a contemp fantasy, a high fantasy. Fantasy is my first love, and I’m really hoping to go back to that soon.
Across the Universe dominated in its genre, Science Fiction and your space thriller has everything that exquisitely torments readers with a will/will they survive plot. In interviews you said that your ending is what dictated the plot and development, and then the characters. Was there anything from real life that inspired you to write Amy and Elder the way you did? Had you ever dreamed of going to space?
Thank you so much! I’ve always been fascinated by space, although I never really wanted to be an astronaut. Part of my fascination with space includes a very real fear of it–literally everything outside of Earth is specifically designed to kill everything currently on Earth. Amy and Elder are both alter egos of myself. I made Amy from memories of when I was going to college. I was very young and very scared and very far from home. For the first time, I realized that I could get in trouble–serious trouble–and my parents couldn’t come and bail me out. They were too far away. That fear and realization was the source of Amy. For Elder, I was tapping into my own ambition. I desperately wanted to be good enough to be published, and Elder wanted to be good enough to be a leader.
Were you always interested in the YA side of publishing and what about YA made you decided it was the right place for you and your writings?
Always YA. There was a moment in college that completely changed my perspective. I was an English major, and really wanted to prove myself. I read all the old dead white male authors, the “true literature”…but I wasn’t happy. I went to a bookstore with my roommate, also an English major, and she whispered in a clandestine voice, pointing to the YA section, “Sometimes I like the books from over there.” And there was something that struck me–like, just why should we rank books? What made Shakespeare better than JK Rowling? Nothing. Just personal preference. And the books I really like were the ones over there.
You’ve mentioned not being a fan of “love at first sight” stories especially Romeo & Juliet; do you see yourself ever writing fractured stories of fairy tales or Shakespeare’s characters because of this?
Maybe! I love turning tropes on their heads and twisting ideas.
The Body Electric has an amazing cover and the charity of choice for its promotion… donating to the creation of beehives in developing nations… do you keep bees? Are you a fan of Elementary perchance because that last episode of season one where he names Watson after one of the bees is a favorite here.
I don’t keep bees! I’m actually mildly allergic to them! But I love them anyway. And ironically, I’ve only ever seen one episode ofElementary, and it was exactly that episode!
So if this interview so far has not convinced you of jumping on the Beth Revis train, how about this news!