What that banner says is true: you have really never read a book like this before. It's thrilling. It's ingenious. But best of all, it's told through so much mixed media, it will have your head spinning. In a very pleasant sort of way, of course. :)
As soon as I finished reading Illuminae, I immediately wanted to start reading it again. It's just fabulously twisty that you don't want it to end. So, when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for this incredible book, I immediately replied in the affirmative. And I may or may not have begged for a guest post.
Which is how I ended up getting the authors to dish on how Illuminae came to be. Read more on that below and you can check out my review here and a piece I wrote on the unusual method used to incorporate profanity in the book here. Oh, and you can also enter to win your own copy of the book, too, so be sure to read all the way to the end!
About the book:
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files, book #1
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Inspiration: How Illuminae Was Made
There are so many things to love about co-authoring. You’ve always got someone to help you brainstorm your way out of a plot hole. You’ve got someone to share the hard parts, celebrate the good parts, and perhaps most importantly, you’ve got someone to ask ‘what if…?’
‘What if’ is how Illuminae happened.
It’s a strange book, made up of emails, IMs, schematics, military reports, surveillance materials, comic strips, posters and the ramblings of a mad artificial intelligence. Every single page is designed, and as the story unfolds, the narrative and the format weave together so that each affects the other, and each adds new dimensions.
But it didn’t start out that way. It started with a ridiculous dream Amie had—we were already friends, and she dreamed we were writing a book together, and it was in email format. (The anxiety was that I’d forgotten the plot. Hi, my name’s Amie and I’m a writer. I have an active imagination.) Once we stopped laughing, we started thinking. Why would it be in email, we said? Well, perhaps the main characters can’t be in the same place. Why not? They’re on spaceships. Why can’t they just fly to the other one’s spaceship? What about some kind of plague, or quarantine? Okay, how else could that get worse? What if they were being chased? What if their computer was faulty? Hey, what if their computer was one of the narrators?
This sort of waterfall of ideas will be familiar to most writers—you start with a seed, and one thing leads to another, to another, to another. Another thing that’s familiar to writers is the concept of the “first idea”. When it comes to many things in life, your first instinct is often the right one. If you don’t think you should trust someone, you probably shouldn’t. If you don’t feel safe, you probably aren’t. But when it comes to writing, that’s not always so.
Your first idea is definitely something, but if you want to really find the depth in your story, you need to push past it to the next idea, then the next, then the next. You do this as many times as you can, until you start to hit unexpected territory. Until you start to hit inspiration, and move away from the familiar. The joy of having a co-author around, is that you don’t have to do it on your own. Instead of straining your brain solo to work out ‘what if’, you’ve got someone there to throw ideas at you that you never would have come up with alone.
‘If A,’ you think to yourself, ‘then what if B? Or wait, C! Oh wow, I could go with D! No, even further, what if E happened?!’
Then your co-author shows up and says ‘Have you considered 14? Or a refrigerator?’ What they do, we mean, is come up with ideas outside your frame of reference. They bring their own set of skills and strengths to what you’re doing, taking you out of your comfort zone, and like the little piece of grit that gets inside an oyster and makes a pearl, their unexpected questions make your ideas all the stronger.
Having a co-author is awesome because there’s someone who knows the story as intimately as you, and because you can eat all the chocolate (Amie) because they don’t have a sweet tooth (Jay), or because they’ll do all the mathematical stuff (Amie again) because you once got 17% on a trigonometry test (Jay HEY BACK OFF HE STUDIED HARD OKAY IT’S JUST NOT HIS STRONG SUIT.)
But more than anything, having a co-author is awesome because of the clever, funny weird and wonderful ‘what if’ questions they ask—and the places they take you that you’d never go on your own. And that’s exactly how Illuminae came to be.
About the Authors:
Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of the Starbound series. Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of the Lotus War series. Collectively, they are 12’5” tall and live in Melbourne, Australia, with two long-suffering spouses, two rescue dogs, and a plentiful supply of caffeine. They met, thanks to international taxation law, and stuck together due to a shared love of blowing things up and breaking hearts.
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One winner will receive a finished copy of Illuminae. US only. Prizes provided by Penguin/Random House.
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Make sure to check out the rest of the tour for more awesome content and chances to win! Thanks for stopping by & happy reading!