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Author Interview: Beth Revis

Thursday, June 2, 2011
Today, I'm delighted to be interviewing with Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Across the Universe crosses the genres of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Do you believe that this has been a large factor in its popularity? What other factors do you think helped?
Oh, Lord, I've no idea what makes people like the book. I try not to think about it actually. I don't want to write the book I think will be popular--I want to write a good story.      I *do* think that my publisher is amazing and did so much to make the book a success, including marketing. One of my favorite things about the design of the book is that the book jacket is reversible. You can either have the "kissing cover" with Amy and Elder and stars, or you can flip it around for blue prints of the ship.

Godspeed Diagram

What inspired you to write Across the Universe?
I was totally inspired by the twist at the end. I had an idea for the end of the novel, and I wrote the entire book to make that end work.

Across the Universe takes place on a futuristic ship. What research did you put into writing it?
Mostly, I just had to research why we didn't have the tech I needed. For example, I had learned that the reason why we don't have cryogenic freezing right now is because cell walls burst. So I just invented "cryo liquid" that is designed to make sure that a person's cell walls don't burst during the process.

Would you choose to be cryogenically frozen if you were in Amy’s place?
NO! Nononononononononoooooooo. :)

What made you decide to write this from the alternating point of views of Amy and Elder?
I needed to do it for the story. I needed both perspective to make the story work all the way. Amy knows things Elder doesn't, and Elder knows things Amy doesn't.

What was the most fun part of writing Across the Universe? What was the hardest?
The most fun part was getting to the end--I had the end in my mind the whole time, and it was like an adventure to get there. The hardest part though is revisions. I always find revisions to be a particularly difficult part of the process.

What have you learned from writing and publishing Across the Universe?
I have learned that my readers are the best people in the whole world, and that the writing community, particularly the YA writing community, is filled with amazing, friendly, wonderful people.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I love every single aspect. I sincerely do. I love writing, I love reading, I love editing, I love marketing, and I love it all. It's my dream.

What is the most interesting comment you’ve received from a reader?
Oh! Good question! Hmm...recently, I had some students contact me. They were working on a project dealing with censorship, and they were staging a debate arguing why my book shouldn't be censored. We had a great conversation about why I included a somewhat controversial scene in the book--it was a lot of fun to discuss this.

What do you do when you have a brain freeze / writer’s block?
I sit my bum in the chair and stare at the screen until I start working again. If I'm really stuck--by which I mean, I'm writing words, but none of them are working--then I will drive around in my car. I think because I used to have a long way to drive to work (during which time I'd come up with book plots), if I take a long drive, I often become un-stuck.

How do you feel the cover of Across the Universe reflects the story

I think it has something to offer for every reader. Those who like a more romantic feel have their own cover; those who like something more scientific have their own cover.

Kissing / Romantic cover
Godspeed Diagram / Scientific Cover


Would you like to tell us a little about the upcoming sequel A Million Suns (any teasers)?
I can only say this: two things you think are true from ACROSS THE UNIVERSE are actually lies.

Suddenly, I am questioning everything I ever thought I learned about the world as it is in Across the Universe. If readers get one thing from your story, what would you like it to be?
That the truth is important, even if it hurts.

What are five facts about you that readers wouldn’t know?
  • I have double jointed shoulders, but didn't realize it until I was 20 years old.
  • I have a gimpy thumb. It was broken when I was a kid, and the bones reformed funny.
  • I married my high school sweetheart.
  • My dog is named Sirius after the Harry Potter character Sirius Black (he's a black Lab, btw)
  • The only character in my book based on a real person is Harley. I told the person what happened to Harley, and she thought it was really cool.

Quickshot questions:
In honor of the advent of summer vacation, what would be your ideal vacation spot?
Scotland! Or Alaska...somewhere cold. I don't like the heat!

Where would Amy like to go on vacation? Elder?
Amy would like to go to the beach--she loves the ocean. Elder would go anywhere Amy went.
I'd like to visit medieval England or Heian Japan...but only visit.

Your favorite reading spot?
Anywhere.

What paranormal/ fantastical/ sci-fi-ish creature would you be?
Someone who gets to fly with Captain Mal on Serenity (from the TV show FIREFLY).

Across the Universe playlist?
Err....I mostly just listened to a few songs on repeat. Mostly, "Across the Universe" by the Beatles.



Beth Revis's debut novel, Across the Universe, came from Razorbill/Penguin in Spring 2011. A former high-school English teacher, Beth can’t help but blog about writing, grammar, and publishing at Writing it Out. She is the founder of the new popular dystopian blog, the League of Extraordinary Writers and is represented by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House.

Related Posts
Review - Across the Universe

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20 comments on "Author Interview: Beth Revis"
  1. Interesting interview. I've heard a lot of good things about this book. Also read the first chapter and have it on my TBR list. Wishing Ms. Revis continued success.

    Tweeted the link.

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  2. Oh look, author interview. Interesting. Good. The book was already on my wishlist, and now it's just gone up. I'm definitely going to try get this book before I get some of my other ones.

    Hoping that Ms. Beth Revis would keep having fun as she writes and will begin to find revisions less difficult.

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  3. I loved the interview, I would love to travel on Serenity, too!

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  4. I love to read anywhere as well - even if its uncomfortable..

    Great Interview!

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  5. I am known to read while walking my dog...pretty much anywhere, especially in the garden

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  6. Wow, I'm so excited for the second one! Especially to see what the cover is going to be like!:D

    Awesome interview,
    lisa
    @turningpages94.blogspot.com

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  7. I think I love her all the more for naming her black lab Sirius. Nice interview, creative questions too!

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  8. I love the idea that the dust jacket has a blueprint of the ship on the inside.

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  9. I love everything about the way this book was packaged. They made sure every little detail on the book matched the world of Across the Universe. Lovely.

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  10. Thank you for this! I love reading Beth Revis interviews. She seems really great. :D

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  11. Now, after I read this great interview, I'm sure I read this book because now I know the author is a great women(I was thinking that, but now I'm sure). And...I love the cover :x

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  12. I really like the cover idea for this book. So clever to have two versions!

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  13. Really great interview! I can completely sympathise with the 'not liking the heat' part. I live in a rather hot country and it gets to be too much in the summer. I'm always so glad when I can visit England (coolness and rain!)... I know, I'm weird!
    Really loved the double cover idea of the book! It's so different! And they're both very pretty in their own way!

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  14. Great interview! She seems very interesting person.

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  15. Her dog is named after sirius black!! Cute!
    loved it

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  16. I LOVE Across the Universe! ( And I TOTALLY want that signed bookplate!) Beth is so awesome and just when I stopped geeking out about a conversation we had on Twitter about Elder a while back so goes and drops that Million Suns bomb!! The wait for Million Suns is going to be rough.

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  17. Thank you for interview, it was realy interesting! I can´t wait to read this book :)

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  18. Thank you for this interview, it is awesome! :-) I have her book on my to-read-list. :-) I love dystopian novels! And also thanks for the giveaway! :-)

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  19. Thanks for the interview! I have this book out from the library right now actually :) Love the fact that her dog is named Sirius - I would totally do that as well!

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  20. Great interview!! I can't wait to read this book :o)

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