I’m so excited to collaborate with Quarterly to bring you today’s episode featuring Beth Revis! Beth is a New York Times bestselling author most widely recognized for her book series Across the Universe which was selected as a Teen Top Ten novel by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), long-listed for the Carnegie Medal, and featured as a Book of the Month from Seventeen Magazine. In her latest title, A World Without You, Beth guides us through a complex look at loss and grief through a lens of mental illness. Lucasfilm tapped Beth to write the backstory of Jyn Erso in her newest book Rebel Rising releasing in May. Beth also had the honor of being the very first curator for Quarterly’s YA fiction subscription box.
In today’s episode, we dive right into how she drew inspiration from her career as a teacher for her book series Across the Universe. We also take a closer look at the inspiration behind A World Without You. We discuss how being a part of online writing communities can instill confidence for your writing, and we explore how to cope with the far-too-common mindset of not feeling like we’re good enough, and moving past that imposter syndrome as a writer.
For listeners who are all about getting down and dirty with the technical topics, you’re going to love Beth’s writing tips. We dive into her research methods for crafting science fiction novels and how to write strong background characters. She guides us in approaching emotional scenes that are difficult to get through, and step-by-step advice on the world building process. Beth even jumps in with tips for writing unreliable characters, how to send out query letters, and earning income while pursuing your art.
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“Make sure that your world is just not pristine, make it dirty and make it really lived in.”
“There’s a value in failure that I think people often ignore and forget because failure teaches us to not give up.”
“The more new experiences you have, the more stories you’ll have to tell.”
What You’ll Learn From This Episode:
- How Beth drew inspiration from her career as a teacher for her book series Across the Universe
- How online writing communities instill confidence for you as a writer
- How to overcome imposter syndrome as a writer
- Finding value in failure and how it sustains a long-term career for your art
- Beth’s research methods for crafting science fiction novels
- What it means to make your story’s world dirty and how this writing tip can help your world building process
- How to write strong background characters
- Advice on writing unreliable characters
- How to approach emotional scenes in your story
- Beth shares her experience as Quarterly’s first YA fiction curator, from the thought process in carefully selecting the books and goodies for her subscription box, to the thoughts she had when writing annotations throughout A World Without You
- How and why to send out your query letters in batches
- Advice for earning an income while pursuing your art
Can Bo live in a world without Sofia?
Bo cannot imagine a world without his girlfriend Sofia. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to. Even though he accidentally got her stuck in the past, he’s attending an elite school for kids with powers that should help him gain better control of his time traveling abilities and save her. Although the appearance of some nosy government officials at the secret school may cause some problems…
Phoebe can all too easily imagine a world without her brother Bo. Without him, her mother wouldn’t retreat into herself with worry. Her father wouldn’t lock himself away and pretend like Bo doesn’t have a problem. And she would have a chance to be a normal girl, not the sister to a boy whose paranoid delusions make him think that he has super powers and can travel through time.
As Phoebe learns to speak her heart in a family that uses silence to ignore its problems, Bo must face the fact that if his super powers aren’t real, neither are his chances to save Sofia.
Learn More About Beth Revis
Beth Revis grew up in the Appalachian mountains with a cemetery in her backyard, which is probably why she prefers her stories to be dark and full of twists. She’s the New York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe trilogy, which has been translated into over twenty languages. Beth lives in a house full of boys—her husband, son, and two massive dogs—and she forces them all to watch reruns of Firefly and Doctor Who.
Beth’s Recommended Books & Resources:
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Invictus by Ryan Graudin
The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano