Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Author Interview & Giveaway: Beth Revis on the Across the Universe Series

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Beth Revis is the author of the New York Times Bestselling Across the Universe series, published by Razorbill/Penguin in the U.S. and available in 17 countries.

The first book in the trilogy, Across the Universe, is a “cunningly executed thriller,” according to Booklist, and the second book, A Million Suns, was hailed by the LA Times as “a fast-paced, action-packed follow-up.”

The final book of the trilogy, Shades of Earth, will be released in early 2013.

A former teacher, Beth lives in rural North Carolina with her husband and dog. Her goals include traveling around the world in 80 days, exploring the moon, and finding Narnia.

Wow! As a debut YA author, you burst onto the scene like a supernova! Critically acclaimed, a bestseller, an international sensation. What moments stand out most in your memory and why?

I thought when I got published, everything would be different. Shiny and glamorous! But the truth of the matter is, everything's still pretty much the same as it's always been. When I found out I hit the New York Times list for the first time, I was sitting at my kitchen table paying my electric bill!

I suppose the biggest stand out--or at least the moment I will never forget--was finding out about the book deal in the first place. After my agent told me the book sold, I got so excited that I gave myself stress-induced gastroenteritis and spent the night in the hospital, throwing up!  

Yikes! What did it take to get you there? Could you share with us the timeline and highlights of your path to publication?


My journey to publication was so long that Bilbo Baggins could have gone there and back again five times. I wrote my first novel in college...and it was terrible.

I wrote ten more novels, over the course of ten years. A decade. A decade, during which time I gathered up nearly a thousand rejections from agents and publishers.

I was definitely at the point of giving up, but decided to try one last time, with one last story. That story was Across the Universe, and it changed everything.

What did you learn from your debut year that you'd like to pass on to the new voices of 2012?

Don't worry about doing everything. You can't do everything. It all seems so important to answer every interview, do every giveaway, but it'll be okay if you don't. Focus on what you enjoy doing. And make some author friends! They'll talk you down after you read your first negative review...and all the ones after that.



Congratulations on your new release! For many writers, the "dreaded sophomore novel" is the toughest. Was that your experience? Or was it smooth sailing?

Smooth sailing! Ha! I think I'm doomed to an interesting life, as the old Irish proverb would say.

I wrote my first draft of A Million Suns and it was...terrible. Fortunately, my beta readers let me know this, so I rewrote the book before submitting it to my editor.

Long story short: I wrote the book four times before it was good enough!  

What advice do you have for beginning writers with a passion for science fiction?

Explore what you like. I felt grossly under-qualified to write sci fi because my sci fi novel was very short on the science department. I wanted space, but I also wanted romance and mystery and death and tragedy and more. So I wrote the story I wanted, leaving out the parts I didn't, and it worked.

You don't have to write a certain way to fit a certain genre. Instead of being your style for the genre, bend the genre toward your style.  

Preview at Kindle and Nook.

You also write short stories! How does writing in short form nurture you as a novelist?

I sincerely think that it's typically much easier to write a novel than a story. At least, many of my short stories have turned into novels! But the thing about a short story is, you need all the elements of a novel, but a tiny portion of the size. It's a challenge, but it makes you focus on the important bits.  

What do you do outside of writing and the world of books? 

I love to travel! I love my home in rural North Carolina, but I don't feel right if I don't escape the state--or the country--at least a few times a year. There's just so much of the world to see!

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of A Million Suns! To enter, comment on this post and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with "Million Suns" in the subject line. (If you're on LiveJournal, I'm also taking entries via comment at the Cynsations LJ.) Author-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. only. Deadline: midnight CST April 17.

Cynsational Notes

Visit Beth's blog, follow her at Twitter, Facebook (exclusive materials and insider information) and Goodreads. Check out free samples of Across the Universe for Kindle and Nook.

Check out this video: Don't Give Up by Beth Revis. Really, it's required.



43 comments:

Pam Harris said...

Great interview!! And thanks so much for the giveaway--I LOVED the first novel. :)

pamharris1981 at yahoo dot com

TayteH said...

Video was awesome. Along with the interview. :D

Thank you for the giveaway. I still have to read the first book, but will get around to it soon. :D

Thank you!

thunter_5@yahoo.com

Victoria said...

This was a very nice and informative interview. Thank you for the giveaway.

vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

This was a really interesting interview! I enjoyed it very much. I own the first book of Beth's trilogy and would love to win the second book! Thank you, girls!

Vivien said...

OMG count me in. I absolutely love this series. Beth is just amazing!!! Cannot wait for more :)

Vivien
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Love Beth's books! I will get to Quail Ridge Books to get Beth's signature personally one day!

Susan Light
Blacksburg VA

books4susie at aol dot com

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I adore Beth and Across the Universe. I'd love a copy of book #2!

caroline starr AT yahoo DOT com

Lynsey Newton said...

LOVE this interview and I remember watching that video a long time ago - the images of reams and reams of paper representing Beth's previos novels has always stayed with me and is a reminder that success is not always immediate.

I loved Across the Universe and I still need to get round to reading the sequel. I keep nagging Beth to come to the UK but so far she hasn't made it so a signed book would be fantastic (I have a US addy I could use, hope that's ok)

Thank you for the opportunity to win such an awesome prize :)

Lynsey(AT)narrativelyspeaking(DOT)com

Kris-10 said...

Thanks for the awesome interview and giveaway! :))

kristen10horses[at]yahoo[dot]com

rossy_popova said...

It's just amazing how reading about an author's super tough road to publication never gets old. Just as I think I've heard it all, there's another writer who beats the odds of 'mission impossible' in a whole new way.
It inspires me every time.

rossy[underscore]popova at yahoo dot com

Jessica B. said...

Oh, I LOVED across the Universe! Truly interesting interview, and thank you for having this giveaway!!! :)
makesmeworse12(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. Beth is so inspiring. So excited for her success even more so because I watched her success on her blog.

rmarma2 at yahoo dot com

Sue Ford said...

Lovely interview. Haven't read book two yet...

sue@susanuhlig . com

Carl said...

I've been trying to get a copy of this book since it was first released. A signed copy would be perfect. Thanks for the interview and the video as well.

carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

Selena said...

Awesome interview! Thanks for the giveaway ;)

Selena dot Thor at Hotmail dot com

Emily @ Falling For YA said...

Awesome interview, every time I seem Beth Revis she just seems so likable! (Not that I've ever actually met her)

Thanks for the giveaway!

Emisbookblog(at)AOL(dot)com

ashley said...

Aww who wouldn't love Beth & this series!

ashtreygonesmokeya AT yahoo DOT com

Christina said...

I really enjoyed Across the Universe and have been pretty desperate to read book two, only, given the number of things in my tbr pile, I don't typically rush out and buy things. If they show up however...

cynicalsapphire at gmail dot com

Tessa said...

across the universe was great and im sure a million suns is better :)
Tessa
mokeypokeyrocker at yahoo dot com

Kim Winters said...

Beth's journey to publication is so inspiring! Count me in!

Kim

kwinters16 at sbcglobal dot net

Lucia (iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books) said...

This book came out so long ago but I can't believe I haven't gotten it yet! Thanks for giving me the chance! :D

iLiveiLaughiLoveBooks at gmail dot com

Froze8 said...

Love Beth and that video was great. Can't wait to see her again :)

joinstuff (at) ymail (dot) com

Jillian Schmidt said...

That video never gets old - so true and inspiring. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

writingonalimb at gmail

Angela Ackerman said...

Beth's story is one of my favorites because I think it's a story many of us writers can relate to. There was no instant success, or a huge dollop of luck that happened at just the right time. She worked and worked, she had doubts and worries, but ultimately she didn't give up and persevered. I was lucky enough to be around to see everything happen for her, and I couldn't be happier.

Beth, I think you did something amazing with ATU, weaving together the best elements of so many genres. I think this is a large reason why so many people love your book--you've caught the attention of the fans of Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction and more!

I loved ATU, and can't wait to read AMS, too!

Angela

Wrighty said...

Author interviews make me appreciate books so much more! It's usually a long hard road to success and it's wonderful when a good books makes it into my hands. Thanks for the offer!

wrights5 at hughes dot net

Sanskriti Bist said...

I loved Across The Universe! I dont have AMS but I would LOVE to own one!
Thank you so much! Nice interview and giveaway.
sbist at lincoln dot edu dot gh

CookieMonster said...

Wow thank you so much for this awesome giveaway! I have loved Beth Revis ever since I read Across The Universe; it was such a clever, ingenious book that is now one of my absolute favorites! It would be amazing to win a copy of A Million Suns; the cover is gorgeous and I know it will be just as amazing as the first one! Beth Revis is so inspiring, and when I grow up I hope to be just like her. :) The interview was so fascinating; thanks for posting it so us fans could read it! Also thanks again for the contest, and best of luck to everyone!

My email is: skittles2200 at sbcglobal dot net

Carl said...

Great interview, what an interesting and forthcoming person Beth is. Ten years of rejection slips, that must be hard to take. Too tough for me. Guess that's part of why everyone's not a writer.

Carl said...

Oh sure, email. Will I ever remember the first time?

carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

Gabi said...

I almost different finish reading Across the Universe after the first chapter, becuase I had chills running up and down my arms and my stomach felt queasy after reading about the preserving process in the first chapter. I'm glad I finished it, becuase I loved it! Thanks for the giveaway, I'd love to see what happens next. :]

teddycavygal at yahoo dot com

Kathrine Roid said...

I, uh, enjoyed the interview and have nothing useful to say. Just want to try for getting my hands on a very interesting looking book.

giveaways at fb dot pierian dash spring dot net

Emily said...

Loved the interview and love this series!

emilyroundy (at) gmail (dot) com

Kayla Beck said...

I always find it interesting to learn how long it takes an author to finish a story. Sometimes, it's easy to pretend that they can blink them into existence.

Thank you so much for the fantastic giveaway!

pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com

Ariel Wilson said...

So excited for the third book! Thank you!

pinkdaddysgirl[at]gmail[dot]com

Kathleen said...

"You don't have to write a certain way to fit a certain genre. Instead of being your style for the genre, bend the genre toward your style."

Wonderful advice! Thank you so much for this interview! I loved Across the Universe, but haven't had a chance to get A Million Suns yet! Count me in on the giveaway=)

kathleen dot doyle88 at yahoo dot com

Chihuahua Zero said...

Stress-induced gastroenteritis? Don't need Google to figure out that must be gross. At least it could've been--

-vomits book out-

chihuahuazero@gmail.com

Nicole@The More the Merrier said...

I never thought about how it would be easier to write a novel than a short story but it does make sense.
Thanks for the giveaway!

spyblue78 at gmail dot com

Elie said...

Cant wait to see what happens next!! ATU was a fresh YA book!
zenfoxflower at yahooDOTcom

Jazmin said...

I love Beth Revis so much!!! And ohmygod, Beth is my inspiration/spirit animal. Thanks for the giveaway also!!! <3 <3 <3 jnlabrada(at)gmail(dot)com

nicolesender said...

I would love to read A Million Suns! Across the Universe was terrific.So glad there is a Seconal novel.
nicolesender at yahoo dot com

Sara said...

I was able to meet Beth this weekend and am even more excited to read A MILLION SUNS now! She was lovely! :)

thehidingspot at live dot com

Kellee Moye said...

Cannot wait to read this one!
Kellee dot Moye at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

The first novel Across the Universe was amazing! Beth Revis's writing style is unique and keeps me reading on! Hope fully I win the giveaway!

Justinalozie at yahoo dot com

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