Interview with Ava Jae
Annnnd it's time to kick off a round of Fledgling Authors Chat (#FAC16) interviews! First up is the lovely Ava Jae and her book BEYOND THE RED.
Summary: Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.
Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.
When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.
Published: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Q1: What inspired you to write about aliens? And do your aliens have any badass powers or abilities?
A1: What inspired me to write about aliens? A lot of things. Overall curiosity about the possibility of life in outer space. Lots and lots of movies (especially James Cameron’s Avatar). An interest in non-human characters. Etc, etc. :)
The Sepharon (Beyond the Red’s “aliens”—which I put in quotes because technically the humans are the aliens considering it takes place on not-Earth, but semantics) are taller, stronger, faster, and have more heightened senses than humans. But they don’t have superpowers—just have better-equipped bodies.
Q2: Kora is the first female ruler of her territory, but people are not exactly happy about that. Is sexism a big deal where Kora lives?
A2: I kind of laughed a little when I first saw this question because the answer is OH YES. VERY YES. MUCH YES.
Sexism is a huge problem in many of the territories on Safara (thought not all), including Kora’s territory. But tradition dictates that the first born in a royal line takes the throne, so even though her younger twin brother is literally minutes younger, it didn’t matter when succession was decided.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the people are happy about it...
Q3: I'm guessing you're a big sci-fi fan? Were any scenes in BEYOND THE RED inspired by a favorite sci-fi movie or book?
A3: I do love me some sci-fi! I’m not sure about specific scenes, but the sand bikes used for transportation in the novel are kind of Tron, Star Wars and Star Trek-inspired (they all have cool futuristic bike things, okay?) and the spark of “humans colonize alien planet” was Avatar(James Cameron version) inspired, I just added my own twist: humans try to colonize alien planet and aliens say “nice try” and kick their butts. Generations later we have the cast of Beyond the Red.
Q4: I am absolutely in love with the cover of BEYOND THE RED! What was your reaction and thoughts when you saw it for the first time?
A4: Thank you!! My first thought when I saw the initial comp was that it looked SO MUCH like what I imagined when we first came up with the title. So that was pretty awesome. And then as the tweaks were made and the colors were chosen I became more and more delighted and yeah, I love it. *hugs cover*
Q5: Describe BEYOND THE RED in ten words or less.
A5: Half-human rebel and enemy alien queen must stop genocide.
Ava Jae is a writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or YouTube channel.