Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman - authors of Gemina

Author Q&As

Tell us about your book – what inspired you to write it?

We're both giant nerds (you're shocked, right?) and we grew up on Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, all that good stuff. So that's where a part of the inspiration for our series came from -- it's a book born from everything we love. Careful readers will find quotes from everything from The Princess Bride to Walt Whitman to Star Trek to lyrics from our favourite songs in there. But we're often asked about why we chose the mixed media format we did. The answer is that we wanted to try and play with the idea of what a book could be -- and break it if we could. We wanted a story that worked on its own, and would stand up to simply being told by one person to another over a cup of coffee. But we also wanted a story that was enhanced by new formats -- maps, blueprints, IM conversations, word art -- that weren't simply gimmicks, but genuinely took the story itself to a new level. We were so lucky to work with an incredibly talented publishing team, and we're so proud of how it turned out.

Do you use your own experiences when writing?

Absolutely. There's an old saying -- write what you know. This is often taken literally, but of course we've never lived on a space station, or luckily for us, had to flee for our lives. What you can do, though, is write what you emotionally know to be true. The questions AIDAN asks itself about the nature of being are the same ones that keep Jay awake in the middle of the night. When Kady mourns, that comes from a place that Amie's been. We do also put in practical experiences we've had, but the stuff that readers talk to us about the most is always the stuff that comes from somewhere deep inside. Often, they've felt it too.

Which author/s living or dead would you like to have dinner with?

Jay started reading Stephen King books at the age of ten (explains a lot, right?) and Mr. King would be his invite, because you just know he'd have some great stories to tell. Amie would pick Douglas Adams, for pretty much exactly the same reason. Can we hold this dinner partly jointly? You're all invited!

How and where do you write?

The real answer to this is 'anywhere and everywhere', thanks to our travel schedule. We write on planes, we do copy edits in hotel bars (we're classy like that), and we plotted out the huge battle sequence in Illuminae on a drive across Texas. When we're home, Jay's favourite place is the couch -- he has a fancy desk in his study, but inevitably migrates back to the couch. Amie has a tiny writing cottage at the bottom of the garden, and she heads down there at the start of each day.

What was your favourite book as children?

For Jay is was WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE -- he was a bit of an angry little Max himself, and he loved that book. For Amie it was THE DARK IS RISING, the very first book she ever bought with her own money, on her primary school librarian's recommendation. (She still invites her primary school librarian to all her book launches.)

We know you are talented writers, do you have any hidden talents?

Good question! To be honest, most days we're pretty proud of ourselves if we manage to write and remember to eat lunch, but we do have some hidden talents. Jay used to play bass guitar in a band, and Amie used to work as a sailing instructor. (So those should be super useful if this writing gig doesn't work out...)

Can you tell us what you are working on now?

We're both busy right now, which is exactly how we love to be! Illuminae book three is off with the design team, and we'll start working with them in late March. We're also just starting on the first book in our next series together, which will also be YA science fiction. Right now it's titled ANDROMEDA, though that might change, as it's not out until early 2019. Apart from that, Jay's just finished his first draft of GODSGRAVE, the sequel to NEVERNIGHT, and he's editing LIFEL1K3, a YA SF novel that will start off a new series for him in 2018. Amie's just finished with UNEARTHED, her next YA book with Meagan Spooner (her co-author on These Broken Stars) and is drafting the sequel, and she's also writing the second book in a middle grade series called ELEMENTALS that she has debuting in 2018. So basically, we're super busy, but we couldn't be happier!

Photo: Tobias Andereasson