The time it was about Illuminae

Posted November 9, 2015 by Stacee in Interviews | 3 Comments

I think that by now, everyone knows of my undying love and affection for Illuminae.  I was able to get my greedy hands on an arc early this year and devoured it. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read and it will definitely be one of my top books of 2015.

When someone from Random House contacted me about doing an interview with Amie and Jay, I couldn’t say no. Especially since I had been consistently fangirling over both of them on Twitter after I had read the book.

Before we get to their answers, let’s check out the book.

23395680This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Sounds good, right?


Where did the idea for your book come from?

We started with the idea of a book written in emails, and from there the ideas spun out and built on each other.

“Why emails?” we asked.

“Well, what if the characters are separated by the vacuum of space?”

“Okay, selves. Why don’t they just go to the other one’s ship?”

“Well, what if they can’t because they’re being pursued by the enemy. The enemy who attacked their planet?”

“Is that enough?”

“We could throw in a plague as well…”

It’s this kind of back and forth and discussion that yields up a bunch of ideas… so the answer is that our ideas don’t come from any one place. They’re added together, brick by brick, to build a wall.

Why do you love your main characters and why should we root for them? 

We love Kady because she’s got snark and sass, and although she’d deny it with everything she had, a huge heart. She wants to be a cynic, and sometimes she is, but the truth is that she’s prepared to give up her life for truth and justice, and the people she lives.

We love Ezra because he’s funny, loyal and handsome, and smart enough to be in love with Kady—even though she dumps him at the start of the book. And as for the artificial intelligence, AIDAN… well, we don’t love it, we’re a little afraid of it. You probably should be too.

What makes a good villain and how did you incorporate that into your book? 

A good villain, to borrow a bit of a writing cliché, needs to be the hero of their own story. They need to believe that they’re justified in everything they do, and they need to be strong enough that what they want to do is a genuine threat. Of course, things get more interesting when it’s not entirely clear who the villain of the story actually is…

What was the weirdest thing you googled while doing research?

Hmmm. Probably what happens to you if you end up in space without a spacesuit. (Hint: the saliva on your tongue boils.) There are a disturbing number of contenders for this title, though.

Did you have a favorite scene that you couldn’t wait to write?

We looooved writing the dogfight scenes—the typography flies around the page in the same way the fighter jets do, and the final result is completely awesome.

Describe your book in 5 words.

Space! Explosions! Plague! Battles! Kissing!

Speed {ish} Round: 

You get the contact that says you’re being published for the first time.  Describe the next 5 minutes.

Between the two of us, we covered all of the following: crying, stunned silence, freaking out the dog with celebration dancing, rushing to find husband/wife to scream the good news, more celebration dancing, pouring a stiff drink.

What three things would you take to a desert island?

A very large bookcase (could also double as a raft if we got desperate), a very large fridge (must contain chocolate for Amie, bourbon for Jay) and writing supplies. Imagine having all those stories in your head and no way to write them down.

You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

“In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust. Because it’s 1,267,069 words long. That’s ONE AND A QUARTER MILLION WORDS. So it would basically take the rest of our lives. And if we got to the end, we’d have forgotten the beginning, and would be able to start again.

What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you? 

To block out all the people who say you can’t, or that you shouldn’t, that you’re wasting your time or have to do things a certain way—or mustn’t do things a certain way—and just write. Just keep your eyes on your own paper, and write.


7AB1DB42-F1DB-4E91-AFA4-A4B1CB26F5F9_zpspmz4c1rpAmie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of the Starbound series. Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of the Lotus War series.

Collectively, they are 12′ 5″ tall and live in Melbourne, Australia, with two long-suffering spouses, two rescue dogs, and a plentiful supply of caffeine.


Huge thanks to Random House for giving me this opportunity and to Amie and Jay for not filing a restraining order taking the time. Check out this awesome website for all sorts of goodies.

Illuminae is out now and you can buy it at Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Amie and Jay are on tour now. The full tour schedule is here.  Annnnnd, I was lucky to be asked to moderate the Huntington Beach event with Amie, Jay, and Victoria Aveyard. Click here for the recap.

Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “The time it was about Illuminae

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.