On the road from Ash to Nash

Beth Revis has captured the imagination of teens across the nation with her thrilling murder mystery that takes place in a spaceship light years away from Earth. Now she has dreamed up a road trip from Asheville to Nashville with a few of her favorite young adult authors. They stop through Asheville at Malaprop’s Bookstore to share the love of writing and reading. We met to discuss her work and why she chose to create her own book tour.

Xpress: Your first published book was a New York Times best-seller?
Revis: First book published, but not first book written. I wrote 10 other novels before this and none of them got published. Finally, this 11th one did and it got up to No. 7 which is really cool.

Why did you choose to write for young adults?

I think YA books are better. They’re more fun. You are almost guaranteed a quick-paced plot, interesting characters and twisty stories. I blow things up in my books.

Would you call
Across the Universe science fiction?
Yes. It’s a sci-fi set in space. I have two main point-of-view characters, one a girl, one a boy, and the book alternates between the two. Amy is cryogenically frozen and she’s sent on this mission and then Elder is of the group that is born generation after generation on the ship. Amy wakes up 50 years early, somebody has unplugged her, and she barely escapes death.

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

Really the question, “What if?” Like what if there was a murder mystery in space? What if we were on a spaceship and we were trapped? Part of my inspiration for Across the Universe was Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap.

Aren’t book tours typically arranged by your publishing house?

I did do a national book tour where my publisher sent me. It was called the “Breathless Reads” tour and they sent me with Brenna Yovanoff who wrote The Replacement, Ally Condie who wrote Matched, Kirsten Miller who wrote The Eternal Ones, and Andrea Cremer who wrote Nightshade.

Then, I went on a writing retreat organized by Maggie Stiefvater. I met Myra McEntire and Victoria Schwab there and we started talking about where we were from because I noticed Myra had a real Southern accent. They’re from Nashville. I said, “You’re from Nashville and I’m from kind of near Asheville, why don’t we do something where we take a little road trip together and visit bookstores on the way.” From that this whole tour grew up. They’re flying down to see my house. We’re getting in the car, driving, having a little road trip and hitting all the bookstores along the way.

Is this more for the love of it than any sort of reward?

Yeah. We’re funding the whole thing ourselves. It’s really a way to give back to the kids. They do get book tours in Asheville, but we’re going to Sylva and some of the other smaller places too where book tours never come. We thought it would be really neat if we gave back to where we’re from and we take the tour to them. Everywhere we could we tried to do an independent bookstore.

What will you talk about on the tour?

We set it up so that at every stop we’ll have a panel. I’m kind of copying the Breathless Reads tour. We’ll do about an hour long Q and A and then hope that the audience will come with some really good questions. In all of our packets that we sent to the bookstores we said specifically, “The key is to bring in the audience discussion.” We have a moderator at each stop who is going to have questions.

Who is your moderator for the Malaprop’s event?

Caroline Green, the children’s bookseller at Malaprop’s. We’re going to be talking about writing and publishing. Even if you don’t necessarily like YA, if you want to be a writer it would also be a good place to come learn about that.

What is the line up for Malaprop’s on Aug. 4?

That’s me, Myra McEntire who wrote Hourglass by Egmont, Victoria Schwab who wrote The Near Witch (which is being published by Disney Hyperion), and Stephanie Perkins who’s a local author — she wrote Anna and the French Kiss and that book also reached the New York Times best-seller list.

It sounds like you have fantasy, science fiction and romance?

Mine’s the sci-fi. Myra’s Hourglass is a time travel. It’s not like Star Trek worm-hole time travel, it’s modern-day kids and reminds me of the old television show Sliders. Victoria’s book The Near Witch is a fantasy in its own world where there’s a mystery that involves magic. Then in Anna and the French Kiss a girl goes to Paris and kisses a lot of boys. That’s the difference between Stephanie and me, we’re both published by Penguin but her editor says, “add more kissing,” and my editor says, “kill more people.”

who: Beth Revis (and Victoria Schwab, Myra McEntire, Julie Kagawa, Ruta Sepetys, Rachel Hawkins, Stephanie Perkins, Alan Grantz and Michelle Hodkin)
what: Southern YA Authors tour
where: Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe in Asheville (Thursday, Aug. 4, 7 to 9 p.m.) and City Lights Bookstore in Sylva (Saturday, Aug. 6. 1 to 3 p.m.) More information and full schedule at http://ash2nash.blogspot.com.

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