Good morning, Knights! Who’s ready to blast off into outer space?
Author M.K. England has graciously agreed to chat with me today about her debut novel, The Disasters, what a day in the life of an author is like, and the ultimate question: coffee or tea.
(Side note, this interview also features my favorite GIF ever which is AWESOME)
The Disasters released yesterday which means you can go out to your book store of choice and grab a copy TODAY! No waiting!! Or if you prefer online shopping, there are links for your convenience at the end of the post along with more info about the book!
Without further ado, allow me to introduce M.K. England!
All About M.K.
You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired The Disasters?
All my books start out as a vague little idea seed that appears out of nowhere and sits around in my “Ideas” google doc for months or years until it meets the right trigger. In this case, the seed was “a hotshot pilot fails out of a space academy on his first day” and the trigger was seeing Guardians of the Galaxy in the theater in summer 2014. It wasn’t a perfect movie by any means, but it was so much fun, and it solidified for me what I wanted THE DISASTERS to feel like. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo later that year!
Ultimately, though, I think the whole thing was born of my love for the Star Wars: X-Wing series of books, which came out mostly from 1996-1999. Still love them!
Introduce us to your main character!
Oh, Nax. He really does try, and he has good intentions, but he also has issues and can’t seem to get it together. He fails out of his dream academy on his first day and is immediately thrust into one situation after another that tests him right where he’s emotionally weakest. He’s a bit of a daredevil, a bit of a dreamer, a bit of a mess, but he’s a good guy at heart.
Walk us through a day in the life of M.K. England.
I’m an early riser, totally incapable of sleeping once the sun is up. When I’m on deadline I’m up at 5:30am to get an hour and a half of work in before my day job, otherwise I “sleep in” until 6 and 6:30. In the spring and summer, I also have to spend about 20 minutes tending to the garden in the mornings, harvesting and watering. I’m out the door by 7:45am to get to work at 8:30, with an audiobook keeping me company the whole way.
My day job is YA librarianing, so much of my day is spent planning and executing teen events, maintaining the collection, working the front desk, and a million other things—it’s never boring! When I’m on deadline, I often squish all my breaks together to make a solid hour of concentration time, where I can either write or work on the business side of authoring. Most days I’m at the library till 5pm, then have a 45 minute drive home to my cow town home.
In the evening, it depends on the day of the week and the status of my deadlines. Sometimes it’s working straight through from 6pm until 10 or 11, with dinner at my desk. Sometimes it’s tabletop gaming with my friends, or video games, or netflix, or fanfic/books, or playing with my dogs. On Tuesdays I work the night shift and have my teen events at the libraries. Even though I end up working sun up to sun down while on deadline, I really try to make time for the other things I love. It doesn’t do to pile your entire identity into one thing!
Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?
If you haven’t already finished a book, finish a book. Even if it’s terrible, it doesn’t matter. Nothing is more important than proving to yourself that you can do it. Even the hottest of garbage can be revised.
Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?
Because the world is a heavy, dark place right now, and though we definitely need to engage with the major issues facing our society, sometimes you want to kick back, take off on a wild adventure, have a good laugh, and imagine a better future where the power is in different hands.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Queer nerdy headcase
What is your Hogwarts house?
I’m a Ravenclaw with Slytherin-level ambition.
Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?
My money would be on Zee, because she has A+ first aid skills on top of her former-athlete level of fitness.
This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?
The year 2500, because we HAVE to have invented space travel by then!
Coffee or tea?
I will say, though, that I hate fancy coffee, but I own waaaaay too much loose leaf tea.
Best ice cream flavor ever?
I love a lot of weird flavors, but Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is my go-to basic flavor.
What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?
Search for that place of 100% self-honesty. Once you understand yourself, you can better relate to other people and, if you’re a writer, to your characters. Our brains are so good at deceiving us, and being able to call yourself on your own bs is a critical life skill for all humans.
About the Book
by M.K. England
Published on December 18, 2018 by HarperTeen
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.
But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.
On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.
They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.
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