Hello Knights! Who’s ready to rocket off into space?
Joanne Rendell, part of the dynamic author duo of the upcoming YA sci-fi, Sky Without Stars (a re-telling of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo!) is stopping by the blog to share a guest post about. . . you guessed it, SPACE!
Keep on reading for more info about the book!
Everything is Better in Space!
by Joanne Rendell
Years ago, a writer friend told me she loved writing fiction because it was like getting to play dolls as a grown-up! Writing fiction with a co-writer, I have since discovered, is even better. It’s like getting to play dolls with a friend—a friend who knows all the characters’ names and backstories and who is as excited about coming up with new story ideas as you are!
Jessica and I started playing dolls…er, I mean, writing our book Sky Without Stars over two years ago. It was Jess who initially came up with the idea of writing a reimagining of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables in space. But she’d sat on the idea for a while, unsure whether she was ready or able to embark on such a project. Then one night, when she and I were having dinner, our conversation came around randomly to the French Revolution and naturally from there to Les Misérables. I told Jess that the novel was one of my top favorite books ever and that I’d read the 1300-page epic three times! A second later, without warning, out of Jess’s mouth flew the words, “Do you want to write a retelling of it with me set in space!?” And a second later, without warning, out of my mouth flew the words, “I’d love to!”
From the start, our writing process was very structured, and organized. Before we starting, Jess and I spent a lot of time together planning and tightly plotting the novel. We then drafted chapters on our own – Jess took our character Chatine’s chapters, I took Alouette’s, and we fought like cats over who got to write the first drafts of Marcellus’s chapters! Then, once we had drafts of the chapters finished, we handed them back and forth, editing and tweaking, until we were both happy with the pages.
Working together on the book has been a whole lot of fun and we make a great team, as we both have very different strengths and likes when it comes to the writing process. We’re also both good at taking feedback and letting go too!
One of the challenges of being co-authors, however, is being on the same page in terms of how we imagine our world and characters. In other words, when we brainstorm the world of Sky Without Stars, are we really both imagining the same thing? This question resulted in the creation of a collection of inspiration boards, which we’re excited to share with you here.
Sky Without Stars is set on the very distant and very divided planet of Laterre. The wealthy live in luxury in the “Grand Palais” under a vast climate-controlled dome:
Meanwhile, the poor of Laterre live in the rusting and leaky remains of the 500-year old spaceships that once brought their ancestors to the planet. These slums, where everyone is hungry and freezing and where the rain never stops falling, are known as the “Frets”:
On this very divided planet, the rumblings of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes. The first is Chatine, a street-savvy thief and the daughter of con artists. She lives in the Frets and will do anything to escape her brutal life.
Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a traitor. Groomed to command by his legendary grandfather and a resident of the luxurious Grand Palais, Marcellus is beginning to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve. He also has access to some of the coolest tech!
Alouette lives in a secret, underground Refuge, where she guards the last surviving library on the planet. She was raised by a Sisterhood of intelligent, mindful women who have made it their life’s work to protect knowledge and the histories of Laterre and the First World which died centuries ago. Alouette hasn’t seen the above-ground world in over twelve years, but that is about to change….
When a shocking murder shakes the foundations of the planet, the fates of these three unlikely heroes from very different will intertwine as the planet spirals toward revolution and the brutal Ministère (the planet’s military and government body) fights to maintain control.
About the Sky Without Stars Authors
About the Book
by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell
Series: System Divine #1
Published on March 26, 2019 by Simon Pulse
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
A thief. An officer. A guardian.
Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .
When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.
Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…
Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.
Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.
Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.
All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.
Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.
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