Q&A with #YA author Amy Kathleen Ryan: W*n GLOW and SPARK

First, today’s commercial interruptions…It’s Cover Reveal day at Susannah Sandlin’s blog–she is revealing the final cover for book two in the Penton Legacy series, Absolution, which comes out October 9. And book one, Redemption, is currently No. 6 among romance series at Amazon’s Kindle Store. Check it out!

But here, we’re talking about YA today. It is release day for Spark, the second book in Amy Kathleen Ryan’s sci-fi/romance YA, and I have both Spark and book one in the series, Glow, paired up for a two-book giveaway!

I found Glow really intriguing when it came out, even though it left me on a serious cliffhanger, so I’m anxious to dig into Spark and see where Amy takes these characters. So, read on as she runs the Preternatura Q&A obstacle course, and then enter to win both books! (Also, check the link below the book description following the interview for a “sneak listen” to the Spark audiobook!)


Welcome, Amy!

Give us the “elevator pitch” for Spark: Picking up where Glow left off, a mysterious explosion rocks the Empyrean. Acting Captain Kieran Alden suspects Seth Ardvale and Waverly Marshall are trying to stir up trouble to challenge his leadership. Meanwhile, all the kids are clamoring for the Empyrean to launch an attack on the New Horizon to regain their parents. Will the Empyrean crew be able to catch the enemy ship before Kieran, Waverly and Seth destroy each other?

What was your inspiration for the series? The roots for the books go deep. In graduate school at the University of Vermont I studied the early Puritan settlers and how their worldview impacted American political culture. As I wrote Glow, it became clear that I was examining American political life through the lens of science fiction.

What was the most challenging part of setting your novels in space with a contained “world”? It’s difficult creating a world that feels real without getting too bogged down in details. I didn’t want to slow the plot down by over explaining the back story or setting, so I tried to give just enough to clarify the characters’ situations and motivations.

Favorite scene: In Spark, Waverly and Seth have a night together that really softens Seth as a character and brings out a side of Waverly that the readers haven’t seen. I love what happens between them.

Hardest scene to write: Seth performs a terrifying space walk early on in Spark. All that physical twisting and turning was hard to describe without losing the immensity of the setting. I think I rewrote it about three times before I got it right.

What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile? Always a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough, The Queen of Water, by Laura Resau, Violet Wings, by Victoria Hanley, and The Secret to Lying, by Todd Mitchell.

Favorite book when you were a child: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.

Your five favorite authors: Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing, Octavia Butler, Ursula LeGuin. All science fiction writers, all geniuses.

Book you’ve faked reading: That would be an insult to reading.

Book you’re an evangelist for: I’ve been guilty of trying to talk people into reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevski. See below.

Book you’ve bought for the cover: A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray

Book that changed your life: Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevski. I read it for AP English when I was 16. For the first time I caught a glimpse of how powerful literature could be.

Favorite line from a book: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife. (I typed that from memory… Did I get it right?)

Book you most want to read again for the first time: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

Most horrifying moment while reading a book: When I realized that I had been taken hostage by The Davinci Code and would not be allowed to move from my crappy blue couch until I had finished it. Say what you will about Dan Brown, the man can plot a book like nobody’s business.

Favorite book about books or writing: Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott, followed closely by On Writing, by Stephen King

What’s next? I’m considering trying my hand at historical fiction. Stay tuned!!

About SPARK: Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancé? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her? In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end.

Want an audio sample from Spark? The book’s available from Macmillan Audio. Click HERE to listen.


So…want to win both Glow and Spark? (Note, one or both of these might be ARC copies.) Leave a comment to enter. You know the drill–extra entries for blog follow, Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and Tweeting the contest. Now…fly!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate’s Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man’s Curse) releases April 2016).

24 thoughts on “Q&A with #YA author Amy Kathleen Ryan: W*n GLOW and SPARK

  1. Thanks for the great interview and giveaway! A sci-fi series based on American politics? How awesome!

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    bookwormsusanna AT gmail DOT com

  2. Thanks for the lovely interview ladies, I enjoyed reading it. I also like Ursula Le Guinn stories. Though I used to read more sci fi and fantasy when I was younger.

    I’d love to win the books, thank you for the chance.

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  3. I haven’t read these yet but want to
    +1 comment
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  4. I read Glow! It is a super interesting book, especially what happens to the girls in it, very thought provoking. A Wrinkle In Time is such a good book as well, I agree with this choice Amy 🙂
    comment, blog follow, twitter follow, retweet
    +4
    Thanks again as always Suzanne, and thanks to AMY!!

  5. Very nice interview. I’d like to read these books.

    I follow the blog.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

  6. Haven’t read any books yet..great giveaways indeed !!

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    uniquas at ymail dot com

  7. I would love to win this series. Thanks for the interview. I haven’t read either of the books and would love to win & read them.

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    pefrw at yahoo dot com