As many of you likely already know, Alexandra Bracken is one of my most favorite authors out there. And January 3rd marked the release of her newest book: Wayfarer.
In celebration of its release, I got to take part in an awesome interview with Alex.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandra Bracken is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Passenger series and The Darkest Minds series. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved East to study history and English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. After working in publishing for several years, Alex now writes full-time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that’s perpetually overflowing with books. Find out more on UnrequiredReading, and visit Alex at her Website.
To start off, Alex gave us a little blurb to catch us all up and to let us know how she felt about Wayfarer.
Alex Bracken: I’ve been calling this book my problem child in the sense that it was the book that came out kicking and screaming whereas some books just sort of rain down on you from the heavens and explode out of you, and those stories are amazing. But I am really proud of this book. I think I managed to accomplish everything that I was going for in it.
To give you a pretty brief summary, it kicks off two weeks or three weeks after Passenger ends. Nicholas and Etta are trying to figure out how to get back to each other at the same time that they’re trying to track down the astrolabe, and they’re dealing with alternate timelines and wars and all that crazy stuff. I had the best time brainstorming an alternate timeline, even though the alternate timeline is truly kind of tragic and nefarious and awful.
You’ll be seeing blog posts from the other bloggers involved pop up, so I thought I’d share the two questions I asked and Alex’s responses as well.
The Book Cellar: One thing I just noticed more so than in Passenger was that family relationships are such an important part of Wayfarer. I feel like based on what you share on your blog, that’s something that’s really important in your life as well. Did you take aspects from relationships in your life and transfer them to Wayfarer?
Ms. Alexandra Bracken: Yeah, I could not figure this book out until I realized the book is actually about families. Which seems like a “no, duh” thing because it’s a duology about time travelling families; our relationships to other members of our family and what we inherit from them, even if it’s not a physical trait but like a cycle of revenge that Nicholas keeps commenting on in Wayfarer.
In the original draft of Passenger, Etta and her mom had a really close, Gilmore Girls-esque relationship, and that was more closely modeled on the relationship I have with my mom. Then my editor said, there’s no tension and no conflict in this relationship at all. What if you go this way and play up the serious aspects of Rose’s past and have it be more of a question mark?
It was really nice to be able to explore Rose’s past in Wayfarer and open and close the book with her. Other than that, I think – and I hope she won’t get mad at me for saying this – I have, not a contentious relationship with my sister, but she and I actually challenge each other a lot in terms of very different tastes and personalities, but we still love each other.
It reminds me of the relationship that Etta and Sophia have initially, and how they come around to each other because ultimately they do have the same interests and a similar personality. It’s almost what makes similar that makes them knock heads more so than what differentiates them, if that makes sense.
But I will say I do not have any evil grandparents, thankfully. I don’t have a devil-may-care brother. It’s fun to step outside of my own very close family unit and kind of toy with a dysfunctional family dynamic.
The Book Cellar: You started with fantasy, moved on to sci-fi, and now you’ve grown into historical elements. What does the world building process look like for you? Do you change based on the genre, or is it pretty consistent, just kind of tweaking based on what you are writing?
Ms. Alexandra Bracken: Yeah, I’m sort of genre hopping. I like to keep people on their toes. One thing I think all of the stories have in common is that I try to keep them character-driven for the most part and have a very strong emotional arc. The world building process for all three are actually just as intense.
With Wayfarer and Passenger I had to sit down and write out all the rules of time travel.
The document is called, the “Time Traveler’s Guide for Not Getting Themselves Killed.” It included all of the rules and all of the consistencies that I had. And then Brightly Woven, which was my debut, it’s a little fantasy, and I think fantasy is fun versus writing in the real world, because all world building requires rules and sticking to them, but I like the freedom of inventing a society from the ground up, versus working within our society. They’re so different, but they’re both very interesting processes.
Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (Passenger Series, Book 2)
In Stores January 3rd
I’ve been orphaned by my time.
The timeline has changed.
My future is gone.
Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas—the eighteenth century privateer she loves—and her natural time.
When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.
Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.
From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.