Today for “Feature Friday” let us welcome the lovely Mary Fan with her book Starswept that will release August 29th.
We will have info about the book and Mary. Plus we have a great interview with her and my review of Starswept.
Make sure to check everything out and go and give Mary some love and add her to your TBR 😉
The cover below is NOT the final cover, that will be released in June.
Happy Reading 🙂
In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.
A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.
When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.
But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.
Will be available August 29th, 2017
Hello Mary. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and chat with us, it is lovely to have you.
What is the first book you read that made you fall in love with reading?
My goodness, I’ve loved reading since literally before I can remember! In fact, I was “reading” before I could actually read, if that makes any sense at all. My parents have read me storybooks since I was an infant, and apparently, when I was about eighteen months old, I memorized one of them and knew just where to turn the pages. So I shocked all their friends by being this roly poly baby who could barely talk but somehow knew how to “read.”
There are definitely books that stick out in my memory, though. The Boxcar Children… I was obsessed with those as a kid. Read every single one the bookstore carried, owned enough to take up two entire shelves. And the American Girl books… I remember devouring those over and over, especially the “Save the Day” ones where the girls got to take action and, well, save the day. And Sherlock Holmes—I checked out the complete anthology when I was 10 and kept renewing so I could read the whole thing over and over (it was too big for my backpack). And then there’s the book that turned me onto sci-fi: Jack Williamson’s Legion of Space. Looking back, it’s not my favorite sci-fi novel, but it was vivid enough to lead me down the wormhole to super-nerdom that has me reading and writing geeky books to this day.
If you didn’t write, what would you do instead? Are there any other talents you are hiding from us?
I’d be a composer! I actually was a composer for several years—in fact, I was majored in composition. My senior thesis was an hour-long setting of the Dies Irae for choir and piano quartet. Music’s as much a part of me as reading and writing are… Sometimes, I think I learned how to read music before I could actually read words (I started violin when I was three). I don’t compose anymore, unfortunately. Not because I meant to give it up, but because I fell into the writing hole instead. And with a day job, I just didn’t have time to keep up with both. Every time I want to sit down and compose something, I have some pressing book matter to attend to. One of these days, I’ll get back to it. One of these days.
What are your hardest scenes to write? And what are what are the easiest to write for you?
The hardest scenes for me to write are the really emotional ones. It’s because I feel like no matter how hard I try, I can never quite get everything I want to across. I want my words to burrow into a reader and let them feel what my characters feel, and I always worry that I haven’t done enough to achieve that connection.
The easiest scenes for me to write are action scenes. I think it’s because I watch too many action movies. They just choreograph themselves in my head as I’m writing.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I mostly research setting elements. Though I write faraway sci-fi and fantasy, everything is grounded in reality in one way or another. There’s a certain amount of verisimilitude that must be achieved… a thread tying back to the real world that keeps readers from feeling lost in a fantastical world. In the case of STARSWEPT, which is about young performing artists in the sci-fi future, I ended up doing a lot of research about ballet and aerial arts to inform the setting, and I already had the background knowledge in orchestra and opera, since I participated in both. Of course, most of what I found didn’t get used (no one wants to listen to me drone on about turnout or embouchure when there are telepathic alien boys to meet), and knew going in that it wouldn’t be. But just having that background, I believe, influenced my writing in subtle ways that help bring it to life.
Tell us something about you that might surprise people.
Oh dear… I feel like I’ve done many absurd things in my life, and yet day-to-day I’m really boring. How’s this… Twice I’ve found myself an unwitting model for ads. The first time was when I attended a science camp in high school. A photographer came to take pictures of the class, and I figured if the photos were used, they’d be wide shots of the classroom. The next summer, I found a brochure for that camp with my big face plastered across the top. Apparently I’m very photogenic when peering into a microscope. The second time was just this year… I attended a writers conference last year along with one of the members of my local writers group. Someone was taking photos, but I didn’t pay attention. I was considering going back this year and went to check out the programming on their website. A giant web banner greeted me, featuring a close-up of my friend’s face. And I’m sitting right next to him, out of focus but in the foreground. Maybe I should consider monetizing my “paying attention” face, since apparently people are using it to sell events…
Not sure if that was a surprising fact, but I thought it might be amusing at least?
This was fun again thank you so much for taking the time to chat. You rock!
Going in to this book I had no idea what to expect. I have read a few books set in the way future, some on earth, some set in space others somewhere in between. But this book is somewhat unique.
I really enjoyed the world setting, is was fantastic and really great explained. But so were the characters, I really loved Iris and her dark, yet beautiful journey in this book.
Iris, is coming from a poor household and struggles to keep afloat with her school for the arts. As if that is not enough she soon has to face so much more. She must make very hard decisions that could cost her everything. An Adryil boy, doesn’t help for the matter. And as they grow closer things are just getting more and more complicated and more dangerous for Iris.
Some things seemed odd but in the end everything just come together really great and make sense.
I really loved this book, it was dark, sweet and had some great twists. It also was really great written a much welcomed new book in the YA sci-fi book world.
This was my first book by Mary Fan but will definitely not be the last.
If you like YA dystopian, Sci-Fi books, I highly recommend this book.
I rate it 5 ★
Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series, which comprises ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES (Red Adept Publishing, 2013), SYNTHETIC ILLUSIONS (Red Adept Publishing, 2014), and VIRTUAL SHADOWS (2015), and STARSWEPT (Snowy Wings Publishing, 2017), a young adult sci-fi romance. Her works also include several young adult fantasy novellas: THE FIREDRAGON (Glass House Press, 2014), FIREDRAGON RISING (Glass House Press, 2015), TELL ME MY NAME (Glass House Press, 2014), and LET ME FLY FREE (Glass House Press, 2016). These serve as prequels to two full-length series currently under contract with Glass House Press, Flynn Nightsider and Fated Stars.
In addition, Mary is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.
Mary has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and especially enjoys the infinite possibilities and out-of-this-world experiences of science fiction and fantasy. In her spare time (when she has any), she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and exploring new things—she’ll try almost anything once.