3...2...1...BLAST OFF into the Never Sky

The magic of UNDER THE NEVER SKY hooked me long before I ever had the privilege of reading a full draft. It began one sweltering night at the SCBWI – LA conference in the summer of 2010.  It was before I was a Muse (yes, I know – prehistoric times, indeed), though Katherine was already a mentor/friend/confidant of mine. I’d seen Veronica at a number of conferences (we were both serious junkies that year), but never spoke more than a few pleasantries. I was walking by the bar alone as she was grabbing a drink. We smiled at each other and she said, “I’ve seen you everywhere. We need to be friends.”

Well, who was I to argue?

And, as writers do, we became fast friends. We sent snippets of our work to each other. We brainstormed ideas. We cheered each other on when the butt-in-chair glue was wearing thin. Then she asked me to help her on the manuscript she had just sold…turns out being an engineer and nerd was going to pay off again (eat that, high school a*holes). I was honored and floored.

We started flushing out some UNDER THE NEVER SKY world-building details in more depth. Immediately, her vivid worlds drew me in. Perry in the “Death Shop” that was almost CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR primitive. Aria in her sterile pod where even sweating was an ancient thing. And, of course, the ever present danger in the sky…the mysterious Aether.

I’d ask questions or pose theories about their world. I’d read her Wikipedia-like responses and tried to tear them apart (tried is the operative word here, she knew them inside and out). She’d send me pictures and scientific articles. It was a blast.

Then, about a year ago, she wanted me to read the whole thing. The magic might’ve started months before with some world building exercises, but reading her prose and characters was spellbinding. Truly amazing. I’m an old fashioned, critique-on-paper kinda guy, so the whole printout became check marks, smiley faces, and exclamation points: 


Until, about a third of the way in, it crescendo into: 


I feel so lucky and privileged to have been part of giving the world this story, even if only in a small way of doodling in the margins to tell her how spot-on she was. 

So if you haven’t already, go out there and get a copy of UNDER THE NEVER SKY and prepare yourself to have its magic blow – your – mind.

(or better yet, click here and find out how you can win a free SIGNED copy).

I’m off to read it again…

Stand back if you prefer to stay clear of the itty-bitty brain bits. 


7 comments

Be careful, Bret. You're going to need that brain so you can lose it when your son is born ...

I can't wait to read this book!

I've got this book now and am loving it. It's such a joy to read it. So full of mind tingling details.

Ha! I love the illustration. Great post. Wish I could be at the launch this Saturday.

YES! This is exactly how I felt when reading the whole manuscript for the first time. Coupled with the occasional double-take of "do I really KNOW this person?" ilk. Made me grin so broadly!

Ryan, Roro- thanks- I hope you enjoy it! Angela, thank you for reading! And yay! Beth, I wish you could be there too <3 Lia & Bret - you guys are awesome. Both of you were so helpful in revising UTNS. Love ya both.

So awesome to soak up all the awesome *energy* surrounding this book and it's launch. WIll be reading soonly!

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