Welcome to March, where the debuts are plentiful and the books are awesome!
by Bridget Tyler
When Jo steps onto Tau Ceti E, it should be the happiest moment of her life. After all, she’s been training for as long as she can remember to be a cadet pilot in the International Space Agency. She’s dreamed of the day she and her family would leave Earth forever and begin life as pioneers on a new planet.
But now she can’t stop thinking of everything that has gone wrong on their mission: the terrible accident that nearly destroyed their craft, that set their voyage back years, that killed her brother, that left her unable to fly…
As Jo struggles to live with her grief and figure out who she’s going to be now, she falls in love with her new world. It isn’t hard. Jo’s team is camped out by a pristine, tumbling river at the base of a mountain range that looks like huge prisms buried in the prairie. The soring crystal peaks transform every sunset into rainbows full of colors human eyes have never seen before. And that’s just the beginning. Tau offers Jo and her family a lifetime of beauty and adventure.
Jo throws herself into helping her team, lead by her commander mother, establish their community on this amazing new world. But just when she starts to feel like her old self again, she uncovers a devastating secret her mother has been keeping from her people. A secret that could destroy her family’s pioneering dreams…if they survive that long.
With the fate of the pioneers in her hands, Jo must decide how far she’s willing to go to expose the truth — before the truth destroys them all.
March 5th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi! I'm Bridget Tyler and my novel The Pioneer is coming out on 3/5/2019 from HarperTeen. The Pioneer is sort of the Illuminea version of Oregon Trail. It's the story of Joanna Watson, a teenage space pioneer whose struggling to survive the loss of her beloved big brother while her family struggles to survive on a new world.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
The biggest surprise was how hard it is to edit the sheer volume of words involved in a novel. I'm a television writer so I thought I knew what I was doing but editing The Pioneer was a little like re-learning to ride a bike. Or a new frontier, if you will. (see what I did there) I've also been pleasantly surprised by how lovely and welcoming everyone is! I've made some great new friends, both experienced authors who've kindly offered advice and guidance, and other debuts who are in the trenches with me.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
Speaking of which, everyone should keep their eyes peeled for Rosaria Munda's Fireborne. It's Top Guns with dragons, but with a whole bunch of moral uncertainty and intense character relationships. I read it until 3am because I could not put it down. I'm pretty sure I was talking to my kindle at some point because I was so upset about a couple of plot turns (in a good way).
Who is your favorite character?
This question is so hard to answer! Obviously, my main character Joanna has my heart in many ways, but Chris Howard, the youngest of Joanna's friends, really surprised me as the book developed. Sometimes characters have their own ideas about where the story is going and I really didn't expect Chris's story to be so important or so heartbreaking.
What’s a cool thing about your book that isn’t in the blurb?
Tau! The details of Jo's new planet were so much fun to dream up and they give such richness to the story. I had SO much fun doing all the research it took to make this imaginary world as grounded in the possible as I could. I can't wait to share it.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Finish stuff. If you suddenly find yourself struggling to write even though you're sure you know what comes next in your story that doesn't mean something is wrong with you, it means something is wrong with the scene you're writing. If you can't figure out how to make a sentence sound right, try deleting it. Get an ergonomic keyboard and take breaks from the computers. Drink water. Be kind to yourself and others. Oh, and also finish stuff. Did I say finish stuff. Finish stuff.
What is your writer patronus?
When I was a kid, I had nightmares. My father made up a dream guardian for me who was an enormous jackrabbit like the ones we'd see around in the fields where I grew up (the California central valley). But he was a human sized warrior rabbit who could protect me from anything scary. It worked on the nightmares, and I'm sure my dream guardian would also be my patronus.
What book or author has most influenced your own writing?
I feel like my voice on the page is like the love child of Anne McCaffrey's writing style and John Scalzi's writing style. But McCaffrey has probably had the longest standing influence on how I write – I've been a fan since before I could read for myself. Joss Wheaton has also had a huge influence on me.
If you could only buy one book this year, which book would it be?
I cannot possibly answer this question, because I've already purchased Kiersten White's Slayer and she just announced she's doing a Guinevere trilogy so I have to buy that, so I'm on two before I even get to all the amazing debuts this year.
Link to a favorite recipe!
I have recently learned to roast whole chickens stuffed with cut up lemons and onions and rosemary (I use this recipe https://www.skinnytaste.com/roast-chicken-with-rosemary-and-lemon/). It is delicious and makes me feel both very grown up AND like a little kid pretending I live in a castle or on the prairie in my log cabin somewhere at the same time.
Link to a favorite song!
Alessia Cara's Four Pink Walls was on pretty much 24/7 writing Pioneer. She captures Joanna's angst and passion soooo well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrGX4KZ44WI
I can't wait to read this book! Go pick it up on 3/5/19!!