BWW Interview: Adalyn Grace, author of ALL THE STARS AND TEETH
Today, BroadwayWorld is excited to share an interview with debut author Adalyn Grace, whose upcoming February 4th release has already been blurbed by heavyweight #1 New York Times Best Selling Author Tom Adeyemi (CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE).
Adalyn Grace spent four years working in theatre, has interned for the hit animated series Avatar: The Legend of Korra, and is now set to take the publishing world by storm with her debut novel ALL THE STARS AND TEETH.
BroadwayWorld always loves spotlighting our own, and we were excited to sit down with Adalyn and chat about books and, of course, Broadway!
ALL THE STARS AND TEETH has been one of my 2020 Most-Anticipated Titles, and it was an intense, captivating read. How did you develop the world and come up with various elements and scenarios, such as the magical shops of Ikae or that beautiful underwater world we briefly glimpsed?Thank you so much! I really think that elements like these are such an equal mix of imagination and edits. I drafted both Ikae and the underwater scene very quickly, but through edits was able to go back in and weave in more magic and further develop the setting! For Ikae, that town was very much a love letter to the kind of magical landscape I'd love to personally live in-flashy and glitzy and so magically over the top that you can't help but be fascinated by it. For the underwater scene specifically, I actually went scuba diving and tried to get my scuba certification as research for that! Let's just say that Amora's very different from me, because while she'd 100% journey underwater again, I was terrified. There's some weird looking stuff down there, and the whole lack of fresh air situation is not my favorite. I think that a healthy fear and respect for the sea is natural, and I wanted that to seep into that scene a bit. Ultimately though, Amora is much more fearless than I am, and you have to respect your characters by really letting them experience the situation as themselves, too! So Amora's reaction to being underwater is completely different than my own was, hahah.What was the backbone of the infrastructure that led to your magical system, and what types of magic were learned and explored in ATSAT? Setting out with the magic system, all I knew is that I wanted every island to have its own style of magic. I wanted there to be types that felt both new and familiar, and I spent a lot of time just jotting ideas down in a notebook to try to find magics that stuck with me, and that I thought I believed I'd have a lot of fun exploring. I also wanted every magic we see to also have multiple unique ways of being used, because I feel like that's just what would happen in the real world! If we had magic, we'd find ways to use it that best fit with our lifestyle, and in ways that would make things easier for us in our personal lives. So overall my goal here was to make every magic feel accessible, but to be used in new and innovative ways once we peel back the initial layer and really get into examining the magic!What is your writing process like, especially in the early stages of a book's journey? I'm a speed drafter. When I'm first starting a new book, my preference is to write at least 2k every day, to get the first draft written in about a month. I was a little speedier with ATSAT, and a little slower with its sequel. Each book is so different, but ultimately I always like to fast draft and get the bones of the story on the page as quickly as possible. I feel like that really helps with my pacing, and helps me not linger in any one scene too long because I'm so in the story and always trying to push forward (so that I can be done with speed drafting and torturing myself with 2k a day haha). What magical affinity would you have if you could work magic? If I had to choose one from the book, I'd choose enchantment magic because I just love how flashy and useful it is. If I could choose any, I'd choose either teleportation or ultra luck.I think it's fascinating that you interned at Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Legend of Korra and studied storytelling through your job. What were some of the things you learned that might benefit other writers? The biggest thing I learned while at Nick was that I needed to be honest with myself about what I wanted for my career, and what kind of stories I wanted to tell. While it was so amazing to work on Korra, I feel like I learned more about overall business than I did about storytelling. Through that job, I really saw what it was like to take creative risks and stay true to the story you want to tell. I also learned that, while I enjoyed the heck out of my experience at Nick, I was never going to be fully happy working on someone else's story instead of creating my own, and that I needed to really push to get out there and tell my own stories. That's the biggest lesson I learned from my time there-to be honest with myself and my goals for my career. Would you rather be a pirate or a mermaid? A pirate! I'm not cut out for seeing what weird things live in the depths of the sea.What was it like seeing your gorgeous cover for the first time? Did the design team go through multiple drafts to bring ATSAT to life? I absolutely died when I saw the final cover for the first time! It was a bit of a journey to get to it, as I saw two initial sketches in the beginning-one that eventually became today's cover, and another dramatically different one. It's funny, because the other one is what my publisher was pushing for originally, and while I did think the concept was interesting, I was totally in love with the other option. We went back and forth a bit, but eventually we all settled on the one I was crossing all my fingers for! From there, there was some back and forth on certain design elements (like the art style, the border, and corner elements of the cover), and I'm just so grateful that my publisher really listened to my thoughts and did everything in their power to get me a cover that's not only stunning, but also that I would love. I know not a lot of authors get to have any say in their covers, so I feel very lucky and fortunate for my team. They absolutely crushed it! Here at BroadwayWorld, we love discovering more about the members of our multifaceted community. You spent four years working in live theatre. What shows did you work on? What were your favorite aspects of the field? Oh, so many! I worked on Cats, Phantom, Footloose, Grease, A Christmas Carol, Gypsy, Anything Goes . . . The list really goes on and on as it was a new show just about every two months. I was 15 when I started there as an intern, so I really kind of grew up at that job. I loved getting to work in such a creative space, with people who were incredibly talented and dedicated to growing in their craft and aiming for the highest of dreams. Each show would have different actors, many of them sourced from New York, so I loved getting to meet and work with so many different people.What are some of your favorite musicals and / or plays? I love Les Mis, Hadestown, and yes, even Cats. I was obsessed with Cats. Would you ever consider writing a novel infused with elements of live theatre?
I'll never say never! But at the moment I don't have any plans for one. I am, however, working on side project that I comp to a pretty popular book/musical . . . But no spoilers :)
Thank you so much to Adalyn Grace and Macmillan Publishing for today's excellent interview. ALL THE STARS AND TEETH is available in stores everywhere this coming Tuesday, February 4th!
ABOUT AUTHOR ADALYN GRACE:
Adalyn Grace graduated Summa Cum Laude when she was 19-years-old. She spent four years working in live theater, and acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper. During and after college, she studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation's popular animated show, The Legend of Korra (sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender). She was a participant in Pitch Wars 2016, and is a former literary agent intern for an established agency.Adalyn splits time between San Diego and Arizona with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs, and spends her days writing full time while trying to find the city's best burrito. She has several projects in the works, and hopes to continually push the boundaries and explore the limits of upper young adult fiction. You can follow her on Twitter, at @AdalynGrace_
ABOUT ALL THE STARS AND TEETH:
She will reign.As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer-the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it's never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy's dangerous soul magic. When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he'll help her prove she's fit to rule, if she'll help him reclaim his stolen magic. But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder-and more peril-than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she'll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected... or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever. I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom. Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace's All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber's Caraval and Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series.