Author Interview & Giveaway: Beth Revis on the Across the Universe Series

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Beth Revis is the author of the New York Times Bestselling Across the Universe series, published by Razorbill/Penguin in the U.S. and available in 17 countries.

The first book in the trilogy, Across the Universe, is a β€œcunningly executed thriller,” according to Booklist, and the second book, A Million Suns, was hailed by the LA Times as β€œa fast-paced, action-packed follow-up.”

The final book of the trilogy, Shades of Earth, will be released in early 2013.

A former teacher, Beth lives in rural North Carolina with her husband and dog. Her goals include traveling around the world in 80 days, exploring the moon, and finding Narnia.

Wow! As a debut YA author, you burst onto the scene like a supernova! Critically acclaimed, a bestseller, an international sensation. What moments stand out most in your memory and why?

I thought when I got published, everything would be different. Shiny and glamorous! But the truth of the matter is, everything’s still pretty much the same as it’s always been. When I found out I hit the New York Times list for the first time, I was sitting at my kitchen table paying my electric bill!

I suppose the biggest stand out–or at least the moment I will never forget–was finding out about the book deal in the first place. After my agent told me the book sold, I got so excited that I gave myself stress-induced gastroenteritis and spent the night in the hospital, throwing up!


Yikes! What did it take to get you there? Could you share with us the timeline and highlights of your path to publication?

My journey to publication was so long that Bilbo Baggins could have gone there and back again five times. I wrote my first novel in college…and it was terrible.

I wrote ten more novels, over the course of ten years. A decade. A decade, during which time I gathered up nearly a thousand rejections from agents and publishers.

I was definitely at the point of giving up, but decided to try one last time, with one last story. That story was Across the Universe, and it changed everything.

What did you learn from your debut year that you’d like to pass on to the new voices of 2012?

Don’t worry about doing everything. You can’t do everything. It all seems so important to answer every interview, do every giveaway, but it’ll be okay if you don’t. Focus on what you enjoy doing. And make some author friends! They’ll talk you down after you read your first negative review…and all the ones after that.

Congratulations on your new release! For many writers, the “dreaded sophomore novel” is the toughest. Was that your experience? Or was it smooth sailing?

Smooth sailing! Ha! I think I’m doomed to an interesting life, as the old Irish proverb would say.

I wrote my first draft of A Million Suns and it was…terrible. Fortunately, my beta readers let me know this, so I rewrote the book before submitting it to my editor.

Long story short: I wrote the book four times before it was good enough!


What advice do you have for beginning writers with a passion for science fiction?

Explore what you like. I felt grossly under-qualified to write sci fi because my sci fi novel was very short on the science department. I wanted space, but I also wanted romance and mystery and death and tragedy and more. So I wrote the story I wanted, leaving out the parts I didn’t, and it worked.

You don’t have to write a certain way to fit a certain genre. Instead of being your style for the genre, bend the genre toward your style.


Preview at Kindle and Nook.

You also write short stories! How does writing in short form nurture you as a novelist?

I sincerely think that it’s typically much easier to write a novel than a story. At least, many of my short stories have turned into novels! But the thing about a short story is, you need all the elements of a novel, but a tiny portion of the size. It’s a challenge, but it makes you focus on the important bits.


What do you do outside of writing and the world of books? 

I love to travel! I love my home in rural North Carolina, but I don’t feel right if I don’t escape the state–or the country–at least a few times a year. There’s just so much of the world to see!

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of A Million Suns! To enter, comment on this post and include an email address (formatted
like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email
address. Or email Cynthia directly with “Million Suns” in the subject line. (If you’re on LiveJournal, I’m also taking entries via comment at the Cynsations LJ.)
Author-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. only. Deadline: midnight CST April 17.

Cynsational Notes

Visit Beth’s blog, follow her at Twitter, Facebook (exclusive materials and insider information) and Goodreads. Check out free samples of Across the Universe for Kindle and Nook.

Check out this video: Don’t Give Up by Beth Revis. Really, it’s required.

43 thoughts on “Author Interview & Giveaway: Beth Revis on the Across the Universe Series

  1. OMG count me in. I absolutely love this series. Beth is just amazing!!! Cannot wait for more πŸ™‚

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  2. Love Beth's books! I will get to Quail Ridge Books to get Beth's signature personally one day!

    Susan Light
    Blacksburg VA

    books4susie at aol dot com

  3. LOVE this interview and I remember watching that video a long time ago – the images of reams and reams of paper representing Beth's previos novels has always stayed with me and is a reminder that success is not always immediate.

    I loved Across the Universe and I still need to get round to reading the sequel. I keep nagging Beth to come to the UK but so far she hasn't made it so a signed book would be fantastic (I have a US addy I could use, hope that's ok)

    Thank you for the opportunity to win such an awesome prize πŸ™‚


  4. It's just amazing how reading about an author's super tough road to publication never gets old. Just as I think I've heard it all, there's another writer who beats the odds of 'mission impossible' in a whole new way.
    It inspires me every time.

    rossy[underscore]popova at yahoo dot com

  5. Oh, I LOVED across the Universe! Truly interesting interview, and thank you for having this giveaway!!! πŸ™‚

  6. I've been trying to get a copy of this book since it was first released. A signed copy would be perfect. Thanks for the interview and the video as well.


  7. I really enjoyed Across the Universe and have been pretty desperate to read book two, only, given the number of things in my tbr pile, I don't typically rush out and buy things. If they show up however…

    cynicalsapphire at gmail dot com

  8. across the universe was great and im sure a million suns is better πŸ™‚
    mokeypokeyrocker at yahoo dot com

  9. Love Beth and that video was great. Can't wait to see her again πŸ™‚

    joinstuff (at) ymail (dot) com

  10. Beth's story is one of my favorites because I think it's a story many of us writers can relate to. There was no instant success, or a huge dollop of luck that happened at just the right time. She worked and worked, she had doubts and worries, but ultimately she didn't give up and persevered. I was lucky enough to be around to see everything happen for her, and I couldn't be happier.

    Beth, I think you did something amazing with ATU, weaving together the best elements of so many genres. I think this is a large reason why so many people love your book–you've caught the attention of the fans of Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction and more!

    I loved ATU, and can't wait to read AMS, too!


  11. Author interviews make me appreciate books so much more! It's usually a long hard road to success and it's wonderful when a good books makes it into my hands. Thanks for the offer!

    wrights5 at hughes dot net

  12. I loved Across The Universe! I dont have AMS but I would LOVE to own one!
    Thank you so much! Nice interview and giveaway.
    sbist at lincoln dot edu dot gh

  13. Wow thank you so much for this awesome giveaway! I have loved Beth Revis ever since I read Across The Universe; it was such a clever, ingenious book that is now one of my absolute favorites! It would be amazing to win a copy of A Million Suns; the cover is gorgeous and I know it will be just as amazing as the first one! Beth Revis is so inspiring, and when I grow up I hope to be just like her. πŸ™‚ The interview was so fascinating; thanks for posting it so us fans could read it! Also thanks again for the contest, and best of luck to everyone!

    My email is: skittles2200 at sbcglobal dot net

  14. Great interview, what an interesting and forthcoming person Beth is. Ten years of rejection slips, that must be hard to take. Too tough for me. Guess that's part of why everyone's not a writer.

  15. I almost different finish reading Across the Universe after the first chapter, becuase I had chills running up and down my arms and my stomach felt queasy after reading about the preserving process in the first chapter. I'm glad I finished it, becuase I loved it! Thanks for the giveaway, I'd love to see what happens next. :]

    teddycavygal at yahoo dot com

  16. I, uh, enjoyed the interview and have nothing useful to say. Just want to try for getting my hands on a very interesting looking book.

    giveaways at fb dot pierian dash spring dot net

  17. I always find it interesting to learn how long it takes an author to finish a story. Sometimes, it's easy to pretend that they can blink them into existence.

    Thank you so much for the fantastic giveaway!

    pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com

  18. "You don't have to write a certain way to fit a certain genre. Instead of being your style for the genre, bend the genre toward your style."

    Wonderful advice! Thank you so much for this interview! I loved Across the Universe, but haven't had a chance to get A Million Suns yet! Count me in on the giveaway=)

    kathleen dot doyle88 at yahoo dot com

  19. I love Beth Revis so much!!! And ohmygod, Beth is my inspiration/spirit animal. Thanks for the giveaway also!!! <3 <3 <3 jnlabrada(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. I was able to meet Beth this weekend and am even more excited to read A MILLION SUNS now! She was lovely! πŸ™‚

    thehidingspot at live dot com

  21. The first novel Across the Universe was amazing! Beth Revis's writing style is unique and keeps me reading on! Hope fully I win the giveaway!

    Justinalozie at yahoo dot com

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