2020 Snapshot: Amie Kaufman

Amie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her multi-award winning work is slated for publication in over 30 countries, and has been described as “a game-changer” (Shelf Awareness), “stylistically mesmerising” (Publishers Weekly) and “out-of-this-world awesome” (Kirkus). Her series include The Illuminae FilesThe Aurora Cyclethe Other Side of the Sky duologyThe Starbound Trilogythe Unearthed duology and The Elementals Trilogy. Her work is in development for film and TV, and has taken home multiple Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, a Gold Inky, made multiple best-of lists and been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Raised in Australia and occasionally Ireland, Amie has degrees in history, literature, law and conflict resolution, and is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, daughter and rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

It’s been a busy year for me! First up was Aurora Burning, which is book two in the Aurora Cycle, a YA trilogy I’m co-authoring with Jay Kristoff. It’s a series about a bunch of misfits from an interstellar military academy who end up needing to save the galaxy — think The Breakfast Club goes to Starfleet Academy.

Next up is Battle Born, which wraps up my middle grade fantasy trilogy — wolves, dragons, shapeshifters, magical inventions, ancient grudges and a band of kids who need to rethink their prejudices, question beliefs they thought were facts, and hopefully save everyone.

My final book for 2020 will be out in September. It’s a YA SFF mash-up co-authored with Meagan Spooner called The Other Side of the Sky. It’s about a prince who falls from a science fiction city in the sky to a world below ruled by magic and prophecy, where he meets a living goddess. I’m so proud of it, and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world!

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

This is such a tough question! I cycled through a whole lot of answers about awesome research trips (Iceland, I will be back!) and breakthrough moments, but I think the best experience I’ve ever had was at an event in LA. There was a fire next door to the bookstore, so they had to cancel — but we had a bunch of readers, including teenagers, who had driven hours to celebrate the final book in the Illuminae Files with us. So Jay and I teamed up with a couple of amazing locals and sourced a public space where we put on our own event — there was laughing and singing (our audiobook narrator gave us a rendition of a song from the series!) and we and the readers ran the whole thing ourselves. It was the purest form of book nerdery and delight, and instead of our final event for our whole series being cancelled and ending with a whimper, we threw an awesome party with our readers. I’ll never forget it.

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge? 

I can’t recommend Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller highly enough. It’s an own voices thriller/horror novel by a First Nations author and I couldn’t put it down. It’s about a pair of twins — when one goes missing and the police won’t take it seriously, her sister, always the good twin until now, needs to find her if she’s going to save her. It weaves together nailbiting suspense and an exploration of the author’s family and culture (with a helpful author’s note in the back, indicating what’s fictionalised) and it’s a book that will give international readers an insight into a part of our world they might not otherwise encounter.

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