Interview with Rachel Searles, author of THE LOST PLANET
by Reagan Eppes
What inspired you to write the book?
I was contemplating a bunch of different story ideas and decided I wanted to write a big, fun action-adventure about kids in space. I loved the idea of coming up with whole new worlds outside of Earth and sending my characters around to visit them. Also, the distances out in space are so mind-bogglingly huge, I find it really exciting (and a little terrifying) to imagine trying to travel them in a little man-made vehicle. If you get stranded, you’re seriously stranded.
How did you come up with the alien races?
For most of them I played around with words and sounds until I had a big list of imaginary planet names, and then I tried to envision what I thought an alien of each name would look like. For example, one planet is called Horgalafassio. I decided the inhabitants would be called Horgas, and for that name I saw big, hulking, hairy aliens with giant mouths who don’t talk much and make excellent bodyguards.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I spent about two years dawdling on the first hundred pages, and then I got serious and finished the rest of the book in four months. Of course that was just the first draft—I spent another year and a half after that revising and rewriting it to get it in good shape!
What one thing do you need to have when you write?
A blanket and a place to stretch out my legs. I usually end up with a cat sleeping somewhere on me too.
What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
The first. I agonize over the whole first chapter.
Have you always been a fan of sci-fi?
I never used to think of myself as a sci-fi fan, but at some point I realized how much I enjoy movies and books set in outer space. We really have no idea what’s out there, and it’s so much fun to imagine what could be.
My favorite character to read about was Parker, who was your favorite character to write?
Same! I loved writing Parker—he can be so arrogant, but he’s got a lot of emotions swirling around underneath that know-it-all façade.
From Rachel Searles, author of THE LOST PLANETI loved both Star Trek and Star Wars (and Battlestar Gallactica!) for their epic scope and dashing heroes, but as a former political science/international relations student I was also drawn to the idea of alien civilizations like the Betazoids or the Jawa and the thought that there might actually be a United Federation of Planets or a Galactic Republic some day. I've always been fascinated by foreign cultures, and I've drawn inspiration just standing in the immigration line at the Atatürk airport in Istanbul, seeing the wide range of people whose version of normal is so wildly different from my own (seriously, the immigration line there can be like standing in an issue of National Geographic). So one of the most exciting parts of writing this book for me was daydreaming about what civilizations might exist outside our solar system and how we would interact with them, and creating alien cultures for my hero to navigate.
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This is what the boy is told:
• He woke up on planet Trucon, inside a fence he shouldn't have been able to pass.
• He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
• He has no memory.
• He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
• His name is Chase Garrety.
This is what Chase Garrety knows:
• He has a message: "Guide the star."
• Time is running out.