Tuesday, January 22, 2019

0 A.C. Gaughen, author of IMPRISON THE SKY, on chiseling a book out of marble

IMPRISON THE SKY is book two in The Elementae series, and we're thrilled to have A.C. Gaughen here to tell us more about it.

A.C., how long did you work on IMPRISON THE SKY?

IMPRISON took me about 10 months to write before it went into the editorial pipeline, which is another few months. For a book of this size, that's pretty fast--especially in comparison to the fifteen years it took me to figure out how to write REIGN THE EARTH, the first book in the series. I think some books just come to me with a better sense of their full storyline, and some I really have to chisel out of the marble.

Interestingly, when I looked back recently, I also realized that Aspasia has an awful lot in common with Kate, a side character in LION HEART. I think part of me was dying to tell this story before I knew I would have the chance.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

It was really an incredible reminder that sometimes, imagination can heal. There was so much joy, peace, and satisfaction in writing a book set on the ocean because that is a setting I truly, truly love, and it was a pretty powerful reminder that the things I think about, write about, surround myself with--they all have power.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

Something I've come to realize is that I don't think I'll ever have a great answer to this question. What often works for me is writing days; I work full time for the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA (love to my Girl Scout sisters!) and I don't get writing time every day--FAR FROM IT. So I bank my time and try to get one day every two weeks to write for 8-10 hours, usually at Panera.

The story doesn't always cooperate. I've worked on stories where I might only write 200 words a day, and that's monumental (but you can see the issue with timeline if I get one day every two weeks...) and I have books that I can churn out 10k without breaking (much of a) sweat. I've learned that I can't force the book into my process, and instead I have to adapt into what works for the story.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

It feels impossible, especially at first, when you are facing rejection and revisions and still more rejection, but have faith in yourself. There are so many moments along this journey that are designed to take away your power, agency, and sense of self, and it's not always easy to keep that away from your writing life. There will be days when you don't have words and days/months/years where you can't find the story with a keyboard and a flashlight, but have faith in yourself. Keep filling up the well of creativity in as many ways as you can--music, books, walks on the beach, Netflix. Do whatever you need to do so that you can see the world as a place full of stories again.


Imprison the Sky
by A.C. Gaughen
Bloomsbury YA
Released 1/22/2019

Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus's black market empire to captain her own trading vessel--and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can.

But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets--not only that Aspasia is a wind Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can't find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free.

Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the center of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.

Purchase Imprison the Sky at Amazon
Purchase Imprison the Sky at IndieBound
View Imprison the Sky on Goodreads


A. C. GAUGHEN is the author of the Scarlet Trilogy (Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart) and the Elementae, which will start with REIGN THE EARTH in January 2018. She serves on the board for the non-profit Boston GLOW, creating opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the Greater Boston area. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Masters in Education from Harvard University.


Have you had a chance to read IMPRISON THE SKY yet? Do you have a set writing process or do you adopt it per story? What kind of things do you do to fill your well of creativity? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, and Kelly

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