Saturday, October 14, 2017

0 Heather Kaczynski, author of DARE MIGHTY THINGS, on following your dreams, no matter how impossible they seem

We're delighted to have Heather Kaczynski join us to chat about her debut novel, DARE MIGHTY THINGS.

Heather, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

The scene where everyone is trapped in a simulated lunar habitat that I had to rewrite many times to get just right - it was originally a lot more violent and also convoluted, plot-wise. I'm not the most proud of that scene though; I still see flaws in it, maybe because I wrote and rewrote it so many times. I still particularly love the first scenes when Cassie arrives at Johnson Space Center for training; her orientation, meeting the people that would become her friends, and the first competition of a long and grueling test of endurance. Those scenes flowed so easily when writing them and were hardly changed throughout all the rounds of revisions.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Fiction-wise, there are a few books that also debuted this year which I think readers might also find a lot of the same things to love: NYXIA by Scott Reintgen, THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY by Katie Slivensky, REBEL SEOUL by Axie Oh, and 27 HOURS by Tristina Wright. Also, of course, THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir and CONTACT by Carl Sagan.

Some great nonfiction titles for kids who are interested in the underlying science behind the book, I'd heartily recommend: PACKING FOR MARS by Mary Roach, AN ASTRONAUT'S GUIDE TO LIFE ON Earth by Chris Hadfield, SPACEMAN by Mike Massimo, MY DREAM OF STARS by Anousheh Ansar, ENDURANCE by Scott Kelly, FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION by Gene Kelly, HIDDEN FIGURES by Margot Lee Shetterly, WOMEN IN SPACE by Karen Lee Gibson,THE MERCURY 13: The UNTOLD STORY OF 13 WOMEN AND THE DREAM OF SPACE FLIGHT by Martha Ackermann, and anything by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

How long did you work on DARE MIGHTY THINGS?

I finished the first draft in about seven months, and spent the next two years revising it off and on while I queried. Once I signed with Kristin, I did another revision pass or two under her keen editorial direction, and another couple of smaller passes with my editor.

What do you hope readers will take away from DARE MIGHTY THINGS?

That it's worthwhile to follow your dreams no matter how impossible they seem; to always remember that we have only our one lovely planet, and we're (so far) alone in a vast, dangerous universe; that science and space exploration are worthy ventures not just for their own sake but also to preserve the future of our species; to always look up at the sky and wonder what lies beyond; to remember to be forgiving towards yourself and others, because we're always growing, changing, learning, and working on ourselves.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

My road was relatively easy compared to some; I queried for two years before finding representation for DMT, which was only my second finished novel ever. (The first one will likely stay in a drawer forever, as it was a dystopian before I knew dystopian was dead, and plus it was pushing 120k words!)

What are you working on now?

The sequel to DARE MIGHTY THINGS, which is due to come out Fall 2018.


Dare Mighty Things
by Heather Kaczynski
Released 10/10/2017

THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.

Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.

As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.

Purchase Dare Mighty Things at Amazon
Purchase Dare Mighty Things at IndieBound
View Dare Mighty Things on Goodreads


Heather grew up in the shadow of the Saturn V rocket in Huntsville, Alabama. After spending four years buried in lab reports and memorizing all 206 bones in the human body, she gratefully returned to her first love of books and now works in a library near Marshall Space Flight Center - where she quietly fangirls anytime an astronaut walks in to read the newspaper. She lives with her amateur astronomer/pizza-franchisee husband, their young daughter, and a cat named Circe. Heather is a card-carrying member of the Planetary Society and can neither confirm nor deny the existence of aliens in her books.


Have you had a chance to read DARE MIGHTY THINGS yet?

Everyone has that one scene they do over and over. How to you know when to stop?

Have you finished writing a novel before learning that trend is dead?

Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Charlotte, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Erin, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

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