The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World #1)
By: Rin Chupeco
Publication Date: October 15th, 2019
Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
1) A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some “fun facts” or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
I’m very happy to say that I’m usually very economical when it comes to scenes and characters. I usually wind up using all the scenes in the first draft, and TNTW was no exception. I referenced that in a panel once, joking about why would I write characters out if I could just kill them off.
For fun facts, though! You have no idea how many hours I spent researching whether or not a whale could blow up if it was decomposing long enough under the sun. I had to watch videos of people attempting to blow whale carcasses up just to see what would happen, and then I had to look at how many days that would take to happen on its own. I made the mistake of doing the research in cafes and kept getting the weirdest looks. I also had to do some reasonable research into worm biology to try and figure out if it was feasible to possibly “milk” them if they were say, bigger than fifteen cows put together. It was also hilarious when, after reading the first several chapters of the advance copies, one of my best friends looked me in the eye and went, “You are absolutely like Arjun. You even bitch the same way.”
2) Do you have a special story, a discovery you made while doing research, or an innocuous thought that grew into something bigger that is behind your inspiration for THE NEVER TILTING WORLD?
I was trapped in Boracay, a small island in the Philippines, when Typhoon Haiyan first hit the country, and it made landfall there. So it was a pretty frightening time, and I saw a lot of the destruction firsthand. Fortunately, my husband and I were able to stay out of danger, but some surrounding areas didn’t fare as well. For several days though, we had no contact – no internet, no water or electricity, and rationed food. So for awhile, it felt like we were just the only people remaining there, and it was the strangest experience, one I wouldn’t want to repeat. But it was only many years later before I was able to put that idea down in a story.
3) Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble? If you could ask a character of your choice from THE NEVER TILTING WORLD one question what would it be?
Arjun is my favorite, hands down, simply because of the four characters he’s the one most like me! The others do share some of my traits – I’m very stubborn like Haidee, am a sucker for romance like Odessa, and compartmentalize (and react poorly) to trauma like Lan. But when Arjun talks smack, or makes some sarcastic rejoinder, or does something ridiculous or bends over backwards for a girl because he’s absolutely crushing over – I could easily see myself doing those exact same things. I always like to point out that Arjun is a Hufflepuff convinced that he’s a Gryffindor, but this is really just a self-own. I would also probably ask him why he’s always so basic, but we both know the answer already.
Lan probably gave me the most trouble, though. Not because of her in particular, but because it was difficult to write about her trauma because I had to tap into my own experiences as well – but in the end, it did wind up being very cathartic.
4) What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)? Is there a scene that you had difficulty with and just had to “power through” to finish the book? Or a scene that made you very emotional?
The scene I’m most proud of is actually a very spoilery scene, so without delving into much details: it involves both Haidee and Arjun, a ton of scorpions, a very major explosion, and a lot of terror where Haidee might have blurted out a few things she’d never wanted Arjun to know – without realizing that Arjun could hear her the whole time. (It sounds confusing if you don’t know what exactly I’m referring to, but this is the best I can do! I think my editor was pretty gleeful when she read that scene for the first time and told me people were gonna love/hate me for it)
I think most of Lan’s scenes where she tries to deal with her trauma were the most difficult. As I’ve said, I’ve had to unpack quite a lot of my own in order to deal with hers, and her inability to deal with her trauma – along with her stubbornness to accept help from other people out of fear that she could be perceived as weak and affect her job – is something I’ve had to struggle with a lot myself. Asian culture, in Asia specifically, doesn’t think highly of therapists or therapy, so a lot of people tend to wind up internalizing a lot of their trauma instead of dealing with them, which is what I’d done. Compartmentalizing saved my mental health, and it’s both painful and also weirdly therapeutic to write Lan going through those same, familiar emotions.
5) What are the top five things we should know as a reader before starting THE NEVER TILTING WORLD (about the main character, their love interest, the antagonist, their world/home town, their situation, etc)
- Haidee and Odessa are twin goddesses, who believe that the other is dead. One grew up in the constant heat of the desert under an endless day, while the other was raised amidst raging waters and ice in a constant night. Both have been raised by mothers who claim them as their daughters but, as it turns out, the older goddesses may not have been completely truthful about it.
- Odessa is a young girl with romantic notions about life despite the fact that the world is dying. Her health is fragile and she’s been stuck in her mother’s tower for most of her life, prohibited from venturing into their city, Aranth, unless it was to help her mother protect their citizens from the elements. In a rare burst of rebelliousness, she sneaks into the city and winds up meeting someone that would soon trigger a series of events that may wind up dooming Aranth.
- Haidee is a mechanika – a young genius with a knack for fixing and creating automata. Unfortunately, she’s also the goddess of the Golden City, and her mother looks down on mucking about with gears. But Haidee wants to do more than just rule their city – she wants to help the struggling clans across the desert her mother had abandoned, but doing so might mean she would have to go out further into the desert to discover what it is beyond it that makes her mother so reluctant to leave.
- Lan is a survivor. She serves Asteria, the goddess of Aranth, and is her most experienced ranger. But an attempt to explore the lands beyond the city ended disastrously, with her team wiped out by strange monsters they’ve never encountered before, and leaving her the only one alive to tell the tale. To help her recuperate, Asteria has assigned her to watch over the goddess’ daughter, for now. Nothing as dangerous, right?
- As a child raised in the desert, Arjun has always been taught that the goddesses were responsible for breaking the world, and that Latona should die. So when he encounters her daughter wandering the desert, his first instinct is to attack – not knowing that this decision is about to change his life, and not necessarily for the better.
6) What is your favorite quote from the book and why? (This can range from funny to poignant or it could just make you sound super suave or clever)
I think the epigraph sums up what I’d like to achieve with the series as a whole: “A demoness is what they call a goddess men can’t control.”
Rin Chupeco has written obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and done many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fantastic worlds but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and the Bone Witch trilogy.
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