Hi guys! Today I am so glad to be welcoming an author who wrote one of my favorite reads of 2017! Nyxia was actually one of my most anticipated reads of this year, so it is such a great honor to welcome Scott Reintgen on the blog today. Also, Nyxia is releasing tomorrow from Crown Publishing, so please do NOT miss it! We are so glad to celebrate its release with this exclusive interview, so please enjoy!
About the Book
Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden–a planet that Babel has kept hidden–where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.
1. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?
I love to write because I first loved to read. The magic of vanishing into another world just appealed to me so much that I started creating my own. I do have two very big steps forward in my love of writing that I remember. The first came in elementary school when our class “published” little books we had written. It was just so cool to see a book with my name on it. The second came in high school when a teacher illegally switched me into a Creative Writing class after reading a first chapter of a project. I’ve wanted to be an author ever since.
2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?
Too many to count! I’ve always had a thing for science fiction and fantasy. I’ve tried writing contemporary, but a dragon or a spaceship always shows up (though, no dragons on spaceships yet). I owe my love of reading to J.K. Rowling. A lot of my passion to be a better “technical” writer comes from George R.R. Martin. But I’ve had hundreds of others influence me: N.K. Jemisin, Pat Rothfuss, Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, etc. The biggest recent influence is Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy.
3. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?
Writing is a full-time job. I used to teach as well, but these days I’m mostly changing diapers and writing books.
4. Nyxia is definitely one of my favorite Fall 2017 releases! It follows the story of Emmett, who is one of 10 competitors fighting for a spot to go to Eden, a planet that holds nyxia, a rare yet powerful substance, but he soon finds out that there’s many secrets lurking in the spaceship he’s in about Babel Corporation. Would you want to be recruited by Babel to have a chance to go to Eden? If so, do you think you’d be able to win a spot? Who would you ally with, and who would you become enemies with?
I would not want to be recruited by Babel, but if they did get me on their spaceship, I’d definitely be in the thick of the competition. Emmett’s competitive nature is actually based on my competitive nature. I really do enjoy winning and the reason I came up with so many fun challenges and games for the book is because I wish I could actually try them out in real life! And the alliances question is really difficult. Emmett and I are too similar, so I’m not sure I would have picked him as an ally. I would have probably gone for someone who’s skills and strengths are different than mine. Maybe Katsu?
5. What inspired you to write such a diverse cast of characters of various races from all around the world? Out of all of them (without giving away any spoilers), who were your favorite ones to write, and who were the hardest to write?
I was inspired by my students. I taught at Jordan High School in Durham, NC. Diversity is the reality of our world. My classes came from every background, culturally, religiously, etc. So my main goal was to write a book that any of them could pick up and recognize themselves in. I have some obvious favorites: Bilal and Kaya and Katsu. I think the character I took the most time figuring out was Isadora. She’s great, but I had to do a ton of research to get to the core of her genuine motivations in the story.
6. Did you ever surprise yourself as you wrote Nyxia? Were there any parts or outcomes that changed as your revised the book?
Absolutely. There are a few fantastic plot twists (if I do say so myself), and several of those were unplanned. I simply arrived at a certain point in the novel and thought, “Wait, what if this happened?” So a lot of good surprises that I think made for an entertaining book.
7. I noticed that your novel made various references to the Bible, Eden, and the Tower of Babel and also shows Emmett’s exploration of faith and spirituality. Did you mean to include these allusions and symbolism, and if so, why did you write them?
I definitely did this intentionally. I think the main motivation was to show the reader who Babel is and how they see themselves. The original story of the Tower of Babel was basically mankind saying, “We’re going to build our own way to heaven.” Babel’s absolutely playing god in this story. They fancy the idea of going to a new world and building it their way. So while I do identify as a Christian, these references were really meant as a backdrop for helping the reader understand Babel’s goals.
8. How does it feel to be a debut author in 2017? Could you describe your feelings as you know that your first book is going to be published in a few weeks on September 12?
I’m honored beyond words. Anyone who’s tried to get a book published knows how difficult this process is. I always stop and reflect on this statistic: the year she picked me up, my agent received 30,000 emails from people asking for representation. She chose to take on 3 clients. I’ll let you do the math, but yeah, every day I’m honored to do the thing I’m most passionate about
9. What can we expect from you in book two? Are there any secrets you would like to give us, without spoiling anything in book one?
Secrets? I’m not sure I can divulge too much here, but I will say that book two is an absolutely awesome adventure story. The biggest thing I’d tell you about book two is that I focused on a quote from Vonnegut for my theme: “most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces.” The second book has always been about Emmett and company feeling trapped by enormous forces—Babel and the Adamites. It’s also about trying to not become a “plaything” in the game that’s unfolding around them. Expect surprises, twists, and a lot of great action.
10. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?
Just write. Log the time. Put in the hours. Mastery of craft comes with continual practice. The other thing I’d suggest is to find your people, whether digitally or in person. Joining a writing group back in 2012 was one of the best decisions I ever made. They’re the most supportive, encouraging, and wonderful group. I can safely say I’d never have been published without their help.
Thank you so much, Scott, for coming onto the blog! I love your answers!
About the Author
Are you excited about Nyia? Do you love YA Sci-Fi?
Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!