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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Interview with Cori McCarthy, author of Breaking Sky

I'm thrilled to welcome Cori McCarthy to the blog today for an interview! Cori's sophomore novel, Breaking Sky, has just his shelves and is already being lauded as "the next big thing" by Kirkus, which if you know anything about Kirkus, is a pretty big deal. As someone who has met Cori and long appreciated her writing, I can tell you that Breaking Sky deserves the hype! Check out the interview below, as well as the book trailer for Breaking Sky!


Apart from separate publishing houses, were there any big publishing process differences between your first book, The Color of Rain, and your second, Breaking Sky?

Hmm, that’s a very good question. Both of my books went through vigorous rounds with my agent before they even went on submission to editors, and both of my books changed drastically once a publisher purchased them. I suppose the answer to this question is no, and that’s rather surprising to me… 
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?
I start at the beginning—with a character and an idea. With Breaking Sky, I wanted to write a teenage, Starbuck-styled girl with mega issues. A sincerely unlikeable character. And I wanted to write about fighter jets. As a sidenote, I was desperate to write something that had banter and humor in it because my debut book was very dark and bleak, and yet I also wanted to write about a world that was frighteningly familiar. I did a lot of research, extrapolating a worst-case scenario for the United States over the next few decades, which became my worldbuilding. So, I guess I should say that I started with a huge dream of a novel. It took much outlining, and MUCH rewriting and revision, but I’m really happy with how it finally turned out.
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing or provided inspiration?

All of my life experiences make it into my stories, some more obviously than others. Before I started writing fulltime, I was a reading tutor for kindergarteners and a coordinator of an after school program for at-risk children. While that work turned my attention to writing for children and young adults, I’d say that I’ve gotten even more story inspiration from the crap jobs that I’ve had. I’ve worked at a gas station and liquor store. I was once even a walk-around entertainer at an amusement park (seriously, I was a Zombie during Oktoberfest!).
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?

Shiny. Like from Firefly—for crystal stars and great smiles and metal jet skin. I’m naturally a rather pessimistic, downtrodden person, but I’ve been choosing to skew happy and look on the bright side since my rather depressed years as a teenager. So maybe I’m a “recovering pessimist” these days…
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?

Writing stories. As I already indicated, my emotions ran too high during my childhood, and I spent most of the time searching for a place that felt safe. I found that place in my imagination, learning to deal with my anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive tendencies by creating. When I’m not writing fiction, I write poems and I draw. I also play guitar, and quilt and cook.
What can readers look forward to next?

I’m going out on a limb here! I’m currently writing a contemporary YA story called, You Were Here. It’s a summer misadventure told through five point of view characters who are navigating the converging lines of friendship and history, grief and forgiveness, high school and college, and the hardest of all? Understanding one another. It’s forthcoming from Sourcebooks in the spring of 2016.

About the Author:

Cori McCarthy studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for teens at Vermont College of Fine Arts. From a military family, Cori was born on Guam and lived a little bit of everywhere before she landed in Michigan. Learn more about her books at
Don't miss the Breaking Sky book trailer!

More about Breaking Sky:

Fly to the last drop of fuel. Fight to the last drop of blood.

Showoff. Reckless. Maverick. Chase Harcourt, call sign “Nyx”, isn’t one to play it safe. In the year 2048, America is locked in a cold war – and the country’s best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy. Chase is one of only two daredevil pilots chosen to fly an experimental “Streaker” jet. But few know the pain and loneliness of her past. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky.

But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There’s a third Streaker, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. And Chase doesn’t play well with others. But to save her country, she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.


  1. Being a walk around entertainer at theme parks sounds like fun! I always that it would be fun to be one the characters in the scare zones and haunted houses at Halloween Horror Nights.

  2. I love the trailer! It just makes me feel even more excited! The mention of Maverick excites me too because if this book offers the same recklessness and enthusiasm as the characters in Top Gun did, then I am all up for it. :D


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