Interview with Author Cori McCarthy!

9781492601418Breaking Sky

Sourcebooks Fire

March 2015 ● ISBN: 9781492601418

Hardcover/$16.99 ● Ages 14+

 

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.

 

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 CoriMcCarthy.com.

 

Praise for Breaking Sky:

“Strong characterizations, action, adventure, and emotion combine to produce a sci-fi novel that is more than just the sum of its parts.” —School Library Journal STARRED Review

 

“Smart, exciting, confident—and quite possibly the next Big Thing.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“McCarthy deploys breath-stopping depictions of high-stakes piloting with enviable ease, and the in-your-face personal confrontations are nearly as taut.” —Publishers Weekly

 

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interview

Prompt: “What kind of research did you do for Breaking Sky?”

 

 

Breaking Sky required MUCH research. Not only did I have to familiarize myself with the workings of the Air Force, fighter jets, and military academies, but I decided to place the setting of the book in America in 2048. That might seem far off, but here’s a fun fact: the adults in the story are the right now the age that contemporary teenagers will be in 2048. For example, readers who were born around the millennium will be the same as age as Brigadier General Kale.

 

I was excited to imagine a rather near future, but it was also challenging because I ruined America in thirty-three years. Through my research, I used the history of the Cold War and current geopolitics to imagine a worst-case scenario for the US. It was surprisingly easy—and quite chilling—to figure out the handful of things that could knock America off the world superpower pedestal. To do this, I had many long conversations with my historian husband and my oldest brother, who works for the US State Department.

 

When it came to researching the Air Force, I went to my other brother who has been in service for over a decade and currently holds the rank of Master Sergeant. He helped me with terminology and protocol. For the flying scenes, I read hundreds of first-hand accounts of fighter pilots, dating all the way back to World War I. Although jets and planes have evolved over the years, my research proved that there are common threads throughout history. Here are a few: Pilots share a fascination with fear, and flying is the most exhausting workout imaginable. And dogfights? They’re always terrifying; they’re always life or death in the blink of an eye. Additionally, my editor has her pilot’s license, and she helped with the nitty gritty details of getting up in the air and staying there.

 

All of this research aside, there was also an enormous amount of planning and scheming that went into the novel. I purposefully chose to create a fictional Air Force academy because I wanted to be able to (sort of) make up my own rules. The same goes with the “streaker jets” in the book. I created a brand new flying machine so that I could say how fast they can go, how they take off and land, etc. and so forth.

 

The ending result is Breaking Sky! I hope that you get a chill from the darkness of the real-world setting, a thrill from the crazy-twisting-diving-soaring flight scenes, an appreciation for the spit and polish of the military, and a blush or two from the hot flyboy love interest. Cheers!

 

 

Happy Reading Everyone!!!!

Lucy