Hello friends and welcome to Color the Shelves!
Today’s interview is one I’m really excited to share because I had a lovely chat with Alechia Dow, the author of the upcoming THE SOUND OF STARS! A debut I read a couple months ago and fell head over heels for. It’s an exploration of humanity and an ode to arts that stroke a chord with me, a book and music lover, and I have no doubt it will do the same for many, many of you. It also brings to the table a different twist on aliens, different species of aliens that I had a lot of fun getting to know, and it was just all around a really soft and hopeful book that put a crack in my heart and filled it with light, thus restoring my faith in humanity with just a little over 400 pages. But enough of me waxing poetry about this book and let’s dive into the interview:
As I was reading THE SOUND OF STARS, it felt to me like a love letter to arts. Why was it so important for you to put music and books at the forefront of your story?
The Sound of Stars is all about what brings us together when the world seems to be tearing us apart. Art, I feel, has a way of liberating and connecting people, and allows us to escape our own realities. We speak different languages, grow up with different cultures, eat different foods, but we may like the same Stevie Wonder song and The Neverending Story. Putting stories and songs at the forefront hopefully shows that sometimes focusing on what connects us can make what separates us a little less important.
In the same vein, what are Janelle’s top 5 books and Morris’ top 5 songs?
Janelle’s top five books are: Corduroy, The Hate U Give, Opposite of Always, A Wrinkle in Time, and Anne of Green Gables. She has way too many favorites, and she would not like being asked this question!
Morris’s top five songs (of right now) are: “As” by Stevie Wonder, “Yellow” by Coldplay, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Raspberry Beret” by Prince, “Starman” by David Bowie.
What insider information can you give us about the aliens that didn’t make it into the book?
Ooooo that’s a good question! There’s so much I couldn’t write about the history of the Ilori, but to me, the Andarrans are the most interesting aliens to explore. I know so much about them (in my mind). Their home world is paradise, and they are joyful, kind beings that find the universe––and all the creatures in it––beautiful. I want to live there, lol. If I ever get to write about this world again, I will take you to Andarra!
(I would sacrifice my right arm for a book about Andarrans, especially one set in their home planet. They were so fascinating to read about and definitely one of my favorite parts of the book)
What was your favorite part about writing this book?
I had such a great time writing The Sound of Stars. It’s one of those books where each scene is going somewhere, and plays a part of the story. There were definite moments where I thought, am I clever enough to write science fiction(???) as I revised this, but it was an incredible learning experience and challenge. That said, the quieter moments between Morris and Ellie, where they are walking and talking and connecting were my personal favorite to write. I really enjoyed writing them getting to know each other against a backdrop of a changing world. Annnnnnd I absolutely LOVED writing the music lyrics, and all The Starry Eyed interactions, ha!
(okay but Alechia is really goos at coming up with lyrics!)
And the last question is one I’ve made a tradition of asking at this point, what’s something you’d like to tell your readers? Or something you’d want them to take away from THE SOUND OF STARS?
Hope. I desperately want you, the readers, to know that this book is about hope. It’s dark at times, and sometimes it feels like all is and will be lost, but it tries to find joy wherever and whenever possible. It begs you not to only fight for your future, but to have hope in it as well.
About the author
Alechia Dow is a former pastry chef, food critic, culinary teacher, and Youth Services librarian. When not writing YA sci-fi featuring determined black girls (like herself), you can find her having epic dance parties with her daughter, baking, mentoring, or taking teeny adventures around Europe.
About the book
Publication date : February 25th, 2020
Publisher : Inkyard Press
Genre : Young Adult | Science Fiction
Page Count: 400
Synopsis : Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
That’s it until next time.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.