In my YA fantasy debut THE DISAPPEARANCES, sixteen-year-old Aila Quinn is sent to live in a mysterious town called Sterling after the death of her mother during WWII. In Sterling, the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years. THE DISAPPEARANCES hits shelves on July 4, and in the weeks leading up to publication I’ve asked some of my author friends to weigh in on the elements they’d miss most if they lived in the story.
Disappearance Post 2: Stars
Where have you seen the most beautiful stars?
"I grew up in a tiny town of 700 people. At the end of the street, just three houses down, was a field of cows, and if you stood beside it, you could see a total of twelve silos on four farms. In other words, farmland was all around, and city lights were far away. At night, I would lie on our trampoline in our big backyard and stare up at a sky positively shimmering with stars. I could find some "real" constellations, like Gemini and Orion, but I preferred to make up my own, like The Dragonfly.” – Anna Priemaza, KAT AND MEG CONQUER THE WORLD
“Oh my goodness, I’ve never seen so many stars as I did last year on top of the Haleakala volcano in Maui, Hawaii. We had to wake up at 2:00 AM to drive to the top before sunrise, but it was so worth it. The high elevation and low light pollution makes for epic stargazing.” – Kristin L. Gray, VILONIA BEEBE TAKES CHARGE
“Oddly enough, I was just thinking about how I adore the picture of stars on the last page of Goodnight Moon, a book that I've been reading to my daughter lately. Outside of that? I remember looking at the Southern Cross one night on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Australia. That was a pretty stunning view.” – Tara Goedjen, THE BREATHLESS
“In the desert outside of Timbuktu.” – Leah Henderson, ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL
“I grew up in a small town in Idaho, where we could see a sky full of stars every night. It was beautiful and one of the best parts about living there.” Breeana Shields, POISON’S KISS and POISON’S CAGE
“I’d been studying abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. On the way home from a rugby game, my friends and I were so blown away by the night sky that we pulled to the side of the road, got out of the car, and craned our necks all the way back. It never got that dark at home, and standing there in the middle of nowhere without tree cover or a speck of light pollution, the sky had never felt more infinite.” – Tracey Neithercott, GRAY WOLF ISLAND
“At a farm in Diriyyah in Riyadh.” – Tanaz Bhathena, A GIRL LIKE THAT
“In Sonoma, California, on my aunt and uncle's fruit farm. The sky is often clear and the stars are so bright.” – Sonia Belasco, SPEAK OF ME AS I AM
“There's a beach in Seacrest, FL, on the panhandle along the Gulf Coast. Never seen so many stars in my life. #nolightpollution” – Nic Stone, DEAR MARTIN
“When I was younger, my dad's side of the family always had a summer reunion in Star Valley, Wyoming. There wasn't much to do there--no TV, no phone or cell service--but at night, the sky came alive and we saw more stars than I had ever imagined existed. My uncle was a scientist who worked at NASA, and when we'd listen, he'd point out constellations, planets, and occasional shooting stars. I always tried to find them when I got home in my own backyard, but it wasn't the same.” – Katie A. Nelson, THE DUKE OF BANNERMAN PREP
“I backpacked through Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii island once. The stars there were unbeatable.” – Misa Sugiura, IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET
“During the day, the emptiness of the Mojave Desert can be a bit scary. At night, the lack of civilization makes for the very best star gazing.” – Chelsea Sedoti, THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT and AS YOU WISH
“On the edge of Hudson Bay in Canada. It was the darkest I've ever seen the sky and the brightest I've ever seen the stars.” – Dave Connis, THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM and SUGGESTED READING
“My family loves to go camping near Capitol Reef National Park, in UT. I love how bright and close the stars seem, miles away from the closest town.” – Rosalyn Eves, BLOODROSE REBELLION
"A few years ago, I visited Puerto Rico and saw the most brilliant stars -- like sugar spilled across the sky -- off a ship out in the middle of the ocean. They may have even inspired a scene in my book . . ." - Jessica Taylor, A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS
My answer: without question, it was the stars above the Alps in Interlachen, Switzerland. My friend and I took a cable car straight up the mountain, where we were each given a single glow stick to wear around our necks, a plastic toboggan, and told “See you at the bottom!” I have never seen anything like that night. I wish I could go back there and see it again, even though I was convinced I was going to fly right off the mountain and die. Totally worth it for those stars—and the cheese fondue that was waiting at the finish. ;)
Want to read more author answers? You can find Post One about disappearing scents here.
Watch for another post next week, and tell me *your* answer in a tweet @ me (@ebain) or below in the comments!