Before I became a writer, I was a reader and can’t even remember when I couldn’t read. I read everything I could lay my hands on—Sherlock Holmes mysteries (my parents had a set), historical novels, books for kids (Bambi and Charlotte’s Web were two of the first books I read), books for adults (James Michener’s epic novels were always good for a long, immersive read), and one nonfiction book that turned out to be quite influential, scientist Fred Hoyle’s The Nature of the Universe, which opened my mind to the wonders of astronomy and pushed me in the direction of science fiction.
What also drew me to science fiction was being able to write about things as they might be or could be as opposed to how they are. One possibility was putting girls and women at the center of the story instead of on the sidelines, as they often were in some of the books I read as a kid and as they seemed to be in real life. Things have changed since then. When I first imagined Zoheret, the 15-year-old girl who is Earthseed's central character, I never imagined that years later Katniss Everdeen, Tris Prior, and so many other strong young female characters would become as popular as they are.
Earthseed, the first novel in the Seed Trilogy, was the first of my novels to be published for teens. The idea of a space vessel that’s a world in itself carrying human beings on a long interstellar voyage is a familiar one in science fiction, but in Earthseed all of the voyagers are a diverse group of teens representing all of Earth’s people, and the only parent they know is Ship, the artificial intelligence controlling their environment. Zoheret knows that she and her companions will soon have to leave Ship to live on an uninhabited planet, but now she worries they aren't ready. Will they be able to pass the tests Ship has devised for them? Can they overcome the growing doubts, fears, and hostilities that threaten not only them but also the survival of the human race?
- Albany, New York
- JoinedAugust 27, 2015