PhoBWanKenobi makes xojane! July 14, 2014 5:53 PM   Subscribe

Hooray for MeFi's own PhoBWanKenobi, who was interviewed for this xojane piece, "Phoebe North Talks About Her New YA Novel "Starbreak," Writing, Parenting, Faith -- And Sexy Plants." Congratulations! I asked PhoBWanKenobi if she was OK with me posting this, and she gave me the go-ahead.
posted by MonkeyToes to MetaFilter-Related at 5:53 PM (41 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

posted by Dip Flash at 6:04 PM on July 14, 2014

OMG the additional layer of funny that the text of this post adds to your username is hurting my brain in a good way.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:13 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Awesome article!
posted by BibiRose at 6:14 PM on July 14, 2014

Yay! Must go purchase book 2!
posted by Lexica at 6:35 PM on July 14, 2014

Hey cool, thanks! I enjoyed the first book and might pick up her second when I can slot it in now that I know it's out.

Off to read the interview!
posted by ODiV at 6:37 PM on July 14, 2014

Thank you, all! Metafilter has been so wonderful and supportive. Just so you know, the first book is on sale this week for $1.99 at various ebook outlets, so it's a good time to grab a copy if you wanted to but couldn't, because funds. Then again, support your local library. Libraries are good.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:44 PM on July 14, 2014 [11 favorites]

The pictures of your family in this article are just joy. So excited to read "Starbreak" at our house.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:19 PM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mazel tov!
posted by 724A at 7:44 PM on July 14, 2014

great article! congrats PhoB. Yes, adorable fam photos too.
posted by sweetkid at 7:48 PM on July 14, 2014

Great job, everyone!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:50 PM on July 14, 2014

I'm not finished with the second book yet, but the series has made me wish Metafilter did Reddit-style AMAs, because the hints that have been dropped along the way about religion(s) are very intriguing.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:02 PM on July 14, 2014

Well, my publisher is running this thing right now where you can ask questions and I'll answer 5 but you have to register for that and I have no idea what ones they'll pick. I'm happy to be asked, in any event! Here or in MeMail or whatever. Even though I may not answer certain questions, in case it's something that's up to you, the reader to decide. All mysterious-like.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:13 PM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yay! Very cool.
posted by at 8:22 PM on July 14, 2014

Oooh! New book, the first was great so time to boot up the kindle.
posted by arcticseal at 9:41 PM on July 14, 2014

Yay! Great interview, loved your answers to the questions ( no sound bitey PR fluff, but good substantive thought-provoking stuff), and OMG you and your family are adorable!
posted by misha at 1:10 AM on July 15, 2014

This is great! Congratulations on both your (adorable) baby and the book.
posted by billiebee at 5:16 AM on July 15, 2014

Hooray for this!
posted by korej at 6:16 AM on July 15, 2014

PhoBWanKenobi: Just so you know, the first book is on sale this week for $1.99 at various ebook outlets, so it's a good time to grab a copy if you wanted to but couldn't, because funds.

It's been on my "To Buy" list for a while, but the budget for that list has been tied up in the Appropriations Committee forever (they seem to think food and electricity are "higher priorities" for some reason). Considering the sale, I've been able to get an Executive Order signed that allows me to buy it! Once I am done with my Feast/Dance re-read, Starglass is next up (so, maybe early 2015).
posted by Rock Steady at 7:27 AM on July 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am very much enjoying Stardawn, a prequel which I was delighted to learn existed.
posted by BibiRose at 7:39 AM on July 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Congratulations on your book and your baby! I'm very happy for you and your family.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:42 AM on July 15, 2014

Yay! How wonderful! Congratulations, PhoB on both your book and your baby!
posted by zarq at 9:03 AM on July 15, 2014

Congrats! Just reserved it at my library!
posted by skycrashesdown at 9:10 AM on July 15, 2014

A prequel? Yessss!!!

I am reading Starbreak right now, and loving it.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:45 AM on July 15, 2014

Yay PhoB!
posted by IndigoRain at 3:51 PM on July 15, 2014

HOORAY. Congratulations.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:18 PM on July 15, 2014

I also thought book 2 reminded me a lot of The Sparrow -- the Judaism in the background probably helped.

What I also really liked is that it was a YA novel that went past the kissing. And also I had no idea about the plant thing; I'm glad I read the book before I read the interview.
posted by jeather at 4:22 PM on July 15, 2014

Enjoyed the first one, looking forward to the second.

Loved your comments about juggling motherhood and writing - as an artist and a mom I can relate. It's not a race - sometimes one takes priority over the other but they enrich each other immeasurably - mazel tov on both baby and book!
posted by leslies at 5:50 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by nathancaswell at 6:54 PM on July 15, 2014

posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:24 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Woot woot! Congrats PhoBWanKenobi, on all the different things!
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:14 PM on July 15, 2014

Just finished! I liked this one better than the first one, and I really liked the first one.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:45 PM on July 15, 2014

Aw, thanks ocherdraco! I like this one better, too. (Is that weird to say? My editor called me on the fact that the first was a vehicle for the second, but the second, came close to being a very bad book. I realized it halfway through and rewrote the whole thing in 4 months. It was crazy hard but the pressure let me write the weird lil sci-fi book I always wanted, plants and all!)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:23 AM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh wow! Well, the re-write certainly worked!

I loved the idea of zezes, and how it related to the idea of love that the Asherati had (that it was similar to finding your bashert, which was dangerous). And the Xollu lifecycle, in general, was really interesting.

My favorite thing might have been that there was never a straight up villain, always just complex people with complex motivations, some who did more bad things than others, but always for a reason.

The writing-process thing I'm most curious about is the language of the Xollu—how did you go about constructing it?
posted by ocherdraco at 6:09 AM on July 16, 2014

Oh you lucky people who only learn about Phoebe's books now! I had to wait A WHOLE YEAR after reading Starglass to get to read Stardawn and Starbreak. Awesome books, interview, and family.
posted by meijusa at 11:34 AM on July 16, 2014

Really looking forward to reading the series... Do I read the prequel first?
posted by tuesdayschild at 2:33 PM on July 16, 2014

Really looking forward to reading the series... Do I read the prequel first?

I think you should read Starglass first; the prequel will be more of a treat later.
posted by BibiRose at 7:06 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by ocherdraco at 9:19 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

ocherdraco, I have been waiting forever for someone to ask me about my conlang but I am traveling right now--more soon when I have access to a full keyboard!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:41 AM on July 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yaaaay! Take your time.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:56 AM on July 17, 2014

Okay, back in real life! (nb: appearing in front of 500 teenagers is really freakin' weird.)

The alien language in Starbreak isn't a full constructed language. The language has its roots in a short story I wrote before I was agented set in the Starglass universe, Under a New Star, which used to be available for free online until my publisher asked me to take it down. It was Vadix's backstory, essentially, and established the general wordlbuilding and culture along with a few bits of language. When I went to write Starbreak, I knew I wanted the alien language to be present, but I didn't have the time or the knowledge to create a full-scale ConLang.

So I took the words I already had (Xollu, Vadix, Velsa, zeze . . . hmm, I think there were some others, but I'm forgetting them) and found an online application to create constructed wordbanks based on groups of phonemes. I used lots of Vs, Xs, and Zs because they sound pretty alien, but I also edited the workbanks so that the generated words would be pronounceable, more or less. I made three, for various parts of speech, and ended up with a wordbank of over 5000 words. These were loaded into an Excel spreadsheet, and then I made a formula to generate conversations where certain words repeated, so that it appears the characters are talking about something. I'd then lift the sentences as needed. Here's a sample of some generated speech:

Daurkax xaudlu aum xairak ada dodax saidsi?
Saidsi ada airr aum ad dairsu.
Dera aidse!
Aidse daudlix dera, airr ada.
Xaukki aum daudlix saidsi.
Xaudlu azzi, xaudlu elsu dera.

So all the Xollu words and names come out of this spreadsheet and they mostly don't really mean anything but it should kind of look like they do, theoretically.

I also made a map of Zehava, because I'm a nerd.

posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:46 AM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Super neat!
posted by ocherdraco at 11:18 AM on July 18, 2014

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