Interview with Wayfarer’s Alexandra Bracken

Posted January 10, 2017 by sophie in Blog, Interviews / 0 Comments

Interview with Wayfarer’s Alexandra BrackenWayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 3, 2017
Where to Buy:
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I’ve been orphaned by my time.
The timeline has changed.
My future is gone.

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas—the eighteenth century privateer she loves—and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.

Recently, we were thrilled to interview Alex with a group of fellow bloggers. We took turns asking  her questions about, Wayfarer, her recently released sequel to her New York Times bestseller Passenger. There are spoilers in the interview for Passenger, so please don’t read ahead if you haven’t picked it up, yet.

Alex admits that Wayfarer was her problem child and that it “came out kicking and screaming”, but she’s tremendously proud of how it turned out”.

To give you a pretty brief summary, it kicks off two weeks or three weeks after Passenger ends. Nicholas and Etta are trying to figure out how to get back to each other at the same time that they’re trying to track down the astrolabe, and they’re dealing with alternate timelines and wars and all that crazy stuff. I had the best time brainstorming an alternate timeline, even though the alternate timeline is truly kind of tragic and nefarious and awful.

She quickly realized that the alternate timeline was also tricky and required much research. With multiple timelines, Alex was struggling with butterfly effects, and it was ultimately fellow author and friend, Victoria Aveyard who helped her brainstorm a new timeline. Even though that alternate timeline is sad, Alex preferred writing it because it was exciting to explore.

Alex decided on the different settings based on her college studies of the Revolutionary War and 18th century America. She wanted to push the boundaries of the usually Euro-centric time travel tropes and introduce some new locations like Damascus, Syria. The news stories on the Syrian war inspired her to explore this history.

The first of my questions focused on her research and if she had learned something that she didn’t know before starting Wayfarer, but that has since stuck with her:

I really loved researching Imperial Russia. I was hoping it would be a nice little surprise or twist to people, and the Czar is the only historical figure that you actually meet in the book that’s an important historical figure. When I research these books, I really go for it.

So, for instance for that dinner, I looked at old menus that he served. I learned how everyone at the table when you’re eating with the Czar has their own waiter, and he kept his father’s waiter, for instance, who was a very old man and he was constantly having to have help him.

I learned so much in the Damascus section with Passenger just because I really hadn’t studied it. My focus in college was so much on early American history that I feel like I neglected the rest of the world, to my horror. This is a weird fact that I don’t think many people know. Nathan Hale, whose execution plays a role in Passenger, is a figure that’s so famous for the words “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” There’s actually no record of where he was executed. Some people think it’s on the tip of Manhattan, other people think it’s on the Upper East Side, which I where I put it. There’s a historic plaque around 60th street. There’s a lot of weird guessing that sometimes happens, and I was really surprised that there was no record of where he was actually executed.

You cannot find any sort of blueprints or plans of merchant ships from the 18th century. The only ship that actually had commissioned plans and blueprints that we can look at today are warships. I was really surprised by the gaps in history.

I also asked Alex a question about clothing. What would be practical time traveling attire?

Something that’s loose-fitting and that you could run easily in. I do think in certain ways it’s easier to travel in time periods as a man, it’s just less fear involved.

You just have to stay in the shadows for a while, watch people, and then go look for some laundry lines where you can pull the clothing down and dress yourself. I think it’s really just dressing where you don’t draw any attention to yourself; dressing like a peasant, dressing like a servant. Those people really were invisible to society and I think you can get around easier if you’re not drawing attention to yourself with the most beautiful garb imaginable, the most beautiful suit, or the most beautiful dress, which would be so fun to wear.

It was so wonderful to get a chance to chat with Alex and listen in to the answers. If you’d like to follow the rest of the interviews, we are posting links to the posts under the hashtag, #readWayfarer.

You can check out a sneak peek of Wayfarer, here. And also, follow Alex on twitter as well as check out her website for more upcoming news. My 5-star review of Wayfarer will be posted this week, so check back soon.

Alexandra Bracken is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Passenger series and The Darkest Minds series. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved East to study history and English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. After working in publishing for several years, Alex now writes full-time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that’s perpetually overflowing with books.
(website | twitter)


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