Author Spotlight: Adalyn Grace talks ALL THE STARS AND TEETH
I'm so happy to welcome Adalyn Grace on today's blog! Adalyn graduated from Arizona State University when she was nineteen years old. She spent four years working in live theater and acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper before studying storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra.
ALL THE STARS AND TEETH is Adalyn's debut novel. Named one of the "Most Anticipated YA Books of 2020" by BookPage, Entertainment Weekly, The Nerd Daily, Culturess, and BuzzFeed, ALL THE STARS AND TEETH is out now with Macmillian/Imprint!
Check out our full interview below.
Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.
She will reign.
As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer―the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.
When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.
But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder―and more peril―than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stowaway she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.
I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.
Hi, Adalyn! Welcome and congrats on All the Stars and Teeth. Can you tell us a little about the story and what inspired it?
Thank you so much! Honestly, this entire book really started with Amora. I grew up with a family who was fascinated with pirates and mermaids (if you go to my mom’s house, there’s so many little mermaid knickknacks, it’s astounding), but I never really anticipated writing a seafaring story! It wasn’t until Amora popped into my head standing on a bow of a ship that I even considered telling a story based around the sea. All I knew is that I wanted to tell this girl’s story. She was a bit morally gray, unapologetic about who she is, and she wants loudly and without shame. I wanted her to be a character who didn’t have to fit the traditional “norms” that society likes to put on women, and from her conception, everything else was work and a ton of planning. Amora was the only part of the story I knew from the very beginning.
The bonds between Amora and her crew members are so multi-faceted. Do you have any tips for writing a successful ensemble?
I’m so glad that you enjoyed them all! I think that in writing an ensemble, you really want to create a group that feels as realistic as possible. In real life friend groups, every person brings a totally different background and mindset to the group. They’ll all going to react differently to the same thing. One person may be more prone to making a joke out of a situation, while another may be much more serious. I wanted there to be teasing, and characters poking fun at each other, and for all of them to really play off of each other’s personalities. I think that’s the most important thing—knowing their individual personalities, but also how they pair together and what kind of dynamic they have, and then really showcasing that dynamic!
You’ve mentioned that you drafted All the Stars and Teeth pretty quickly. How did that experience compare to the revision process?
Oh my gosh, I laughed when I read this question because all the painful memories of edits surfaced at once, hahah. I drafted All the Stars and Teeth in three weeks, and while I was pretty quick to get an agent with it, I spent around a year and half (maybe two years?) editing it between my agent and editor. It’s grown significantly from those earlier stages, which I believe is the case for most books! 90% of writing really is editing, and I edited the heck out of this book.
I'm a firm believer in the idea that every story teaches the writer something new, so what did writing All the Stars and Teeth teach you?
Patience, more about dissected limbs than I ever thought I’d know, and that I am not a fan of scuba diving. There’s some weird things 50 feet down into the sea; I don’t even want to imagine what there is at 500 feet or lower. I really can’t believe just how much of the sea is unexplored.
And finally, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned (so far) in your publishing career?
The absolute best thing I did for myself as a new author was to find my people. This is an incredibly difficult industry. You don’t think so initially (because how hard can sitting at your desk in your pajamas all day while writing stories really be, right?) but there’s so much more to it. There’s a lot of expectations and pressure you don’t really think of. There’s a lot of deadlines, emails, phone calls, etc. It’s all amazing, and it’s what I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. But if I didn’t have close writing friends who have gone through this before me, and who I felt I could trust with questions or seek advice from, this process would have been so much more difficult. I honestly can’t even imagine it. So my best piece of advice for anyone working in publishing (and my most important lesson in what I personally need to operate) is to friend a small group of friends you really trust. It may take time, and that’s okay! But I definitely think it’s worth putting yourself out there and trying. :)
Many thanks go out to Adalyn for taking the time to tell us more about the inspiration behind ALL THE STARS AND TEETH, and for sharing some of the lessons she's learned so far in her publishing journey. Be to sure to add Adalyn's viciously delicious fantasy to Goodreads list, or (better yet!) order your copy (WRITE) NOW from retail sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or request it at your library, or local independent bookstore!
And, as always,