Hello my bookish dolugongs! I’m so excited to share this interview I did with the lovely Rin Chupeco about The Never Tilting World. You can read my review of the book here!
About The Never Tilting World:
Publication date: 15th October 2019
Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
Hello Rin, thank you so much for doing this interview with me! Climate change and the balance between humans and nature are very important themes in The Never Tilting World. Why did you decide to base the novel on these themes and frame them in a fantasy setting?
I live in a country (the Philippines) that is extremely susceptible to the effects of climate change, and would be very vulnerable should bad policies be enacted. I haven’t read a lot of YA books that focused on this particular aspect and thought there should be more books that reflected that reality, which I know is a weird thing to say when it’s very obviously a fantasy book. But I’ve always found that fantasy can take aspects of reality and put readers at a respectable distance from those issues, enough that the themes can have some measure of objectivity that the readers can later choose to unpack once they’re ready to deal with them personally. Someone else actually suggested that initial visual – that of a world torn between night and day – and I was excited by the idea of taking that image and turning it into a story, of making it a conflict that people can relate to. Eyeball planets are actually a thing in science, and hypotheses suggest that they can actually sustain life, albeit very limitedly.
I loved the world building in the book, especially the history of the goddesses and the story behind why they always had to be twins. What inspired you to create and integrate these fascinating legends into the novel?
A lot of the myth I took from Assyrian mythology, primarily from the legend of the goddess Inanna, who obviously has the same name as the very first goddess in the book and is the ancestress to my goddesses Haidee and Odessa. I took a very general summary of that mythology and then added my own spin to it by making them less about being a revered, distant goddesses of worship and more like your average girls who also just happen to have exceptionally powerful abilities capable of wrecking the planet if they so chose – and, as the story reveals, they in fact did choose to!
If there’s one thing about this novel it’s that it’s incredibly imaginative. Everything from sand deserts to rainbow haired goddesses to shadow demons to milking giant sandworms. Where do you get such awesome ideas from?
I seriously have no clue! Ideas pop into my head on the daily, traipsing in and out with impunity into my brain because I never bothered to change the lock. With the goddesses and their rainbow hair – well, I’ve always been a huge fan of anime, and the joke is that you can spot who the main character is in the first episode if they have differently colored hair. So I just really doubled down on that. Dolugongs, for example, are probably just a spin on my pets, except I tried to think of the coolest but most inappropriate/ inconvenient pet to have, and came up with the dolphin-dugong hybrid. Giant sand worms probably came from my interest in cryptozoology, where some massive worms are said to live in deserts and eat people.
The Never Tilting World is written from four different points of view, which perspective did you enjoy writing the most?
I hate to admit it, but I like writing Arjun’s POV best because he is the most like me. He’s really fond of acting tough because acting tough is how he’s survived so far, but at his center lives a very soft cinnamon roll of a boy who really just wants friends and falls very easily for the person who is nicest to them. He also has a bit of my snark – I usually describe him as a Hufflepuff who’s convinced he’s a Gryffindor, and I think that’s very accurate. That said, there’s a little bit of myself in all four – Haidee who can be a bit bossy, romance-loving Odessa, and Lan who really hates asking other people for help.
If Odessa, Lan, Haidee and Arjun lived in the modern world, what would their hobbies be?
Odessa would be an avid romance book blogger and would be The Ripped Bodice’s biggest customer. Haidee would still be a gearhead and work in auto shops and would absolutely have her own car that she’d built with her own hands. Lan would be very into fitness and martial arts, and would have tried to make a go for the Olympics at some earlier point in her life. Arjun would probably just like doing as little work as possible, staying in and playing video games (but would be horribly embarrassed for anyone to learn he helps out at soup kitchens on Saturdays)
Do you have any recommendations for other climate change related books?
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi! I don’t know if The Word for World is Forest by Ursula Le Guin counts, but I wanna give that a shoutout all the same!
Can you give us any hints as to what to expect from the sequel to The Never Tilting World?
Indiana Jones-style adventures. The arrival of more characters you’ve only been shortly introduced to in the first book. A lot more unraveling of the facts behind the goddess myths and their repercussions. More demonic shadows seeking blood, more politics. Arjun complaining about everything, and Haidee shutting him up. Unexpected deaths. And, as always, more chances for redemption!
About the author:
Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.
She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency. She is also fond of speaking in the third person, and may as well finish this short bio in this manner. While she does not always get to check her Goodreads page, she does answer questions posed to her here as promptly as she is able to. Find her at the following places instead:
For updates, events, and new releases, sign up for her newsletter at http://www.rinchupeco.com/newsletter.
Thank you so much again to Rin Chupeco for doing this interview with me- it was an honour!