Veronica Rossi is the debut author of Under the Never Sky, a dystopian novel set in the most destructive environment you can imagine–one where Aether storms wreak havoc on society’s unprotected, subjecting them to disease and an increasingly barren landscape. But Rossi’s protagonist, Aria, is one of the lucky ones: she lives under the protection of a domed city, Reverie, constantly plugged in to virtual reality and always safe. But when Aria upsets some powerful community leaders, she finds herself ousted to the unprotected Outside. There, sure her death is imminent, she meets Perry–a guy who becomes her ticket back into Reverie. Perry’s not too psyched about helping chatty, sheltered Aria, but it turns out she has something to offer him as well, so the two form an uneasy alliance. (Want more? Start reading Under the Never Sky here.)
Below, Veronica joins us to discuss Under the Never Sky, technology, and what’s next. (Hint: a movie!)
In the novel, Aria is exiled from her protected, high-tech home and forced to live in the untamed, dangerous landscape outside of her city. How did you come up with such vastly different worlds?
The societies in Under the Never Sky essentially came out of my love/hate relationship with technology. I adore my phone, laptop, etc., but find myself so often pulled out of present space and time. I’ll find that I’m waiting for an email, or on the phone with someone, instead of going for a walk outside–instead of inhabiting the here and now. So that was the genesis. Creating two societies that would take that contrast to its extreme.
Under the Never Sky is written in dual perspectives, alternating between Aria and Perry. How did you get into two such different characters’ heads? Who was more fun to write?
I loved writing both! Perry is perhaps more difficult, and more rewarding, because he’s very pithy. He doesn’t say much, so the choices I make with him have to be very sharp. But I think because he speaks so little, the things he does say have more power.
What was the editing process on your novel like? Do you find revising fun and rewarding, or tear-your-hair-out frustrating?
Revision is my absolute favorite part. If I could, I’d revise endlessly! It’s where you see all the hard work of pre-planning pay off.
Under the Never Sky is the first in a trilogy. Can you give us any hints about what we can expect in the next two books?
Sure! The Aether [a mysterious force, kind of like electricity] ramps up in the following books. Readers will see the stress that puts on both the Dweller and Outsider populations, right down to the individual characters. There’s lots of betrayal and double-crossing ahead : )
Under the Never Sky has already been optioned for film. Congratulations! Who’s in your dream cast?
Thank you! I don’t have a dream cast in mind, truthfully. Being an artist at heart, I have a tremendous respect and love for creative people who are daring and bold in their choices. So I’d really love to see the roles go to actors who are fearless. I’d love to see them take what I’ve created and run with it!
What’s the one thing you wish young writers knew?
A couple of things come to mind, but the main one is STICK WITH IT. Every single person who has achieved success has also failed—often. Don’t let setbacks stop you. Just pick yourself up and keep going!