When I was a teenager, I got to spend my weekends binge-watching DVDs, eating my weight in M&M’s (peanut butter, obviously), and messaging my friends about what I saw at the mall. Those simple pleasures – as small and minute as the may seem – are what help teenagers retain their sense of innocence.
Thinking about those luxuries, it’s hard – almost impossible – to imagine a world in which some people don’t get to share in them. For The Rift: Uprising‘s Ryn Whitaker, not only does she miss out on it all, she’s also tasked with protecting the world. No pressure, right?
More about The Rift: Uprising
“Ryn is a Citadel. A soldier. A liar. Ryn and her fellow Citadels were specially chosen and trained to guard a Rift — one of fourteen unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths. Unbeknownst to her family, Ryn leaves for school each day and then reports for duty as an elite, cybernetically-altered soldier who can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which comes in handy when she’s not sure if axe-wielding Vikings or any number of other terrified and often dangerous beings come through the Rift. A fine-tuned weapon, Ryn is a picture-perfect Citadel. But that’s all about to change.
When a young man named Ezra is pulled through the Rift, Ryn finds herself immediately drawn to him, despite her training. What starts as a physical attraction quickly grows deeper, and Ezra’s curiosity throws Ryn off balance when he starts questioning the Rifts, the mysterious organization that oversees them, and the Citadels themselves—questions that lead Ryn to wonder if the lies she’s been telling her family are just the surface of a much bigger lie told to her. As Ryn and Ezra desperately try to get to that truth, they discover that each revelation blurs the line between the villains and the heroes even more.”
We had a chance to speak with The Rift: Uprising author, Amy S. Foster, about everything from how her role as a lyricist influences her writing to the parts of writing she finds most difficult.
1. As a lyricist and someone so connected to music, do you find yourself listening to anything while you write?
Always! I listen to music every time I sit down to write, but, I don’t listen to music with lyrics. It’s too distracting. It’s mostly soundtracks. Lately I’ve been loving the Westworld Soundtrack.
2. Which character came first while writing and plotting the novel–Ryn or Ezra?
Ryn. She came before anyone else. I saw her so clearly in her Uniform standing in front of the mouth of the Rift.
3. What kind of research did you complete for The Rift Uprising? Did you find anything compelling that you wanted to squeeze in but couldn’t?
I wrote a prologue detailing Ryn’s ‘activation’- the first day she became a Citadel. Ultimately we decided it was a lot more exposition than we needed and people weren’t being drawn in the same way as they were with just the action starting in the first Chapter, so we scrapped it. Still, I think it’s a cool look into who Ryn was before she became a Citadel. I hope one day I can put it up on my Website.
4.What books have influenced your writing?
So many books inspire me. Anne Morrow Lindberg’s nonfiction, Philip Larkin’s poetry, YA novels like Forever and The Daughter Of Smoke And Bone. I love intellectual books but I also love Twilight…
5. What is your process like while writing a younger voice in The Rift Uprising as opposed to an older voice in When Autumn Leaves, your first novel?
The thing is, I don’t ever think about how old I am actually. In my mind I’m somewhere in my 20’s. It’s only when I look at my almost grown daughter I think, “that’s weird. My daughter is going off to college, but I just finished college, so, how is that possible?!” When Autumn Leaves used female archetypes as an exploration of self. We aren’t just The Invisible One, The Nurturing One, The Selfish One, The Artistic One- we are all of those things at different times in our life, or sometimes concurrently. The novel was a journey through magical feminism. The Rift Uprising is for kids specifically 15 and older. I used the kids in my house, both my own and their friends to help me find those character’s voices. But, I think ultimately there is always something of myself in my protagonists.
6. Is your process for writing and coming up with ideas for lyrics any different from your process for writing a novel?
It’s not all that dissimilar. With me, it’s always the story first. One song might be about a son going home to visit a sick father, or a woman in a relationship with a man who no longer loves her. These could all be books if expanded. At the end of the day, it’s just about story telling.
7. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Time. Separating my work from family. It’s so hard to stay in the moment of a scene when you know that in half an hour you have to go do car pool or make dinner. Clock watching is not so conducive to writing.
8. What is the easiest?
I don’t know that writing is ever easy but, once I’m in the flow, in the thick of it, it feels easy in that moment. It never feels easy outside of it though.
9. Is there anything about the book that surprised you during the writing process?
I was pleasantly surprised with my imagination! A lot of different species come through the Rift and I had to imagine what could have evolved on Earth given different environmental perimeters. I went totally wild with it. I was surprised but, delighted that I could access that part of my brain. We think we abandon that type of ‘pretend play’ once we hit adulthood and maybe some of us do, but I am so glad I didn’t.
10. What was your decision process in setting The Rift Uprising in the near future as opposed to farther away in the future?
I wanted to create an environment that had ordinary kids doing extraordinary things. I do like dystopian literature but this idea of Crypto History- a secret, hidden world behind the real life we are living is much more intriguing to me. I think it’s a Harry Potter thing.
About the author
Amy S. Foster is a celebrated songwriter, best known as Michael Bublé’s writing partner. You might recognize her work in his four hit singles, including “Home” and “Haven’t Met You Yet.” She has also collaborated with Destiny’s Child, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and a host of other artists. She is also the author of the novel When Autumn Leaves. When she’s not in a studio in Nashville, Amy lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Amy is the daughter of singer B.J. Cook and the legendary music producer, David Foster. Fun fact about Amy: Her extended family tree includes Bella and Gigi Hadid, Sara and Erin Foster and Brody and Brandon Jenner, and Clay Aiken! The Rift Uprising, her YA debut, will be released on October 4, 2016.