Q&A with A.A. Ripley – In Between the Stars

What is alien and what is normal? To Inan, she’s just a girl on her homeworld, yet she dreams of travelling to the stars and experiencing all the adventures they promise. Dream is all she can do, as her people’s customs forbid girls to face dangers – especially amongst the stars. Instead of adventures, they are expected to serve their families as leaders and never take personal risks. But that is about to change as Inan’s life takes a sudden turn.

A series of events lead to her being lost in space, shipwrecked and kidnapped by soldiers-turned-pirates, a remnant from the war fought many, many years ago. With only an alien being to keep her company, she is forced to use her wits to stay alive. As she struggles, she befriends Alan, a human boy who is little more than a captive himself. Yet things go from bad to worse after a failed escape attempt when Inan comes into contact with an unknown ancient artefact which ultimately will decide the fate of the whole galaxy.

Catapulting the reader into an exciting space-opera universe, In Between the Stars is an original take on human-alien interactions, with quirky characters, high humour and endless amounts of drama.


Why did you want to write In Between The Stars?

When I was young, I lived for science-fiction. The idea that when I open a book, an entire universe opens before me was like a splash of colour over the ordinary universe and my very ordinary life. The stories I read became a part of myself and let me dream. As I grew up I wished that I could give back what I took from science-fiction. I wanted to make somebody’s world more colourful, to tell a story that would sparkle in somebody’s imagination.


In 5 words, why should readers pick up In Between The Stars:

Adventure, strange places, tension and drama.


Is there something you want readers to take away from Between The Stars?

When I wrote my novel, I wanted it to be fun, full of adventure and wonder. But I also wanted it to present a point of view that is not often shown. I wanted the reader to consider the difference in the ways living beings experience the universe. We may live among people and each one of those is unlike any other, but all have their opinions and feelings that colour their lives. I wanted the readers to, for a brief moment, see how it is to look through the eyes of somebody quite different than themselves and see their own humanity through a different lens.


Can you tell us something about yourself that not many people know?

I guess that not many people know that I am an avid videogamer. I play a variety of titles and genres, but the part of videogaming experience I love the most is the story. Not only the story that the writers put in the game for you to discover, but the story you tell to yourself when you take up the mantle of a protagonist.


What’s the perfect cure for a bad day?

A book naturally. There is nothing like a good book. Preferably with in conjunction with a warm blanket and a cup of your favourite beverage. Sometimes the world is just too much and no one should be blamed for wanting a break. Especially if you can both have a break and use your imagination to make yourself feel better.


Tea or coffee?

Tea of course. But not just any tea. It has to be black, with flowers, bits of dried fruit or, hopefully, spices floating about. And it has to stay at least twenty feet away from the nearest milk bottle. I am well known for my dislike of bovine lactation.


Finally, what is the question you wish people would ask and never do?

‘What is your passion?’ When you meet new people there are about three questions that you’ll always be asked: ‘What is your name?’ ‘Where are you from?’ ‘What do you do for a living?’ I always find those so impersonal. It is always more important to me what people like, their hobbies, the things that make them get up in the mornings. This way I can either find a connection to them if they have interests similar to mine, or if they are completely opposite at least I can learn something new. I might forget a name and it is not that important to me where they were born or how people pay their rents, but I will always remember and cherish a lively discussion about what people love.

A. A. Ripley graduated with a BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of St Mark and St John in Plymouth and made her Master Degree in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. She now lives in Devon in the heart of the English Riviera. This is her debut novel.

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