[GUEST BLOGGER] Cecil Castellucci on Telling the Tale in Other Ways – The Long and Short of It

This post is part of the official blog tour for Cecil Castellucci’s Stone in the Sky. Below, you’ll find the author’s links, information about her books, and a guest post about writing in the Tin Star universe.

Cecil Castellucci
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Cecil Castellucci
Tin Star (Tin Star, Book 1)
Macmillan Square Fish (US: 24th February 2015)
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On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station. When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

Cecil Castellucci
The Sound of Useless Wings (Tin Star, Prequel)
Macmillan Tor (US: 28th January 2015)
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Heckleck is raised to understand that breeding and propagating his own kind is the sole reason for living. When he is called upon to settle on a new planet, he meets the daughter of a politician, Goglu, with whom he falls helplessly in love, and is determined to win over. But nothing is easy in love and space exploration, and when his plans become thwarted, he must find a new way of life.

Cecil Castellucci
Stone in the Sky (Tin Star, Book 2)
Macmillan Roaring Brook (US: 24th February 2015)
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Years ago, Tula Bane was beaten and left for dead on a remote space station far from Earth, her home planet. She started with nothing and had no one, but over time, she found a home, a family, and even love. When it’s discovered that the abandoned planet beneath the station is abundant with a rare and valuable resource, aliens from across the galaxy race over to strike it rich. With them comes trouble, like the man who nearly killed Tula years ago – the man she has dreamed of destroying ever since.

Cecil Castellucci
We Have Always Lived on Mars
Macmillan Tor (US: 30th April 2013)
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Nina, one of the few descendants of human colony on Mars that was abandoned by Earth, is surprised to discover that she can breathe the toxic atmosphere of the Martian surface. The crew, thinking that their attempts at terraforming and breeding for Martian adaptability have finally payed off, rejoice at the prospect of a brighter future. But Nina’s about to unlock the mystery of the disaster that stranded them on Mars…and nothing will ever be the same.

While my first love is novels, I love writing short stories. They are like palette cleansers. A way of changing your voice between novels. But usually they are wholly different than what I’m writing. Here are a few: Brother. Prince. Snake.; Baby in the Basket; Always the Same. Till It’s Not.

I have never written a series before. Tin Star is a short series to be sure, only a duet, but somehow the world of Tin Star was larger than just two books. Don’t get me wrong. Tula Bane has her story and I have told it. I do not long to write a book three. She has her beginning, middle and end. But somehow there are threads. Pieces of story that still tug at me to be told.

There are things that I wonder about. Like, how the other aliens got to the remote space station Yertina Feray. How did Brother Blue get to be so horrible? What is Tournour’s family shame. But most especially, how did Heckleck the Hort get to the Yertina Feray. At one point in Tin Star he lifts up his little vestigial wing and shows a scar to Tula. How did he get that scar? Who does he want revenge on? He seems to know so much about it. It was this loose thread that got me writing the short story The Sound of Useless Wings. I wanted to tell his story and see how he got to the space station and how he became who he was. But I knew it wasn’t a novel, it was just a tale I wanted to tell.

It was freeing to go and explore a whole new corner of the same universe. The difference of course is that the story is told in the third person and not from the point of view of Tula Bane.

And it was fun to do. I had explored some of that universe before in a wholly other way. I got into the story sideways, by making a game of it.

If you are like me, when you love a world, you want to live, breathe, eat, swim, and hang out in it. When I was done writing Tin Star I wasn’t quite ready to jump into writing Stone in the Sky just yet, but I wasn’t quite done, so being a big gamer, I created a table top RPG. Part of it was because I had so much information on all of these aliens and worlds and ways of interacting that I had thought up and a lot of it is not on the page. But in a game, all of that stuff comes in to play because you get to use it in the way you interact with the other players in the game. The players are aliens who dock at the Yertina Feray right before the Imperium arrives. With that, I had to write an adventure. I recruited my brother who was always the game master when we were growing up and playing Dungeons and Dragons. The story fills in the gap of that time that is kind of a folded time in Tin Star, the part where Tula is learning how to barter and trade from Heckleck and beginning to forge out on her own. It was fun to come up with a way to tell that story but have it be told in a million different ways.

I think that’s what the pleasure of writing stories around a larger work is. It’s a way to get right into the nooks and crannies that a novel can’t shed light on.

Game Adventure
Quickstart Rules

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2 responses to “[GUEST BLOGGER] Cecil Castellucci on Telling the Tale in Other Ways – The Long and Short of It

  1. thank you so much for hosting me!

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