Monday, March 16, 2015

March Madness: Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy

For today's March Madness, I have the awesome Cori McCarthy on the blog talking about her book, its reckless main character, and flying planes. :)


Hi Cori and welcome to The Fox’s Hideaway!

Thanks! I’m happy to be on your blog!

For everyone unfamiliar with your newest book, Breaking Sky, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Breaking Sky takes place at a fictional US Air Force academy in 2048. The main character, Chase “Nyx” Harcourt, is an elite fighter pilot tasked with flying a jet prototype that might be able to bring an end to the Second Cold War. However, Chase is a maverick in the good, old-fashioned Top Gun sense and her recklessness might ruin everything. All of this gets thrown into high relief when she uncovers a military secret that puts the whole plan into jeopardy…

Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

I’m from a military family, and I’ve always been fascinated by fighter pilots. One day I was driving by the Grand Rapids airport and I saw a sign for an “aviation high school,” and I thought, “Wow, wouldn’t it be amazing if there were a YA about fighter pilots?” The idea evolved from that little spark! 

What is one of the most fun things about writing a science fiction (dystopian?) novel? The hardest?

The worldbuilding. In my first book, The Color of Rain, the worldbuilding was anything I wanted it to be. I got to create planets and intergalactic space routes, etc., but for Breaking Sky, the year is 2048 and the country is America, not some fictional place. I did a lot of research, extrapolating on current geopolitics and fears to create a worst-case scenario—a future in which the US is not a world superpower anymore. This became my worldbuilding, and it’s been scary to see the rise of drone warfare since I came up with the idea. I certainly hope that the rest of my ideas do not come to fruition!

Let’s talk about your main character, Chase. What are some qualities that would best describe her?

Rather infamously, Chase is being tagged in reviews as reckless, callous, and promiscuous. I have to admit that I designed her to be on the “unlikeable” end of the main character spectrum. But I would also love to point out that she’s wounded, walled-off, deeply emotional, and that it’s because of her own history of deep trauma that she’s withdrawn from everyone around her.

What about her love interest, Tristan?

Oh boy, Tristan is the mature boy I never met in high school. Tristan has perspective and hope. He is caring and attentive, but also a little competitive, and above all else? Not frightened away by Chase’s usual evasion tactics. Tristan doesn’t let Chase get away with being casual or cold. He challenges her to do more than fly—to think and feel! And then upon occasion, he knocks the bejeezus out of her in the cadet boxing ring!

And to end it on a fun note, would you (or have you ever) flown a plane?

I have not! Oh, but I wish that I could. My editor has her pilot’s license, so she helped provide specific flight details, and beyond that, I did so, so, so much research!

Thanks for stopping by, Cori! :)

Stop by tomorrow for another March Madness post featuring a cyberthriller that's releasing on the same day! :)


  1. And... I win again! Seriously, can we just call me the ultimate champion of your event? (I could design a badge, perhaps, or a little tiara?) Anyway, this book has been on my TBR for a LONG time, basically as soon as I heard about it! It's so unique- fighter pilots?! And I really like that the heroine is not the classic "perfect, strong female" (I admit, I am getting bored of such!), it makes me even more excited to read. Great post, Holly and Cori!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    1. This wasn't even on my radar until a few months ago, so I'm glad this event brought it to my attention because it sounds awesome!! :)

  2. WHAT IS SHANNON TALKING ABOUT. I'm going to comment first on your next post. Just to spite her.

    BUT WOAH FIGHTER PILOTS. That's awesome to see how much research you put into your story :) Even geopolitics? I don't even know what that word means but good for you hahaha :) GREAT POST Holly and Cori :D :D

    1. Right? She did SO much research for this!! And the book sounds AWESOME. :)

  3. This doesn't really seem like my kinda read (fighter pilots do sound cool, but I've had a tough time getting into dystopia lately), but Cori's description of Chase makes me want to read the book. She sounds awesome. I think I would still like her.☺

    1. I haven't read much dystopia in awhile, but I really want to read this! The whole teen fighter pilot thing really hooked me. :)


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