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katie_khan katie_khan

1145 posts   1823 followers   989 followings

Katie Khan  Writing books about light and space. HOLD BACK THE STARS is translated into 21 languages. I also work in film for WB. 📸: my Chihuahua + Persian cat.


I always harrumph a bit when newspapers and critics post their “best of the year” lists in November. So in the interests of being very thorough, I’ve pondered my 2017 choices all the way through December, January AND February, so finally! Finally! On this day, February 25th 2018, I am posting my 3 favourite reads of 2017.
I am nothing if not well-considered.
- THE POWER by Naomi Alderman
- EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid.
I’ve reviewed all 3 of these books individually on instagram last year, so you can dig around on my profile — amid the cat pics and self-promo, soz — to find my slightly more articulate thoughts about each story. 😝😝
What were your favourite reads last year?
#readdiversebooks #favouritebooksof2017 #speculativefiction

Okay, yes, I’m the last person to read this book on Earth. But isn’t it good? Such an immediate sense of place, right there on page one. And the slow unravelling of the “challenge”... I’m into it. #thisishowyoudoit #amreading

I’ve not been doing a good job at sharing recommendations (#newyearsresolution). I’ve put a bit on my Stories, but I haven’t talked much about what I’ve been reading. And the answer is a whole lot of fantasy! I took a quick break from faerie worlds to read this — and if you’ve ever been through one of those gut-wrenching break-ups, I mean the ones that define you, the break-ups that ruin you and the way you love so you’re certain you’ll never love in the same way again... Well, then you’ll get a lot out of this book. Lucy and Gabe meet in New York on September 11th, as the twin towers fall. The novel charts their entire relationship, narrated by Lucy and told in the second person to Gabe (she addresses the entire novel directly to him); it’s a close lens through which to view a relationship — sometimes stiflingly so — but the intimacy of that narration, coupled with short punchy chapters, builds and builds until I found myself sobbing quietly in the dark, trying not to wake my poor partner. If you like heartbreak stories, this is for youuuuuuuu 💔💔💔 #TheLightWeLost #jillsantopolo (published in paperback today)

"You see, Cari, the thing about first love is it breaks you. It changes everything about who you are for the next person." (#holdbackthestars) I wrote this line (said by Carys/Cari's mother) and I still feel it's true. I recently read #TheLightWeLost and it captured so heartbreakingly the way we love different people in different ways. In Hold Back the Stars, Max and Carys are each other's first loves, but they're not necessarily meant to be together. Or are they?
Out in paperback today 🇺🇸 —visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).

Out in paperback today 🇺🇸 — visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).
Here's something exciting: #holdbackthestars is being adapted into a film by the producers of #ArrivalMovie and #StrangerThings. Lee Toland Krieger, the director of #TheAgeofAdaline, is attached to direct. They have a wonderful vision for the story and I can't wait to see it.

Although #holdbackthestars contains a love story, it's not *exactly* a traditional romance novel. Almost all of my favourite books and films, whether historical, dystopian, YA, or thrillers, put a relationship front and centre. Max and Carys experiencing their first love against an epic backdrop (the perilous vacumm of space, the political machinations of a utopia) gave me something — and someone — to root for. Otherwise... what are they even fighting for?
Out in paperback today 🇺🇸 - visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).

In #holdbackthestars, marriage is delayed until residents of the utopia are older. I wrote this partly as a reaction to being asked when I'm going to get married and have babies all the time (grr!) — and partly because it's such an interesting idea to me. Would society function better if we were all cracking on in our twenties, before settling down in our thirties? 🤔
Out in paperback today 🇺🇸 — visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).

It was great fun visualising Europe in the future: I thought about our historical architecture from different periods, the great boulevards and stately government buildings. Imagine if they were crumbling to ruin, but encased in glass and steel to protect them for years to come. Modern and old coming together. A futuristic United States also appears in the novel, too - what do you think that would look like?
Out in paperback today 🇺🇸 — visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).

Writing a novel half set in space was a brilliant challenge. I learned a lot about physics - though kept the science to a minimum (for my own sanity)! @europeanspaceagency astronauts blog their training so their website was invaluable for me to describe what Max and Carys go through in #holdbackthestars, as well as @NASA and @iss. I have a moodboard that features some of my research on katiekhan.com.
Out in paperback today 🇺🇸 — visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).

#holdbackthestars is set not too far in the future, and Europe has become a utopia ("Europia"). Individuals live by themselves in mixed communities, moving every few years. After I came up with the idea I found out the actual motto of the European Union is 'united in diversity', which is perfect! Regions in Europia are called 'Voivodes', a word I took from a medieval Polish sort-of feudal system. I like it when language gets corrupted and repurposed over time.
Out in paperback today 🇺🇸 — visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).

The story in #holdbackthestars moves between space and Earth. Carys and Max are falling in space with only 90 minutes of air remaining. As they fall further away from their ship, fighting to survive, the story is intercut with flashbacks of their love story on Earth. You see their first meeting, first date . . . leading up to their present moment in space.
Out in paperback today 🇺🇸 - visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).

Hold Back the Stars is published in paperback in the US today. Described as 'Gravity meets One Day', it's a novel about first love and heartbreak, set among the stars. If you have any friends/readers in the States who you think would love a story like this, please let them know about #holdbackthestars!
Visit my profile to see the whole picture (@katie_khan).

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