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Turning Points: Guest Post by Beth Revis

This guest post is part of the Turning Points blog series here on distraction no. 99—in which I asked authors the question: What was your turning point as a writer? Here is YA author Beth Revis revealing hers…


Guest post by Beth Revis

I think I’ve had two turning points in my life concerning writing. The first happened when I was very young. I was a reader—I devoured books. If there were no books, I read the back of the cereal box or the tube of toothpaste. I read all my textbooks for fun—and then I read all my brother’s textbooks, too. (Except math. Math sucks.)

But one summer I went to the library (as usual) and hid under the stairs with a stack of books (as usual) and cracked one open to begin reading (as usual) and then I started to discover that the book was…different (not usual). I read stories the same way I ate candy at Halloween: devoured them as quickly as possible, then turned to the next one.

But this book—The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe—was different. As I was reading, I realized there was this whole other story inside it. It’s kinda obvious now, as an adult, when I read that book. It’s clear there’s another story in the subtext. But when I read it then, as a kid, it was like discovering a whole new world within a world (appropriate for a book about a world in a wardrobe).

This led me on the path to a lifelong love of books. And it was as different as eating too much Halloween candy and taking the first bite of a perfectly made crème brulee.

My second turning point happened just before I wrote Across the Universe. I was in a very dark place. I’d been writing for ten years, during which time I’d written ten books…and not a single one sold. Not. A. Single. One. I had a decade worth of failure: and the hundreds of rejections to go with it.

I was seriously considering giving up writing.

I had spent so much time…so much money…so much effort…and had nothing to show for it but a pile of rejections. Was it worth it? It didn’t seem to be.

I decided to try one last time. One last book. And I started writing this weird little sci fi book that I figured would never sell, but who cared? It was my last try anyway.

But somewhere—I cannot pin down exactly where—I started to fall in love with the story. And there was a moment when I leaned back in my swivel chair—I can picture the moment exactly—and I realized that I had just written the best book I’d ever written. The magic was still there.

And I couldn’t give up.

And that was the book that changed my life.


Beth Revis is the author of the NY Times Bestselling Across the Universe series, published by Razorbill/Penguin in the US and available in 17 countries. The first book in the trilogy, Across the Universe, is a “cunningly executed thriller” according to Booklist, and the second book, A Million Suns, was hailed by the LA Times as “a fast-paced, action-packed follow-up.” The final book of the trilogy, Shades of Earth, will be released in early 2013.

A former teacher, Beth lives in rural North Carolina with her husband and dog. Her goals include travelling around the world in 80 days, exploring the moon, and finding Narnia.

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There’s more in the Turning Points series. Catch up with any posts you may have missed here.

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3 thoughts on “Turning Points: Guest Post by Beth Revis

  1. What a wonderful story–and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s glad Beth decided to write one more book before giving up. :)

  2. I adored Across the Universe and A Million Suns and hope in time we’ll get the chance to read some of those previous 10 books!

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