Q&A with YA Author Austin Aslan


The Fearless Fifteeners are thrilled to announce the start of a weekly Q&A post involving unexplained events, fictional heroes, crushes, dreams dates and of course, Happily Ever After. For our first YA post of the year, we’ve got, Austin Aslan, whose THE GIRL AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD (sequel to his stunning 2014 debut THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD), is out August 4, 2015. Learn more about Austin and his books at the end of the post — but right now, let’s get straight to the goods.


1. You wake up one morning and, OMG, you’re a __________ ! What’s the first thing you do with your new ability?

I’m The Pope! I take a public bus to the Vatican instead of a private bullet-proof Bat Mobile. I solve all of the clues to the DaVinci Code but keep the answers to myself. Then I issue my first motu proprio papal bull, ordering the Catholic Church to reverse its stance against birth control, single-handedly halting global overpopulation and thus reducing a key pressure that causes global warming. I might have a macchiato after dinner, then settle down in my four-poster bed to re-read Walter M. Miller Jr’s, A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ.

2. Turns out your parents aren’t happy with your change. What fictional character do you ask to help you get out of the bind, and how do they “fix” you?

My parents are mortified to see me dressed all in white. THEY ask for the the help of the non-fictional Tommy Bahama to update my wardrobe, with a classy, casual, and comfortable look that is usually affordable even to the common populous, as long as you save up a little for each garment and only go shopping when there are sales. I only approve the changes after fictional Lilo and Stitch sign off on them.

3. Back to normal, you arrive at school and literally crash into your crush. He/she asks you why you’re shaken up. What do you tell him/her?

Um, I crash into my wife? At school? I tell her I’m shaken up because we just totalled both of our cars in one accident. But that’s okay. Time to replace them with matching his and hers Teslas!

4. He/she isn’t convinced you’re telling the truth — after all, it’s a pretty far fetched story. He/she suggests going somewhere to talk about it more. Where’s this dream date taking place?

We just got back from Harry Potter World in Orlando. I think we’ll go back there again. One trip to Diagon Alley and Ollivander’s Wand Shop and we can reparo our totalled vehicles.

5. It might not be true love yet, but there is a Happily Ever After in your near future. As a Fearless Fifteener, your book is out this year. Tell us about it in 140 characters or less.
Living without electronics, Leilani finds strength in her family and the Emerald Orchid—but suffers regret over what she must do to survive.


In this fast-paced, exhilarating sequel to the acclaimed The Islands at the End of the World, Leilani and her family on the Big Island of Hawai’i face the challenge of survival in the world of the Emerald Orchid, a green presence that appeared in the sky after a global blackout. As the Hawaiian Islands go back to traditional ways of living, people must grow their own food and ration everything from gas to bullets. Medicine is scarce; a simple infection can mean death. Old tensions and new enemies emerge. And one girl, Leilani, is poised to save her world.




Austin Aslan was inspired to write his Islands at the End of the World series while living with his wife and two children on the Big Island of Hawai`i, where he earned a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo. A National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, he is most often sighted exploring the wilds of northern Arizona and tent camping on a punctured air mattress. In other lives, Austin drove ambulances way too fast, served as an ecotourism Peace Corps Volunteer in a Honduran cloud forest, and managed a variety of local, state, and federal issue campaigns. Austin loves to travel widely and take pictures and laugh. Follow him at Facebook.com/Laustinspace and on Twitter at @Laustinspace.

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