Ordinary Girlz feature author this week is Laura Markowitz author of
the Book Of The Sky God.
The gods are coming back to Earth, and they’re not particularly happy. Five unlikely teenagers and one immortal shape-shifter are the only ones who can save humanity. Ram Rajathani thinks he knows everything about his best friend, but he doesn’t know that Henry has been turned into a part-time zombie, or that Henry’s got a crush on a girl he recently met online. The girl, ComixChik8, is torturing Henry on purpose, but what she really wants to know is what she’s supposed to do with the cursed blue iguana that mysteriously appeared in her school locker.
Henry Lipton has no idea he’s a part-time zombie. He thinks his biggest problem is
girl-o-phobia. Ram’s sister Laila has a dangerous Mayan artifact stashed in the back of her closet. She suspects it can save humanity from the gods, but she has no idea how. Her older sister, Nina, isn’t afraid of gods, but she’s desperate to make some friends. She’s about to discover she has mad spy skills. In the meantime, the secretive
Brotherhood of the Prophecy rescheduled the end of the world, and now they plan to cash in on it.These five teenagers must race against time to outwit the Brotherhood and save humanity from the gods. No biggie.
Tell us a little about your book, what it is
Laura: What if human evolution wasn’t a natural process at all? What if we had help from aliens who were further along on the evolutionary ladder? In the BOOK OF THE SKY GOD, those aliens, who ancient humans called gods, are scheduled to return to Earth in 2015 to see how their “human experiment” worked out. If they don’t like what they find, humanity will be wiped out. Five unlikely teenagers have to find a way to save our species. Nina Rajathani has social problems and needs to make some friends. She’s got leadership potential, but it usually comes out as bossiness. Ram Rajathani, her younger brother, has jealousy issues with his best friend, Henry Lipton, until
he discovers that something terrible has been done to Henry, who doesn’t even
know who he really is. The girl they both like, who goes by the name ComixChik8,
is torturing Henry on purpose while trying to solve the mystery of why her
mother abandoned her when she was six days old. She’s also dealing with a major
problem at home that she can’t tell anyone about. Laila Rajathani, Ram and
Nina’s kid sister, also has a secret she hasn’t told the others: she is the
first human to evolve “numinous senses.” They allow her to see the connection
between all things. One of the first things she is able to sense with her new
ability is an immortal shape shifter who has been living on earth for millions of years.
As the friends get closer to piecing together the last clues from Mayan mythology and archaeology that will help them challenge the returning gods, they come to terms with the adults who have let them down, and the future they must create for themselves and for the planet. In the end, the gods are nothing like what the teens expected.
What genre is this current book, do you write in any other genres?
Laura: I call BOOK OF THE SKY GOD “lightly science fiction.” The lives of the teens are very ordinary, but the plot takes us off planet, and there is an immortal shape shifter, plus other gods and aliens.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer, at what age?
Laura: I skipped kindergarten and went right into first grade. Our first assignment was to write a “book,” and I wrote mine about our dog, Samson. My teacher told my mother that I would grow up to be a writer. The fact that she believed I could be one made me believe it, too. No one believed I could be a pirate, which was my second career choice, so writer it was.
Do you have a day job or do you write exclusively?
Laura: I’m always writing, but it’s not always fiction. I am a multimedia producer and journalist, producing feature stories for Tucson’s NPR and PBS stations and creating videos for the University of Arizona. I also have a thriving editing business. I work with authors on all kinds of projects, from novels and memoirs to magazine articles.
When did you start writing your first book?
Laura: In 2005, I took a break from publishing a magazine and decided
to go for it and finally write a novel, which was always my dream. My first book
was a YA novel with a feisty girl hero. After I finished it, my editor sent it
around and someone at Random House was interested, but wanted me to do a major
rewrite. I rewrote it, but by the time I finished that person had left
Random House and I wasn’t sure I liked the changed version as much as the
original. I decided to put it aside for a while and come back to it with fresh
eyes. Then I started writing BOOK OF THE SKY GOD. Now that it’s published, I’m
ready to go back and edit my first novel.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Laura: The first book took 9 months to write (by hand! I was traveling
a lot at the time and didn’t want to bring my laptop) and another year to edit
and rewrite. BOOK OF THE SKY GOD took three years. I was sad when I
finished. L I missed spending time with all my
Do you have an outline when you write or do you just write and see
where it goes?
Laura: Write and see where it goes.
What is your writing process like? Do you have any weird quirks when writing?
Laura: I have to exercise before I sit down in front of my computer.
Writing is physical, and it takes energy to get my brain focused. I can’t be in
a space with music or random lyrics find their way into the story and it is not
a good thing. The best time for me to write is from 8 p.m. until I crash
around 2 a.m.
What kind of research went into this book, tell me a little bit about
Laura: I read several books about Mayan culture and cosmology, brushed
up on my Hindu cosmology, and read many end-of-the-world prophecies related to
December 21, 2012, and a few far-out theories of time. Thank you Wikipedia
and the public library!
What is the most interesting thing you learned about while writing your
Laura: I read a lot of New Age theories about December 21, 2012. Wild stuff. Gave me bad dreams! (Polar ice caps reversing. Can you imagine giant spears of ice criss-crossing the sky? I can!)
What motivated you to tell this story?
Laura: I have always loved the idea of Indra’s Jeweled Net, which I learned about studying Hua Yen Buddhism in college. The idea is that everything is connected to everything at every point, which is what I call the Song in BOOK OF THE SKY GOD. I always wondered what it would be like to actually experience that. So the idea of numinous senses, which allow you to have that consciousness, came to me and I went with it.
How have you marketed this book?
Laura: I’ve been interviewed on a local radio show; I’ve distributed exciting-looking, oversized postcards to advertise the book; and soon I’ll be doing readings around the west coast and doing some online advertising. I have a web site, www.bookoftheskygod.com, which has been getting a healthy number of hits, and I have a blog.
Do you have any other work out?
Laura: I have a ton of magazine, radio, television and online multimedia work
out. I’ve also co-edited three nonfiction books (two for therapists – as a journalist, I went to grad school in social work and trained as a family therapist so I could write about the field). I’ve written personal essays, textbook chapters and I published an indie magazine for 10 years.
What projects are you working on now?
Laura: A video about wheelchair rugby; a client’s manuscript on the power of the brain; and re-writing my first novel.
What has been your toughest criticism? What has been your best
compliment as an author?
Laura: I had a very irritating experience with Kirkus Indie. The review
was inaccurate in basic details, and I felt it was biased toward the only white
male character. BOOK OF THE SKY GOD is about five characters, and the
reviewer made it seem like it’s about Henry and his “colorful” friends.
Grrrrrrr!!! The girls get it done, and they rescue the boys, so what was that
all about? But to their credit, the Kirkus staff was very respectful of my
complaint and sent it to a new reviewer, so hopefully we’ll see an accurate and unbiased review in a few weeks. The best compliment was from a 12-year-old girl
who read the book and emailed me every few chapters with “OMG! I can’t believe
that happened!” and “OMG! I love your book!” It took her 10 days to read it, and
I really enjoyed all the email updates on her progress. I wrote it for her, and for teens everywhere. (Note to Kirkus: think about hiring young people to review
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Laura: Pottery. I’m a fanatic. Living in Arizona, we have perfect
weather for it. I have a wheel and kiln at home, and also throw at a studio
nearby. I also love to hike in the desert mountains. (I saw a bobcat this
What do your friends and family think of your writing, have they been supportive?
Laura: Amazing. I’m so lucky. My various nieces are my editors and proofreaders. My sister, who taught me how to read, is an excellent critic as well.
Do you hear from your reader much, what has the feedback been like?
Laura: So far, I’ve been overwhelmed with delight by the reviews! It
takes time to write a review on Amazon, and the seven people who’ve done it –
most of whom I don’t know! – have been so thoughtful and specific about what
they’ve liked. It really is a thrill.
What was your favorite book growing up?
Laura: I only get to choose one? In that case, it would be The Princess Bride.
Tea, coffee or hot chocolate
Laura: Decaf triple espresso, please, in a tall cup over ice with a
splash of cream.
Cat or dog?
Laura: Dog! I’ve always had golden retrievers as best
Print book or e-reader which medium do you prefer?
Laura: BOTH! I love all books.
Laura: Sliding backward in a car on an icy road and going over a cliff.
Laura: Enlightenment for all beings.
If your book was made into a movie what actors would you choose to play the parts?
Laura: I am terrible with names of actors and actresses! Let’s just
say, if my book is made into a movie, I would like actors who love BOOK OF THE
SKY GOD and are thrilled to be in it. (Wouldn’t that be awesome!)
Glass half empty or half full?
Laura: No glass, no empty, no full. It’s all illusion. Just kidding! Full, for sure.
Laura: Orange to look at; blue to wear.
Laura: The present moment.
Light or Dark
Laura: Both. I‘m not into extremes.
Most embarrassing moment
Laura: Sorry – we have to know each other a whole lot better for me to reveal that!
We want to thank Laura for hanging out with us and answering some questions for us, it was a lot of fun.
If you want to know more about Book of the Sky God by Laura Markowitz, I encourage you to follow the links and check her out. I will be reviewing Laura’s book, Book of The Sky God in the new year 2013, I hope we get the opportunity to do this again, when your next book comes out. We wish you much success in all your future endeavors.