Spoiler warning. We highly recommend reading Shattered Blue before reading this interview.
There are details shared about the plot that could spoil your enjoyment of the novel as Lauren Bird Horowitz intended and we definitely don’t want that. Consider yourselves warned!
Also, if you haven’t already, check out our review of Shattered Blue.
Noa is a young poet just trying to find her way in a world without her sister. The only bright spot in Noa’s life is her baby sister Sasha, and the warmth that bubbles out of her when Noa needs it most. Then Noa meets Callum. She pushes thoughts of him away until it just seems impossible to resist whatever is dragging them toward each other anymore.
Callum’s reality helps Noa to see things in a way she may never have before, but it comes at a price. His banishment to a world where the only way he can gain power is through taking Light from humans is a torture his father couldn’t have predicted, especially when the Light is as pure and enticing as Noa’s. It isn’t until you meet the final piece of the puzzle that you understand the story Shattered Blue is really telling. That final piece? Callum’s brother, Judah.
Interview with Lauren Bird Horowitz
Where did the idea for ‘Shattered Blue’ come from?
Shattered Blue kind of burst out of me at a time when I had been doing a lot of writing for hire and on collaborative projects, and I really wanted a project that was just mine. I’d been slowly building the fae world in my head for years, puzzling out its laws and mythology, the lore of Darius and Lorelei and the Colorlines, always knowing that at some point it was a story I wanted to tell and a realm I needed to explore. I finally dove in when I was going through the process of buying my very first home (VERY stressful!) and I needed somewhere more elaborate than my poetry where I could escape.
Immediately, I knew the heroine and entry point would be Noa, a girl whose most true self was being buried by responsibilities in the real world, but whom you could glimpse through her poetry, the secret language of her spirit. I was like that as a teenager and I still feel like that now — still on a journey to try to be my truest, most creative self in the real world—and so Noa became my touchstone. She is learning to share her innermost soul with the world, and I am too, especially now with the novel’s publication for a wider audience. In a way, I began writing her journey to help me with mine.
Once I’d met Noa, I realized Aurora was made for her. Because I wanted her, as she becomes the Girl-Beast Poet Warrior that she is, to discover an outside world just as magical as the ones she imagines in her poems. And complicated too, with characters like Callum and Judah who are not just one thing, good or bad or responsible or lazy or honest or liars—but everything, the way Noa is. The way all young adults are — really everyone is.
What do you do to stay inspired? Do you reach toward music, or poetry, or something entirely different when you need a little boost to keep writing?
I love spending time with my rescue pup, Ninja, who is basically the love of my life (no offense to my people loves ;) ). I figured out all of the trickiest twists of Shattered Blue while playing Frisbee with her on Kauai’s beaches and in the ocean using this janky little voice recorder that is basically pre-historic (it really has only the record function and one button, true local style). While we play, I record my thoughts as they come and transcribe them to my computer later. That’s also how I wrote book two, and how now I’m working out the tangles of everything going into book three. But I am definitely also inspired by so many other artists too, from all kinds of works. My favorite thing in the world is how passion just multiplies across genres, crafts, even lifespans. From Eminem (THE poet of the current age, in my opinion) to Stephen Sondheim (there is no more perfect lyric score than Into the Woods) to the instagram photos of @kauaicolors that capture my home so gorgeously, to the stellar handmade metalwork done by jewelry artist Zoe Cope… it all keeps me energized and thinking. I certainly also have literary standbys that are all-time inspirations as well—Emily Dickinson, ee cummings, Anne Marie MacDonald, and Stephanie Meyer.
While we’ve seen your book described as dystopian, it almost reads more like fantasy, with worlds existing right alongside ours that we were simply never privy to before. Do you prefer one label to another for ’Shattered Blue’?
You’re right, I would say Shattered Blue itself is more a fantasy grounded in this reality, but as the series The Light Trilogy goes on, we get deeply into dystopian world of the Fae in Aurora… and then of course, the worlds will, in some way, collide. I can’t say more than that right now, but we can have this talk again after each of the next installments. ;)
So much of Noa’s connection to Callum was ultimately based on their mutual losses and him understanding what it meant to lose a beloved sister just like she had. By the end of the novel, Callum’s character almost starts to feel like a stranger due to all the lies. How do you think readers will feel about him in book two? Will we get a chance to reconnect to him?
I love Callum so much, and I feel such sympathy for him and the place he is in right now. He is always trying to protect, to do right, to be right, and it just ends up getting all twisted around on him despite — or, in a funny way, because of — the desperation of his good intentions. His lies are such a betrayal to Noa and the audience, and yet, in a way they are kind of slant-lies, as Emily Dickinson might say. Lily didn’t physically die, but he did lose her, and the rest of his family too, when he made the decision to take her into Noa’s world. He and Noa are very kindred in that way too: they feel the need to sacrifice themselves for others, especially their family. The question for both of them is, does the sacrifice actually end up helping, or hurting? Is it good to ‘save’ people, even if they don’t want to be saved, and you get erased in the process?
I know at the end of Shattered Blue, readers (and Noa) are left with a lot they have to digest about Callum. But Callum does too — he’s finally heard himself name what he’s done; he’s said the words out-loud for the first time — and now none of them, including Callum himself, can unhear it. If we’ve learned anything in Shattered Blue, it’s that giving voice and language to something makes it incredibly powerful, and incredibly undeniable.
Everything, from the blurb on the back of ‘Shattered Blue’ to the first two parts of the book had us believing that Callum and Noa were the meant to be couple in this trilogy. Then, well, Judah happened. Was it always your intention to so thoroughly bias us toward that pairing, so that we wouldn’t see the Judah bomb looming on the horizon?
I would say don’t give up on Callum and Noa yet. I definitely wanted the “Judah bomb” to be a surprise, for sure, but remember, in this trilogy nothing is ever quite the way you think. The story is never fully told. Stories, histories, even Noa’s Mermaid Hearts poem that gets rewritten — they are constantly being reshaped and retold, shifted in perspective and given new meaning and truth. Judah and Noa certainly have a very strong connection, but Noa would have to travel a long way to be able to accept and acknowledge it, and then allow herself to return it. And I know there are a bunch of #teamJudah readers shipping them hard — there is a poll on my website, and the lead keeps switching back and forth between Judah and Callum, lol — but also keep in mind that Judah is not the most reliable character ever either. He’s been through some really awful things, he has some pretty big issues, and we already know he lies.
Will we find out what exactly the In Between is? Is it possible that the knowledge of what lies in the In Between was erased like the memories of the Clear Fae’s abilities?
Ooh, I love this question and I wish I could really get into it. All I can say right now is that the epilogue is there for a reason.
Will we meet Lorelei, or the incredibly intimidating Darius, in the next book?
I have to be delicate here — you will definitely meet both Lorelei and Darius, as any characters so seminal to our main three will tend to turn up in the series. But as with Judah and Callum, be prepared for the revelation of secrets that might go against the stories about them we’ve already been told.
Since Sasha was capable of igniting the ring and triggering it’s ability to create Light, is the portal that Noa reopened with Sasha’s blood different? Will it require the balance that the previous portal did?
Oh the Portal, my lovely little monster. All bets are off on the Portal now — it’s lost its keeper, it’s been fed mortals and swallowed Sasha, and now it’s been reopened by some crazy Noa ninja magic. We learned in Shattered Blue that the Portal is like a creature, it’s sentient and alive and hungry, and now it’s completely untethered and free. Who knows what the rules are now, or where people go when they step in? And who knows how powerful it is, and what may have happened to friends who may or may not have been spying? ;)