The protagonist in my latest YA novel, As Far As The Stars, wants to be an astronaut. She’s aiming to study at MIT and, after long years of study, she hopes to be recruited by NASA.
Through Air I explore the issue of women in science, in particular in physics and in astronomy.
The title of my novel is, in part, inspired by Air’s dreams to see the stars up close one day.
Recently, Katie Bouman, an MIT PhD scientist, gained media attention for being part of a team that created an algorithm to capture the first image of a black hole. A great deal was made of her being a woman and it immediately made me think of Air. The words in this quotation come from a TED talk she gave a few years back when she was still working on the algorithm: she was talking about how the stars were circling an invisible path and that it was this unseen pattern that was telling them exciting things about black holes.
I love the idea that the invisible can sometimes teach us as much as the tangible.
One of the reasons I love to write contemporary fiction is because I find it exciting to create stories which reflect the times in which we live. It gave me a tingle of delight that this news story came out shortly before my novel was published. I hope that there will be more and more women who push the boundaries of knowledge, like Katie Bouman.
I also did some research with an astronomer friend who taught me all about type 1a supernovas and how difficult it is to measure the distance between us and the stars – and the implications this has for the Big Bang theory. I hope you enjoy this aspect to my novel as much as the love story and the road trip!