Q&A WITH EDWIN PENG:
DEBUT AUTHOR OF THE STAR CITY SERIES
(Evolved Publishing, December 4, 2017)
Question: What inspired you to write Star City?
Edwin Peng: I have always loved YA, so that’s the genre that I always knew I’d write. I really hope that my fandom shines through, but at the same time that my novel is different than what’s currently out there. The other thing that inspired this novel was my experience in the highly competitive Early Entrance Program at California State University, Los Angeles. I was 13 when I went to college, which is a little bit out of the ordinary (to say the least!). Some of the very smart, very driven, and very geeky characters in my novel are loosely based on that experience.
Q: Why did you choose to set the book in Nebraska?
Peng: I moved to Lincoln, NE five years ago. I grew to love this state and its people. One of my favorite books is Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. There are enough books – not to mention movies and TV shows – set in New York City or Los Angeles. I believe there should be more novels set in “unpopular” places such as Nebraska.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the novel?
Peng: My hope is that Star City provides pertinent social commentary and challenges the average YA reader’s preconceptions while still delivering a funny and exciting story. The most obvious theme of the book is the need for peaceful relations with other cultures. In our increasingly connected world—and even more so when today’s YA readers grow up and enter college and/or the workforce–we must be much more understanding and tolerant of others.
Q: Why was it important for you to feature a diverse set of characters in the series?
Peng: Traditional publishing, especially within the young adult genre, has a long history of excluding marginalized groups, both in their fiction and for real life readers and authors. In the rare instance that a young adult novel features minority/lower class/LGBT+ characters, they are often stereotyped and/or whitewashed on the cover or movie adaptation. The Star City series fights for diversity with many, non-stereotypical characters, who readers from marginalized groups can identify with.
Q: When you’re not writing, what do you do?
Peng: I am a postdoc doing materials engineering research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Some of the alien technologies in Star City actually are inspired by the research I’m doing!
Star City can be pre-ordered at all major ebook retailers before its December 4, 2017 release, at which time it will be available wherever books are sold.
REVIEW COPIES OF STAR CITY AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST