Monday, May 13, 2019

Interview with A.K. Small for Bright Burning Stars

Bright Burning Stars

by A.K. Small
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: May 21st 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
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Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.

But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.

Can you briefly describe BRIGHT BURNING STARS and their main characters? 

BBS is about two best friends who dance at a prestigious ballet school in Paris. Their friendship and resilience are put to the test as they both want to win The Prize which is only one spot in the company. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

My favourite character in the story is Kate. She is wild and impulsive and I love her magnetism, not to mention her talent. But I also adore Monsieur Chevalier who seems to have a great love for Marine and Luc, of course, for his multiple talents and amazing personality. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

I knew I wanted to write a book about dance, but it’s when I went to the Musé Rodin and saw the Eternal Idol, a sculpture of a man and a woman fused together, that I began to think about Marine, Kate, and Cyrille. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be? 

Unsteady by X Ambassadors was my song for Kate. Bach and Chopin were my songs for ballet class settings. I didn’t have a song for Marine because she loved every type of music. But Beyoncé was Marine and Kate’s fave artist out of the studio. 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

Honestly, I’d want real dancers. Ava Arbuckle whom I follow in IG could be Kate and Audrey Freeman (also on IG) could be Marine. 

Summer is coming and we love to go out and enjoy the sun. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date? 

I’d take BBS in a shaded spot on the beach with either Tequila Sunrise for 21 and older or with a Shirley Temple! 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish BRIGHT BURNING STARS? 

What’s next for you? 

I’m working on a new YA about an orphan who seeks shelter inside the Parisian boutique of a famous feather artist.

A.K. Small is thrilled for her debut novel, BRIGHT BURNING STARS, to come out May 21, 2019 through publisher Algonquin Young Readers. Her talent for writing and passion for classical ballet fuse together in this novel and earned A.K. Small the honor of an Entertainment Weekly review.

In addition to BRIGHT BURNING STARS, A.K. Small spends time on short stories. Her short story, Anthrocon, 2017 was just nominated for a Pushcart prize by the Bellevue Literary Review. Other stories such as the Flour Baby and The Interior Designer were also nominated or runner-up to prizes.

She also ran a column titled, "A French Girl's View Du Monde" at Barrelhouse Magazine.

A.K. Small graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2009 with an MFA in fiction. When she's not reading her favorite authors (Rainbow Rowell, Angie Thomas, Anna Gavalda, Jandy Nelson, Ann Hood, Sue Miller, Anais Nin, Tayari Jones, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Wright, and J.R.R. Tolkien, to name a few!), she's studying her favorite dancers: Sylvie Guillem, Noella Pontois, Marie-Agnes Gillot, and Aurelie Dupont.

A.K. Small grew up near the Sacré Coeur in Paris and married her Tobagonian soul mate. She has three gorgeous daughters and owns a min-chi named Dallas.


  1. Having to compete by seducing a "demigod"! Boy, being a ballet dancer is tough work!

  2. This premise is exciting and I can't wait to read this book! Already on my TBR!

  3. I don't think I've read anything like this, it sounds interesting :):)