Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner with Exclusive Q&A

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Unearthed book launch emceed by the amazing Garth Nix (right) as he cracks us all up with his “background research” on Meagan (left) and Amie (centre)

Unearthed
When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered. For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance. In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race. (Goodreads)

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Our thoughts
This book is filled with nonstop action. It has the exciting adventure feel of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider. The story follows a dynamic, loveable duo Mia and Jules on deciphering a secret message of the Undying whilst exploring an alien planet that the government is trying to profit from. This story is mostly about survival and explores themes of ethics, choices, trust and courage, I was immersed in the story from chapter 1. The fact that the story is set on another planet very similar to Earth makes the setting relatable whilst still managing to make the reader feel the “alien-ness” of the planet due to reminders about breathers. The cliffhanger of this book was absolutely crazy. I need book 2.
– NJ

This book really lived up to its pitch – an action packed novel that is like Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider in Outer Space. Following the adventure of Amelia and Jules who meet by chance on another planet but have their own agendas when they team up. It was a lot of fun to read, non-stop action, plot twists and witty dialogue, all up it was entertaining, even for someone like me who isn’t all that into sci-fi stories set in space. Both authors did a fantastic job collaborating on this one!!!
-Annie

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Exclusive Q&A with Amie and Meagan!!!

How did you come up with the premise of “Unearthed”?
Back in January 2015, we were on tour together, and we were spending a rare afternoon off in our hotel room, pretty much collapsed. Tour is tiring! We found an Indiana Jones marathon on TV, and we both adore all things Indy, so that was our afternoon sorted. We’d been talking a lot about what we’d write next, and slowly, the idea of a tomb-raiding adventure (in space, of course) came together.

 I’m curious to know how two authors collaborate to write one book. Do you get together to come up with characters and ideas for the plot then something each to compare?
We work together at every stage – we brainstorm the setting and the start of the plot together, we figure out the characters that would fit into it best, and then we start fleshing out the character we’ll each write. Ideas get tossed back and forth and tweaked and improved so often that we usually have no idea who came up with what.

Author collaboration would be a rewarding experience but are there be any challenges in a collaboration? How did you overcome these challenges?
By far the hardest part is being in different timezones – we wish we could chat even more than we do! But we email constantly, we text every day, we often jump on video chat to brainstorm (and just have a chat, we’re friends as well as co-authors) and we come up with lots of ways to stay in touch.

If “Unearthed” was to become a film adaptation, would do you picture playing your main characters on screen?
We have our fingers crossed for this, because Sony and a production company called Cross Creek have actually got it in development! A fantastic director called Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, The Edge of Tomorrow) is attached. We’re actually not supposed to talk about who we’d cast, because we don’t want to cloud the waters in case the characters are cast – you never know your luck!

For writers who are thinking of engaging in an author collaboration, what would be your best piece of advice you could give to them?
We’d advise them to communicate a lot, and check they’re both on the same page about everything they can think of, from how quickly they’ll work, to what they’ll do if one of them needs to take a break, to what they’ll do if they have different ideas about where they’ll take the story, and so on. It’s always easier to figure this stuff out in advance than later on, when it’s actually causing a problem. We’ve been friends for so long, and writing together for so long, that we know each other inside out, and it makes a huge difference!

-NJ & Annie

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