Alexandra Bracken’s new book, WAYFARER, book two of the Passenger duology, is out now, and she explains the development of the story in our interview with her.
In a recent interview with The Darkest Minds and Passenger author Alexandra Bracken, we and some fellow bloggers got to spend some time over the phone with the bestseller to pick her brains on the now recently released book Wayfarer, the second half of the Passenger duology series.
So, before we get started, we want to warn our readers that some of what she says do contain spoilers about Wayfarer and the series. We don’t give anything away, of course, but she does explain some aspects of the story that may answer some questions for those who have already read the book.
Alex starts off by giving a brief summary of her “problem child” of a book, stating that it starts off about two or three weeks after the end of Passenger.
Nicholas and Etta are trying to figure out how to get back to each other at the same time that they’re trying to track down the astrolabe, and they’re dealing with alternate timelines and wars and all that crazy stuff. I had the best time brainstorming an alternate timeline, even though the alternate timeline is truly kind of tragic and nefarious and awful.
Knowing how much of a problem Wayfarer was to her, she does admit that she at one point written herself into a corner when it came to revealing Sophia’s birth year and inputting that information into a planned alternate timeline. Luckily, she knows people and had fellow author and friend Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen) brainstorm with her during this process.
I did have fun writing it just because Victoria was there, and we were constantly bouncing ideas back and forth to each other. The alternate timeline is just so sad, so I feel weird saying that I preferred writing it. It was exciting to explore that different timeline overall.
In regards to the relationships in the story, Alex was asked if the relationships in the book were influenced in part by her real familial relationship, to which she felt a similarity between Etta and Sophia’s relationship in the beginning to that of her and her sister’s.
One aspect of the book was hit on specifically, which is the length of separation between Etta and Nicholas, which is unsual to happen in a book that put a lot of focus on their romance during Passenger. Alex explains that she wanted to highlight their individual growth as well.
There is another love story that’s a little unusual in terms of the personalities involved. But I think it’s really important for Nicholas and Etta’s growth as individuals. I do firmly believe that when you’re in any sort of relationship, you don’t necessarily have to agree on everything or constantly want the same things.
I think there’s a nice aspect of when Nicholas and Etta are apart, they grow in different ways. They figure things out about themselves, so at the very end the two of them as a duo are much stronger for it. They still complete each other and there’s still that good partnership there so it’s all worth it in the end. Also, if I ever wrote a spinoff they would definitely make an appearance.
I have to say I really agonized over keeping them apart, I knew it was a risk, just because the people who loved Passenger really loved their relationship. I hope it’s going to be enough that Nicholas is pining for her, and she’s busy but also pining for him.
I decided just to go for it, and make this book more of a focus on different sorts of relationships: the family relationship, relationships with allies, alliances with enemies, contentious relationships, frenemies. Anything I could think of I threw in there.
One of my favorite relationships in this book is the relationship between Nicholas and Sophia –it’s not a love relationship obviously, but I think they have a very hard-fought friendship, and I loved writing the two of them. At the end I was really sad because I knew I would miss their banter.
More about that separation was that she didn’t feel the timing worked when she had written an earlier draft:
One of the sad things about this book for me is that in order to tell Nicholas and Etta’s story, I had to keep them apart for a good portion of the story. In an earlier draft, they reunited earlier, and it just didn’t work from a conflict point of view or for the story structure, which is one of the many problems of my problem child.