I was very fortunate to acquire an advanced copy of Dawn C. Jonckowski’s debut novel, The Weight of Stars and Suns and, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
First of all, let me start off by saying romance is not my most often read genre. In fact, I rarely read romance. Maybe I’m a cold-hearted bastard who doesn’t cry at mushy Google ads and I have no feelings. But I might have cried during the movie “Up”, so I’m not completely dead inside. So here’s the thing–it’s a romance that happens in a science fiction setting.
Tav is a planet ringed by thirty-six suns! Thirty-six! They have the best tans, I’d wager. Many years ago, a human ship crashed, stranding the crew. Fast forward to the present where humans are all slaves. Okay, so what, right?
Well, one of the suns inexplicably dies. Poof. It just goes out. Why? Are the others going to follow suit? So there’s your sci-fi.
During this crisis, a small group of humans is planning to rebel but they find themselves prisoners after they’re captured. The leader, however, falls in love with the Tavarian chieftain’s daughter–the princess.
And then it starts getting really good.
Jonckowski has mapped out a simple, yet rich world and history without deluging the reader with exposition and details that could slow the story down. She focuses on only a handful of characters which kept me riveted, compelled to find out what would happen to them and how they would solve their solar problem.
Her narrative voice and writing style are both impeccable–effective, yet personable, so the story never bogs down with unneeded details. Everything generally moves at a good pace and it’s easy read through the book quickly.
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And, now, some questions for the author!
1. Where did you draw your inspiration for The Weight of Stars and Suns? What gave you the idea? This was one of those crazy ideas your brain cooks up between waking and sleeping. I’m still not completely positive what kicked off the idea, but I was sitting on a plane at ridiculous-thirty in the morning and my brain started wandering down the rabbit hole of a planet that was actually at the center of the universe, as humans once believed Earth was. I started wondering what the planet might look like, feel like, who would live there. Would humans ever show up there and what would be the impetus behind them doing so. And if humans were there, what would the natives look like. (Fun fact: Tavarians are purple for the highly scientific reason of “purple is Dawn’s favorite color.”)
2. Will we get to revisit TWoSaS universe again? We will! The universe is a big, huge black space for exploration. And shortly after I finished drafting TWoSaS (which was originally intended as a singular novel), the characters informed me that I wasn’t yet done telling their story. For now, the entire arc is a planned trilogy. Book two, The Ashes of Hope and Hunger, is drafted and awaiting rewrites. Look for it early 2021, and in the meantime, get ready for a wild ride!
3. What is your favorite thing about the book? Does “holding it” count as an answer? Aside from the distinct pleasure of holding a physical copy of something that I poured so much of myself into and having it come to fruition like this, honestly one of my favorite things is seeing how the story affects other readers. Which characters they fall in love with, what quotes they pull out to hold close. All of which I suppose could be summed up in that my favorite thing is its fledgling community of readers. That and how much fun I had putting interesting little Easter eggs in there for those who know me well.
4. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing? For the past eleven years, I’ve been heavily involved in swing dancing, both East Coast/Lindy and West Coast Swing. I’m also a musician, so you can often find me singing and playing piano or in a concert band playing French horn. We also have two very spoiled dogs; those two little fuzz nuggets definitely keep us on our toes and laughing!
5. What was the last song you listened to? Oh man . . . that’s a tough one! I have music playing constantly, so I listen to a ton of songs on any given day. My latest obsession is “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi, because I think it would be an amazingly powerful song to dance West Coast Swing to.
6. Pancakes or waffles? Waffles. Hands down.
7. If you had more time, would you write more or read more? I mean, I should probably sleep if I found more time! But if I could squeeze more in a day, I would probably write more. Book 3 has been knocking on my mind’s door for some time now, and I’d love to start digging into it.