This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies
Into the Air
by A.K. Downing
Genre: YA Sci-fi/Fantasy
Release Date: August 2017
When Mia Bryn escapes her underground compound and travels into the air, she never imagines her world will explode. Separated from her father and attacked by creatures she never knew existed, Mia flees into the forest. Within hours, she finds an abandoned girl, discovers a link to her missing mother, and meets beautiful, golden-eyed Archer. But why is an ordinary girl from a compound being hunted? And how can Mia survive in a world she knows nothing about.
About the Author
A.K. Downing's young-adult novel, Into the Air, is a 2017 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the story follows the adventure of teenager Mia Bryn as she leaves the safety of her underground compound and tries to survive in a world no one has inhabited for more than a hundred years.
Growing up in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, Aimee spent her summers exploring the fields, woods, and orchards of her grandparents' farm. She was inspired by prepper shows and survivalist websites to create a story that weaves together the best aspects of young adult fiction – adventure, teenage angst, and a hint of romance.
Aimee studied graphic design at Kent State University and currently works as a Creative Director. She enjoys history and camping and feels there is no better way to see the world than from the top of a horse.
Hi. My name is Aimee Downing, and I write under the pseudonym of A.K. Downing. My novel, Into the Air, is a young adult fantasy story about a girl who’s lived her entire life underground and is suddenly able to escape.
As an author, I think the most common question people ask is: what was your process? And what I’ve found is they really don’t want to know the boring details of how I spend hours sitting at my dining room table laboring over each sentence. What I think they’re asking is how did I start writing a book? What was my inspiration?
So in this post, I’d like to talk about Inspiration.
As a graphic designer, I believe that inspiration is everywhere – not just for stories, but for everything. Art. Music. Science. It’s in the world outside your window, the people you talk to – everything you see and smell and feel as you travel or walk through your neighborhood. It manifests through your pets, the books you read, the pictures you take. Inspiration happens when your mind is open. When you listen as well as see. Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Creativity flourishes when you pay attention.
When I was putting together this author talk, I looked up the definition of creativity and found some pretty interesting ideas. To scientists, creativity is defined as the ability to connect knowledge and experiences in your subconscious. Connecting the dots, so to speak. And apparently, most creativity takes place on the right side of the brain. But if knowledge is a linear brain process (A + B = C), creativity is like a hurricane. It sweeps up unrelated ideas from every corner of the brain and tries to connect them into a creative thought.
During my research, I also found that people have their best ideas when their minds are relaxed and can wander. This is when ideas flow. Regardless of the science behind it, I do believe the brain is always working. It’s probably why I wake up in the middle of the night and have to write down bits of dialogue or ideas for a scene. Our brains never turn off.
In the case of my story though, I wasn’t looking for an idea. I wasn’t trying to be creative. There was never a moment in my life where I thought, “hey, I should write a book,” because…well, I was an art major. I went to Kent State University for graphic design. I think in pictures. My thoughts come visually. I can design a logo or website, but write a book?
That said, about four years ago, I found the inspiration for this book in two places. The first was a walk with my daughter and the second was the prepper shows my husband tuned into every week.
I’ll start with the walk with my daughter. About five years ago, my daughter and I were walking home from a play date and she started telling a story. About halfway through, she came up with a name for one of the characters – Mehgo Capiro. It was such an odd name that I asked if she had heard it on one of her shows. She said no. I asked if it was in one of the stories read at school. She said no. I was so curious that later that night, I Googled it. And nothing came up. NOTHING in the Google search. That had never happened to me before, so I wrote it down.
Around the same time, prepper shows seemed to be on every channel and my husband couldn’t get enough of them. His favorite was Doomsday Preppers on National Geographic. In one of the episodes, a guy built an underground bunker to keep his family safe from a nuclear attack. He stocked it with food and water and some sort of air filtration system. I dreamt about that bunker for a week. I couldn’t stop thinking about the man wanting to bury his family underground to keep them safe. And I started to have questions: how long they could live there, what they would do when their food ran out, and how would they know it was safe to come out?
A few weeks later my story started to take shape.
What if something happened to the earth? To a future us? But what if that catastrophic event wasn’t the story? What if the story took place a century AFTER that event? After people had fled underground? What if everyone lived underground and no one had seen the outside world for over one hundred years?
And so, that’s where my story starts – with Mia, a sixteen-year-old girl, who knows nothing about the outside world. Suddenly able to escape her compound, Mia finds herself trying to survive in a dangerous land she’s only dreamed about. As she battles for her life, Mia realizes the underground population has been lied to. People do live above ground, and those people mean to kill her. Captured by a group of guards including Archer, their golden-eyed leader, Mia unravels a plot to overthrow the Provinces. She realizes she must find a way to save herself and those she loves...or die trying.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post about inspiration. Remember to keep reading and keep writing. And if you find you’re inspired to write a story, do so! It’s the most amazing feeling to see your thoughts come alive with words!
We are a group of authors,