Exclusive Author Interview With Maura Milan On Her Debut Book, Ignite The Stars

The author preffered this interview to reveal the least spoilers possible, so there is only one question that really count as spoiler. I will put it at the end (and highlight it) to warn you. The rest are spoiler free, though! So enjoy!

No offense, but I have to ask you about Knives and Ia’s name. How did you even think of Ia’s name, and why did you name Knives Knives (because these two names are seriously…unusual)? Surprisingly though, I just want to let you know that I actually think the name fit him in the end, except I still laughed a lot whenever I think of it (ahaha).

Actually, Ignite the Stars started all because of Ia Cōcha’s name. My friends were making a documentary all about the Ford Mustang, and there was a segment in it about Lee Iacocca, the legendary automobile tycoon. The whole entire time I was watching it, I was fixated on his last name. On the drive home, I created Ia Cōcha, and after that the story was born. Knives is named after a character from the anime, Trigun. It was the first anime I’ve ever watched, and I always loved how interesting Knives Millions was in that show. He needed more episodes.

Now that Ia is basically on the “right” side (the government’s side), is her romance with Knife going to be kind of a taboo-relationship? Also, I would love it if you can maintain the hate-love relationship factor for a bit longer, until toward the end of book two. I feel like it’ll make the chemistry so much for fun to read, but it’s just a suggestion! I’ll support whatever you do. I seriously ship them so hard �

Yes, I love the tension between them! I won’t give you any spoilers for Book 2, but their relationship isn’t without obstacles. Love is hard when there’s a war brewing on the horizon.

Can I ask you about the ending twist? Was that the last-minute decision, or was it planned all along? (It’s okay if you can talk about spoilers here, I would make this a spoiler interview if you do).
Did I surprise you? I like a good twist, so yes, I always planned for that to happen. I still feel weird about talking spoilers *kekeke*

But I do love a good villain, and he is a very manipulative one. You’ll see more of his antics in book 2, that’s for sure.

Were Knives and Ia an inspired work? If so, from what? Also, did you model their relationship from other favorite ships of yours or anything like that?
Oh gosh, I watch a ton of Korean dramas, so I ship so many couples! Especially couples who aren’t supposed to be together. But more than anything, my ultimate ship is Buffy and Spike. Forever.

Also I kind of ship Jon Snow with Sansa Stark? Weird, you think? Not for me!

Of course, no book interview is a book interview without this question. Where did you get the idea for Ignite the Stars? Also, any inspirations?
Definitely, see the answer for Question 1. It all starts with Ia!

I’m very inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the Avatar: The Last Airbender. And anime. Loads of anime! Especially Cowboy Bebop. I like to think of Ia as a female version of Spike Spiegel.

Did Ignite the Stars get published on your first submission? Or did this book got rejected several times before landing with Albert Whitman & Company?
Ignite the Stars wasn’t an overnight sale. Actually, it wasn’t even called Ignite the Stars back then; I owe that amazing title to my editor and team at AW! It took me probably a year and half to write the first draft, and querying took two month before I found my agent. With agent notes, that was another one to two months of revisions. It went on submission in March, and then sold around three to four months later. I’m extremely happy that the book ended up with my editor, Eliza; she KNOWS what my book is trying to do and totally helped make it a stronger story.

Dream cast for your characters? Personally, I could see maybe Tiffany Espensen, Alice Hewkin, Lyrica Okano, Jessica Henwick or maybe even Veronica Ngo as Ia. For Knives, I’ll say maybe Kyle Ellison (I think he’s an Instagram model, I saw his pictures and feel that he can be Knife), (maybe) Kenton Duty, the polish actor Jakub Gierszał, and (this one is kind of reaching it PLEASE DON’T HATE ME) Thomas Brodie-Sangster from The Maze Runner series. And…if Ian Nelson had blonde hair and blue eyes, such a shame *sigh*. Aside from those two, I feel like Ryan Potter would be perfect as Ia’s brother.

That’s an amazing cast you put together!! For me, Ia has always been Jessika Van, who you may also recognize from the cover of my book. Jessika is an amazing actress. She’s smart, funny, and as badass as Ia. For Knives, I want to say Nicholas Hoult, but he’d have to dye his hair. And for Brinn, Alicia Vikander–I think she’s phenomenal.

This is not really a question, but I just want to say it because it was hilarious to me. We all know Tawnies are geniuses, but during the chess game between Ia and Brinn, and the fact that Ia actually managed to beat her, I was literally laughing like an idiot. When I thought that Ia couldn’t impress me more! Gosh, I guess there really as a reason why she was the most wanted criminal in the entire system, right?

Definitely. It’s not just about strength. Ia is also an amazing strategist, and it comes through in that Goma scene. Goma, by the way, is a fictional board game with elements of chess and Go, so you constantly have to think ahead and also really know your enemy to win.

Last question! I am so stoked for book two! I can’t wait for it. I know that the book left off with Ia basically joining the government that she hates, so are we going to see Ia taking the role of an officer or something like that in book two? And through that, in general, what kind of things can we expect from book two?

Book two takes place a month after the end of book one. You’ll see more of the universe, and we’ll be hopping to a lot of different planets. Plus, there will be a lot of familiar faces who you’ve met only briefly from book 1 and other new characters who are almost as legendary as the fierce Ia Cōcha.

(P.S please do an EXTRA hot hate-love make out scene (emphasizes on hate-love) between Knife and Ia, I’m begging you, It would make my life. And this is just a cool recommendation, but if you ever need a hot make out scene, go read The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.)

I am hoping I won’t disappoint! There are new players in book 2, so hmmmm….. You’ll have to wait and see.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with me! This was such a fun experience, and it means so much to me to be able to discuss this book with you, especially form how much I enjoyed it. I loved everything about it, and I wish you all the luck with the sequel!

Thank you! These were such fun questions to answer! ^_^

Ignite the Stars will be released on September 4th 2018

The following one question is deemed spoiler by the author (if you don’t want to read it, close your eyes and skim to the end):

Can you, in your own words, kind of summarized the idea behind that…cave for me? I’m sorry, I read the book almost two months ago, so my memory is kind of like crap right now. Basically, it’s the own other dimension things that Ia’s brother wants to do and needed Tawnies for. Also, can you please explain as to why Tawnies are so special in this case? Is it because of their intelligence and healing power, and if so, how does that contribute in the “dimension” project again?

So, GodsEye is a new type of gateway that was being developed by the Olympus Commonwealth in a top secret location called Fugue. GodsEye is able to create black holes as well create a bridge between universes. When Knives and the General get to GodsEye, it’s so damaged that it can barely turn on. The reason they arrive there is because they need to investigate some recent activity that they detected there, and what they find is that someone was trying to the turn on GodsEye by basically jerry-rigging the minds of Tawny prisoners together, utilizing their enhanced brain power to the GodsEye gate. It’s pretty messed up and belongs in a horror movie.

The above question contains spoiler! If you’re scrolling back up, close your eyes or don’t read!


Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

In this exhilarating edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure—perfect for fans of The Lunar Chronicles—debut author Maura Milan introduces our world to a thrilling new heroine.


Maura Milan currently resides in Los Angeles, where she can be found hanging out in cafes and drinking matcha lattes. In her free time, Maura enjoys watching Korean dramas and hanging out with her schipperke, Thor, who she believes should become a professional comedian.

To this day, Gilbert Blythe is her ultimate boy crush.

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