An acclaimed New York Times bestselling author in science fiction returned to her roots when she visited McDowell High School recently and spoke to students.
Beth Revis is a 1999 graduate of MHS and has a series of books called “Across the Universe,” along with other novellas and short stories. Her most recent novel, “A World Without You,” was released in July. She was invited to speak to students at MHS by the Friends of the McDowell County Library.
Revis talked to students finding their dreams and inspirations, and the trials and tribulations she faced along her journey. She was raised in Nebo, and wanted to leave McDowell County more than anyone, she said, but now lives in nearby Rutherfordton with her husband, baby and dogs.
“Where you are now is your source of inspiration,” she told the students. “A lot of the inspiration for my art came from right here. ‘Across the Universe’ is basically a murder-mystery in space, but my inspiration came from living here and having the feeling of being trapped.”
Revis told students to be inspired by the people around them.
“Everyone is the hero of their own story, and some make great villains too,” she said.
She didn’t hide the fact that when she was teaching school, she was horrible at it, including killing off one of her kids in her book. After that, many of her former students have asked to be characters.
She also talked to students about going out and having adventures, “When I went to N.C. State, it taught me how to be a different person, to meet new people and break out of my shell.”
Revis said she uses subjects she disliked in high school every day in her life, and that students should constantly be learning.
“I wasn’t a fan of science and math, but I’m a science fiction writer. I hated science, but I use it every day now,” she said.
Another topic she spoke about was how she was bullied in high school for things she liked, and that no student should be ashamed of whatever it is they love.
“I loved fantasy novels and anime and I got picked on. But love it, don’t be ashamed of it. High school is a very small part in your life,” she said.
She told students that rejection is a part of success. Ten of her novels were turned down for book deals and it took her 10 years to get published. But, in January 2010, she got her big break with “Across the Universe.”
“I told myself if this didn’t work, I give up. If you want to go into a career in the arts, there are rejections,” she said. “Art takes work.”
She went through the book publishing timeline that shows it takes years for a book to be released from the moment an idea is pitched.
She also announced that she wrote the book version of “Star Wars: Rogue One” for Lucasfilm that will be released in May. She’s limited on what she could tell about the book, but did say that it will be a little bit different take from the movie and will show more points to the story.
“It’s hard to say that it’s my biggest accomplishment because I’m just waiting to see what happens next. It’s a really great place to be,” she said of her “Star Wars” book.
After her presentation, Revis fielded many questions from the students and held a book signing in the library. More information on Revis and where you can purchase her books, visit her website at www.bethrevis.com.