Eight Days on Planet Earth by Cat Jordan (Guest Post & #Giveaway)

I love the sound of this one, which is why it's on my list to read. The author is sharing some thoughts on it below, which I found really interesting, so check that and the giveaway out below...

Eight Days on Planet Earth
by Cat Jordan
YA Contemporary, SciFi
Hardcover & ebook, 352 Pages
November 7th 2017 by HarperTeen


A heart-wrenching romance full of twists that are sure to bring tears to readers’ eyes, from Cat Jordan, author of The Leaving Season.

How long does it take to travel twenty light years to Earth?

How long does it take to fall in love?

To the universe, eight days is a mere blip, but to Matty Jones, it may be just enough time to change his life.

On the hot summer day Matty’s dad leaves for good, a strange girl suddenly appears in the empty field next to the Jones farm—the very field in rural Pennsylvania where a spaceship supposedly landed fifty years ago. She is uniquely beautiful, sweet, and smart, and she tells Matty she’s waiting for herspaceship to pick her up and return her to her home planet. Of course she is.

Matty has heard a million impossible UFO stories for each of his seventeen years: the conspiracy theories, the wild rumors, the crazy belief in life beyond the stars. When he was a kid, he and his dad searched the skies and studied the constellations. But all of that is behind him. Dad’s gone—but now there’s Priya. She must be crazy…right?

As Matty unravels the mystery of the girl in the field, he realizes there is far more to her than he first imagined. And if he can learn to believe in what he can’t see: the universe, aliens…love…then maybe the impossible is possible, after all.

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The Real Space Field

The spaceship landing in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania was a serendipitous discovery for me. I knew I wanted to write about an alien girl and a human boy but what was the context? Where did they live? What was that town like? Whenever I start a new story, I think about the space (ha! No pun intended!) in which the characters live. I think place is extremely important and is just as much a character as the individuals themselves.

In this case, I researched UFO sightings and from there, alleged UFO landings in the United States. There are a lot, by the way. The ones that really intrigued me, however, were the ones where the government got involved. There weren’t nearly as many of those. For obvious reasons!

When I stumbled upon the one in Kecksburg, I found that there wasn’t a tremendous amount of information about it, which, for a fiction writer, is a good thing. A little bit of truth is good but we want to feel free to make up the rest.

Just like in my novel, the event in Kecksburg happened in December of 1965, and not long after, the military rolled into town, sealed off the area, and rolled out back out of town with the supposed spaceship. Kecksburg at the time was, like Matty’s town, small and rural. Naturally, since this was the 60s, there was no internet to quickly disseminate the cover-up nor were there iPhones to snap photos and video of the military operation. Cameras and film were confiscated and no evidence was left behind.

And, like in my book, there were various cultural references to it over the years including a few episodes of some television shows like The Discovery Channel’s 2008 documentary series, Nazi UFO Conspiracy, and The History Channel’s 2009 episode of UFO Hunters.

But I thought it would be more interesting if all of this happened before Matty was born, so it was legend to him, stuff that his father would have explained to him as he was growing up and they were studying the stars together. It would become just as natural to Matty as other kids’ stories about their heritage, about their family, and their hometown.

The one similarity between the two incidents that I wanted to maintain was the effect the UFO landing had on one person in each of the towns. In the case of Kecksburg, that man was John Murphy, a local radio journalist who was one of the first people to arrive at the crash site. He interviewed many residents of the town and the event profoundly affected him. He wrote a radio documentary called Object in the Woods but it never aired as written because two “men in black” came to talk to him. The version that aired did not include many of the statements from the people he interviewed nor did it reveal anything surprising. According to former colleagues at the radio station, Murphy refused to talk about the UFO incident after the airing of the edited documentary. He died in a hit-and-run accident a few years later.

I took inspiration from John Murphy when I created Matty’s father, DJ Jones. While he wasn’t despondent and depressed like Murphy, he was obsessed with the UFO incident and convinced there was a cover-up. However, I wanted DJ to ultimately be an optimistic man, one who believed that life beyond the stars was real.

About the Author

When I was a teenager, the very first book I ever tried to write was pretentious and stilted and set in a future where there was no paper. Obviously, I fancied myself another Ray Bradbury (who I was thrilled to meet not once but twice!). The book had an awesome title and no plot but I had the most fun creating the characters and the world they lived in. That to me is the most enjoyable part of writing a novel: envisioning a world and populating it with all kinds of people and dogs. Gotta have a dog.

The worlds I create now as an adult are based on my travels from coast to coast in the US, to Europe and Mexico and Canada, and on the people I have met and loved and admired and feared. And dogs.

Currently I live in Los Angeles. With my dog.

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Is this one on your list or have you already read it? Any thoughts on the guest post?

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