All the Stars and Teeth, Adalyn Grace’s highly anticipated debut young adult novel, is an adventure story involving magic, mermaids, and roguish pirates helping a renegade princess as she tries to prove herself worthy of ruling her kingdom by saving it. I was already hooked when I heard the premise. 

Plus, it’s been anticipated as a big hit ever since it was announced, and with good reason — the book is an adrenaline rush of a read, the story of a girl who wants things so strongly and is willing to fight to get them, no matter the cost. I’m sure all Throne of Glass fans will love All the Stars and Teeth.

We at The Tempest had the chance to interview author Adalyn Grace. She told us the book is entirely inspired by the main character of Amora, who Grace admitted is one that can be considered “unlikable” by some. 

“She wants and she wants things loudly,” she said. “I wanted to make her be somebody who could be whoever she wanted.” 

At the beginning of the writing process, that was really all Grace knew — nothing about the magic system, or the world she lived in. “I knew there was a girl and I knew the type of girl she was — morally gray, she wants things.” 

Let’s hear more about the writer: Grace is a novelist with a background in live theater and TV writing, and just like many of us, she began her writing journey online.

“I started by roleplaying on Neopets, it was my favorite website,” she shared. “I discovered they have boards and people were writing… I was just bored so I thought to explore it. I was on the Neopets boards, I found a small group of friends and we were writing about wolves and vampires, just weird things… it was so fun.”

As she explored the concept of writing more, Grace discovered that it could be a way to infuse the world around her with a kind of magic.

“I’ve always wanted magic in the world,” she said, “and I’ve always been so upset that I haven’t been able to get it. I always try to find it, I’m actively searching for it, but I think that writing for me is just another one of those — let me get into this magical landscape, let me fill the world with a little bit more magic.” 

In All the Stars and Teeth, Amora’s country is made up of seven islands, each with its own brand of magic. Grace said that coming up with those systems involved a lot of sitting down and thinking through what she liked in other shows and invented worlds, and reimagining them for her purposes.

Grace said the process of writing this book was mostly good, as she enjoyed writing “the friendship and banter and [exploring] the magical parts. There was nothing about this book that wasn’t super fun,” she added.

So many moments in the book are incredibly tense — Amora is being hunted down while she sails her country in an effort to stop disaster and prove herself worthy of being a ruler.

There are close calls with royal guards, battle scenes that had me clenching my teeth in stress, and a vicious mermaid who honestly holds my whole heart. She’s angry and hurt but willing to help Amora and the rest of her ragtag, motley crew regardless, and she’s an incredible character to read about.

Amora goes on a literal journey in the book, all the steps of which Grace had to figure out once she already had an image of her main character.

Since this is Grace’s debut novel, it’s also her first time getting feedback from readers reacting to her work. She said that interacting with readers both in person and on online platforms like Instagram has been one of the highlights of her publication journey so far. 

“The readers are just so awesome,” she said. “Our whole job is to give our work to people to be judged. It’s one big judge-fest, so it’s nice when somebody likes your work and lets you know.” 

As for other books Grace would suggest people read, she highlighted Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez Davis, another debut novel which came out in early January, saying “the magic in that was so interesting.” In addition, she recommended Fable by Adrienne Young, which is meant to come out in September 2020 and which Grace said was “beautiful, [Young’s] work is gritty and stunning as usual.” 

Grace also gave some advice for aspiring authors, saying, “Just keep going.”

She shared that before selling All the Stars and Teeth, she received more than 100 rejections from literary agents for a different novel, one that had even been selected for a very hard-to-get-into mentorship program, called Pitch Wars.

If she had given up after those 100 rejections, there would be no All the Stars and Teeth, so her story truly is a testament to the adage she shared.

We’re giving away one copy of All the Stars and Teeth (signed by author Adalyn Grace!) on our Instagram, hurry up and participate! If you absolutely can’t wait to hold the book in your hands, you can buy your copy here for $12.79.

  • Karis Rogerson

    Karis Rogerson is a writer and blogger in New York City. Raised in Italy and schooled in Germany and Kentucky, she proudly (and sometimes fluently) speaks 2.5 languages. Karis writes about books, interviews authors and cabaret artists, and explores topics of mental illness for various sites as well as her blog.