Author Spotlight: Maura Milan

Sept. 21, 2018

We are excited to feature author, Maura Milan and her debut YA IGNITE THE STARS (AW Teen, Sept. 2018). 

Enter to win a copy below!

Illustration © Craig White; Cover design © Ellen Kokontis

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.

Out of all the stages in my life, I look back on my teenage years the most. I think because when I was that age, I always wanted to be older than I really was. And I'm sure a lot of teenagers approach those years with that mindset. I guess through writing from the teenage perspective, it's a way to relive those days that I never really embraced. The teenage experience is a valid, important part of your life. Pivotal even. And that's what I really respect about it.

Congratulations on your debut, IGNITE THE STARS. Tell us about it and what inspired you?

Thank you! IGNITE THE STARS is basically my love for 90s action movies, anime, video games, and Buffy all in one book. IGNITE THE STARS is Book 1 of a sci-fi duology. A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia Cocha 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?

Was your road to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between?

It was definitely in between. It took me probably a year and half to get the draft ready for querying. I queried for about two months before I found my agent. With agent notes, that was another one to two to three months of revisions. It went on submission in March, and then sold around three to four months later.

What projects are you working on now?

I am currently working on the sequel and conclusion to IGNITE THE STARS. I'm also writing an #ownvoices contemporary paranormal, using a lot of monsters from Filipino folklore. I'm very excited about it! 

What are the top one or two pieces of advice you'd give to aspiring authors?

One thing that I've been saying is to keep writing. When you're querying, keep writing. When you're on sub, keep writing. Don't wait around for publishing; publishing has to catch up to you. 

Another piece of advice, which seems the opposite of what I just said, is to find a balance. Writing shouldn't take up your entire life. You need to have life experiences--feel its highs and lows--to keep your writing more genuine.

What is something most people don't know about you?

I can't swim. Not because I'm scared of the water, but because I'm too lazy to learn.

Where can people find you online?

I am on instagram (@mauraisdoomed) and on twitter (@mauramilan). I love instastories, so if you're curious about what I'm geeking out over at the moment, you can find me there. 
My website is

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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  1. Congratulations! This sounds great! And I love your advice to value those teenage years. I'd sure go back for the energy levels!

  2. This sounds like a great yarn about fighting some very wicked people!

  3. I'm so excited for this book :)
    Megan S.

  4. Thanks for the interview today. Excellent writing advice too--writers do need to gain experiences to enrich their work.

  5. I'm super excited for this book!!! When I realized that Maura is Filipino like me, I knew I have to read this epic YA sci-fi novel!! :)

  6. I'm not usually a cover person, but I loved this one the moment I saw it. I'm really looking forward to reading it, whether I win it or not. Good luck and happy reading to all!

  7. Great interview looking forward to reading soon.


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