Melissa West's debut novel, Gravity, is a futuristic science fiction tale that has aliens and humans co-existing in harmony. This peace is possible because the aliens are able to hide their true identities. But when Ari accidentally sees one of the secret aliens — who turns out to be a cute boy from her school — she finds herself caught up in dangerous situation that could start a war. Today the author shares her extraterrestrial inspiration for her first Young Adult novel.
Some years ago, I watched a documentary about aliens that detailed a theory known as the ancient astronaut theory. Now, the theory has developed a celebrity status thanks to the show Ancient Aliens, but back then it was fascinating to me — and if I’m honest, a little scary.
See, the theory suggests that aliens are responsible for technology, culture, and even religion. There are theorists who genuinely believe that aliens created not only some of the great mysteries of our world, but also provided us with knowledge that led to many of the advancements that have allowed the human species to prosper.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for sure, and while I don’t profess to fully believe these theories, I do find them interesting. So interesting that I chose to model the aliens in my debut novel, Gravity, after the ancient astronaut theory. In Gravity, the Ancients are an alien species from the planet Loge who travel between their planet and Earth through trees, which act as hyperspaces between the two planets.
The Ancients helped to terraform Earth, and then rebuild it after every major disaster. They had worked with the humans willingly since the beginning of time, but now they want something in return — they want to coexist on Earth. The humans agree, a truce is made, and each night the Ancients crawl into human windows across the world and perform the Taking, a process by which they gain antibodies from humans so they are able to sustain life on Earth. Each human is assigned an Ancient and forced to wear a high-tech eye patch that keeps the humans from seeing the Ancients. All is right and lovely until Ari Alexander, Gravity’s main character, loses her patch and discovers that her Ancient is none other than Jackson Locke, her greatest competition in school.
Soon Ari uncovers that Jackson is an Ancient spy who needs her help to prevent a war between the two species. Jackson is everything a good spy should be — demanding, a tad arrogant, and chock full of secrets he refuses to share. Little by little, Ari discovers that Jackson is more than simply a pretty face that can aim a gun, and she must decide whether she should trust him or trust what she has always been told about the Ancients.
Can two such different species live on one planet? Or will a war erupt, destroying one or both species in a battle for control of Earth?
Find out how it all begins in Gravity, available now wherever books are sold.
- Melissa West