Donna Compositor’s debut novel Curse of Stars follows Sabi Perez as she discovers that, unknown to her and her sister, her parents ran from another world with the young girls to save Sabi. As the last Diamond Crier, Sabi’s tears are highly coveted by those in their home world. Curse of Stars is Sabi’s journey to discovering the truth about her past, and learning how to navigate the new world she’s thrust into.
All authors have different ways of finding inspiration, and writing. For Compositor, the inspiration for the novel came from an unexpected place: a contest for a horror story.
“As I was flipping through writing prompts in my head I saw this scene play out of a man dragging a girl to the top of a hill to wait for someone to come and get her. When I asked myself why this was happening my brain was like, ‘because she cries diamonds and the rulers want to harvest her tears.’ Duh. DUH. Because what else would it be?”
Sabi’s relationship with her parents is fraught with issues, but they are still quite close, which was important for Compositor.
“I needed her parents removed from the story in order for her to do what needed to be done, but at the same time I wanted to make sure that she had a solid, loving upbringing.”
The main conflict in the novel centers whether or not her parents were right to take Sabi away, knowing it would make things worse for many people in their world. Compositor explores the grey areas of this decision throughout the novel.
“They knew they were running on borrowed time and they wanted to give Sabi a life that she wouldn’t have otherwise had had they stayed in Raydin, and for this Sabi is grateful. But she has a really hard time coming to terms with just what that decision of theirs cost and it plagues her for the entire book and it influences her own decision-making. Sabi loves her parents, and I wanted to make sure that came through in the writing. But I also wanted to portray the repercussions of what would otherwise be good-intentioned decisions. Road to hell, and all of that. Was it or was it not a good decision Sabi’s parents made? That question is never actually answered and that’s my point there.”
Right or wrong, it creates a snowball effect that Sabi has to catch once she’s separated from her family. Sabi’s own decisions are just as important as her parents’ were before her, and that is made clear in the novel: all actions and decisions have consequences attached to them.
And what’s next?
“Well, the Diamond Crier series is a planned trilogy* with an asterisk because I’ll have a bridge novella/short story between books two and three that’s actually necessary to further the plot, but wouldn’t have been substantial enough for its own book. I will say that little short story will be a lesbian version of a Greek myth. Saying any more than that will spoil it.”