Interview: “The Sphere of Infinity” by Day Leitao

Alana’s dream is to leave the poverty-stricken, government-controlled planet where she lives with her mother. But that’s impossible when she can barely manage enough to eat. Her big chance comes in a well-paid mission to retrieve a golden sphere. The problem: it’s in the Ghost Ship, a mysterious alien vessel abandoned for millenia. Nobody has ever set foot on it and come out alive. How will Alana manage it?

Meanwhile, Jasper has come to her planet to oversee the government. His real goal? To see the mysterious dragons—if they are still alive.

Destiny brings them together and thrusts the fate of the Samitri Planet and the Human Universe in their hands.

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“You’re the Black Mouse, right?”

Alana nodded.

The woman chuckled. “Afraid like a mouse. This is not a trap, boy, but an opportunity. My name’s Mara.”

Alana shook the woman’s hand, glad to be called a boy. “Black Mouse.”

“Indeed. And you can fit in tight spaces, right?”

“My specialty.”

Mara looked at Alana up and down. “For your sake, boy”, her ironic tone in that word didn’t go unnoticed, “I hope you’re as good as they say.”

“I haven’t said yes.”

“What does it matter, when I know the answer? Have you ever been in space?”


Mara shook her head. “No issues. It’ll be quick. I need something retrieved from a spaceship, a lost spaceship that has been orbiting a planet for millennia.”

Alana felt queasy. “The Ghost Ship?” That was a legendary, humongous, non-human spaceship orbiting C-2, the nearest planet in their solar system. Search teams had been sent there, and legend said nobody had ever returned. It was also called the Death Ship.

“Why that face? It’s just a ship. Like the ones you enter to retrieve little things.”

“I’ve never been in an alien spaceship, madam.” Hopefully she was using the correct title.

“Few people have, have they? Since the treaty of mutual ignoring, we’ve just pretended they don’t exist. Contact was broken. Or at least that’s the official story. But it’s just a ship, girl, a ship with very small passages where few people fit. You’re lucky to be tiny, or else I’d need to try with a child.”

The woman still assumed Alana was going to say yes. No way she’d agree on a suicide mission, and she didn’t care what Selma thought of that. Still, Alana asked, “What’s the pay?”

Mara had a satisfied smile. “Two. Million. Samitri credits. How’s that?”

Alana made an effort not to show how excited she was. She currently made just less than a thousand credits for every standard month. Two million credits would be enough for her to live in comfort for the rest of her life, to escape Samitri, to get her mother the surgery to walk again, and to be free. Freedom!

But Alana had to negotiate. “I won’t be able to do much with Samitri credits. It’s all controlled, you see? I’d rather Universal Credits. Four million.” Her voice had been firm, the way she’d learned to negotiate her prices, even if it usually only meant one or two hundred more Samitri credits.

Mara laughed. “I think I like you. Three million Universal Credits.”

Alana was still trying to hide her excitement. “Fine. But that’s pointless if I don’t get out alive.”

The woman stared at Alana in a serious expression. “That ship has been studied. I have a diagram of its interior. It has a small passage that you can fit through. Nobody else knows about that passage; they enter through a different entrance, one with high security. That’s why they never come back. That said, I’ll come with you. You’ll go directly to the chamber I need. If you can enter, you can get out, right? Nothing to fear.”

Alana had been waiting for so long for an opportunity to break out of her cycle, to leave this planet, to be free. She couldn’t say no to it when it presented itself to her like this. Dangerous, sure—but it was everything she’d always dreamed. She extended her hand. “Deal.”

—from The Sphere of Infinity by Day Leitao

The Interview

What inspired you to write The Sphere of Infinity?

I was going to participate in an anthology with Aladdin retellings, then I had this vision of this mysterious abandoned spaceship with this object inside it. I don’t usually have influences from other works, but in this case I think the concept of an abandoned spaceship came from the Star Wars Legends novel Sith Troopers and from Halo 4.

What are some of your favorite YA books as a reader, and what makes them stand out for you?

I read Brazilian books. What I liked were genuine human interactions and how I could see myself in some of the characters.

Why do you think so many people, of all ages, love reading YA?

First of all, it usually has a cool balance between plot / character development and romance. Usually in most YA novels you have a character coming of age, a romantic plot, and a bigger plot. I find that with other genres they veer more towards romance or plot, and for some reason YA tends to strike the right balance. For me another reason is that I think nobody really grows up, and the coming-of-age themes tend to hit home.

Why do you love writing about dragons?

I love dragons. They are powerful, mysterious, beautiful. I have a Japanese dragon tattoo from my left arm to my right shoulder, so you know how much I love dragons. But I don’t usually write about dragons. I have no freaking idea why there are dragons in this story, but they play an interesting part. I’m guessing maybe I just thought that I needed spaceships and dragons for an Aladdin retelling.

Is there something from a legend, fairy or folk tale, or myth that you haven’t yet used in your writing, but would like to?

I would like to use Afro-Brazilian mythology, but sometimes I’m afraid that it won’t be genuine, since I wasn’t that close to those religions when I lived there. It’s just that the stories are beautiful.

Did you make up any of the science used in your book, and if so, what and why?

I write space fantasy, so the science in it sucks and sometimes makes no sense. That said, I’ve been reading astrophysics books for my son, and it just ruins everything. You know, if you’re around a planet, there’s still gravity. The only reason the space station has “no gravity” is because it’s in orbit, therefore always “falling.” Going faster than light is either impossible or will make you go back in time. And if I start thinking about it too much it gets tricky. But I do try to make things seem feasible and conform to known laws of physics, so that it seems realistic.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing? I just launched a space opera set in the same universe as The Sphere of Infinity, and what I like most about it was that I decided to follow the characters and not try to write something with commercial appeal.

About Day

Born in Brazil, Day now lives in Canada, where she can enjoy snow in April. She loves to create worlds and characters.

Find Day

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