Event Recap: Maggie Stiefvater

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending a signing with Maggie Stiefvater. Here are my two disclaimers. 1. My camera is being a royal pain in my technology and isn't working at the moment. Eventually, I will add pictures to this post. 2. Personally, I don't think this is up to my regular standards of recap-ness so I apologize if things read in an odd manner. I was having a bit of an off night so I found it a little hard to transcribe the event perfectly.

First, Maggie started off describing her novels, saying, "My books don't pass the elevater test. You know, if you had a book in an eleveator and you're telling people what they're about. Witch boys. Uh, psychics. Fast cars. Go!" Then she explained a bit about The Dream Thieves: "Dream Thieves looks at Roman. He's not nice person in the first book. Sure, he has some nice attributes like..... ..... ..... he's brave.  ....and loyal........ and that's about it. I always use a model with my characters. When I was a teen, I was a horrible, horrible person, and Ronan is horrible, but he has reasons. I don't think I had reasons." And then: "I like to write characters with secret heart of gold. Frosty girl with a heart of gold. A hit man with heart of gold!" After that, she did a reading from The Dream Thieves with volunteers from the audience. Laughter was bountiful! And then came a Q&A with the audience.

How many words try to write in a day?
MS: I don't write by word count; I write by scene count. I need to know what's happening or I know what'll happen: I'll go on Tumblr or Twitter or I'll write a blog post or I'll go grab cookie dough! [I couldn't catch the full thing, but she then explained sometimes it only take a short while to write a designated scene, others are a long struggle]

Cassandra Jean draws Raven Boys scenes. Do you contact her about those drawings or does she contact you?
MS: No. We'll talk later, after she draws them, but no.

What is your first memory of writing or first story you wrote?
MS: I always knew wanted to be a writer. I was typing on my dad's word processor. He asked, "what do you want to be?" I said, "I want to be a writer." He replied, "Oh, you want to be poor!" My first story was about two dogs test-driving a car. I wanted to impress my dad as a teen. He read lots of thrillers so I thought if I want his respect, I need to write thrillers. I wrote one, and I narrated a scene from a flag's point of view.

When doing new story, does plot or characters come first?
MS:
This makes me sound terrible person! I don't start with plot or characters.  I read  The Time Traveler's Wife for the second time, so I knew how it ended, when I started crying. And not pretty tears. I had snot bubbles. My kids and dogs were hiding under the table and my husband asked, "why do you do this to yourself?" I thought, "I'm going to write a book where the situation is so dire, I ruin someone's evening. Asking, 'why Maggie Stiff...Steef...WHY?!'"

What was your publishing journey.
MS:
When I was in my 20's, I lived off ramen noodles. I sent a manuscript to a publisher, who rejected it. He told me to send him my next one. One year later, I sent my second book.The publisher asked for my first novel. I revised it and sent him three chapters. He said, "you really can write!" I old husband that I would be published, and he said, "we're buying a mattress!"

****RAVEN BOYS SPOILER****
What was your favorite scene to write in The Raven Boys?
MS: I always know about three or four scenes I will write for each novel. I really looked forward to Adam getting the crap kicked out of him.

Each book says something about the author. Is there a character you enjoy writing?
MS:
The Dream Thieves is my favorite novel. For the longest time, it was The Scorpio Races. I thought I never would top it. Then I wrote Dream Thieves and said, "no, I change my mind." I started writing The Raven Cycle at 19. Ronan was the main character. So there's a character who can take things out of dreams. If it's pleasant, it'll come out pleasant. If it's bad, it'll come out bad. It's a metaphor! 

Part 1. How old do you have to be to start writing? You said you should have five books published to make a living.
MS:
If your parents are nice, you can be dependent until 40! I started writing when I was young. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master something. I logged those 10,000 hours when I was young because I had not a drop of a social life until 16. Start writing now. Don't wait until have life experience. I once heard you should write the book you can't find on the shelves. I did that. I loved Diana Wynne Jones, who wrote Howl's Moving Castle, although I promise you the others are even better. I got to the end of  that series and wrote horrible sequel. I write to entertain myself.
Part 2: Is it possible to be a writer and someone else?
MS: Definitely be a writer AND something else! Go out, live life, read books!

Maybe in the future, will you add to The Scorpio Races?
MS:
I started writing Scorpio Races very young. It took many times to get it  right. My parents allowed us to have pets as long as we learned how to care for it and bought it ourselves. My sister and I bought a racehorse. She was a retired racehorse. It was less about riding skill, and more about your relationship with God because you would go through every prayer you knew getting on Bella. Never say never. It's about the characters, but there's no story right now. [To clarify, Maggie said maybe one day, but she will only do it if the right story presents itself. Otherwise, there would be no meaning to it.]

Advice to aspiring authors?
MS:
You can find craft advice on my blog. I blather about writing all the time. I have my author friends dissect their pages on my blog. That's for craft. On a support level, when I was in college, I wore black all the time. I was waiting for someone to ask why I was wearing black so could say I was mourning the death of modern society. I wanted to do music, art, or writing. I went to the music department and played piano. I was told that I was not good enough to take lessons. I went to the art department with my portfolio.  I was told my work was not sophisticated enough. I went to the creative writing department and was told to try being a business major. At that point, I had 20 to 30 novels under my belt. These people don't care if they are crushing dreams. They just want to get stuff off their desks. Don't take it personally. Have confidence. Get a critique partner.

After that, we all lined up in a very orderly queue (thanks to the staff at Half Price Books) for the signing part of the evening. And you know what that means!


Giveaway:
This is open to the US & Canada through midnight CST on October 14. Please follow all giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top. Any entries not in accordance with these policies WILL be disqualified. Good luck!

27 comments:

  1. Easy! Book thief all the way :)

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  2. I'd be a Book Thief. I'm not so sure I would want other people's dreams!

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  3. Hmmm.... This is a hard decision! Can I be both? Lol.

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    1. YES. Nobody else is into dream thievery around here! Way to be a rebel.

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    1. I am keeping my bookshelves away from you, Aaliyah!

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  5. Book thief. Why? Because some dreams are totally not ones I'd like to see/have.

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    1. That is a very, very valid point, Kristi. I think I'd be totally embarrassed for someone to see into my dreams. They're pretty wacky most of the time.

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    2. Same! My dreams are very... special...

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  6. Haha, definitely a book thief! I'm such a bookworm.

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  7. Book Thief!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks so much for the chance to win this!! I have heard that this is a really good book, and a really awesome interview also!

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    1. I'm still working on the first one, The Raven Boys, but it's really interesting. Glad you enjoyed the recap!

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  8. Dream thief because that seems so cool. :D

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    1. Great choice! Glad to see people choosing dream thief!

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  9. A book thief! I don't know if I want to be in other people's dreams. It sounds kind of creepy. Haha.

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    1. Definitely creepy, depending on the dream!

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  10. Definitely a book thief. I know my own dreams are pretty crazy sometimes, I'd hate to see what I would come across from other people lol. Thank you!

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    1. Probably a wise decision. My dreams are crazy too so you're definitely not alone in that regard!

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