Event Recap: Dreams of Gods & Monsters Tour

One of the authors I was most excited to see on the list for TLA was Laini Taylor because, guys, LAINI FREAKING TAYLOR. My childhood bestie Alyssa had introduced me to Daughter of Smoke & Bone a couple years ago, and I'm so, so very grateful she did. It's a beautiful series, and it's one that I love in regular book form AND in audio as well. Then I heard the spectacular news that not only would Laini be at TLA, but she was also having her own solo event at a B&N in San Antonio as well! The rest, as they say, is history. I went on a Laini Taylor book buying binge and planned my whole Thursday schedule around seeing her in both places AND I DID. Laini's line in TLA was one of the most populated, but Little, Brown ran it very well, but I'm still glad I got to go to the event to hear Laini talk at length about the series. Also, as I said, her line was HUGE at TLA. We could only get one book signed apiece each time we got back in line and NO PICTURES. The cool thing about the evening event is that it was pretty small. Just me and a few high schoolers (who had also been at TLA for teen day), for the most part. It was quiet and very personal. We all got to talk to Laini one on one without the crowd, which was incredible. Plus, she was more than happy to sign all my copies of her books, a copy of DoSaB for Alyssa, and a few extra books for kicks and giggles.


Note: Laini is REALLY GOOD about not sharing spoilers so this Q&A is safe to read even if you've never read any book in the series!

Q&A:
Q1. How much do the places you go to influence your writing?
LT:
I am lucky to have been a Navy brat, have lived overseas, and travel. When I was in elementary school, I took field trips in Rome, Pompeii, and Capri. Backstory can be hard to weave in. As a traveler, going to Prague was huge. I realized it was the perfect backdrop for Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Going to Morocco was the perfect setting for Days of Blood & Starlight.

Q2. What is your writing process?
LT:
I wanted to be a writer my whole life because I struggle a lot with perfectionism. I have trouble finishing things. I have a need to fix everything to death. A lot of people feel that if they have that, and writing is hard, it's not for them. With painting, it's easier to see if it's close to being done, but not with writing. It can be easy to pretend to be busy, but if you're not finishing anything... you can do whatever you need to do. I like to lock myself away in a hotel for days.

Sneaky Laini is sneaky!
Q3. Are there any characters who surprised you and stayed around longer than you expected?
LT:
One character in Dreams of Gods & Monsters who is in Days for a very short scene. It was a fun chapter to write. I try not to figure everything out in advance. If I can get into the space of the scene, it's a magical place. It feels like it's not coming from you, it's being given to you. Not everything has to make it into the book, and that's my favorite part of the process. That character came to life, and for a while, I thought that would be my next book, a spinoff about them. One of the later chapters was my introduction to the book. Eliza didn't turn out to be the person I thought she was. That was a surprise.

Q4. Do you have any advice for coping with perfectionism?
LT:
Coping with my perfectionism... One of the things I discovered pretty early is to have my screen set up. I use Scrivener. I can collate all my documents on a project together. It helps with organization. I have to have two windows open side by side, one with the chapter and one with the working document. I make myself do free writing even when I don't feel like it. I have to have an entrance to the scene, a hook. If I have a working document, it's easier to write. There is a fear that people can't see your bad writing. Freewriting... I think when you're stuck, it's helpful to write about writing. I find inspiration and start writing before I realize it. And I can't delete everything. And the thing about perfectionism is that I love the revision process. I love to play with it and make it better. In fiction and life, it's never too late to revise. I think it's fun, and I love it! I really like the blog Not for Robots.

Q5. What was your inspiration for the characters?
LT:
There wasn't an inspiration; they just came. I was writing another book, a sci-fi I loved, and it wasn't coming to life. I couldn't find a way to have fun with it. Usually there's a way to have fun with it, but this started out as no fun. I gave myself a day to play around and have fun. Immediately, this girl jumped to my mind. She was arguing with her dad, who wasn't human and had a wishbone. I just let myself have fun and play around. Don't be super precious with the outcome, but you do have to guide it at some point. Akiva came around later. Karou and Brimstone were primary. It wasn't a romance, but I wanted a romance, a kind of star crossed romance. So if they were demon characters, I wanted to introduce an angel.

Story time with Laini!
Q6. How much of the books was planned vs what developed? 
LT: None of it was planned! I didn't know what it meant, the teeth and the wishbone. Once I figured those out, it came to me. I didn't even know how many books it would be. The ending of Days is a little bit dark. I didn't know I started writing a war book, even though I had. I didn't want it to be so dark that someone wouldn't finish it. Some people call these two methods plotting vs pantsing. Jane Yolen described it as flying into the mist. Writing a novel is like driving in the dark. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you make it the whole way. Is this true? I always ask myself that. Is this true to Karou and Akiva? That's why I can't outline. I can't look 200 pages into the future. It's like telling a two year-old they're going to Stanford!

Q7. You like to review and revise. How many revisions? And is there any stuff you wish you could change?
LT:
There are always little things, but I have no regrets. Has anyone ever said the way to write is that you have to write a quick draft and just get it done? That's not true. The best way is...to write. [Writing a quick draft] is the way to kill my enthusiasm. You have to move forward, but for me, I have to move forward from something I love. That's the balance I have to find.

Q8. How do you write each character's chapters? Do you write all one character and then switch or do you write from start to finish?
LT:
I have to go linearly. Sometimes, if I have to, I'll jump to certain scenes, but I was at a section that something important was supposed to happen, but I didn't know what it was supposed to be so I had skip it. It was so hard. I write in third person so I like to write from the most important and exciting perspective so I can write for Akiva or Karou or both! Or if I want to hide something from the reader, I can NOT go into their [the most exciting character's] head. I went to art school, thinking it was a good fallback. That's where I met my husband, actually, so that was good. My teacher told us: purity sucks. You have to be as fluid as possible, and use whatever works. Don't be wussy about it. Keep trying until you find something that works. Yeah, you just have to do it.

Laini may be one of the happiest authors I've ever met!
Q9. Did you get rejected with Daughter of Smoke & Bone?
LT:
I was lucky in this case. It was my fourth book. By the time it was in the works, I had a the National Book Award, and that let me get attention from publishers. I got to pick who I wanted, and that was Little, Brown, and they didn't have me change it. I'm a believer in SCBWI. You have to belong to this group. It makes writing a career. It's super exciting because it's full of people who are looking for books to buy, and you also learn how to make your book better.

Q10. Have you considered an MMO (massive multiplayer online game)?
LT:
I wouldn't know how to do that, but the film rights have been sold. There is a script and a director, and now we're just waiting for the cast. It's not official until the cameras are rolling, but yeah, there's going to be a movie. 
Q. Who is the production company?
LT: Universal Pictures. And the same producer as Snow White and the Huntsman and Maleficent.

Q11. Do you have any actors you want for the movie?
LT:
There is a girl but I won't say. I have avoided it thus far. [Note: Laini DID tell us some of her ideas, but she asked that they not be shared online.]

Q12. Did you have an idea for Akiva and Karou's future, did you know what would happen? 
LT: No. I don't want to give a spoiler, but no. I didn't know what would happen. I think a part of Brimstone always hoped he could give her a normal life.

Q13. What was your inspiration for the chimera races?
LT:
The kirren are total wish fulfillment because that's what I would be. I think Madrigal is so beautiful,  graceful, and buoyant. I never world build so I only let myself decide things when I need them. It left the world shadowy so I won't have shot myself in the foot when I get there.

Q14. Did you focus on contrasting Karou and Madrigal?
LT:
I don't think so. We don't see Madrigal much. There are things that can't be said [because spoilers].

 This was a really, really fun event. Laini's publicist brought along props like wings, a blue wig, and Brimstone's horns. There were delicious blue cookies and some AMAZING fanart propped up on the windowsills. We even had a trivia contest for a wishbone necklace (I came in second. Dangit!), and Laini read us the first chapter of Dreams. Then, Laini gamely signed all the books, including the....fourteen...ish...that I brought. And for the record, she thought it was awesome that I brought them all. ;)

 <---This picture belongs to Nicole, aka @luckyziri,  who runs a hardcore DoSab Tumblr and is ferociously Team Ziri (totally don't blame you a bit!). Check out the original picture HERE. This is my favorite piece out of all the fanart present at the event. Laini even posted this pic on her blog before!







Chimera Shaman is the gorgeous piece on the ---> left of this picture. Many thanks to artist Aaron Miller for letting me share this with all of you! You can find more of Aaron's work on his website and catch up with him on Twitter and Facebook!








Note 2: I want to share all the art with you guys, but as I was typing this up, I realized that I needed to ask the artists for permission. Since I usually just use my own pictures from events, this isn't something I normally do or even have to consider. Derp. Thanks to Nicole for being so quick with her reply! Hopefully I will be updating this post with more pictures soon!

Note 3: As I hopefully do add more of the art pictures to this post, I want to say that the pictures may be mine, but the art in the pictures belongs to the artists. Please do not post their work elsewhere without their explicit permission. That includes these pictures. I have left several links to the artists' pages. Please use their guidelines for sharing or for contacting them to inquire about attaining permission to share. Thank you!

Giveaway:
So this is your chance to own a signed Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy! I have signed copies of all three books for one lucky winner. This giveaway is open to US residents only because these books are HUGE. I am so sorry, INT friends, but I just can't afford the shipping on these to other countries! All giveaway policies are stated in the Site Policies tab. Any entries not in accordance with my policies will be disqualified. Giveaway ends 12 AM CST May 15. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



55 comments:

  1. I am ashamed to say that I have not started this trilogy yet! I do own the first book so will hopefully get to it soon :)

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  2. My favorite book is Days of Blood and Starlight because you understand the story more with the characters understanding a bit more of their role.

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  3. It's so hard to pick just one, but I'll have to go with Karou. She embodied the meaning of her name: Hope, and inspired others and picked them up when they were down, especially Akiva. Liza

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  4. Oooh! I also met Laini Taylor when she came to California, and I got my books signed! She is just too sweet and I pretty much died fangirling when I met her. ;) Great giveaway, obviously not entering because I already have those, lol. ^_^

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  5. I have not started this trilogy yet (unfortunately), but I was hoping to get to it soon :)

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  6. I haven't read this series yet even though it is high on my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway!! :)

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  7. My favorite book is Days of Blood and Starlight and I absolutely love Akiva!

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  8. I loved this whole trilogy...5 stars all the way. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

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  9. My favorite character would either be Akiva or Brimstone. The first book was my favorite. :)

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  10. I haven't read this trilogy yet! I checked the first two books out of the library, but my schedule got too busy, so I had to return them before I could read them. Maybe I'll win them and can read them then? Thanks for the giveaway!

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  11. I love Zuzana! She's such a feisty character and very humorous. The way she cares for Karou as a friend is one of the best things about her.

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  12. I love most of the characters, but I will always love the first book of the trilogy, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, the most because it's what got me interested in Laini Taylor's books :D.

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  13. I've been meaning to pick up this series for such a long time, thanks for sharing!

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  14. I haven't started the trilogy yet either. I have been wanting to for awhile now, and hopefully I will soon! Thanks for the giveaway :)

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  15. currently reading book 2 and loving it !!

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  17. I have not gotten to this trilogy, as of yet, but it is near the top of my tbr list. Therefore, I do not have a favorite, wanting to obsess about, character. I know I will in the near future, though! Thank-you for the fab interview. I am always curious about the inner workings of an author's writing process, and movie news is also exciting!

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  18. I've only read the sample and feel on love so I have been covering it since. :-). I know I will love it!

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    1. Coveting not covering. Stupid auto correct

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  19. Loved the trilogy. Signed hard copies would be awesome!

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  20. Probably Akiva, but I just cannot choose!

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  21. My favorite character is definitely Karou! She's gutsy and her hair is BLUE.

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  22. I have only read the first book and half of Days of Blood & Starlight, but I actually think Zuzana is awesome and HILARIOUS! Karou is great, but Zuzana is just so charismatic and fun!

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  23. I've read the first and it was one of my all time favorite reads. I have the second, so can't wait to dive back in. I would say that Zuzana and Brimstone are probably my favs but I love all of the characters! Thanks for this amazing giveaway

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  24. I haven't read this trilogy yet, which is why I would love to win. I heard so many good things about these books! Thank you for this amazing giveaway!

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  25. This is one of my very favorite series. I listened to all three (Khristine Hvam, the narrator, is amazing and I highly recommend them!), but I totally need copies for my shelves. They are such pretty books!

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  26. I read--and loved--these on Kindle. I would cherish signed copies. <3

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  27. I love Karou! I love her relationship with Zuzana and Brimstone. So emotional!

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  28. I forget! I read the first one and loved it, but by the time I read the 2nd one I'd forgotten so much. I knew I had to wait for the series to end to read it all together.

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  29. I read the first two books twice since there was a gap between them, and I read the third book this month. Awesome. Thanks!

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  30. I don't know yet who my favorite is because I haven't read them :-( I plan to and I'm looking forward to it! When I discovered the series it was so cose to release for the last book I decided to wait. :-) thanks for the awesome giveaway Mary!

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  31. Beautiful trilogy. Hope I win! Thanks for the chance.

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    1. PS: I shared on facebook today,but I think I accidentally submittted my tweet link. Oops.

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  32. Sadly, I haven't read this trilogy yet, so I don't know! But my fingers are crossed that I win them and then I'll be able to answer that question! :)

    Thanks for an amazing giveaway!

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  33. Where is your follow by email link? I can't find it. Thank-you. :)

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    1. In the right sidebar, up at the top, directly under Search This Blog.

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    2. Thanks, I feel like a derp! Lol...

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  34. Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

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  35. I haven't gotten to read this series yet, but I really want too. It sounds really unique. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed the interview and I love her pink hair. :)

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  36. Loved reading the Kindle books, but would be so excited to win these copies. Thank you!

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  37. Love the series, thank you for this giveaway!

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  38. I have not started this trilogy yet but I would really love to. I have heard so much about it!

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  39. And by the way I'm not currently in the US, but I have an US address so it haven't been a problem before in these kind of competitions. Hope it's still okay. :)

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  40. Love the trilogy. Laini has such a way with describing things. Makes me want to visit Prague. <3

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  41. I just can't say enough good things about this trilogy. Laini is very talented. :)

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  42. I'm reading the first book and I'm just loving it!!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

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  43. I have no idea who my favorite character is, probably Karou or Zuzana! And my favorite book might be the first one :)

    How awesome that you got to meet her! And thank for sharing the interview and the art (loved the Ziri one so much).

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  44. My favorite book in the series is Dreams of Gods & Monsters! And my favorite character is definitely Karou. :)

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  45. I haven't started the trilogy yet! D:

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  46. I haven't started the series yet :/ BUT, I've borrowed the first book from the library so fingers crossed I have time to read it soon. :)

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  47. I haven't gotten to this trilogy yet! The library has the audiobooks though, so I'll get to them soon. (:

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  48. I have only read the First so probably Akiva (: Thanks for the giveaway!

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