1) How and when does she write? Morning and night, around her daughter's schedule. Laini prefers silence to music and writes the most efficiently when she goes to a hotel, which she usually does when she's writing the end of a book. She wrote 20,000 words of the end of Dreams in 6 days at a hotel on the Oregon coast.
2) Book crashing: Publishers want a manuscript for a book a year in advance if possible, but both Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters were late, which is called "crashing the book" in the industry. She finished writing Dreams right before Christmas and then edits came quickly after. After taking a bit of a break, she's starting to write again.
3) What aspects make up her chimera? The Kirin chimera pretty much equals Laini's magical wish fulfillment. And bat wings.
4) What is she working on now? A short story for an anthology for Stephanie Perkins called My True Love Gave to Me, filled with romantic holiday stories. Laini's story starts with plague orphans - but she promises it gets romantic. She's also beginning to write an idea she has for a science fiction novel set in historical New York.
|Karou and Brimstone fan art*|
5) Did she plan her series out in advance? Laini says her stories are character driven, and outlines don't work for her. When writing the first book, she knew the ultimate end of Daughter, but not beyond that. She builds her stories by creating situations and putting characters in them, often writing the same scene multiple ways before it's right. She never thought she could write this way because of her struggles with perfectionism but has found that she actually loves it in practice.
Examples: a) Laini didn't find out who Scarab was until she started writing her. Important elements such as the heart strings came from getting the character talking on the page. b) In Days, Laini knew she was working towards the Thiago/Ziri event, but thought it would happen at the end of act one, until she started writing the book.
6) Hair: Laini's hair's been pink for 7 years. She says it makes her easily noticed when she wants to be found, but it's impossible to sneak out of a boring conference session.
7) How did she come up with her characters' names? Naming characters is something Laini loves to do, and she does try to make them fit together. For instance she used Hebrew names for the Seraph In fact, she enjoys exploring the idea "what if everything came out of something else?" Like what if the Hebrew names were originally from the Seraph? Also, sometimes she chooses a not well known county and looks at village names, because they are names that have stood through time but are also obscure.
8) Ziri means Moonlight in an obscure language.
9) Will she write more stories from this world in the future? Not now. She needs to step away from this world and explore other things first, but it is definitely a possibility.
|Akiva and Karou's First Meeting fan art*|
11) Because she didn't plan her series in advance, in hindsight, does she wish she'd set anything up differently? Little things but nothing major. She doesn't world build ahead of time, and waits until she needs to know something before she starts to write it. In this way she lets the story direct the world building. Laini says she considers writing to be like beach combing. Every day she finds something different, and if she'd written a scene another day, it might have turned out differently.
12) Are there any characters that jumped out more after she started writing them? Eliza. Laini knew she wanted to experience the event at the end of Days through the eyes of a human and a scientist. But last summer when she was trying to get the story to come together, Eliza ended up taking on a much bigger role.
13) What is happening with the movie process for Daughter? Laini is an executive producer on the movie and feels lucky to have ultimate screen play approval. Though she hasn't altered anything major in the screenplay, she was able to polish the first edits on the screenplay that was written. From that they hired a director and went to Universal. She doesn't have any casting info, and will likely not be involved in that process.
|A mask raffled off at the program|
15) On the scope of the last book: Laini didn't want the final book to be all about Jael. She wanted it to be a bigger story. Because of that she knew she wasn't going to tie the story with a bow, but could finish the original elements.
Laini's hair is casting a magical pink glow on my face.
I think I could rock ram horns.
* Click through for more information on the artists and better images of the artwork.