Last Wednesday evening, I had the privilege of meeting three talented authors, Ann Aguirre, Caragh M. O'Brien and Marie Rutkoski, at the Fall Fierce Reads tour stop at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, NH. This bookstore and entire town is completely adorable, and it was the perfect backdrop for an evening filled with conversations about books.
Of course, I didn't remember until the very end of the evening that I needed to take pictures, so I missed getting one of The Green Bean, an adorable café where I got to do a little pre-interview with the three authors. We sat outside in the lovely September evening and chatted about were-beasts and love triangles of course. Then we walked over to the bookstore for the main event.
Instead of outlining questions and answers from the evening interviews, I've listed out highlights from each author below. I apologize if I misheard/misrepresented anything. The main talk at the bookstore was moderated by Even in Paradise author Chelsey Philpot
1) If the main characters in The Winner's Curse suddenly turned into were-beasts, Kestrel would be a Kestrel of course, and Arin would be a lean, sexy tiger.
2) Marie recommends Claire LaZebnik's The Trouble With Flirting, and says it's one of the best written love triangles she's read. It's also a really great retelling of Mansfield Park, probably the hardest Austen book to connect with.
3) In The Winner's Curse, the Valorian Empire is obsessed with the military. Marie said their culture was influenced by talks with her father and brother who have both served in the military.
4) There were a couple of moments in The Winner's Crime that broke Marie's heart to write. (I'm nervous already!) Books two and three will also have much more of Arin's POV.
5) Marie says she writes Young Adult because books aren't as genre specific, and YA readers are more open to reading any genre as long as it's good. Adult lit tends to classify more specifically, and cut off readers as a result.
6) The cover for The Winner's Crime was originally going to be red, but when marketing switched it to blue, Marie decided to put Kestrel into a blue dress in a pivotal end scene of the book.
7) Marie says she likes writing from the male perspective and her next book - after The Winner's Curse series - will have an entirely male POV. Though she's not saying if it will be Middle Grade, YA or Adult.
1) If the main characters in Mortal Danger suddenly became were-beasts, Edie would be a honey badger, because she's vicious and doesn't care. Kian would be a dolphin, an animal that is helpful and altruistic, but also has a dark side. (I didn't know this about dolphins, and it prompted quite a discussion).
2) On love triangles: Ann believes many people see love triangles in books when they're not there. Like in her Razorland series, which was firmly a love T, with a third party looking longingly in on the building couple. She also thinks that triangles do make sense at times, especially when you're 16, though she doesn't often write them.
3) On book two: The Harbinger, a character mentioned in Mortal Danger, will play a much bigger role in the sequel. Readers do meet him in the first book, though they don't know it at the time (time to re-read!). Ann thinks he's going to gain his own set of fans, but she says it's not really a love triangle.
4) When asked a question about strong girl characters paired with bad boys, Ann says she doesn't really think that way about her characters, instead she likes to "write partners" into her stories. Characters who support each other - emotionally, physically, the balance between them flows back and forth. Each has moments when he/she support the other. Ann also says that Edie doesn't start off as a strong character, but she grows in strength as she learns to accept herself.
5) Edie's struggles with bullying came from Ann's personal experience.
6) Mortal Danger is set in the Boston area because it has a subway and a nearby area where one could invent a boarding school, but also because its seasons, history, and architecture helped with the creepy mood of the book. According to Ann, "California is just not ominous."
7) Ann decided to write YA when she kept being asked by her kids when she would write something they could read. So she started the Razorland trilogy where "monsters eat children."
8) Ann really cried when writing one scene in Mortal Danger (you can probably guess which it is). She briefly wondered if she'd gone too far with it, before deciding it had to be in the book. Her editor was really upset about that part, and wanted to know if the story had to be written this way. But Ann argued that was important for readers and the characters to realize that in this story, no one is safe.
Caragh O'Brien, author of The Vault of Dreamers:
1) If the main characters in The Vault of Dreamers suddenly became were-beasts, Rosie would be a "Poe-esque raven." Linus would be a wolf.
2) Caragh said if The Vault of Dreamers weren't the start of a series, she would have been happy with it as a standalone. She thinks the ending fits the book really well.
3) When Caragh writes stories, she likes to be surprised and says she would get bored if she planned everything out in advance. Most of her series planning ends up changing as she follows her characters and story.
4) Caragh talked a little bit about getting into the head of her teen character Rosie, and how she enjoyed writing a character who doesn't always see the world clearly, whose perspective could be skewed. As a budding filmmaker Rosie has the ability to see things as if through a camera lens. But she doesn't realize how the world sees her, as a private, difficult person. Rosie doesn't know how to make friends and is oblivious about guys, not understanding that this guy likes her.
5) The cover to Promised was being designed while Caragh was writing the book, and as a result she changed the jewelry one character wore to match the blue bracelet on the book's cover.
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