The time it was all about writing

Posted March 1, 2016 by Stacee in Signings | 5 Comments

I had heard all sorts of good things about Victoria Schwab’s books, so even though I hadn’t read them, we couldn’t pass up the chance to go to the signing. Michelle and I got to Habit to meet for our regular food date. We met Keiko and Sharon and then headed to Mysterious Galaxy for some light shenanigans.

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The ladies came out just after 7:30 and each author introduced themselves and the book they were there for. Kiersten acted as the moderator and she started out with the questions.

KW: You write across the ages. Do you find you access a different process?

CC: I wrote comics and novels. I think that when you write in one genre, you want to put everything in the soup. But when you write in everything, you can realize that you can make only carrot soup. I find that it makes me a better writer because I use a different part of my brain.

VS: That’s such a good answer. I do get to hone on different parts of the craft. For the YA, I have to keep it tight and focus on pacing. In the Shades series, I get to build the world.


KW {to CO’B): You have two trilogies and they’re both really intense. Do you feel like this is sort of your thing? Is it easy for you?

CO’B: I don’t think any of us is doing this because it’s easy. I got done with the first trilogy and then worked on a few things and they didn’t work. He asked me about the one with the dreams and I sent him 80 pages and he told me that’s what I needed to work on. It was hard and terrifying to write.

CC: Every book is a new battle. It’s not like you write one book and then you always know what you’re doing.

VS: It’s so daunting. We all need palate cleansers. I always tend to forget how hard it was after its all done. It’s the pregnancy effect, I think it would never be done again if you could remember how hard it was.

KW: I will email my agent and send her all sorts of things. Like this is not going to work and I need to quit all social media. She’ll tell me to sit on it for two weeks and we’ll come back to it.  At the end of two weeks, she’ll ask me if I’m still going to quit social media and I’ll laugh and say that I said that 300 tweets ago.  When really it’s 5000.

VS: When I was writing Gathering, I was getting a master’s degree and writing two other books. In a sleepless fog, I made the original ending where I killed about 95% of the cast. When my editor got it, she asked me when the last time I slept was and told me to leave it alone for 48 hours, then delete the last 20k words.

CC: The idea just usually bursts out of my head. I always know the beginning and the end of the book. I usually write those two sentences down. I’ll write my favorite parts and have a horrible skeleton and then go back to fatten up the baby.

CO’B: I didn’t even know who the bad guy was in Vault. She didn’t know, so neither did I. I kept revising and then eventually he came along.

VS: I have to have the ending. It’s just proof that there is no right way to write.


CO’B {to KW}: Do you outline?

It depends on the book. When I worked with Jim, we outlined extensively. I have books that I’ve written in 7 days and then books that took a year and a half.

CC {to KW}: I wrote the manuscript, but didn’t have an artist. How did it work for you?

We collaborated write from the beginning. We worked on the outline extensively because we needed to have things set before he could start the artwork. For me, if I have to go back and rework something, it’s a couple of days of work, no big deal.  For him, it would be so much harder. It was a very different process and a lot of fun.

KW: If you were sorted into Harry Potter houses?

CO’B: Gryffindor

VS: Slytherin

CC: Slytherin

KW: I was Ravenclaw and then I was resorted into Slytherin. I have a theory that authors are either Hufflepuff because the empathy or Slytherin because you like to control people.

{They then had everyone raise their hands to show what house they were in and Caragh shared that she hadn’t actually been officially sorted, she just sorted herself into Gryffindor}


KW: What’s next for you?

CO’B: I have to finish this trilogy. And then be calm. Maybe learn tai chi.

VS: They told me that Darker Shades 3 comes out next march and I’m only a third of the way done. Usually you turn in a first draft 12 months before the release date. I have a book called This Savage Song coming out in July. I call it my Romeo and Juliet minus romance plus monsters. And I just sold 4 books to Tor. {She talked about one that I didn’t catch the name of.  Something about a girl who sells her soul to the devil in order to live forever and the devil twists it so that no one ever remembers her.  I’m not making it sound as amazing as she did}

I also just wrote the television pilot for Darker Shades. I will be an executive producer and will have creative control. So if it gets made, it’ll be made right and if it doesn’t it’s because it couldn’t get made right.

CC: I have a lot of things I can’t talk about, but I do have book coming out with Dark Horse in May.

KW: Next I have And I Darken coming out in June. It’s Vlad the Impaler, but as a girl. I have a middle grade coming out soon. My two oldest kids are 9 and 11 and this is the first time I was able to involve them.

The authors then read a small passage from each of their books before opening it up to questions.


When you write a trilogy, how do you keep it from becoming so formulaic?

VS: I never want book 2 to feel like book 1. I set a goal and force myself to go in a opposite direction. I don’t think of it like a book 2, it’s a new objective. My book 1 usually is plot driven and book 2 is character driven.

KW: I try to give my characters what they wanted at the end of book 1 and then book 2 is them realizing they don’t want it. Book 2 is hard because it’s where it all falls apart so book 3 it can be rebuilt.

CC: Duology! Just end it there.

KW: I was going to write As I Darken as super high concept. I was going to do three books covering the same time period from three POVs.

Is there a specific author or book that made you realize that you wanted to do this?

CB: David Leviathan’s Every Day was really important to me. I read it and it blew me away. The concept stayed with me. It helped me when I was working on The Rule of Mirrors.

VS: I started in poetry and I found Neil Gaiman. I actually wear a WWNGD? bracelet and I’ve worn it since the first year I got published. He wrote books and poetry and regardless of the format, it was his voice.

CC: There’s a sci-fi author called {I don’t know?} who wrote Mockingbird {I’m not even sure if that’s correct} and it’s about a robot who wants to kill itself, but it can’t because it still serves mankind. I was blown away by this idea. I became a writer because Star Wars. I realized that stories continued and it was someone’s job to write that.  And then to be asked to write something for Star Wars and to be able to play on that playground, it was amazing.  I still get teary eyed when I talk about it.


KW: I always wanted to be a writer. First was Harry Potter and then my mom gave me a copy of Twilight. That first read was so much fun.

VS: I binged all three.

CO’B: It was so clear that she was having fun writing them.

KW: Twilight was just fun. The final thing was meeting Stephanie Perkins and becoming critique partners with her. It was the most important part of my journey.

A character that you have written or will write that you feel unworthy?

CC: There is, but I can’t talk about it. Well, I was afraid to screw up Princess Leia.  Not only because the entire world would be upset, but my 7 year old self was screaming at me.

VS: I worry about it all the time. I never want to bend them into something they wouldn’t do.

CO’B: I’ve had concerns about writing a gender or race that I’m not. I just try to focus on what we have in common and then do research. I just have to try and be brave and if I get it wrong, then let’s have a conversation about it. But I am trying my best and that’s all I can do.

KW: You definitely have to put in the time and research if you’re working outside of your world.

Advice to new authors?

VS: There isn’t much in this business that you control. You can only control the words on the page.

CC: Know what your next book is going to be and start writing it. It’s your anchor.  Your debut will be crazy, but you can always go back to that new book and work.


From there it was time for the signing. Michelle and I got up to Victoria first.  After Michelle got her books signed, I took a picture of them together.  Victoria saw my phone case and said “You have a Baymax!” I then pointed out my tattoo and lock screen that were all Baymax. She then said my twitter handle and I said yes, that it was me and said I never knew if it was good or bad that I was known.  Victoria laughed and said that she heard my name being said, remembered my tweeting about the event.

When it was my turn to get things signed, we chatted about the books.  I told her that I hadn’t read them yet, but I was afraid to start because of the epic cliffhanger I kept hearing about.  She said that now was the time to read because there was a huge support system to help me get through it.  If I read it in 9 months, everyone would be like “Uh, yeah.  We know.”

vs1 vs2 vs3

After thanking Victoria, I stopped to say hi to Kiersten.  She immediately asked to see the Sir Bird/Chainsaw tattoo.   So I lifted up my sleeve to show her and she said we needed to get a photo.  I said that I need to fix my shirt so it wasn’t like “hey look at my tattoo” and she said that was exactly what we were doing.  So we took a few photos and then chatted for a moment.

By then, I was exhausted, so I lingered for a few minutes to say goodbye to everyone before skipping out to drive home.  This was a charismatic group of ladies and it was fun to see them all interact.  Now it’s time to dive into Victoria’s books. I might need someone to hold me.

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5 responses to “The time it was all about writing

  1. I love this post! I have read books from all of these authors and loved them. I adore Miss Cecil! I wish I could have been there to see this wonderful grouping of authors. Thanks for taking the time to transcribe their conversations, Stacee. I enjoyed reading their Q&A and learned a lot. :)

    La La in the Library recently posted: BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE FOR WRITERS #6
    • Stacee

      Yay!! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Cecil is pretty cool, I’ve met her a few times and I really like hearing her discuss her books. She’s got a lot of enthusiasm and I love it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Stacee

      Yes. COME TO ME. Eventually, it seems like everyone gets to LA, so I’m quite lucky.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. WHAT! You haven’t read any Victoria books yet? o.O AHHH! You must must must must do so Stacee :D I hvave read so many of her books, and they are all amazing. Sigh. <3 I haven't read A Gathering of Shadows yet, but soon :D So excited. Her newest book, out this summer, This Savage Song, is my favorite of hers :D SO GOOD. Damn. Aaaanyway. Your post is so amazing sweet girl :) Yay for getting to go to this event. <3 and yay for having lots of fun :D Sounds so good. And yay for signed books, hih. <3 Thank you for sharing :)

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