The time we were almost late, but not really

Posted May 6, 2016 by Stacee in Signings | 6 Comments

Even though we had just had the opportunity to see all four of the Fierce Reads ladies at YallWest, Michelle and I still decided to go. For me, I was super excited to see Marie and flail all over her for The Winner’s Kiss.

Traffic was a nightmare. We left San Diego at 1 and didn’t get to Pasadena until after 4. Past experience with this store has shown that if you’re not in the event area by 4, there’s a high chance that seats will be filled. We got up to the event and of course because we rushed like crazy people, the area was completely empty.

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We secured front row seats and went to buy books and find some food. When we came back to the event area, there was a table with all sorts of pretties. We were given raffle tickets for a giveaway for a chapter sampler of Crooked Kingdom.

The event started right after 6 and the moderator was Sarah Enni. She introduced the ladies and then started right into questions.


All of your stories are all fantasy. What made you write in that genre?

L: I’ve always been into sci-fi. I remember the Sweet Valley High books and thinking that I was on a different planet. There’s nothing wrong with being blonde and cute, but being smart was better.

M: There’s something fantasy about my book because I created it, but there isn’t any magic. Even when Arin is talking to the god of death, he’s really just talking to himself.

C: I don’t consider it fantasy. I was inspired by reality and society now. I chose to place it in a fictional country. I wanted it to feel universal.

H: I had a note in front of my computer that said “I believe in wormholes” so any time I wasn’t sure about it, I would see it and know I could come up with it. It’s the same emotions as a regular world, but maybe higher stakes.

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Did you go into your story thinking you wanted to say something about society?

M: Yes, I did. It’s interesting that there’s been a conversation about authors having an agenda. I do have an agenda. What drove me to write TWC is that you could have two people who are equals, but society puts them in different situations, it creates an off feeling between them.

C: I wrote this with anger and frustration. I got tired of public shaming and finger pointing at people who make decisions that aren’t necessarily mistakes. Social media makes it harder and these people are defined by it forever. I wrote this entire first draft in 6 weeks because I was so angry.

L: I feel like this is how we think books are actually written because of movies. There’s a big moment and then a writing montage. Maybe a coffee or whiskey drinking montage. For me, SoC is a reaction story. The Grisha books was a specific hero’s journey. I had a moment and realized that a lot of books in fantasy that do this. I wanted to talk about a group of kids who were not chosen ones. A group of kids who would be considered expendable. It’s the conflicts between them that will make them run into the ground.

H: I also have an agenda. A book without one is just words in a room. It’s just an explanation about grief in quantum physics.


Marie, Kestrel goes through a lot in the series. Let’s talk about how characters change.

M: Kestrel and Arin both live in a world that has placed them in different places and they have to change to become equals.

C: Flawed is the first book and Perfect is the sequel. She has to learn who to trust, but I wanted to keep the logical part of her. She thinks her way through everything. It’s not Hunger Games. She doesn’t turn into an ass kicking girl.

H: You have to keep the core of them the same. This is a stand alone and the next one is also a stand alone. Then you get asked “Is the next one going to be weird because the first one is.” As a writer you want to grow, but sometimes they’ll just say “Write the same thing, but maybe with a magic door instead of wormholes.”

L: The heist is only interesting if it presents something for each of them to overcome. It was exciting for me to approach it in that way. I feel like the in first book everyone is super repressed and in the second one, everything is going to come out. I love writing the tension. You only see a little bit, but there’s so much underneath. The thing you think you needed or wanted is what you didn’t.

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There is love in these books. Let’s talk about discovering characters and their baggage.

L: My favorite is the slow burn. Those moments of building the relationship, when you don’t have time to slow down and talk about it, it parallels real life. That moment when you look up and realize that the person means more to you than you first thought.

C: The slow burn is perfect. I can’t say much without spoiling. I don’t want to call it a love triangle.

L: People say that hate love triangles, but if you look at the best selling books, they all have love triangles.

C: These two guys represent the kind of person she was and the kind she’s growing into.

H: From a technical aspect, I hate writing kissing scenes. There’s only so many ways you can write “their tongues touched and they loved it.” It’s a lot of skin touching. I love having a charged moment and then making someone else walk in.

L: My favorite parts of books is where you want to make them kiss.


Briefly describe your books and if your characters had to wear an F, would it stand for?

{This has to do with Flawed and how/where the characters are branded, but I didn’t get the explanation down}

M: I think Kestrel would get one of each.

L: Kaz would have them all over. He’s not loyal to the society, but he is to his gang. If you go against your gang…well, I think the first couple of chapters of SoC explains how he feels about it.

H: Gottie would get one everywhere. And maybe the back of her eyeballs because she’s self-absorbed.

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How do you create your world?

L: I tend to think people as either GRRM or Tolkien. Tolkien had maps and language before he even wrote a page. Martin creates as he goes and that was mind blowing to me because that’s what I do. Characters come first, then power, and only after I start drafting, does the texture come through.

C: Idea comes first, then what character would find themselves there. I set it in Ireland first and then didn’t want it there. Only after I visited Prague did I realized it was the dark fairy tale type place I wanted.

L: Just don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with world building.

H: If you just do lots of research, the dialogue is doing to reflect that.

M: Kestrel is good at Bite and Sting and while I was writing those scenes, I didn’t know how it would work. I didn’t plan for it to be a playable game or what the rules were. In the book, the only reason it mattered was because it allowed characters to talk to each other. It’s an example to show that you don’t need everything to be perfect. In some parts, world building should be second to the character.


For Leigh: What inspired you to take the tack of dealing with sexuality in SoC?

The research for Inej being sold into slavery at a brothal was some of the hardest I’ve ever done. I didn’t set out to do it. I wanted to build a world where profit is the most important thing. I wanted to show the impact of it. Sex is a part of life. Putting a gloss on it doesn’t do anyone any favors. I’ve had people ask me if their 10 year olds can read SoC and I tell them no. They assume it’s sex and when I say it’s just really violent, they’re fine with it. It’s interesting to see the hang ups that people have.


Advice for writing?

H: Finish the thing. Get to the end of the first draft. There’s a lot of worrying about agents and editors and getting to the next stage and the next stage. The first stage is finishing it. You can get to each stage as you need to get to it.

C: When you write, you need to write your own voice. Write what you hear in your head. No one else hears that. No one writes like you do.

M: Nora Roberts told her kids not to bother her unless there was blood or fire. I tell this story to tell you to carve out some time to do it. Try to create some space for yourself.

L: I agree with all of it. There’s no expiration date on your talent. We fetishize youth. I didn’t write my first book until I was 35. Now I’m 102. If you have a story to tell, it doesn’t matter how old you are or what you look like. People will want to read it. Good stories are hard to come by and people want to discover them.

C: Can I add to not follow trends. Don’t look in a magazine and decide to write zombies because zombies are in. People say to write what you know, but write what you feel.

From there the signings started. Harriet was first and I apologized for not being very organized because I was wrestling with my stuff. She laughed and said I was just fine.

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I got to Marie and she knew me by name {that still delights me} and said it was nice to see me. I told her that we came up just to see her. I would like to say that I said more to her, but I didn’t. I was trying to not hold up the line…

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And when I got to Leigh I gave her the chapter sampler that I won. She asked if I wanted it personalized and we started talking about how it was a dirty tease. Somehow we all started talking about Kit Harrington and how she “got to taste his treacle tart”. After there were some ugly cackles over the phrasing we looked at her lovely nails and talked tattoos.

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And then we were done! As always, the Fierce Reads tour is amazing and fun and I have such a good time. Obviously you need to read all of these books.

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6 responses to “The time we were almost late, but not really

    • Stacee

      YallWest was a blast! It was fun last year too, but it was exceptional this year.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  1. EEEE, you are the luckiest sweet girl :D SO happy for you that you get to go to all the events. <3 Yet so jealous, lol. I wish I could have gone too :) I aaaaadore Leigh and Marie SO MUCH, and they just seem so so awesome. YAY for signed books :D Love the recap of their event. <3 You are awesome. Thank you for sharing about it all Stacee :)

    Carina Olsen recently posted: In My Mailbox #236
    • Stacee

      I also love Leigh and Marie!! They are so lovely and their books are amazing.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

    • Stacee

      I adore Leigh so so so much!! She’s always been so much fun.

      Thanks for always reading the recaps!

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