The time we helped set up

Posted August 3, 2016 by Stacee in Signings | 8 Comments

Going to anything with Mary Pearson is always a given.  I’ve been to her launch parties for The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal, so going for The Beauty of Darkness was a sure thing.

Michelle, Keiko, and I got to the library around 5pm.  We were supposed to be interviewing Mary before the event started.  When we checked in with the library staff, no one knew anything about it and told us that the even space didn’t open until 30 minutes before the event.  We wandered around the library and had a mini photo shoot with Mary’s books.

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We ended up sitting outside near the meeting room and just chatting.  Mary got there around 5:45 and apologized for being late while hugging all three of us.  Instead of having an official interview, we just talked.  She told us about her recent trip and meeting readers in Amsterdam.  We told her about our jobs.  It was all so very nice.

They let us into the  space shortly after that and we went into help Mary and Mysterious Galaxy set up for the event. There were delicious crown cookies and cupcakes and all sorts of swag.

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Mary started talking at 6:45. She gave some special shout outs to family. TRC is about a strong character and my daughters are the epitome of strength. They have been great role models for me. {There was a mention of the sons-in-law, but I didn’t get it} And most importantly my husband. I thank him in every book, but I couldn’t have done it without him.


Then we started a trivia game. Mary became referee princess and asked for two volunteers.  They each got a flower crown and two lifelines. One became Lia and one became Pauline.  Mary would then ask questions or give quotes from the book and the girls had to answer.


And that’s why it took so long to write these books. If you forget one thing, someone will get you. As I was writing, I would have to go back and reread details. When I wrote Beauty, I had to go back through both of them. We’re talking over 1000 pages.  It’s a good thing I could search anything on the internet.

Mary then gave a brief synopsis of the series. She said that she couldn’t talk much about Beauty because it would ruin everything. Over the three books, all of the characters grow. The series is all about the deceptions that we show other people and the real person we are inside.

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Did you cry when you were finished writing it?

I didn’t cry, I clapped. As I was writing Heart, I knew how the story would go. I sold it as a trilogy. I told my editor that it wasn’t going to actually go like the outline. They did change, I’m not a huge outliner. A character would come into the story and take over. I didn’t expect Pauline would have as big of a part as she did.

As I was writing Heart, I got the idea for the ending and I had to write it down, but I wasn’t sure if it would fit. I still had a lot of book to go.
I hope it’s an ending that other people like. I really like it. I think it fits.

I’m 10 and in 5th grade, am I old enough to read it?

Every reader is different. It’s up to you and your mom. I’m all for books for any age, but you might get more out of it when you’re older.

Was it easier to write the setting in the last two books?

Yes. It was a little bit easier…it appears to take place in a medieval world. The second book was a lot of fun to write. Venda was a dark dark city and it’s so much easier to write darkness than happiness. A kissing scene is harder to write than a fight scene.

I thought book 2 would be easier and it wasn’t. There’s all sorts of baggage. Then I thought the last one would be so much better and no. I got worried because it was long and it was late. Plus my publisher asked if I could write a short story. At first I said no because I was already late.  But then I realized it might be something I needed.  I had fun with it.  So much fun, in fact, that the short story became a novella.  It was too late to make Beauty two books. Don’t be afraid, but it’s 688 pages.


Is there any real city that inspired Venda?

I looked at real slums in different cities to see what they were doing…like eating rats. There’s a particular city in our county that will remain unnamed. Terravin is loosely based on fishing cities and the brightly colored houses in Italy.

What is your writing process and how has it changed with each book?

That’s really important to note: each book needed something different. I have an entire library of writing techniques. When you’re a writer, your creative brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s. Over time, it has changed. I used to sit down at the computer and just write. Total seat of your pants, organic. I would work them out in my head instead of on paper. Eventually I would start working it out on paper. There were post it notes all over my office. Save the Cat really changed how I did things. Now I pick and choose how I go along.

For these books, I would write 12 hours a day. I would start early and work until 8pm or so. Not constantly, I would be taking little breaks here and there. I have a daily word count that I have to do. I divide how many words I have to get to reach my deadline and that’s how many I had to hit.

When did you get the idea and how long since you wrote the first one?

Whenever I’m finishing one book, the new ideas starts swirling. I had a laundry list of things I was curious about. How with one generation we can lose everything. We have all of these books and stuff, and if we didn’t have them, how would it be passed down? Another was wondering about a gene that wasn’t used that in another time or place might be used. Another was the idea of time being circular instead of linear.

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How many characters have you killed?

You’re digging for clues. I think this is the first series that I’ve killed someone. {There was then some talk about a certain character and some things that happened to him.}

From there the signing started.  Mary announced that she would be signing in the back, so everyone sort of rushed to line up.  Then she looked around and realized there wasn’t really anywhere set up in the back to sign and decided to move the table at the front.  We ended up being first in line completely on accident.

I took the mega poster from MG and asked Mary to sign it.  Then I started gushing about how I was blown away that I was in the acknowledgements.  Mary smiled and said that she was happy I was surprised and that she had to do it because I made her smile every day.  She also said that she hoped I liked the book and that there was enough kissing in it for me.

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We all took a photo together and while Michelle got her things signed, I ran in the back to tell Constance from MG that we were leaving.  As always, Mary is delightful and I can’t wait to dive into Beauty.

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8 responses to “The time we helped set up

    • Stacee

      I’ve been pretty rabid about the series from the beginning. Now that the ending is here, I’m not ready for it. I hope you love them when you read them!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  1. Again, I sound like a broken record, but I love these author talk recaps; even for authors I haven’t read. I like hearing about their inspirations and motivations. And again thanks for taking the time to do these. :)

    La La in the Library recently posted: THE SUNDAY POST
    • Stacee

      You don’t sound like a broken record, I’m truly happy that you enjoy them as much as you do.

      Thank you for always reading and commenting.

    • Stacee

      I’ve been to all 3 of Mary’s launch parties for this series and each one has been more fun than the one before it. And yes! Book 3 is massive. I’m still working on it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

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