The time there were bagpipes

Posted October 15, 2017 by Stacee in Signings | 5 Comments

Going to Maggie Stiefvater was always a sure thing. We ordered our tickets and were eagerly awaiting the event. I’ve met Maggie a few times at SDCC, but I’ve never heard her talk, so I was beyond excited.

Keiko and I got to MG eaaaaarrrrrrly. We chatted with the lovely staff, grabbed our usual seats, and settled in to wait.

The crowd started showing up around 11:30. People were buying books and milling around the store. The seats were put out around 1pm and they filled up so quickly. I then went around the store and started flapping and passing out post-it notes.  Within 15 minutes of the event starting, it was standing room only in the store.

Maggie came out just after 2 and thanked us for coming. She actually hid behind the podium while someone introduced her and then jumped out from behind it. She said that she realized that there were a lot of things available to do in San Diego and was thankful that we chose her. She then went through Trip Advisor and read some of the reviews for attractions in the city.

{Full disclaimer: this is no where near to being a complete recap.  Maggie is a fast talker and she’s hilarious and there were a lot of tangents.  I found myself setting my phone down to just watch and listen.}

People ask if this is the next book in the Raven cycle. I get that. I’ve been working on the Raven Cycle since I was 19.  I feel like it’s the only series I’ve ever worked on and that I’m always going to be working on it.  This is part of it, you guys are part of the Raven Cycle.  But no, this is a stand-alone.

I’m going to answer three questions: when did you start writing this book, why did you write this book, and what is this book?

When did I start writing this book?

You should know that I love travel. I love trains, planes, buses, go carts. I haven’t tried going through a picture frame, but it looks like A+++ travel. The draw back to travel is that I do a lot of travel by plane and the downside is that I always get pulled over.

TSA has two thoughts: this lady does drugs and this lady builds bombs. I always get my shoes taken off. I always have to plug in all my electronics. And I always get my hands swabbed for residue. For what? Body wash?

I love cars. I love driving cars. I love working on cars. I love looking at cars. I love driving cars. I always find myself wanting to go the speed limit…plus 12ish.

This is all backstory. I convinced my publisher to let me drive my entire book tour in my 1973 camero. 7000 miles from Virginia to California. Nothing could go wrong, but everything went wrong. The car literally shook itself apart. The tour became like Hansel and Gretel where I left parts of my car in every city. {there was a lot more to this…all about car trouble and no brakes, ending up in Del Norte, Colorado, and swapping ghost stories with a middle aged woman in the mechanic’s office.}

I had an idea about ATCS, but something was missing from it. It was a sense of place. As soon as I stepped out of the mechanics, I knew it was the place the book needed to written.

Why did I start writing this book?

I would have started with saying blindness. My eyeballs don’t like to work as eyeballs. They got bad really quickly and I was always in and out of eye doctors. They’re still really terrible. I have to go in every year to make sure my retina doesn’t go flying out into outer space.

I just went for my yearly check up and the girl had me take out my contacts.  She told me that my prescription was the worst she had ever seen.  She was like, “You can’t see me, can you?” And I was like, keep talking and I’ll triangulate.

Then the eye doctor asked about what I did for a living.  I told him that I wrote paranormal books and he said, “You should write about the killing.” And you could hear the capital K.  {Maggie told several parts to this story} He asked what my book was about and I said blindness.  He told me, “Write what you know.”

I thought about making it a horror novel. I was thinking about making bad things happening to eyeballs and if you read The Raven King spoiler alert, bad things happen to eyeballs. I thought my genre would be bad things that happen to eyeballs. I had lost my taste for writing something where everything descends to horror.

Salvation came in the form of my Tumblr inbox. I was getting questions like “should I go to prom or is it a sexist construct?” “Should I kill myself before I’m 22?” And I wondered why people were asking me. Surely there must be a different person who has their shit together.  {I don’t know what came after this…I was taking photos}

What is this book about?

People who have ever described my books to their friends…they know. Like if you’ve ever described The Scorpio Races: it’s about horses…not like that…they come out of the ocean…but they eat people…and they have legs on the land….and they race them. Oh and the main character is a loaf of bread. {She talked about ATCS, but I didn’t catch it.}

People asked why my inner darkness would be, I figured it would manifest as my cars. My darkest moment in my life happened in college. I went to college when I was 16. I was a suicidal teenager with OCD and I am still one of those things.  It isn’t about vanquishing the darkness, it’s about balance.

She then talked about playing the bagpipes and being famous in {I think} Bulgaria and how they gave her a set of bagpipes.  She brought out a set a bagpipes and said she was going to play for us, but that it was going to take a second for her to set up because they have to be strapped on.

From there, the signing started.  We got over to the line and I went up to Maggie first.  I was able to take the poster of the ATCS from the store and I asked if she would sign it.  Maggie laughed and drew an owl and signed it.  As I was giving her my books, I thanked her for coming and told her that it was one of the most fun events I’ve ever been to.  She said that she gets bored easily as an audience member, so she tries to make it fun for her audience.

While Keiko was getting her books signed, I went into the back room to get the poster from the Kristin Cashore event that I forgot.  We then made the rounds, saying goodbye.

As always, Mysterious Galaxy is amazing and this was another fun event.  Maggie was definitely worth the wait.  She was delightful and funny and so charismatic.  I can’t wait to see her again.


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5 responses to “The time there were bagpipes

    • Stacee

      She absolutely was. I wish I could have captured everything she said. It’s not even close to capturing her amusement and charisma.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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