The time there was fake candlelight

Posted March 22, 2018 by Stacee in Signings | 4 Comments

Seeing Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is always a sure thing. When I saw they were coming back to Mysterious Galaxy, I couldn’t buy my signing line ticket fast enough.

On the day of the event, we got to the store at our usual time, hugged all of our favorites and then got some delicious noodles and pastries.  When we got back to the store, we flapped our books, made the epic decision of what post-its to use and eventually helped set up the seats.  The chairs filled up quickly and Michelle and I went about asking everyone about personalization.  Well, she did.  I chatted with like 4 different people.

Constance made an announcement that they were going to be a little cheesy when Amie and Jay came out.  The first time they were at the store for Illuminae, the power went out and the event was done by candlelight. When Amie came back to the store with Meagan for Unearthed, she made the comment about there not being any candles. So the lovelies at the store got some battery operated candles and passed them out to some of the audience to be turned on at her indication.

Amie and Jay and Kiersten White came out right at 7.  We did the candlelight thing and they laughed and took photos and then Kiersten introduced them.

K: How do you decide to build such a complex series?

A: We never would have begun if we knew what we were getting into.

J: We want to say thank you for everything you’ve done. This is something hard to describe and this series wouldn’t be what it is without you guys. The fear of showing up to an empty room never goes away. This is the series that made us full time authors. We are eternally grateful.

K: And today we found out they’re on the NYT series list with Harry Potter.

A: And it’s because people pushed it into other people’s faces. {Amie proceeded to tell a story about how a hacker told them she got into Amazon, found people who had 1-click shopping set up, and ordered books for them, including Illuminae.} We didn’t know what we were getting into. And when we did figure it out, we thought no one would buy it.

J: We sold it on 130 pages. We thought it was too expensive for any publisher to make. We expected no one to read it.

A: I think it would have been made different if we thought people would read it. There’s just so much that goes into each book.  You know the pages? They’re not regular book pages.  It’s special paper because the regular paper wouldn’t hold enough ink for the black black black pages.

J: These lovely covers are folded by hand. There’s half a million Illuminae books out there. Somewhere there’s a warehouse with a dartboard of our faces.

K: How do you decide what needs to be told next?

J: We plot about 100 pages in advance. If we go more than 100 pages it’s redundant. We meet in a pub and I will drink and Amie will eat fries.

A: We always plan to start right away, but we meet up and talk shit for two hours before.

J: We were friends first.

A: It’s a good think we like to talk to each other.

J: I thought about the twist in Gemina while on the train and I was pretty sauced and I sent a text to Amie.

A: Once I picked through the autocorrect I answered.

J: We’ll decide what type of moment it’ll need to be and then from there what sort of shape it’ll be. Each of us have characters that we’re the caretakers of, so once it’s decided, that person goes off and writes it.

A: Every once in a while someone doesn’t know something, so we’ll have to decide if we’re going to find a way to tell them right then or if it’ll be something else.

J: The IMs, it’s sort of real time. We make it up as we go.

A: Kady and I get so mad at Jay and Ezra.

J: It’s my super power.

K: Have you ever disagreed?

A: We get asked a lot of we fight. We don’t, but Obsidio did bring our first spirited discussion.

J: We go on retreat in Australia and it’s a room of a bunch of people and everyone puts on headphones and we don’t talk to anyone. We were planning tones and where it was going.

A: He’s team burn it all down and I’m team hey maybe some of the characters live.

J: She’s pretty good at arguing, I mean she’s got a degree in {enter something similar to negotiations here}. So we’re about 40 minutes into it and we realize we’re alone in the room because everyone left.

A: They said it was like listening to mom and dad argue.  But you don’t pick a co-author because you want drown out their voice. You pick one because you love the way you write and want it in your story.

J: Being a co author is like being married.

K: What is your favorite POV?

A: Everyone’s favorite is security camera footage guy. That was an unexpected fandom.

J: And that’s written by both of us.

A: I really enjoy Kady. Everyone thinks he’s dark and I’m light, but those sarcastic comments live inside me. I love Isaac Grant and I wasn’t expecting it. Hanna has the sass and fashion sense I wish I could.

J: I loved writing Ella. She’s a lot like me. AIDEN is fun too. He’s a way for me to ask questions of the universe.

Is your way of plotting just for this series?

A: We do it different when we’re separate. Jay just sits down and writes and is sometimes surprised at where it goes. I plot. With this, we have to meet in the middle.

J: I make it up as I go along. I will have key points of conflict but will have no idea how I’m going to get there. If I turn off to something cooler, I’ll stay that way. I once wrote 80k words and threw them all away.

As the cast of characters grew, what were some of the challenges?

J: We were trying to make sure everyone had a task to complete. Thankfully the way the other two were set up, everyone had a different skill set. The last 200 pages of Obsidio was like one massive fight scene and we needed to make sure everyone had a quiet moment.

A: Book 3 was about giving the two new MCs enough to do and yet still make everyone love them. The difference between drafting and editing was that I lost my father. I sort of buried myself in work and then there was a moment where I realized that it was just how it was now. There’s loss in Gemina and the characters in Obsidio are dealing with that and we were realizing that the characters are not okay. We needed to show the natural progression to see how they deal with it.

J: It was a balancing act and making a checklist of what we needed to achieve. Once we did that, the framework was done.

The women are so strong and bad ass and the men are not intimidated by it. What is organic?

J: That’s me.

A: He writes the guys. We did talk about it, that the women would be the hero.

J: Mentally for me, that’s the way I view the world.

A: Sometimes I have to explain that not everyone sees things that way.  No Jay, that’s called sexism.

J: The ladies are really the protagonists in the story and the men are supporting.

The audio books are amazing. Do you have any input?

J: We can say they’re the best because we don’t have anything to do with it. It’s like a cast of 25 people and sound effects. It’s similar to a radio show.

A: What we contributed was that we told them how to pronounce the names.

J: We gave them a few names of people we liked.

A: And a few hints of age or gender

J: We hear from a lot of people who listen to it while they’re reading it.  There’s things we can’t do on the page that can be done sonically.

A: And if you listen to Gemina, you’ll hear the Lollipop song. They literally wrote lyrics and sang it.

How did you plan out the words and how they were placed on the page?

J: I used to be a graphic designer and I was an art director. When we sold the sample, I jumped on photoshop and did a rough draft on how it would look. Some of the spreads are me because it’s easier to show them then try to explain it.

A: I didn’t know anything about design and now I know all of the jargon.

J: There’s a bullet hole in Hanna’s journal and we had no idea how they were going to do it. As the pages progress, the hole gets bigger because the bullets expand. We couldn’t find any photos. And then we found that our art director took a book and shot it with a rifle and then took it back with her to New York.

What was it like working with your editor on these books?

A: Some books get heavily edited. Sometimes the middle has to be rewritten or the entire book. This book was complex and we had to really consider everything. The drafts were really clean. Our editor would say things like “this scene needs a bit more of a emotional punch” and would leave it to us to find it.

J: She was helpful in molding AIDEN.

A: She told us to make it more Amelia Bedelia and we didn’t know what that was so we had to look it up. It’s like having the literal humor.

There were a few more questions, but by then I was just ready to sit back and enjoy the talking.  When the signing started, it didn’t take too long for it to be our turn.  Because their signings have gotten so large, they now have a rule.  They will sign all books, but only personalize one.

Hubs talked to Jay about some Slayer related things and I gushed to Amie about a certain page in Obsidio and how I think it’s my favorite part of the entire series.  We chatted about a few random things {mainly about how I wouldn’t see her for a while since she’s got 4 books to write.}

After we hogged the line for a bit and I hugged Amie, I quickly realized that I didn’t get a photo of them signing my book, so the one up there is of someone else’s stack. I then went and hugged my favorites and went home.

As always, Mysterious Galaxy is amazing.  Amie and Jay are amazing and you need to read these books.

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4 responses to “The time there was fake candlelight

  1. Danielle Hammelef

    I loved Illuminae and Gemina even more. Can’t wait to read Obsidio. This event would have been so much fun to attend. Thanks for sharing it with your readers!

    • Stacee

      yay! i hope you love obsidio and yes, amie and jay are always a good time!
      thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Stacee

      i’m also quite excited for their new series. i’m convinced everything they write together is magic.
      thanks for reading and commenting!

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