The time there were crowns

Posted June 9, 2018 by Stacee in Signings | 3 Comments

I was sent an arc of Furyborn from the publisher and even though I still haven’t gotten around to it, as soon as I saw Claire Legrand’s name on Mysterious Galaxy’s calendar, it immediately went onto mine.

We got to MG early as always and sort of ran amok. There was a photo booth area set up with a Furyborn backdrop and props like crowns and swords and a cloak.  Of course I forgot to take photos of that set up, but the crowns were amazing.

Claire came out a bit after 7pm and she said that she did a lot of school visits and was going to start by doing the same sort of presentation before going into conversation with Constance.  It would then be opened up to audience questions.

I keep this on my desk.  Can anyone guess what it is? {Someone in the audience said rejection letters.} Wow, okay, you guys are way better than the kids are.  Yes, it’s rejection letters from when I was trying to get Furyborn published a million years ago.

I came up with the idea for this trilogy when I was 18. I used to be an orchestral trumpet player and that’s what I went to school for. I was listening to Lord of the Rings and specifically to the track “The End of Things” and I had a vision of a young woman who was very powerful but very sad. It came to me very vividly. I started asking questions like why is she surrounded by fire? Who hates her, who loves her? Who does she love, who does she hate?

2006 is when I started outlining it and in 2008 I started writing it. It was horribly long. The fifth HP book is about 250k words long. The first draft is 340k words. I was in my happy place and wanted to write in this world forever.

Eventually I had an agent request the full manuscript and she sat me down and told me she was interested, but there was so much work I had to do. She said the book wasn’t ready and that I wasn’t ready but wanted to stay in touch.

So I wrote The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and contacted that same agent. She wanted to work with me and offered representation and I said yes, with the stipulation that Furyborn would be done at some point. So fourteen years later, here it is.

Will you talk about the title?

Originally, the title was The Glow of Years. I don’t even know what that means. I’m sure I was probably proud of it. The title of the first draft of this one was The Scepter and the Sphere. Then when we pitched it to the publisher, it was Ashborn. And then Ash Princess came out the month before and we had to change it and I really like it much more.

When you’re writing two strong characters, how were you able to keep them separate?

I had spent so many years with them, I had internalized them. It was really easy. Before that, I took a lot of writing exercises that would help me set them up, like writing letters from one character to another. Or little scenes, almost like fan fiction. I had to spend time getting to know them.

What was your favorite scene to write?

It’s chapter 41. It was so emotional because I was waiting to write it for years and I just burst into tears.

What was the hardest to write?

I hate writing action scenes and this is filled with it. I like quieter scenes where the characters are sitting around and staring and having feelings. The hardest was the seven trials and specifically the metal trial. Visually it made sense, but I had to make it translate to the page.

Inspiration for magic?

I was raised Catholic and you can see some of that in the story. I was inspired watching Star Wars and I loved the prequels, okay? I was fascinated by the force. It made more sense to me than what I was learning at church. I started to think about that in my private time.

In His Dark Materials, there’s talk of dust and that made sense to me too. You can see echoes of it. There’s some sort of power that we maybe don’t understand, but it connects everything.

If you were in this world for one day, without dying, and doing what you’d like, what would you do?

What I would really do is a spoiler…so I’ll say that I would hang out with Simon or Audric.  I just really love them. They have ruined me for all other men.

Do you know when you start if it’ll be middle grade or YA?

I think when I begin I know. I love middle grade. The characters are in an odd place where they’re not jaded teenagers, but not naive children.  YA is fun because you can go darker places and there’s more kissing. I’m a huge sap, I love writing romance. MG characters are insulated, they don’t know more outside of their family. YA characters are branching out and that’s fun to write.

How do you experience your story?

It’s very cinematic. I wrote all of book 2 to the soundtrack of The Crown. I can daydream while I walk and that’s sort of how I visualize it.

Is there anything you can tell us about book 2?

Book 2 is already done and it’ll come out next year and book 3 will come out in 2020.

I also have another book coming out this year. It’s Shutter Island meets Stranger Things with women and magic. I wrote it in 2016 leading up to the election and I had a lot of feelings. It may or may not be a giant metaphor for smashing the patriarchy. Spoiler alert, it is.

Was writing book 2 easier?

The book two draft was 255k words. It is a very long book, but we will cut it down and make it smaller. It was hard and being creative has been a struggle at times. I had some struggles, personally. My publisher was so amazing and would check in with me and gave me extensions when I needed them.

I spent 14 years writing book 1 and now I had 6 months to writer book 2. It was a challenge to add new stuff to the existing things. I usually like the second book of trilogies the most. It’s where everything goes wrong.

Have you done book talks with kids?

I do school visits with kids as young as 4th graders. I love talking with 4th and 5th graders because they’re so excited about everything. I love talking to all kids. I usually talk about how I became a writer. I talk about my anxiety and depression and how I wrote Some Kind of Happiness and how it’s okay to ask for help. We usually do exercises where we listen to music and then write short stories inspired by the music. Or characters building.

Favorite YA books or authors?

Laini Taylor is my hero. It was the only time I was so excited to meet someone that I cried. {She then told a story about how she was so nervous that she spelled Laini’s name wrong and tried to fix it by drawing a picture.}

Top 3 series is His Dark Materials and Harry Potter and Kristen Cashore’s Graceling trilogy. I pretty much love everyone on those shelves. I love Nina LaCour. I love Uprooted and I can’t wait for the next book. Sarah McCarry is underrated. Her books are very weird, very beautifully written.

Did you see a difference in writing this as an adult?

Pacing and structure were both a thing. The book Story by Robert McKee helped me because it used movies as examples. It’s important to leave some things off the page and let the reader figure it out.

Why did you pick angels?

I think it had to do with my Catholic background. Those celestial beings really stuck with me. My angels are not really like Christian angels, but the word brings an image for the reader. I didn’t want to use a made up word. I wanted it to be something that a fantasy and non-fantasy reader would both want. Something to provide access.

From there, it was time to line up for the signing. I was number 5 and when I got to Claire, I put the promotional board on the table and asked her to sign it.  I told her she could do whatever she wanted and she drew a unicorn.

I started giving her the books I had for her and she paused at my name.  I told her my Twitter handle and she asked if she could give me a hug.  We hugged and she said it was so nice to meet me after talking on Twitter. We chatted for a minute about various things and when it came time for Claire to sign my copy of Furyborn, she asked if I was a blood queen or a light queen. I said I didn’t know yet, but that red was my favorite color, so she signed with that one.

I thanked her for coming and told her that I hoped she came to San Diego again.

Claire was an amazing author to see in person. She’s a great storyteller and I can’t wait to start Furyborn. As always, MG is the best bookstore ever.

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3 responses to “The time there were crowns

  1. Danielle Hammelef

    Thank you so much for sharing this event with us and posting the interview too. Author events are exciting. Love the crowns.

  2. EEEE! I love this recap so so very much :D Thank you for sharing Stacee. <3 Thrilled you had a great time at this event :D I loved Furyborn so so so very much. Sigh. It was perfection. And I love Claire the very very most. Eee. She's the best. <3 You really must read all of her books ;) Hmph. Thank you for sharing all of this awesome. <3

    Carina Olsen recently posted: Review: The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters

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