The time there were swords

Posted August 8, 2018 by Stacee in Signings | 1 Comment

Going to see Mary Pearson is always a sure thing.  As soon as tickets were available, we ordered! And then Robin LaFevers was announced to be in conversation with Mary and I was so so so excited.

I got down to Mysterious Galaxy earlier than normal.  I wandered around and bought some books and chatted it up with my favorites.

I saw Mary and Robin get to the store and I went into the back room to say hi and give hugs.  We chatted for a minute and then I headed back to the audience.  The ladies came out right around 7pm.

They both talked about how much they admired each other and then Robin started asking the questions.

R: When did you realize you had more stories?

M: From the minute I started writing Kiss, I was wondering about things. I didn’t draw this map, but I drew a very rough sketch. I started wondering what happened in various countries. I didn’t think I would actually write something, but when I wrote Heart, I did research about orphans. It made me start wondering about a different kind of hero. A little seed took hold and everything started coming together.

There’s a whole mythology that goes with the Remnant Chronicles. I put in a lot of Easter eggs, but realized I could reveal a lot more.

R: When you create a fully developed world, you have questions. We won’t tell, but were you a thief on the streets?

M: {i missed some of this answer.  What I got was:} She wasn’t an art thief, but just one on the streets. She needed to get a meal.

R: Are those skills you have had all your life?

M: Well, I did steal a book once. I was four years old and I just walked out with it. I don’t think I could even read, but I was enthralled with it.  My parents saw me with it in the car and went back to the store and bought it for me.

M: I’m just amazed that we both had these trilogies and now we have spin offs. Did you plan that?

R: I love the idea of the older nuns and the idea of what brought these women to the convent. I had a health issue and I was stuck on my back for 18 months.  I wasn’t sure I was going to write again because my back issue was from being hunched over, constantly writing.  But then I starting hearing this voice in my head.  It ended up being Sybella.  She was telling me that her story wasn’t over and neither was mine.

M: So you asked me, were you an assassin?

R: I went to Catholic school. 5 years old with the uniform and the nuns had thick rulers. I always wondered what they were doing. They were so mean to us, they couldn’t just be praying.

R: What scene came to you first?

M: This one has two viewpoints. Kazi came to me first. Lia was a princess and she had to sacrifice everything to achieve her goals. Kazi has nothing. She doesn’t have family or a home. The scene that came to me is a spoiler, so I won’t say it, but that is what I saw first. I just had to figure out where it went in the story.

R: Someone told me it’s like a striptease. Just reveal a little here and there and make them dying for it.

M: It’s like when you meet someone in real life. The characters don’t just spill the beans when you first meet them.

R: Or if they do, you move seats.

R: What did you first know about Jase?

M: Jase is a bad boy, but not in the regular way. He will keep his promise, no matter what. We judge people by our lives, when we have never walked in their shoes. Jase is the leader of a sort of outlaw gang and he’s just been named the leader. He needs to keep everyone safe and sometimes he has to cross the line, but that’s just what has to be done.

R: He’s taking care of his own

M: He doesn’t do things that I would have done.

R: Do you develop one character around another?

M: I knew certain things. Kazi was an orphan and that means she acts a certain way. Jase has a huge family and maybe I did that on purpose. She has nothing and he has…

R: a litter

M: Yes.

R: I read somewhere that your favorite scenes are writing the kissing and fighting scenes. What is your least favorite?

M: I’m sure you’ve heard all sorts of the rules like don’t have more than 3 people in the same room.

R: I’ve never heard that.

M: there are scenes where there’s Jase’s entire family or Kazi and friends. I wanted to make sure they all had a distinct voice.

R: one of the hardest things for me was that there so many big players. It’s this historical background and I needed to make sure my characters didn’t disappear.

Do you ever look back and realize they’re more autobiographical?

M: The miles between is a book I wrote after Jenna Fox and I started writing about this girl. It was supposed to be fun and coincidental. My second daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer and it like pulled the rug out from me. I had this anger and I realized Destiny was very angry.  But it all had a happy ending and my daughter is fine.  She’s in the back smiling at me right now.

What about you?

R: every book and I never realize it. I have another book for young readers. {Robin talked about the synopsis.} I realized that my parents did sail off to Tahiti and I have no conscious memory of it. I really wanted to write a relationship that opened up the world because that’s what I found with my husband. Although, with my catholic background, it could only be opened, right?

I always tell writers that even if you’re never published, you’re processing things. You’re learning things and processing something important.

M: you learn things as you go. If I hadn’t written a previous book, I wouldn’t have been able to write the book after it.

R: What’s your superpower?

M: I have the look. I was a teacher.

R: Do you write every day?

M: Usually. I start in the morning and will write off and on all day.

R: I write 3000 words then maybe nothing for 4 days. And then another 3000 words.

M: I try for 1000 a day.

R: how much of your writing time is thinking?

M: a lot. I try to walk every day. It’s amazing to see how a little piece of dialogue can change everything.

Ever think of writing outside of what you do?

M: I’ve thought about adult books. The problem is that I have a lot of ideas.  If I could write faster, I would have a lot more books.

R: I’ve written young readers and middle grade and now YA. everything I write ends up being in fantasy. Even if it’s contemporary.

Both of you write strong female characters that have skills that may be considered masculine. How do you balance it?

M: I just think of real women. Real women are feminine or not. They come in all shapes and sizes. Women are extremely capable. Some women are stronger than men. We have female soldiers and they kick butt.

R: when you start doing research, you find a lot of things were done by women, but male historians don’t write those histories. We’ve heard of Joan of Arc, but several women held those charges. Women are doing those things. And dealing with castle stores and working along side of the men in the fields.

What challenges were there when writing within the same world?

M: in your case, it’s reoccurring characters?

R: several reoccurring, but also new ones. The hardest thing for me is that the story should be about the most transformative moment. Since I already did that, I wondered how I kept that going and realized that she’s only 17. It was hard making sure I stayed true to her, but expanded on the world.

M: the hard thing for me is that we do see a glimpse of old characters. I needed to make sure they didn’t overshadow. It’s the same world, so I couldn’t pretend they didn’t exist.

R: and there are spoilers?

M: there are spoilers galore. I didn’t think about it until I talked to you.

R: but it’s vague.  I don’t think anyone is going to read this one and think “oh, now I don’t have to read the other series.”

Best piece of writing advice?

M: it came from an illustrator and he said learn to be your own best critic. It means stepping away from a book and seeing the weak spots. You still need outside sources. On the other side, don’t be so hard on yourself that you never finish anything.

R: and distance is the best thing for that. If you can set something aside for a month, those things will slap you in the face.

M: what’s the best piece you’ve gotten?

R: protect the work. Whether that means stay true to your story or writing to the market. Whatever that means to tell the story you want. Ignore the thing that says you can only have 3 people in the room or the people that say you have to write every day.

Mary and Robin had a few things to give away and they did a modified drawing for a raffle.  Robin had an arc of Courting Darkness and even though I offered bribery, I didn’t get it.  However, I did win a sword and a gift certificate to Mysterious Galaxy and that was amazing!

The signing started after the raffle.  I had a low number, so I got up to Mary quickly.  We chatted for a minute about her tour starting before I thanked her for coming to the store.

And then I got over to Robin and asked if I could squeeze her one more time.  I already had everything signed and told that it was lovely to see her.

If you haven’t read everything Mary and Robin have written, go do it now.

Tags: , , , , ,

One response to “The time there were swords

  1. YAY :D Thrilled you had an amazing time at this awesome event Stacee. <3 I so wish I could meet Robin too. She is SO awesome :D Love all the answers. <3 Thank you for sharing love :)

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.