The time it was a tour of her own

Posted October 20, 2018 by Stacee in Signings | 1 Comment

When we heard about the signing with Claire Legrand, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Elana K Arnold at Mysterious Galaxy, it was a sure thing.  I love all three ladies and I was excited to see the three of them together.

We got to the store after our regular routine of eating and having shenanigans at Target and getting Starbucks.  Once we got there, we grabbed seats, chatted with our favorite booksellers, purchased all the things, and sort of socialized.

The ladies came out right after 2pm and Constance briefly introduced them before having each of them talk about the synopsis for their books.

C: All of our books have terrible things happening in them, but I think they all have hope in them.

Is there a specific message that a character’s narrative has in it?

E: my job is to tell a story, not tell a lesson. If you have a lesson to teach, just say it. Hopefully during the drafting or revision, you’ll find what you’re trying to say. The trapdoor will open and you’ll have your theme. The process of writing can tell you what fears you might have.

AM: I love writing fairy tales with brown girls. In terms of themes, readers are a lot smarter than I am and will tell me what the theme is. And I’m okay with that. People usually tell me what my books are about and they’re usually right.

C: I think it’s a magical thing. For me, I’ll start with one thing, like the setting, and I’ll start there. I’ve been fortunate to have really smart editors who ask smart questions and will help me figure it out. I think we all write about terrible things. I like writing that because it helps me explore my fears and maybe it’ll help young people do the same.

Do you normally start with setting or characters?

C: for me, it depends on the book. For this one, it was a feeling. I wanted the texture to be a certain way. With happiness, it was the character. With Winterspell, it was setting.

E: for this book it was plot. I wanted to know what if there was a kingdom that operated this way. This one was all pleasure, it was all plot.

C: and it feels that way. It’s a gorgeous fairy tale on the surface, but there’s horrible things underneath.

AM: character and setting often develop together. In this one, when the trees are telling secrets, you have to know what the secrets are.

You all have capacity to write various genres. What do you feel dictates what your setting is?

E: for me, it’s whatever the story needs. For this one, it was archetypes, not world building. I know for some people, they feel like they need to be a branded author and say that they’re going to write so many books of one type before they get to the one they really want to work on. Building an audience and following when I don’t know if I’m going to be dead before I get to write the book I want…(shakes head)

AM: this is all about questioning fairy tales and small towns. The gossip mill sort of becomes its own character. It’s a lot about the environment. I love magic and it’s always going to be part of my story, it’s just how it’s going to fit.

C: a lot of what they said it’s true. A lot of how I look at the world is through a fantastical lens. It usually veers towards fantasy. Furyborn is pure high fantasy. I can’t imagine writing a purely contemporary book because I’m always looking for magic.

What was the first thing that inspired you to write?

C: I wrote a lot when I was kid. I was obsessed with horses. I read all the horse books and saw all the horse movies and even tucked blankets into my pants to be a tail. I was always crafting stories in my head, even when I wasn’t writing them down.

E: I think humans are just story tellers by nature. We’ve told stories as long as we could. I’m a non-traditional home-schooler. I believe that if you leave kids alone, they’ll continue to learn on their own. But, I think everyone is a storyteller. {she then told a story about a class she was taking and how she was told by the teacher that what she was writing wasn’t correct. she stopped telling people she was a writer and didn’t write anything for two years.}

AM: I took a long time to become a reader. I love it, but I’m a slow reader. I’ve always love fairy tales and familiar, communal stories that you don’t know if they’re true. The love of stories has always been there.

What what your highest high and lowest low when it comes to this book?

C: just one? There’s a chapter in here called the crown and I loved it. I had so much fun writing it. I had this perfect song and it was on loop and everything manifested exactly how I envisioned it. And the low was my first round of edits made me think that I was a horrible author. My editor is so very smart and she asked great questions.

AM: it’s not one of my books unless there’s a lot of food and cooking porn. Or when the nicest guy in the book punches someone in the face. I was really excited to write about periods. I was scared to put this into the world, but as I did, I realized that I wasn’t alone. There are so many people — and I say people because there are trans and non-binary people who menstruate — who are going through the same thing. The low was that I’ve never written a cis-male before and I struggled with it. He was the last voice to click into place.

E: this book was such a pleasure. Some aren’t. The idea and structure was a pleasure. The characters were so much fun to write. The hard thing was waiting to see if my editor was going to buy it. It was so long, it made me start to wonder if it wasn’t good. Almost everything in the first draft made it into the final book. Plus 14k words. It came out so clean.

If you could have a day in the world of your book and you don’t die, what would you do?

AM: besides avoid swans?

E: there’s a lynx kitten in this one and I would spend the day in the field with the kitten.

C: I love creepy old houses and there’s one here called Kingshead and I would spend the day exploring.

AM: a lot of this book is about family. I would spend the whole day with the lesbian grandmothers. There are a lot of magical landscapes, but they’re dangerous.

Anything in particular you would like readers to take away from the book and what are you working on now?

C: I don’t want to tell anyone what they should take. I hope they’re encouraged and comforted by the relationship between these girls. They help each other and love each other. I wanted to write something about girls supporting girls. My next book is King’s Bane, it’s the sequel to Furyborn and comes out in May 2019.

E: it’s puts language into lived experience. I had a lot of things happen to me and my body and I didn’t know what to do with them. It’s a primer for sexual abuse. It wasn’t something I planned on doing, but it is. I hope it empowers someone to own their experience and transform them to art. I’m working on a trilogy called A Boy Called Bat and the last book comes out in March. I have another YA coming out in 2020 and it’s written in second person.

AM: reclaiming your stories. The world tells us what we are and what we’re supposed to be and it takes a while to realize the mirror we’re looking at is actually a picture someone else drew. I’m queer, I’m Latina and those are labels I’ve chosen for myself. It’s all about labels you choose vs what someone tells you. What I’m working on now, I can’t tell you the title, but the working title is Medieval Queers and it’s the gayest ending I’ve ever written.

I sort of stopped typing after it opened up to audience questions.  After a few more questions, it was time for the signing portion to start.  I got up to Anna-Marie first and sort of gushed about how much I loved her books.  We chatted a bit about her books and where we had met before and stg, I made a damn fool of myself.

And then I got over to Claire and thanked her again for coming to the store.  We talked for a minute about the cover for Sawkill Girls and the cover for Elana’s Damsel and how I loved seeing the three of them together.

After thanking the three authors one last time, we said goodbye to our lovely favorites and made our way home.  These three authors were so much fun together.  If you haven’t read anything by any of them, I highly highly recommend it.

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One response to “The time it was a tour of her own

  1. Ahh, I am so so so very jealous of you for having gotten to meet Claire Legrand :D I wish to meet her one day too, so so so very badly. <3 Such a huge fan of her, Sigh :) She is the very best. And ahh, I loved this event recap so so very much :D Thank you for sharing Stacee. <3 So glad you had such an amazing time, eee :D Also, I hope you love Sawkill Girls. <3 I loved it SO VERY MUCH :D

    Carina Olsen recently posted: Review: Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

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