One night I was lounging in my room, reading an awesome book. I was barely able to contain my excitement for the event later that evening. Of course, I should have been getting ready, but I was plauged with the same issue any avid reader experiences: just-one-more-page syndrome.
Suddenly my thermocapsulary dehousing assister nudged my foot. He quickly informed me I had received word from Macmillan in the form of a hologram.
It startled me and I realized it was none other that Obi-Wan himself delivering the message. I listened intently as he relayed exactly what was asked of me. It went a little something like this:
“Stephanie Sinclair, I have a message for you from Macmillan. We were informed you were attending the Fierce Reads event in gamma quadrant 4269, section 12, also known as, the Bethesda Library. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be the designated blogger and meet up with Fierce authors Leigh Bardugo, Marie Rutkoski, Gennifer Albin and Caragh O’Brien for a Q&A session before the event. Upon mission acceptance, you will receive all of the author’s books for a giveaway to your readers.”
I stared shell-shocked at such an amazing invitation.
“Sinclair!” Obi-Wan snapped.
“Oh, right. Sorry. I was just busy counting my lucky stars,” I replied sheepishly.
“Well, what say you then?” he asked.
“Hell yeah!” I responded. I mean, because really, is there any other response a blogger should give?
“Excellent. The package of books should arrive momentarily,” he said just as an owl hit my window.
I opened my window to retrieve the package and it’s just who I suspected. Errol.
“Mercy. Of all the geriatric birds to send, it’s Errol?” I muttered.
“Er… perhaps you should ready yourself and be on your way? The event starts in an hour.” Obi-Wan said.
“Gadzooks! You’re right. I need to suit up and pick up my bestie! R2-D2, fire up my ride!”
Once on the road with bestie in tow, I had to think swiftly for questions to ask. Usually, that kind of task is not difficult for me, but I found myself coming up with the strangest questions like: “Which Smuff do you closely resemble?” or “Red pill or blue pill?” and for some reason, I had Kat’s voice whispering the ultimate question: “Are you easily kidnappable?” I knew those alone simply wouldn’t do. They’d probably think I was a stalker or worse, that I sparkled! I quickly decided I would just wing it.
……Okay, so maybe the above didn’t quite happen like that, but it did in my head, which is pretty much the same as real life… er… sorta. But I did get to meet the Macmillan’s Fall Fierce Reads authors and was the designated blogger! If I’m being honest, I was really nervous about the Q&A session. But luckily, there was another person interviewing as well who
was way more prepared than I was asked awesome questions. While I had only ideas and scribbles for questions, she had two pages. I was so impressed. Later when she asked me what school I went to – because I probably look like I’m fresh out of 8th grade – I learned she was only 14! When I grow up, I want to be just like her… organized. But there’s plenty of time for that later. ;D
Here’s a little sample from the session, with a few photos from the main event:
**Authors, please forgive me if I misquoted anyone. I tried very hard to get everything right!**
Which was your favorite character to write?
Gennifer: “I like Cormac and I’m not gonna lie. And I know that he’s slimy and all that jazz, but there’s something about writing a guy that compulsively wears a tuxedo and throws back some bourbon. It really works for me. [laughter] It’s like the things that come out of his mouth when he opens it…”
Marie: “I had the most fun writing a minor character named Jims in The Shadow Society. The things that would come out of his mouth like, ‘You prefer your men sweet and empty like a hollow gum ball you could buy for 25 cents at a grocery store.’ [laughter] Those things… I couldn’t believe that they were coming from my brain and they just were fun to flow out onto the page.”
Leigh: “I think in book one I liked writing Genya because she’s sort of “chin up, fabulous” no matter what’s happening to her, but she also sort of has all this pain she’s carrying around with her. My favorite character of the whole series appears in book two and he’s a privateer named Stermhond who is… honestly I’d just like to write a whole book of him! Yeah, he would like for me to write a whole book of him just going on and on.”
Marie: “He sounds sexy, actually.”
Leigh: [laughter] “He’s sexy in a very particular way! That’s all I’m going to say for now.”
Gennifer: “When will we get this book?”
Leigh: “Umm… 2013. I hear you have a hook-up, though, with the publisher.”
Gennifer: “I do have a hook-up…”
Caragh: “My favorite character is Gaia, the main character. I know that’s not so imaginative to say, but I’ve just been fascinated with her from the first minute she showed up and delivered a baby and handed it over to the Authorities. I’ve really been fascinated to find out how conflicted she is as a person and what she has to do in these complicated moral situations. I just like how she’s not simple and I can’t always predict what she’s going to do. So it’s been really interesting for me to see how she has changed over three books.”
For Gennifer: Since weaving is a big part of your book, are you crafty in any way?
Gennifer: “I get asked this all the time and I do not weave. I’ve gone and looked at looms. That’s as far as it’s gone. I tried to crochet some baby hats for my daughter before she was born – I’m so proud of them – and I went to put it on her head and it was like a teeny, little beanie on top and it fell over… so that was the end of that. But I do sew. So, actually, I think the only thing that I maybe, possibly get right when trying to describe what the fabric of the universe might look like is how textiles weave together and the way things change. And I would rip up fabric.”
Leigh: “I want you to make a vlog post of you just [makes ripping sound].”
Asked by other interviewer: All of your books carry a general theme of government and authority and how far they should go dominated people’s lives. What are your personal opinions on this?
Leigh: “Whoa, that’s intense!”
Gennifer: “Who are you voting for in 2012?!” [laughter] “I think that’s always a very tricky balance. I think the difference in power structures and governments… when we are all exploring is when it becomes about power and control for the sake of being ambitious. That’s when we start to get evil and corruption. When it’s about ‘I really want to do the best for everyone else and I’m willing to maybe sacrifice some of myself,’ I think that’s what most of our characters are struggling with.”
Leigh: “I guess for me in creating a world, I think I actually have to play against… ummm… Alina takes a long time to come to her power. I think, in part, because she’s been so fundamentally powerless her whole life. And I think that’s something that’s hard for a modern teenager to accept because this is somebody who lives in a society that essentially a cast based society – I mean, you know, for all intents and purposes – where she has no mobility, she has no agencies, she’s never been able to make decisions for herself, she’s a refugee, she’s an orphan. Her place in the world has always been dictated by somebody else. She’s always known she was going to be drafted into the army. So then to have that power thrust upon you, I think it takes her a while to come to a place where she can even understand that she can use that for herself or some other purpose than what other people are dictating.
But I guess in terms of personal opinion, I think at the heart of the story there’s really a conflict between personal liberty and the good of the country or the good of the whole. And I’ve said before, Alina doesn’t always make selfless decisions. She doesn’t make patriotic decisions. I think she makes decisions this character would make at age 17 and she’s going to have to live with them throughout the trilogy.”
Marie: “I guess, similar to Alina, Darcy is somebody who has not really had a sense of her own authority for a long time because she’s been shuttled around in the foster care system and has gone from home to home. And is somebody who actually prides herself on the ability to stay strong through that and to rebuild herself in every new environment. I think in terms of how she fits in with the representation of authority in the book, is that she is somebody who sees two cultures clashing. Instead of maybe thinking of it in terms of authority being held over various people, I think The Shadow Society is much more about two cultures who very much hate each other and how they’re able to negotiate that and move beyond it.”
Caragh: “It’s a really interesting question. I think I’m interested in a place where government is no longer this authority that’s beyond us, but a place where individuals overlap. So in our own society, we think of politics being run in the government from Washington, but actually the school teachers are employees of the government and our police are employees of the government. And the people who run things in our own communities are people we vote for and are us.
So I think in Birthmarked, Gaia starts out seeing people on the other side of the wall as the people in charge and she gradually realizes that she has some responsibility and leadership herself, both in how she’s going to rebel or deal with people who are the authorities inside the wall. Then in the second and third books, she takes on a role of leadership. So I guess that mirrors my understanding of how I feel we should be participating in how we govern our own society. I think we do that. We just don’t always recognize it as the name because we think of government as these politicians, but I think it’s really us.”
For Leigh: If you had to choose between the Darkling and Mal, who would it be?
Leigh: “I would wait till book two before making any decisions.” [laughter]
Gennifer: “I hear the Darkling’s going to eat a kid in that book.” [laughter]
Leigh: [Slightly proud that I grossed her out :D] Umm… I…they’re my characters. I can’t possibly think of them that way. It just gives me the grossies honestly!
Gennifer: “You’re like their mom. Eww!”
Leigh: “I guess, if I had to pick one, I would pick the Darkling because he’s not 17, so I wouldn’t go to jail. Very creepy and weird.” [more laughter, possibly giggles] “Honestly, I’d wait till book two. There’s some new characters.”
Gennifer: “Ohhhh… options!”
Marie: “I like this lieutenant.”
Leigh: “The privateer? Who doesn’t like a privateer. I mean, a little Hans Solo… you know what I’m saying?
[We all nod]
Leigh: “I totally blushed.” [tons of laughter]
Gennifer: “I think it’s safe to say the rest of us are team Darkling.”
Marie: “No, I would choose Mal.”
Leigh: “You can’t take the Darkling to Brunch.”
Gennifer: “I don’t need to take him… okay…” [laughter]
Marie: “I think the Darkling is someone I would date and he would break my heart. And then hopefully, I would end up getting married to Mal.”
Gennifer: “That’s very practical of you.”
For Gennifer: In your first book, you challenged gender issues specifically as far as female empowerment. Are you still planning on following the same theme in book two?
Gennifer: “Yes and no. I think that for certain reasons we’re in a different situation, but I did a lot of exploring with the dynamics between women and women who are oppressed by men. And some of that will come into play in the second book, but there will also be a little discussion about how the guild actually oppresses men, that they don’t know about. ‘Cause I think that that’s interesting too. I don’t think gender dynamic issues should only focus on women. This particular book focuses primarily on women, but we learn other things are going on behind the scenes. Here’s your clue: If you’ve read the Tor.com short story, you know that there is a male version of the spinster. So men are very important in book two.”
For Marie and Caragh: What are you guys working on now?
Caragh: “I’m working on another YA trilogy. It’s a science fiction story.”
Marie: “I don’t want to say too much, but I have The Winner’s Curse and it’s the start of a trilogy. It’s going to come out in either fall of 2013 or winter 2014. It’s about a girl who’s an aristocratic member of a warmongering empire. And there are duels and balls and a growing rebellion.”
The very nice librarian informed us it was time for the event to start so we wrapped it up, but not before we took photos!
And here’s a little video from the audience Q&A about writing (Sorry that the video cuts off. It seems the signing was a little too exciting for my phone.):
Then, of course, there was the signing where I got to chat with Jennifer from Bawdy Book Blog, who is AWESOME. I can’t wait to meet up with her at the next event. I also met the very cool Rick Lipman – who is even more cooler in person – and he stole my precious authors away from me by the end of the event. *weeps*
A Very Fierce Giveaway
Okay, so this is a HUGE giveaway thanks to the lovely folks at Macmillan. And when I say huge, I really mean supercalifragilisticexpialidociously HUGE! I’m talking *signed* books of Shadow and Bone, Crewel, The Shadow Society and the entire Birthmarked Trilogy. And did I mention awesome swag?! Buttons, bracelets, nail polish and eye shadow. Oh, my!
This is all for one lucky winner and man, do I envy the person who wins this one! And to sweeten the deal, even though my wallet cries, “Why do you hate me?” my heart is says, “Yeah, baby! International giveaway!”
To enter, please fill out the Raffelcopter form below.
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