Maggie Stiefvater Interview
Maggie Stiefvater is kind of a phenomenon. She’s the author of many bestselling YA novels including the Shiver trilogy, The Scorpio Races, and the Books of Faerie. She’s also an incredibly talented musician of multiple instruments and an astonishing visual artist. Her latest series The Raven Boys debuts this week. Maggie kindly took a few moments out of her busy launch week to discuss her road to literary fame, her daughters’ favorite books, and the wonders of Mr. Toad.
Nicki Richesin: Hi, Maggie! Thank you so much for talking to TCBR. Like many of your readers, I discovered your work through Shiver in The Shiver Trilogy and felt I knew your sweet yet determined character Grace. How did it feel to end this series with Forever? It must have felt a bit bittersweet as I know you’ve sworn never to write another novel for this series.
MS: I was actually quite happy with how it ended; I always start a book and series with a knowledge of where I’m heading. So I could tell the end when I got to it. Now, that said, I was just sitting in my hotel room this morning and listening to one of the playlists I listened to while writing Forever, and I felt that little prickling of bittersweet. It was still not that I wanted to write more books in that world, but it was definitely nostalgia for those years when I was.
NR: In addition to being a gifted writer, you’re a remarkable artist and musician. Do your three talents get along in the sandbox or compete for your affections?
MS: Oh, they play nicely together, for the most part. No black eyes. Really, I feel like a story comes with all of these different components bundled together — the sound, the visual aspect, the plot — and it’s up to me to untangle it and translate it into different forms.
NR: You blog at http://www.maggiestiefvater.com/blog/ where you inspire and encourage your readers with posts you’ve tagged as “how I write” and you spur on beginning writers by helping them to find crit partners and by describing your creative process. How does it feel to be connected with your audience in this way?
MS: I can’t overstate how important writing blogs and books were to me in my early writer years. Not only did they provide the nuts and bolts of the business, but also, they inspired constantly by showing me what the life might look like on the other side. I’m a big fan of the idea of paying it forward, and I’m thrilled that my blog gives me that platform.
NR: You have a brand spankin’ new not-quite-an-anthology The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories (with your Merry Sisters of Fate cohorts Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff) coming out soon. Do you believe “1. Angst 2. Cars 3. Sarcasm 4. Kissing 5. Geniuses” is an accurate description of your stories?
MS: Yes. Yes, I do. Pretty much everything in that book is true, no matter how strange or sarcastic or hilarious it sounds. We are fairly predictable people, Brenna, Tessa, and I.
NR: You’re a mommy to two children you fondly refer to as Thing 1 and Thing 2. What are some of your family’s all-time favorite books?
MS: Well, currently, Thing 2 is having me read him The Wind in the Willows at bedtime. I think he sympathizes deeply with Rat (don’t we all). He’s also incredibly fond of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I’m not sure how many times he’s read it. Thing 1 has a terrible penchant for books that involve the word poo and fart, which I think is rather unfeminine of her, but oh well. She loves the Bad Kitty books, Ivy and Bean, and the How to Train Your Dragon series. They both love to be read to and even though, at 7 and 8, they’re quite capable of reading themselves, they will happily listen to me read Natalie & Naughtily and But No Elephants! any night of the week.
NR: If you could be reincarnated as any character in children’s literature, who would it be and why?
MS: Mr. Toad. He has all of the best toys. Or possibly Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. Somedays I feel halfway to him, anyway, what with all the green slime.
NR: Do you have an idea for a book or a story you’re yearning to tell that you feel you have to share with the world before you die?
MS: All of them. My head is stuffed with very urgent stories.
NR: You must be excited about your next novel The Raven Boys (love the title!). Could you please tell our TCBR readers a bit about Blue Sargent and the raven boys (Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah)?
MS: Well, in short, it’s about rich boys, fast cards, psychics, and dead Welsh kings. But in long, it’s a four-book series of the sort I’ve wanted to write since I was very young: an epic story told with intimate building blocks.
For more information, visit: http://maggiestiefvater.com
Nicki Richesin is the author and editor of four anthologies; Crush, What I Would Tell Her, Because I Love Her, and The May Queen. She is the San Francisco editor for Du Jour and a frequent contributor to Sunset, The Horn Book, The Huffington Post, and Daily Candy. Find her online at www.nickirichesin.com.