By January 14, 2013 3 Comments Read More →

Hostile Questions: Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater loves animals!!! Having put out a number of books on doggies (Shiver), horsies (The Scorpio Races), and birdies (The Raven Boys), she’s clearly in line for one of those hilarious guest spots on late-night TV where she brings out the funny orangutan and it climbs all over Jay Leno. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! What fun! Well, doggone it, that’s a first–I have nothing to whatsoever hostile to say to so delightful an individual!!!

Hold on… this just in… Ah, crap. Turns out she’s one of them fiction writers. So this whole whoopie-I-love-animals thing was just a cover? Sigh. She’s probably never even met an orangutan. What kind of sad life is that? All right, I’m fired up, let’s do this.

Just who do you think you are?

Alfred the Great, also known as Ælfræd, king of Wessex — that’s a bit of England, Daniel — in the 9th century — that’s before you were born, Daniel — defender against Vikings , patron of the arts, lover of education. He founded schools, Daniel, when other kings were smashing in skulls and performing blood eagles — that’s a kind of torture, Daniel. I mean, there’s a reason why they call him “Great” and not just, say, Alfred the Middling or Alfred the Well At Least He’s Not Aethelbald. Great.

Well, maybe I’m not him. But you’d be really impressed if I were, wouldn’t you?

Stiefvater in flameproof suit… cuz she’s about to get burned!!!

Where do you get off?

I don’t. I shall ride this thing until it breaks.

Also, this is not really related to your question, but speaking of riding things until they break, I’m not a fan of this Google car concept. Have you been following it? Google’s developed a self-driving car that will eventually render drivers irrelevant. I have all sorts of problems with this, starting with WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR SENSE OF SELF RELIANCE and moving through WHY NOT JUST USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT and finally ending with BUT GOOGLE MAPS SOMETIMES TAKES ME TO DODGY NEIGHBORHOODS AND LEAVES ME THERE.

It just seems so unheroic. Why can’t they throw that development funding into Floo Powder?

What’s the big idea?

Mine? Or yours? Or shared? I would say that we both share a big idea, and it is this, Daniel: naming our books things that end with “er.” Shiver, Rotters, Linger, Scowler, Forever.

This was not a big idea, but it was one of my worst: in 2011, I had the brilliant thought to write an April Fool’s Day blog post announcing that I was writing a fourth book in the Shiver trilogy. I said it would be called Litter, and I posted the following cover.
Half of my readers thought this was hilarious. A quarter were infuriated. And the remaining quarter believed me. Now, two years later, I still get e-mails about Litter. The hilarity has definitely worn off, and all that remains is the indignity and the anticipation. Or sadness.

One of my foreign publishers who shall go unnamed asked when they’d be seeing the manuscript. It turns out that Litter is only a hilarious title before Google translate gets ahold of it.

Every so often, I have to convince Goodreads that Litter is not really coming and they really do need to take it off my book page.

When I lay it out that way, it does seem like a big idea. Or at least a relatively involved one.

What is your problem, man?

I used to ask myself this question a lot as a teen. I was sort of obsessed with finding out precisely what was wrong with me. I wanted to know if it had a name, something that ended with “itis” or started with “Glenda.” And then I realized life was more enjoyable if you did things rather than just mulling over them. I’m still a fan of introspection — and of wearing black and frowning moodily — but I like being introspective while doing something else at the same time. So instead of contemplating why it is I am always dreaming of “something more,” I write a novel that works out the question of what “something more” might look like. Instead of spending time trying to decide why I’m such an adrenalin junkie, I buy a rally car and see if that solves the problem. Instead of wondering “does wearing this much black mean that I have a problem with the world?” I just contentedly wear 17 identical black tank tops while on book tour.

So. I will answer “what is your problem, man?” but you’re going to have to walk with me as I do. Also you should wear some aviator sunglasses. So that you’ll match me.

Haven’t you done enough?

I shall ride this thing until it breaks. I still have the Raven Cycle to finish — that’s four books total. And I really want to do a graphic novel. My sister and I are laying down an album. Slowly, but it’s coming. And I have to tell you, I really want an animation studio. I don’t think there are any animation studios owned by women. Or at least any animation studios owned by author women who also race cars, play bagpipes, and write novels. And it’s always nice to be the first at something.

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About the Author:

Dan Kraus, senior editor at Booklist is the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award.

3 Comments on "Hostile Questions: Maggie Stiefvater"

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  1. LOL
    I remember the Littler thing :D IT was amazing! hahahaah

    You go Maggie!!! :D Soon you’ll have that animation studio :D

  2. melielliott@earthlink.net' Melissa says:

    Maggie, come back to Burbank with your bagpipes! And bring some copies of Litter that you can autograph for us, okay? We’ll rent you a riding lawn mower to arrive in style if you’ll say yes!

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