Laini Taylor, author of the the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, had a book signing at my local bookstore, Parnassus Books. For an hour before she signed her newest book, Strange the Dreamer, she and fellow author Sharon Cameron asked and answered questions. I was excited to see Sharon Cameron, who I’d forgotten would be at this signing. She is the author of one of my favorite young adult books from last year, The Forgetting. If you haven’t read that book, I highly recommend it! You can read my review of The Forgetting, here. I think she was supposed to be the moderator for Laini’s book signing, but she ended up answering some questions, as well as asking a few.
I thought it was interesting that the audience was older than normal for a young adult book signing. As expected, there were some multi hued hair colors in the audience, as well as Laini’s pink hair on stage. The questions seemed a little more serious, maybe because of the age of the people who asked them? No, What Harry Potter house would you fall in…, which was refreshing. (I love Harry Potter! but that gets old.)
Parnassus created a Snapchat photo, just for Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer, which my husband, Derry, and I took advantage of- see photo below. I played around with it on Instagram, and created this side by side. Pretty cool, right?
I did take some notes, but as usual, I will not be quoting the authors verbatim, but paraphrasing some of their answers. I’ll use SC for Sharon Cameron and LT for Laini Taylor. I hope you enjoy learning about them as much as I did! Oh, and I dragged my husband, who hasn’t read a thing from either of these authors, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself, and even asked a question of his own! Did I create a Fanboy? Is that a term? Maybe I should let that one go… LOL
SC- Where do these darkly beautiful images and concepts come from? LT- Some of these ideas have been in my head for years and years. She takes ideas from life, but also she’s reading things she has an interest in, so they all factor in to how her books are flavored.
SC- Settings fire my own imagination. Something that we have in common is that I just finished a book about a Lost City. In Strange the Dreamer, Laszlo realizes that a city has been lost when the name Weep replaces the city’s name in everyone’s mind and on everyone’s tongue. Laszlo is not your typical hero, he’s a Librarian. Is his character your ideal mate? (this was kind of a joke when she asked it, but Laini surprised me with her answer.) LT- Laszlo was kind of an alter ego of my husband’s so you could say I was writing a love letter to my husband. There was something so refreshing about writing about a nice guy. Usually I write very dark characters. (she seemed kind of shy when saying this, which was sweet.)
How does travel influence your writing? LT- I went to Prague on vacation with my husband, we were thinking of writing a comic book and thought Prague would give us some good imagery. We never did end up writing that book, but I used those imagery for my series Daughter of Smoke and Mirrors. For the Days of Blood and Starlight I used imagery from a trip she took to Morocco. I don’t think the book would’ve been as effective if I hand’t gone there myself and stayed in an actual Kasbah.
How long does it take to write a book? SC- Every book has been so different. Some take longer than others, but in the end, like everyone says about childbirth, the pain is worth it. LT- After I finished the trilogy, I had an idea to do a sci-fi historical novel. I pitched the idea to my publisher and spent four months writing that book. I kind of freaked out about it and suddenly started this book. I was behind my deadline because of the four months spent on that first idea, and this book wasn’t easy to write. It took me 1 1/2 years. I was always looking for those days when the writing would just flow. Some people think that if it’s hard to write then you weren’t meant to do it. I think that’s not true! You just have to work through it.
SC- Why Weep? Why that name? LT- There’s a good reason but you’ll have to find that out. SC- With that name, there’s the idea of despair and there’s something dark there. (LT- the story is about the aftermath and the courage to get out of that despair. I didn’t want to write a villain or an action story. SC- there’s a gentleness to both heroes in this story that you wouldn’t characterize as badass.
SC- Do you think about your audience as you’re writing? LT- I think I got stuck in my teens, at about 17, because I’m interested in what that age group is interested in. I do try to not create false expectations. I’ll have an adult novel come out soon with characters in their 20’s so I can handle sexuality differently, and other more adult subject matter. SC- For me its about what serves the story and not who will read it.
There were a lot of other questions about process and pantser vs plotter, which I find interesting but am not sure you all would. If you are, write a comment and I’ll tell you what they said! I love going to these events because it allows you to see a different side of the person writing a story. Their insights into characters make me view them a little differently. I bought a copy of Strange the Dreamer and am reading it right now. It’s hard not to see that he’s a love story to her husband. That’s so sweet!
I hope you enjoyed these insights into Laini Taylor and her new book! Have you been to any good book signings lately?
I’ll leave you with a couple of photo’s of me with Laini and another with Sharon Cameron. Until next Sunday!