Hello my lovely readers!
Yesterday I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting with authors Rachel Hawkins (author of the Rebel Belle series) and V.E. Schwab (or sometimes Victoria Schwab- author of the Shade of Magic series).
Victoria’s book A Gathering of Shadows came out Tuesday (February 23, 2016) and I’m so excited to read it! She came to Houston on her tour and it just so happens, one of my favorite authors was a guest there!
I tweeted out to both of these lovely ladies and they agreed to do an interview with me for my blog.
We did the interview in the Blue Willow Bookshop (a lovely little book store next to Dairy Ashford and a little past Downtown Houston) and we hid in a corner to do this interview for you guys. I’ve written down pretty much what they said, but not everything because who has that kind of time? I did leave in some parts, though, because both of these ladies are so funny and their answers were great.
Jasmine: Can you tell us a little bit about your books?
Rachel: I have written the Rebel Belle series which is a series about a Southern belle who gets super-powers and has to defend a boy who can see the future.
Victoria: I am the author of the Shades of Magic series about four versions of London and a magician who can travel between them and it’s about him getting his pocket picked.
J: Are you working on anything else at the moment?
R: Yes! I have a middle-grade book called Journey’s End coming out in October that I’m still kind of working on and it’s about some kids working on a supernatural mystery in the Scottish Highlands. And then I have a YA contemporary book that I’m working on right now.
V: My next YA comes out in July- it’s called The Savage Song and it’s about a city where violent acts bring actual monsters. And then I’m also working on a middle-grade set in Scotland- set in Edinburgh involving ghost hunters.
J: Do you have any doubts while writing or editing?
R: Yes! Every single day. I’ve never sat down to write a book without thinking maybe I don’t know how to do this anymore. Maybe this is the one were I just can’t do it or I’m not smart enough or I’m not good enough to make it work.
V: Every day. Do you want to know what the most interesting thing is? I retcon in my mind once I’m done with a book that book was a delightful process and nothing ever went wrong and in the actual writing and editing of that book, it was a nightmare. Everything went wrong and I had self-doubt every single day and then something happens when that becomes a book. I’m like, ‘that was such a joy to write and edit’ and everybody who knows me is like ‘sorry, did you forget like nine months of that?’
R: It’s like having a baby.
V: You do it to help yourself survive until the next project or you would never do it again, which is super depressing.
J: Are the covers of your books how you imagined them while writing?
R: No, actually. In my case, the covers are always way better. My brain does not work in graphic terms. Victoria probably knows a little bit more because she has a background in that. For me, I can’t even be able to describe to cover of my books so I’m so happy that there are people who’s job is to do that for me. So, no, but it’s always better. It’s always something surprising or interesting.
V: Covers are something completely out of the author’s control and you kind of just feel like you’re rolling the dice and just hope it doesn’t land snake-eyes on you and even if it does, you’re just kind of like, ‘well, crap’. I had no idea what the first book in the Darker Shades series was going to look like but then after that, I got to have a little more creative input in terms of what I want the graphics to look like for books two and three but they still blow me away every time. They just get better and better in my opinion.
J: Do you prefer tea or coffee when you write?
R: Well, I am a coffee girl. I love tea- I love it a lot, but I need the hardcore caffeine of espresso.
V: I’m a tea drinker. I don’t actually drink any coffee. Unless I get the occasional dark chocolate covered espresso beans if I just need that little boost. But, no, black tea all the way. No English, no Earl Grey.
R: That’s what we disagree on. Earl Grey is my favorite.
(This is the part where it’d be extremely hard to write down what they were saying because they were arguing about tea. As you can see, though, they were very passionate about their caffeine. :P)
J: If you were to take over the world, how would you do it? This was a question from Twitter.
V: This is how we’re totally different, right?
R: With a huge amount of glitter. Everybody would know who was doing it.
V: You would not know until I was already sitting on the throne. You would have no idea- you wouldn’t see it coming. And all of a sudden you’d be like ‘Wait, when did we get a dictator?’
J: How much do you feel you’ve improved within the last few years?
R: Yeah, a lot.
V: Every writer’s goal is you always want your next book to be your best book. You always want your books to do well so that you can look back and be super proud of what you’ve written but you also want to get better with every single book. I definitely feel like I have an exponential curve.
R: You’re always in this competition with yourself, which is a great thing. You’re not pushing yourself artistically unless you’re always trying to be better. Always trying to be a little more out there.
J: Was there a certain scene that made you laugh or cry?
R: In the Rebel Belle series, there have been a couple that made me laugh, for sure. I wrote a car chase in the first one that I found highly amusing. I hope everybody did too (I laugh, remembering that very funny scene in her book) Okay, good! The whole part where she’s yelling the ‘scoot, scoot!’ ‘I am scooting’ like that made me laugh as I was writing it and- see yay (seeing me laugh, remembering the scene). Nothing has made me cry yet- no I take that back. The end of Journey’s End, which had been a really hard book for me to write, ended up feeling really personal in the end and that one got me.
V: The harder it is to write, it’s interesting, I wrote this series- the Everyday Angel’s series- that one gutted me because it took so much out of me to write it. I’ve had ones that made me laugh, one or two have made me cry, I’ve had one that has actually made me have a panic-attack because there’s a scene in A Gathering of Shadows where Delilah Bard gets buried alive and that is my actual nightmare. She wakes up in a box and she cannot get out and the actual writing of that scene, to this day- because when you write and then edit and go back and reread over and over again- and every time I hit that scene, I would feel like I wanted to take a shower afterwards. That’s my biggest fear.
J: Do you act out your scenes?
R: I’ve been known to. My books are very dialogue heavy and I feel that dialogue is where I can shine a little bit. So, I have a tendency to mouth it aloud to make sure that it’s flowing.
V: Especially when you’re in pubic and you’re doing that and making facial expressions where as my scenes- I have a lot of fight scenes so I spend a lot of time standing in an empty house,thinking and blocking. I do block scenes like you would choreography. Dialogue is the thing where I say over and over to myself because you need to hit that linguistic rhythm. Writing, as it goes down on paper, sounds very different than spoken words and so dialogue is one of my most nit-picky things. I feel like it actually has to come out of somebody’s mouth.
R: I get really upset when I’m reading a book – unless it’s fantasy or historical- and they don’t use a lot of contractions and I’m like ‘Use contractions. It doesn’t sound right.’
V: And I’m one who listens to a lot of audio-books and it sounds wrong! I read things out loud because I need to know how it will sound in audio.
J: How do you personally beat writer’s block?
R: It depends. I’m a firm believer that there are two types of writer’s block. There’s the ‘I just really don’t feel like doing this right now’ and that’s going to happen a lot because writing’s really hard and doing almost anything else is easier. When that’s the case, I usually say to sit down and work on it for fifteen minutes and if at the end of fifteen minutes, you still hate everything and you just aren’t feeling it, you can walk away. Then there’s another kind where it usually means that the book is broken and you’ve sort of hit a wall and you have to sort of go back. A lot of times, I sit down with a notebook or a notepad and write out the plot really simplistically and I can usually see where I took a left turn, where things aren’t working.
V: She basically stole my answer. There’s multiple reasons but you really have to understand why you’re blocked whether it’s fear, boredom, or you don’t know what happens next. If it’s boredom, you need to up the stakes, if it’s fear, you need to push through, and if it’s because you don’t know what happens next, you need to step back and figure it out. I’m very big on figuring out why exactly you’re stumped and if it’s just that you can’t find the discipline, you have to push through. We all have days where that blank page is like ‘oh no!’.
R: I think that the days where writing is really good and it’s flowing really easily and you feel like you’re somewhere else- that’s actually very rare.
V: I’m so jealous of people who have those days frequently.
R: And I can’t imagine how they do. Even things that I’ve loved writing.
V: It’s just like one great day and five okay days. And just when you’re starting to lose hope, you have another great day and you’re just like ‘yeah this is awesome!’. It’s a very abusive relationship between the writer and the book.
J: And then our last question, where else can we find you online?
V: How is there another Lady Hawkins?
R: I don’t even know. And I’m on Instagram as Lady Hawkins. Those are the main places. I tried Snapchat for like five seconds and I’m like ‘I’m too old.’
V: Yeah, nothing made me feel as old as Snapchat. I’m like ‘I don’t understand. What do you mean it disappears? Why would I put work into it if it disappears?’ You know it doesn’t REALLY disappear- there’s somewhere in the internet where it is.
R: And why can’t I creep on people? It’s harder to creep on celebrities because it may go away. Like, what if I missed something I needed to creep on?
R: Oh, yeah, I’m on Pinterest too I just never use it. (I actually couldn’t find her Pinterest so if anyone knows, comment and I can edit this)
V: I never use it either. I end up making a really pretty book. The problem with Pinterest is that it’s such a time-suck that I get sucked in and it’s four hours later and I’m like ‘oh,no’.
Thank you again, ladies, for letting me interview you and put it up on my blog. I had a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to meeting sometime again in the future!
Here were some pictures from the signing that I thought I’d share with you. 🙂
I know some of you gave me questions and I’m really sorry if I didn’t get to ask them, but I hope you liked learning a little bit about these awesome authors!
That’s it for today, guys! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you very soon! 🙂 Keep writing, loves.