we are SO thrilled
to bring you an interview with
the rock star authors of
last year’s multi-award winning YA Novel, Beautiful Creatures,
and its recently released sequel, Beautiful Darkness:
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
A few months ago, after Pushy got the chance to read an ARC of Beautiful Darkness, we decided to reach out to Kami and Margie to see if they’d be willing to do an interview with us in the lead up to the Beautiful Darkness Book Discussion that we knew we just HAD to do. They graciously accepted and so here are the results. We hope you enjoy it!
Bookworms: Now that you are in revisions for the third novel in the series, does that mean that you have a good idea of how the series will end? Did you know this from when you first began outlining the story in the beginning or is this something that has evolved over the past few years?
Kami: We knew how this part of the story was going to end from the very beginning. Sometimes the way we get there changes, but the major plot points and the end will remain the same.
Bookworms: You’ve mentioned that when picking the names of your characters you like to pick ones with hidden meanings. Did this love of a deeper meaning to a name inspire the idea that the Duchannes Casters don’t know their names until they are claimed or did you come up with that concept first and then determine that the characters’ names needed added depth?
Margie: We decided the Casters in Lena’s family wouldn’t know their real names until they were 16, independent of actually naming the characters. When we were developing the Caster universe, we came up with the idea and it appealed to us. It adds another layer of mystery to both the Caster world and Lena’s identity.
Bookworms: It appears you’ve had a wild ride from that day at the Mexican restaurant drafting out your idea on napkins to heading into edits on the third book in this series. What was the strangest or most exciting moment in this process for both of you?
Kami: One of the most exciting moments was when I received the first Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) in the mail, and the story we had been working on for so long was a book I could hold in my hands. Amazon naming Beautiful Creatures the #1Teen Pick and #5 Pick Overall for 2009 was also incredibly overwhelming.
Margie: The day the ARC arrived was also one of the highlights for me. When I opened the package, I actually cried like a baby. The YALSA’s Morris Debut Author Award nomination was another huge moment because the books on that list are selected by librarians, and librarians are superheroes to us.
Bookworms: The third book of The Caster Chronicles is in the process of being edited and as far as we’ve read there will only be four books in the series. Is it too soon to be thinking about what’s next for you or do you both have some plot bunnies running around waiting for their turn to be turned into stories?
Kami: The arc of this particular story is four books, and we are just finishing up the third. The last book in the series is really emotional for us, so we are trying very hard to stay focused on the story we are trying to tell right now. That said, our universe is a huge and wonderful place that we love to live in. So who knows?
Margie: Kami and I are writing partners, but we are also good friends and critique partners. Whether we are writing together or alone, we’re there for each other. So I suspect you’ll see some of both in our future.
Bookworms: Despite the fact that the Caster Chronicles are very much a YA series, does it surprise you that many of your ardent fans are adults? As YA fans yourselves, what do you think draws adults to YA?
Kami: I think our books, as well as lots of YA novels, explore the idea of finding a way to be yourself, yet still fit in. That’s something both teens and adults struggle with all the time. At least, Margie and I do. I also think there is a lot of crossover because a good book is a good book.
Margie: When we are teenagers, we are the most authentic version of ourselves. We feel everything more intensely. I sometimes think that, as adults, our feelings are really just memories of our feelings from that earlier time. I think a lot of adults enjoy YA novels because they take us back to that moment of authenticity, when we still felt things so wildly and passionately and deeply.
Bookworms: Many authors talk about how real their characters are to them, often hearing them in their heads or finding them driving the story in ways the authors never envisioned. Do you find this to be the case with your characters and, if so, which one is the most difficult to control?
Kami: None of our characters really listen to us, but I’m sure you can imagine how hard it is to boss Amma around.
Margie: Ridley is also impossible to control, and we never know what to expect from her. She just elbows her way back on to the page every time you scoot her off. Link is just as badly behaved.
Bookworms: Warner Brothers snapped up the movie rights to Beautiful Creatures right away (they’re so smart!) and Richard LaGravenese has signed on to write and direct. Have you heard any more about a script for that? Has Warner Brother’s optioned the rest of The Caster Chronicles as well? Is there any other news on this front that you’d like to share?
Kami: We’ve heard that Richard has finished the script. But Erwin Stoff, our producer, is currently in post-production on “Water for Elephants” with Robert Pattinson, so we know nothing can happen until he finishes that.
Margie: I know it sounds weird, but we really don’t ask a lot about what’s going on with the movie. We trust Richard and Erwin, and we’ve got our hands full just trying to stay focused on the books.
Bookworms: We know that you wrote Beautiful Creatures on a dare from your daughters, but it’s not very often that two women write a book together, and as well as you have. Did you wind up falling into a rhythm right away or did it take some time to get into a writing groove together? Did you write together before?
Kami: We had never written together before, but we had read each other’s writing. Since we didn’t write Beautiful Creatures to be published, we came up with our own crazy system.
Margie: Because of that, we came up with our co-writing approach very organically. It helps that we’ve been best friends for twelve years, and can finish each other’s sentences. But our process worked for us, so we’ve never tried to change it.
Bookworms: We’ve read elsewhere that you both share a love for YA novels. What do you enjoy most when reading a YA novel?
Kami: I enjoy the same thing about YA novels that I enjoy when I read any well-written novel. I’m always looking for an original concept, compelling voice and characters, and great world building.
Margie: I love to read YA novels where writers are pushing the boundaries and expanding the genre. And I’m a sucker for great voice, too.
Bookworms: We know you both love your Diet Coke, but we bookworms love our coffee. Danny in particular loves her Starbucks. Do either of you have a favorite coffee beverage?
Kami: Skinny vanilla lattes from Starbucks.
Margie: Non-fat lattes, with no sugar from Starbucks. On a bad day, make it a venti!
Well, we bookworms hope that there are few venti days in your futures! Again, we want to thank both Kami and Margie for being such wonderful interview subjects and for writing two amazing books that we all absolutely adore!
If you haven’t gotten your copy of Beautiful Darkness yet, please do so right away!
And check back here next week when we unveil our Beautiful Creatures Book Discussion Contest (and you know how we love a contest full of wonderful prizes!).
Then come on back, two weeks from TODAY to join us in kicking off the stupendous Beautiful Creatures Book Discussion!!!
released on October 12, 2010.
You can keep up with
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl & The Caster Chronicles
Join the fansite Caster Girls & Boys
Visit Little, Brown’s Beautiful Creatures website:
for excerpts, downloadables, a map of Gatlin & more!