The time it was all a game

Posted February 1, 2017 by Stacee in Signings / 5 Comments

I don’t think it’s a secret that Caraval by Stephanie Garber was my favorite book of 2016. So when her tour dates were announced, going to the launch party in San Francisco seemed like a great idea. Even though she was going to be in Pasadena, which is about 90 minutes away, instead of 8 hours.

Hubs and I got on the road after 7am and headed up.

We made a couple of stops and finally made it into the city around 2:45. Well, we made it to Hayward — which is about 30 miles away. A friend has a music shop there, so we stopped to surprise him.

We got to Kepler’s around 4:45, but GPS got us lost and we ended up driving around the building because we couldn’t find parking. Eventually we did and got right into the store. I picked up the pre-order books and went into the event area.

Angela from Kepler’s was going to save front row seats for Keiko and I, but we beat her there. But I took the signs {because who doesn’t love reserved seating?} and put them on our seats. Before settling in, I saw Stephanie and as I was sneaking towards her, she asked if I was me and we hugged and chatted. And then I asked where her sister was, so I could get the special prize.

Stephanie told us where her sister was and we ran next door and interrupted her dinner to tell her Legend sent us. Her adorable sister handed out bookmarks and soap and UK pretties. I got the soap, but traded Keiko for the posters.

The event area quickly started filling up {YA authors Sabaa Tahir, Evelyn Skye, Anna Shinoda, Brittany Cavallaro, and Alexis Bass were in the crowd} and the best table of sweets was set up. There were cookies and cupcakes and delicious fizzy drink.

The event started with the ladies telling everyone to turn to the person to the left and right and introduce yourself and tell them your favorite book.

From there, Stacey talked about recently getting sorted by Pottermore and finding out she was Hufflepuff. And then Stephanie found out she was Hufflepuff as well and they became fast friends. They then introduced each other and started taking turns asking each other questions.

SL: What inspired you to write a sister story?

SG: Despite the blonde hair, she is nothing like the sister in the book. I have a brother too, but he’s not in the book. My sister and I are really close and I wanted to put that in. I just wanted to write about how far you would go for a family member. She’s my very best friend. She’s always been there. The way those sisters love each other, that’s fueled by our relationship.

SL: I love my sister. I have two, one of them is here.  Maybe you met her while playing the game with the oils.

SG: Why did you choose this location?

SL: There’s so much of the book about the flora in the area. I’m originally from SoCal, but I’ve really found a home up here. A lot of the scenes take place around here.

SL: How did you capture your setting?

SG: I had the idea for the game well before I started writing. At first I thought it could be medieval times, but that seemed wrong. Then I saw the Gatsby movie from Baz Luhrmann and I knew I wanted something like that. Something bright and colorful. And I used Pinterest as lot.

SG: Secret is a departure from your historicals. How did it differ from writing a contemp?

SL: For historicals, I start researching about 6 months before. For Secret, I didn’t have to research that much other than plants. It was a little more freeing, but just as enjoyable.

SL: Did you plot or pants it?

SG: Totally by the seat of my pants. I can plot, but not follow. It’s funny because I have to follow the rules in real life. And when I was writing, I didn’t even know what was real myself.

SG: I want to talk about the titles.

SL: The original title was Touch Me Not, and I wrote it under that. My editor thought it sounded like an erotica title. I probably came up with hundreds. Some of them were: Honey Be Gone, The Trouble with Tulips, My Scented, Indented, and Demented Heart.

SG: I didn’t want to title it Caraval because it’s a made up word. It was Secret of My Black Heart. But it did get changed to Caraval and I love it. Plus it’s easy for hash tags.

The authors then played a game for anyone who traveled a long distance. Each author took turns asking a question that had to do with their book.  I was asked if I could get a love potion for any celebrity, who would it be.  After drawing a complete blank, I finally answered Robert Downey, Jr. and I won a book about kissing.  Questions were then opened up to the audience.

Why did you want to write about a game?

SG: I read a book about a pilot who picked up 3 men who were guarding 1 man. And I didn’t know if it was about the man being dangerous or what was going on. It was a small scene and never addressed, but I became obsessed with it.

Who is your favorite author?

SL: Nancy Farmer, Marcus Zusak

SG: Laini Taylor is one of my favorites.

Why do you love YA?

SL: There’s something satisfying about working out the issues that maybe I didn’t work out for myself. And all of the firsts that feel so magical.

SG: That’s a great answer. I would agree with all of it. {there was more to this}

What are you working on now?

SL: I’m working on something called Dear Miss Sweetie about a girl who lives under a printer and she writes an advice column under a pseudonym. When a black man is accused of assaulting a white woman, she uses her platform to try to change the outcome. I’m currently researching it now.

SG: I’m working on finishing up on the second book to Caraval.

Any advice for writers?

SG: Read everything you can

SL: And not just YA.

SG: Oh and realize that revisions are actually like major surgery, not putting on make up.  Be open to changing things when people say they need to be changed.

SL: It sounds cliché, but practice practice practice.

What would love smell like to you?

SL: Chocolate

SG: That’s what I was going to say.

When you decided to smell feelings, was it made up?

SL: It was made up, but I tried to make the senses and scents make sense.

Why did Scarlet have her feelings in color?

SG: It was because I wanted her to be so excited that color came through, but it was sporadic at first. My editor wanted more of it.

When you wrote it, did you know there would be a sequel?

SG: It was planned as a stand alone and when it sold, they wanted more.

Is it harder to write the sequel?

SG: Yes. It’s been really hard to write it. It was going to be my last book. It was just me, holed up at my parents and I was teaching. It’s been really challenging, because I don’t plot.

Do you have any input in the movie?

SG: My producers are really communicative. I’ve had talks with the screenwriter. I wouldn’t say I had input, but they’ve been mindful.

Do you have a dream cast?

SG: Quite a lot of people from The 100, then Christoph Waltz for the bad guy.

How long did it take you to write?

SL: I like 6-12 months to write.

SG: I had the idea for the game for about a year and a half. Then it took me a few {enter time period here. I didn’t catch if it was weeks or months} to write the first two chapters. Once I had those down, it took 3 months to finish.

Other HP, what book do you wish you had written?

SL: Monstrous Beauty

SG: A Torch Against the Night

SL: That’s an example of a sequel that is better than the first.

Why do you think there are a lot of books about young girls?

SL: There were not a lot of books with girls who look like me. You feel like you don’t belong, like you’re not important. That’s why we now have the push for diverse books. I think it’s changing, but we still have a long way to go.

I think there were a few other questions, but I started taking photos, so I didn’t get them.

When the questions were done, one of the events people announced that instead of going row by row like normal, they were going to have the people who traveled the farthest line up first. So Keiko and I headed over to the line and there were already about 20 people in line.

We stood in line for a few minutes and then I went over to the woman who made the announcement and asked if something could be done since we were leaving right after the signing. She went to check the line and came back to get us. We were able to get to the front.

After thanking her profusely, I handed Angela my books and we started chatting. She told me that she pulled a few arcs for me to have. She didn’t know a thing about them, just grabbed some titles. We chatted for a few minutes about the drive and moving up to San Francisco.

When it came time to get things signed, Angela handed my books to Stacey and Stephanie. We talked about the drive up and they were both just so adorable.

Stephanie thanked us for driving up and then gave me the stink eye when I told her we can’t move because of Disneyland.

There was a bit more conversation, but it was mostly just gushing on my side. We grabbed our things, I said goodbye to a few people and we started the drive home.

These two ladies were so much fun together. Couple that with an amazing bookstore with great employees and getting to see some awesome people I talk to on the interwebz, I would definitely say the trip was worth it. I can’t wait to get to Kepler’s again in the future.

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5 Responses to “The time it was all a game”

  1. Ahh, I love how you are the very best fangirl Stacee. <3 You are aaamazing. Thank you for always sharing about the amazing events that you get to go to :) This sounded like so much fun. Glad you had an amazing time :D And gosh, such long travel. Love that you do this all the time. <3 Hugs.

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