The time there were many hugs

Posted April 1, 2017 by Stacee in Signings / 3 Comments

I learned that Stephanie Garber and Roshani Chokshi were going to be at Mysterious Galaxy before it was officially announced. The event went on the calendar right away and I couldn’t wait to see them both. Keiko and I got to bookstore early {or on time for us} to run amok and chat with the lovely employees.

Stephanie got there early and we were able to chat with her and give hugs. Then Roshani got to the store early and I went over to hug her and say hi. The ladies came out just at 2. Each of them introduced themselves and their books.

C: I’m not going to ask the number one question that fans ask, but the second one. Which is: where do you get your ideas from?

S: I feel like people get one idea, fully formed and

C: We hate them

S: I was watching The Great Gatsby and it was all of the fireworks and costumes and I wanted to write something like a Baz Luhrmann movie. And then I was listening to Centuries by Fall Out Boy

C: And you needed to write it.

S: It was a lots of seeds and sparks. I knew I wanted it to be magical.

R: I wish mine was like that. My ideas came a lot from childhood. I was raised on fairy tales and myth. We didn’t speak my parent’s native language. The settings came from bad life choices. Does anyone do those Christmas light drive throughs? My parents would drag us to those and I wouldn’t wear my glasses and I couldn’t see anything. I remember seeing a tree in white lights and they blinked so slowly and it was the first time I thought of the memory tree. When we went to India to visit family and they have bazaars with all of these huge uncut gemstones and it looked like fruit.

C: It’s so interesting to see how those things work. We went to Fiji and I had never seen the night sky like that. I wrote it into Silver Phoenix.

R: I think allowing yourself to be bored and look and listen does a lot.

C: I wanted to write a female relationship in Serpentine. Female relationships are so core and important to me. And the idea that the beautiful woman is a temptress.

C: Now I wanted to talk about the post you wrote for Book Smugglers and the contractual sequel.

R: I wrote TSTQ out of creative urgency. I had to get it out on the page. I wrote it right after I graduated with a degree in 14th century British literature. I wrote in a vacuum and it was just me and a ficus plant named Burt. And Burt kept moving. When I wrote ACOW, I didn’t have Burt. I was so happy. Everything I wanted happened. But then I had readers and they made fan art and make up looks and told me that I did something that touched them.

I had to stay true to the story. It’s a double edge sword: it widens the platform to get picked apart, but it’s also so much support. It makes such a difference to have a support group. The people who believe in your vision is so important. I’m so proud of this book.

S: I turned in my second book yesterday. I turned in my first draft in October and it was a mess. I completely rewrote it. Caraval was my sixth book. It was my last try. I put all of my love and passion into it. It sold in a really rapid way. My dream had just came true and I was already having to think about writing a pitch for the second book. You have to find an idea that you are brutally obsessed with.

C: One of the biggest challenges in YA is that ideally you have a book a year. What people probably don’t realize that you’re doing several rounds of editing while your other book drops. Then we have to go out and tour and be social. There’s no time. I need time to daydream. There’s a lot to be said about not writing in the writing process. There’s pressure because what if my book takes 2 years? And those are choices we need to make as authors and it’s okay to ask for more time because it’s your name on the book.

C: Can you guys ever see yourself writing contemporary? What draws you to fantasy?

R: With fantasy, for me it was a way to connect with my family stories. I love retellings. Your story matters when you don’t see someone on the cover who looks like your or has a name like you. {this segued into a hilarious story about Rosh and eyeliner and Paradise Lost and what she would do if she was picked to rule the underworld.}

S: For me, I was a fearful child. I could never spend the night anywhere. I had lots of nightmares. I longed to do things and go places, I think books and fantasy gave me my adventures. I didn’t want to read books in the real world. I was looking for magic everywhere.

C: When Silver Phoenix came out, it was the age of Twilight. I couldn’t think of anything worse than writing scenes at a locker. It didn’t matter how hot your guys were. Thank god for Kristen Cashore, but YA is all about trends.

C: Do you want to try a different genre?

R: Horror. Like southern gothic, where everything is happening on the edges. I love my home, even though it’s problematic. All of my monsters care about manners. If you see your mortal enemy and you’re on the porch, you will offer them sweet tea.

S: I’ve written a space opera. I’m not very good at the science part. I love reading sci-fi, but not writing it. I like murder mystery and suspense. I’ve been thinking about it, but it’s still in a fantasy world. I do have a spark for it.

R: I would love to write a regency romance. Basically I just want to write a synopsis that says something about a rakish lord needing to enter a marriage of convenience.

S: We were going to say we were writing something together as an April Fools joke, but we didn’t want to jinx it.

How do you block the negative things out?

R: What it comes down is that it’s like the myth of Orpheus. It comes to a matter of doubt. You have to trust that the light of your story is following you. It’s the doubt that will eat you at the end of the day. With social media, you’re only looking at their highlight reel. At the end, when you get to the last page and it’s completed…you did it. I wish there was something I could pin point for you, but I think it’s just keeping your head down.

S: That’s so true. For me, it’s searching for those things I get really excited for. I wrote that book like 10 times. When I got excited for it, that’s when I knew I had it. It’s not eating or washing my hair because I wanted to get to it.

C: Writing a novel is my leap of faith. I’m not religious and this is so scary. You’re the only person accountable for your writing. You could put it in the drawer and no one would know. I know a lot of talented people who can’t take rejection and if you’re in this industry and you can’t take it, it’s going to be hard. Publishing is hard.

What HP house are you in and what does your love potion smell like?

S: I am a Hufflepuff and my patronus is a dolphin. I wish I knew what my love potion smelled like.

R: I’m a Slytherin and my patronus… I wanted something cool. I wanted a snow leopard. Or a black swan. I got a shrew. It would smell like hospital soap and ink.

C: I’m Slytherin.

There were a few more questions, but I was taking photos.  I had a lot of books for Roshani, so I got up to her and said that I wanted to apologize, but wasn’t going to.  We chatted for a few moments about various things while I fed her the books to sign.

After I got my things signed, I went through the line to flap and hand out post-its.  Then made the rounds to say goodbye and give hugs.  As always, Stephanie and Roshani are the loveliest ladies and two that I will always want to see when they come around.   Together, they were so much fun.

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3 Responses to “The time there were many hugs”

    • Stacee

      Yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough to catch everything, but it is the majority of it…excluding the many many many tangents Rosh went on.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

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