The time it was about corn

Posted October 1, 2017 by Stacee in Signings / 4 Comments

Going to see Stephanie Perkins is always a sure thing.  She’s one of my favorite authors to see and just a lovely person all around. As soon as I found out that she would be in Oceanside for There’s Someone Inside Your House, it was on the calendar.  Especially since I’ve been hearing her talk about this book for so long, I was eager to hear her talk about it more in depth.

Michelle and I got to the store within our usual time frame.  We had lots to time have some light shenanigans, eat delicious food, and drink all of the drinks.  The cafe in the store made specialty drinks for each of the authors.

The seating area was being set up around 1:30 or so and the man who was setting things up said we could take a seat.  We grabbed front row and settled into wait and read. {Michelle is reading A Discovery of Witches for the first time and I’m irrationally excited about it.}

Stephanie came over to the signing table around 1:40 and was going to pre-sign for some of the people who were already waiting. She saw me and we hugged and chatted for a few minutes.  I gushed over her long hair and she told me that it was the longest she’s ever had it and that she’s watching YouTube videos of 7 year girls so she can learn how to do her hair.

She sat at the table {because I had a stack of books} and I brought my books over and gushed some more about TSIYH and how much I loved it. {And I was too busy gushing and completely forgot to take a photo of Stephanie signing my books, so here’s a random one.}

The ladies came out right at 2pm and talked about the specific drinks that the cafe made for them. Stephanie said that the panel was founded on friendship and that the books were all so different. Then each of them talked about their new book.

Kiersten said something about wanting to have an epic name like Vlad the Impaler.  Kiersten said she would be Kiersten the napper, Stephanie said Stephanie the at home, and Cindy said Cindy the eater.

S: This has been the “explain yourself tour”. The rest of my books have been sweet and romantic. When my first two books came out, it was within 9 months of each other. I know that most books don’t find a reader and I was okay with it.

I wrote these stories when contemporary wasn’t popular. John Green wasn’t a thing. Rainbow Rowell hadn’t published anything. I gained a lot of fans all at once and it terrified me. It makes me very anxious to do these signings and to talk to people. I love being at home. I’m a wallflower. My home is filled with murder dioramas and artwork from serial killers. I’m the sweetness and the darkness.

I came up with idea when it was 2011 and it went to contract in 2012. That’s how long it takes me to write a book. What I love about the slasher genre is that they’re very self aware. And there’s usually still some romance. I call this one Anna and the French Kiss with a body count.

They talked about critique partners and how Kiersten and Stephanie work together.

S: She’s a really good mimic. I’ve had brackets with a vague idea of what I needed to do and she’s written the scene for me.

K: I told you I was creepy.

S: And it’s in my voice! I’ve told my husband that if something happens to me while I’m in the middle of a book that Kiersten is to finish it for me.

K: The best part was when she had to research football.

S: You guys. That’s why it took so long for me to write this one. And this might be the only time I get to write something like this. Horror has died. So I was going to put my favorite horror tropes. Hell yeah, there’s a murderer with a knife killing teens. Hell yeah, it’s going to be during October. Hell yeah, it’s going to be during Halloween. Hell yeah, there’s going to be a haunted corn maze.

Cell phones are the bane of the murder books. I went to Verison and looked at their coverage map to see the places that had some of the worst coverage. I picked Nebraska because of the corn. It was so important to me. I mean, corn. I have about 2000 images of the most desolate photos. But I did run in a farmer’s field to see what it felt like with the corn hitting my face and my boots being covered with mud.  I loved it.

K: Points to books: Teipei and good food, Romania, and Nebraska.

C to K: You went to Romania for this

K: I did. My husband lived in Romania for a while and we spent 15 days there. You can’t go there without going a Vlad tour because he’s their biggest historical figure. I had an idea, but it was fantasy.

C: So the trip made it into the book?

K: Yes, but I struggled with the description and I creeped on a lot of people’s vacation photos.

S: It’s amazing what people will record and put on the internet. I needed info about some random staircase and someone had recorded walking down, so thanks people.

What would you recommend, like a hidden gem?

S: Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. It’s my favorite contemporary book. She’s been killing it and not a lot of people know about her. We Are Okay is about loneliness and it’s exquisitely explored.

K: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. This was a passion project for them. It’s a boy who is bisexual from California and moves back to Utah. His parents quietly ask him to go back into the closet. It’s adorable and swoony, but it doesn’t make it easy.

S: It deals with so many hard topics, but it’s so hopeful.

K: I hope that the kids who need it will find it because it’s life saving.

C: Rebel Seoul is coming out and it’s K-drama and cute boys, but great relationships. And of course Warcross, but I probably don’t need to mention that.

K: Have you guys heard of Marie?

All of these books are sort of out of your comfort zone, so how did you deal with writer’s block?

S: It sounds silly, but I would call Kiersten. It’s usually a plot related problem and I’ll talk for like 25 minutes and usually the first thing she says will be close. But it’s never been more than the second option.  You guys talk about your daily word count, and on a good day, I’m writing 250 words a day.

C: Do you self edit?

S: I do. By the time my books are turned in, they’re pretty much ready to be published.

K: There was a time when her publisher asked if it would be easier to not have the Kiersten aspect.

S: Like instead of sending everything to her to read, they wanted me to send it to them instead.  I said, “well I’ve sent over 1300 texts to Kiersten just this month” and they were just fine with the situation the way it was.

K: As for writers block, I just can’t afford to have it any longer. I need to be obsessed with the story. If I’m not, it’s because I’m telling the it wrong. Two of the three books I’ve written this year, I’ve written 20k words and have needed to start over.

C: For me, it helps to talk to other writer friends. Someone with a different perspective will really open the door for me. The non-writing time is my favorite time. Stepping away from the work, living life, daydreaming, that will all help.

What’s next?

K: The third book of the And I Darken comes out next year. Then the Slayer series comes out, which steph helped with. And just announced today is that I wrote a Frankenstein retelling.

S: This is going to sound absurd, but it’s better than Frankenstein. Have you ever gone back and read the original? It’s sort of boring.

C: I’m working on Ruse, which is the Want sequel. I think it’ll be out in 2019 and it’ll be set in Shanghai.

S: I can’t say what I’m working on. I have one more under contract with my editor and she’s amazing. We have a really good chemistry. I just needed a little bit of break because I just finished this book in June. Usually a book is finished about a year before it comes out. The arc came out and it was like a cute promotional gimmick because of where it ends, but it was because I still had to write the other half of the book.

From there, the signing was about to start.  While the Barnes & Noble employee talked about how the signing was going to go, I crouched down next to Stephanie and asked her if she listed to My Favorite Murder.  She said “hell yeah, I’m a murderino.”  I showed her my tattoo and she told me to get my book and give it back to her.  So I did and she added the SSDGM to it.  Kiersten then told me to show Stephanie my Sir Bird tattoo and I did and we gushed about how awesome Sir Bird is.

Annnnnd then it was time for the signing to start.  So I thanked Stephanie for coming and told Kiersten I would see her next week and I waved to Cindy.  Then Michelle and I headed to Target to put on costume heads and dance around.

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