Thursday, February 28, 2013

March Tour Dates: Tucson, Germany, & the UK

I'm not going to be on the road as much this year as I'm working on the third faerie book, the second Spirit Animals book, and the third Raven Boys book, but I'm pleased to report I have a really lovely March schedule that I'm looking forward to.

Here 'tis:


March 9: Panel- Young Adult Fiction: No Boundaries? 4:00 PM - 05:00 PM UA Mall Tent

March 10: Panel -Fragile on the Outside - Steel on the Inside: Gutsy Girls 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Education Building - Kiva Auditorium

March 10: Maggie Stiefvater - Solo Presentation 12:30 PM - 01:00 PM Teen and Author Meeting Place

March 10: Maggie Stiefvater Signing in Phoenix 5:00-6:00 P.M. Changing Hands Bookstore

GERMANY: LEIPZIG BOOK FESTIVAL/ BUCHMESSE: March 15: Maggie Stiefvater & Florens Schmidt present ROT WIE DAS MEER 3:30 P.M. Messegelände, Lese-Treff, Halle 2 E 313

March 15, "Night of Youth Fiction" Bettina Belitz, Jennifer Benkau, & Maggie Stiefvater 7:00 P.M. Theaterhaus Schille, Otto-Schill-Str.7, 04109 Leipzig

March 16, Maggie Stiefvater & Florens Schmidt present ROT WIE DAS MEER 11:00 A.M. Messegelände, Fantasy Leseinsel, Halle 2 G 307

March 17, Maggie Stiefvater & Florens Schmidt present ROT WIE DAS MEER 12:30 P.M. Messegelände, Lese-Treff, Halle 2 E 313

COLOGNE: March 14, Lit.Cologne, ticketed event - 5:30 P.M. Comedia - Theater KÖLN


March 23: Manchester, UK 1:00 P.M. Signing at Waterstones, Manchester

I'll be bringing some of my Raven Boys bookplates to the UK and German tours (I know I have a few reader requests for those left to mail out too; sorry, I'm behind!).

Bookplate for Fountain Bookstore

*I had thought I would have more public events set up in the UK (I have mostly school visits; I don't set up my schedule), but Manchester is the only public signing. I know there are folks in the south who'd like to get their books signed too, and I will be in London, but with no store events. So I might see about parking myself in a London cafe & letting the internet know where I am. It would be on the 24th if I could pull it off. Lemme know in the comments if you'd be interested and I'll see what I can do.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Las Vegas Bathtub Story

This is a story about Las Vegas.

Now, I know if I tell you that, and I tell you I was there on my birthday, and I was driving a rental red convertible Camaro for the occasion and I got pulled over by the cops, you’re going to think this is a very particular sort of story.

But it is not that sort of story.

I was in Las Vegas for the NCTE conference (already this story has changed in your mind, I can tell), and it was the very last night of the very last day. At that point I had a very limited agenda: do the finest job of sleeping I could possibly imagine in order to not hate and destroy the world when I got up for my exceptionally early flight home.

I feel you can already sense this didn’t go well.

My hotel was pretty fabulous, I have to say, aside from the decor, which I’d describe as “tastefully misogynistic.”* The walls were sound-proofed within an inch of their lives, creating a pleasant, tomb-like existence which encouraged fantasies that I was the only person left on the planet.**

*much like a Cary Grant movie **later I would regret this

And my room was massive. As I lounged against the kitchen sink and then the couch and then on the bed and then got lost in the palatial two-roomed bathroom, I realized it was larger than my first apartment by several degrees of magnitude.

The hotel room:


My first apartment:


The bathtub alone was larger than my first apartment’s bathroom. In fact, the hotel tub was one of those jetted numbers that promises luxury and indulgence and other words they often say in jewelry commercials. For my part, I don’t like sitting still and I don’t like bubbles, so all I could think was: they could have put a trampoline there instead.***

***Actually, it was Las Vegas. There probably were some rooms with a trampoline option.

But back to my tale. As I got ready for bed after a late night book event, I felt strangely creeped out. You should know that this in itself was unusual. My parents had an affection for old houses in my youth, and I have had an affection for shadows since I was germinated in one, and just, in general, I tend to be the most harmful thing in any given space. These things combine to mean that it’s hard to rattle me.

And yet, I was creeped out.

It is just the poster of the headless naked girl, I told myself. You’re just eager to be home, where her nipples will not glare so resentfully at you.

I turned off the light. I closed my eyes. I began to hear . . . sounds. Knocking. Thunking. Footsteps?

Recall how before I had been delighted by the room’s soundproofing. I had spent three nights in a tomblike hotel room and now NOW, where was my tomb? Moreover, the noise didn’t seem to be coming from the hall or the rooms adjacent. Instead, the sounds were coming from the bathroom. I’d like to refer you floor plan above. Do you see how it has an interior wall? That is where the sound was coming from — knocks on that. So my first thought was: someone is in here.

I did what any author would do if they believed someone was in their hotel room. I hit the lights, seized the telephone from beside the bed as a weapon, and leapt upright on the mattress. What a threatening and tastefully misogynistic form I must have cut as I bristled in my t-shirt and underwear, clutching a James-Bondesque retro telephone, ready to bash someone's brains in.

But of course there was no one there.

I turned on all the lights and checked the rooms out, but they were empty. I was in fact the last person on the planet. So I climbed back into bed. I turned off the light.

Sleep, Maggie. Your flight is in six hours.


Knocking! Thumping! Footsteps! The most annoying part was that I knew, now, that they hadn’t been going on while I was investigating the room with the lights on. I began to feel as if Something was toying with me.****

****I do believe in ghosts. I believe in them the same way I believe in albino squirrels. Sometimes, when you see something white, it’s an albino squirrel. But usually it is just a cat.

So I did what any author would if they believed there was a supernatural entity in the room with them. Without turning on the light, I said to the room, “If you’re a ghost, I’m not interested! I have heard far worse and I’m not in the mood!” And I closed my eyes.

Which is when a sound like a plane landing exploded from the bathroom.

I couldn’t immediately figure out what it was. It was, in fact, a stone-cold excellent first-place horror-movie sound. It roared, louder than anything, and it didn't stop. Its timing had been perfect. And while I still had heard worse, as I had promised the room just a moment before, it had been a very long time.

I will admit, this was when I first quailed.

But I couldn't just lay there. I very much would have preferred to. But instead I turned on the light, swore hatefully, and made myself go into the bathroom. I expected probably it was the last time, in fact, that I would ever go into a bathroom. Whatever was making the noise was going to kill me and in fact the story of Maggie Stiefvater was going to come to an end on the tiles of a Las Vegas bathroom, as so many stories do.

Spoiler: I did not die. The noise was the bathtub — all the jets had come on. Because I never use the things and because the jets were not really meant to be able to come on without water in the tub, it took me awhile to figure out how to turn them off.

Silence, finally. The hotel room really was tomb-like. Emphasis on tomb. Double emphasis on tombs have dead people in them.

I went back to bed. It took me a bit of resolve to turn off the light this time. I told the room, “I’m sleeping now. You may take a bath by yourself.”

I closed my eyes. Really hard. Like I meant it.

Sleep, Maggie, you have a flight in—


I wish you guys were all right here so I could demonstrate where this next sound happened. If I was telling the story in person, it would involve me slamming one fist into another. And I would do it right beside your face. So you jumped and blinked at me.

Because this sound happened right beside my head, and it came with an actual thump of the bed shaking, as something hit the headboard from my side of the wall.

I turned on the light.

I sat up.

The nipples across the room looked at me pointedly.

I just slept on the plane.*****



*****When I checked out, I told the guy what had happened. him: oh, that happens a lot. me: the jets coming on by themselves? So it’s a malfunction? him: oh, no, creepy things. People ask to change rooms all the time. But it doesn’t help. *laughs* me: *laughs* *wishes she’d slept in the convertible Camaro*

Friday, February 15, 2013

Internet, You Didn't Want This: or, Maggie & the Irish Pipes

The Internet told me they wanted this video.

 I'm just not sure they knew what they were asking for.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The sequel to The Raven Boys is ...

Man. This is the part where I get to tell you the title and show you the cover for the sequel to The Raven Boys. I'm just . . . really excited.

Remember how I told the Canadian border guard that my license plate was spoilery?

Mitsubishi Evo

And if you were on Twitter, remember that time I was looking for scrap paper on my desk and found this?


Well, if you combine those things, sort of, you get the truth of the sequel, which is:

Dream Thieves cover

It comes out September 17th, and right now I only have two pre-order links: Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But I'm going to add on Indiebound as soon as I can get my paws on a link.

ETA: Here is the link to pre-order signed and doodled-in copies from The Fountain Bookstore as usual.

And oh am I excited for you guys to read it. It has All of My Favorite Things. Which means I will be nervous as anything the week it comes out. But there you go.


Truth & The Thinking Writer

This is gonna be a writing one.

I haven’t done a writing post in awhile because I feel like, in many ways, I have said all the things that I can possibly say about writing. And in other ways, I feel like I am still trying to figure this whole literacy thing out for myself and who am I to tell you anything. Also, I don’t want to be that tedious person who talks about their job all the time. Blah-blah-blah-I-make-up-whole-worlds-for-a-living-blah-blah-blah.

However, I feel as if this topic is actually relevant to readers as well as writers, so I’m going to give it a go. I want to talk about how we, as writers, ought to think about how we say things on purpose and also say things by accident. And I also want to talk about how I don’t mean messaging or pedagogy.

Let’s do this thing.

When I first started out as a writer, I didn’t think about any of this. At all. I didn’t think about theme. I didn’t think about what people might take away from my writing. I couldn’t. Writing was a bunch of balloons and it took all my concentration just to hold them all. Sometimes one of the balloons would get away and I would just have to hope it was not an important one, because I didn’t have any hands free to try to grab it.

Now, however, I don’t write a scene WITHOUT thinking about this. Which brings me to:


My novels are character-driven, which means reader satisfaction comes largely from seeing people change over the course of the novel. For instance, I knew I wanted Sean from The Scorpio Races to start out solitary and end up learning the power of human relationships. Right here: this is my first decision. I am consciously choosing to say that being solitary < good family relationships.* Sean Kendrick becomes a thesis statement and the novel’s events become my proof.

*this is grossly over-simplified but basically blah-blah-I-make-up-whole-worlds-for-a-living-blah-blah

At the very beginning of the novel, Sean-As-A-Child watches his father die messily during the races. It’s an action that could have many different effects on a person. As a writer, I have to make a choice for my character in this moment.

So, Sean sees his father die. As a result, he vows to never be afraid — his father had been afraid before he died — and he also withdraws from human contact.

Decision! Done! But if I’m a good writer, I’ll question it: Do I think I’m saying a true thing? Let's look. What I’m saying is I think seeing someone die could make you guard your heart against later damage. But what I’m also saying, you'll notice, is I think a kid can watch his father die and not be destroyed by it. I’m saying if you grow up on a savage island populated by savage creatures and men, you might already be inured to death as a child.

As a writer, I should know that I’m saying not one of these things, but all of them. And as a writer, I have to believe they could be true reactions, or I should change what I’m saying.

Now, this was why I got upset about literary rape earlier this year. Because I felt writers were thoughtlessly and simplistically using rape as a defining moment for their female characters. For instance, I read a novel where a woman was raped and as a consequence became a cold-blooded killer/ sex fiend. What the writer was saying, by choice or by not, was a thesis statement about rape. Yes, the writer says, I think it is plausible that being raped would remove all of your tender emotions and render you without empathy or soul. And also make you crazy for . . . more sex?

If that is what the writer believes, go for it. Write what you believe is true.** But as a reader, I want to feel that the writer has thought about it. That they know what they’re doing and are in control. That they’ve made character decisions they believe could be true. Not just character decisions that are easy.

**and yes, I do think all fiction of every genre should aspire to truth in order to have maximum emotional resonance.***

***and if you're not writing to make readers have FEELS, what in the world are you writing for?****

****fine, fine. But I'm talking commercial fiction here. It's what I do*****


Which brings me to:

SAYING THINGS BY ACCIDENT As writers, we all have our biases, and a good writer — one that’s learning how to hold all the balloons without letting them escape— will be aware of their own. And a good writer will know that it's hard to avoid saying things by accident. For instance, here’s some things I should know about myself:

1- I have no negative baggage with kissing. So I’ll tend to see a kiss as a positive. Not universally true, Maggie. 2 - I like living in the middle of nowhere. I have to work extra hard to not make all of my characters prefer the middle of nowhere. Some people prefer cities, Maggie. 3 - I play musical instruments. Not everyone plays musical instruments, Maggie. 4 - I freaking love cars. Not everyone cares about manual transmissions, Maggie. 5 - I have a complicated and adoring relationship with my father. Why you write so many daddy issues, Maggie? 6 - You have an underdeveloped sense of self-preservation, Maggie. Remember to make your characters afraid, Maggie!

We bring our own biases and beliefs and politics to the table as a writer. I don’t think we have to try to scrub them all out — specificity and voice are glorious things. But the more we make those subconscious choices into conscious ones, the more control we’ll have. And more control means better writing. Which brings me to:


I don’t like it. People ask me a lot of time if I’m trying to send a good message to the youth of America, since I write for teens. I’m not, I’m afraid. I would if I was writing for middle graders. Because they are young and squashy and their heads are still being formed. But I write for upper teens, and I’m not going to condescend to Teach Them Lessons.

I did worry when I started this post that folks would read it as a handbook for subliminal messages and pedagogy. But when I say I’m choosing what my book is saying, it’s not because I’m trying to say what’s Right. It’s because I’m trying to say what’s True.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Band Name Alert: Damage Waiver

Three things.

1. Today, my face exploded.

Not my entire face. Just a small part. Wait, maybe I should back up.

A new piece of furniture arrived at the Stiefvater Hacienda (spoiler: it is shelves. Whenever I buy new furniture, it is something designed to hold books) and Lover called for me to help carry it. I roused myself from editing and agreeably took one end. I had only made it a few steps when I thought to myself, a little dispirited:I believe I am about to die.

Now, I have pretty beefy arm muscles and we'd only been a few feet, so I was rather ashamed of myself. But I really did feel the old scythe coming down, heave ho, off with your head and all that. So I sat down in my office and put my head between my legs and discovered that I had in fact busted a vein in my temple.

So there is that.


2. Three days ago, I rebroke my pinky toe, the one I broke last summer. I'm telling you this now to cheer you up after the whole vein-busting story. I was tearing around my house barefoot, not a care in the world, and then I tripped.

Go ahead.

Ask me what I tripped over.


My new steel-toed boots. I took ibuprofen for the swelling, but they don't make a medication for irony.

3. Nine days ago, I did this:

Sno*Drift Rally 2013

to this:

My rally car at Sno*Drift rally 2013.

for two days solid. We hit several snow banks, flattened two tires, and generally traveled exceptionally fast on very little sleep.

I injured nothing.


I'm telling you this because I want to impart an important lesson: life is safer with a roll cage.
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