Friday, March 3, 2017

Susan Dennard and V.E Schwab Signing Re-Cap

Brookline Booksmith is one of my favorite local indie bookstores. They're right in Coolidge corner and I used to walk by them every day when I worked in Brookline and lived in Allston way back when. the first book event I went to there was for Erin Morgenstern for her Night Circus book launch way back in the day. I'm still bummed I never took a picture with her. Whomp.

THIS event was something I've been looking forward to FOREVER (or at least it seems like forever.) I'm a huge fan of Sooz, her writing and her writing references. She has some amazing resources for aspiring writers on her website, and she even does some live chats on youtube!
It's the first time Susan has come to Boston so it was the very first time I got to meet her in person, so I was overly obnoxiously excited.

I was super lucky that Claire got to the event early because at 5:30, there was already a line! The event didn't even start till 7pm! So thanks Claire! ♥

V.E Schwab had been at the Boston Teen Author Fest in September, so I got to see her before, but because I volunteered, I didn't get to see any of her panels. So it was great to finally hear her speak.

Instead of talking about set topics, they straight away opened the floor for Q&A.

But before they took any questions, Schwab took her usual pic of the audience holding up there books! You can see me in the second row in the mustard yellow shirt with Melissa and Claire on either side of me :) And I also got to see Carlyn again, who handed out cute book plates and bookmarks. one of my favorite parts of book events is seeing the people you only see there.

A post shared by Victoria Schwab (@veschwab) on

The first person asked Schwab in particular, why she writes at all. 
Schwab explained how she went to school for astrophysics and actually wanted to be an interrogator. Then she kept changing interests in school. Then she liked writing because you're always learning something new all the time. Also she fails at every other normal job.
She started telling stories when she was 8 about the angel of life and death. The death angel got jealous ans killed his brother and the world ended.
Likes writing about the lines between things. Life and death, monster and human, hero and villain ect. 
Sooz always daydreamed and told stories. The writing part is the hardest. She wished she could just give people stories straight out of her brain. 

Sooz asked Schwab if its easier to write or revise.
Schwab likes having already written. The in-between time of being finished and before revisions. (Don't we all! lol)
Sooz likes revisions, problem solving and fixing things. She calls herself a storyteller instead of writer because she doesn't want to be limited. 

A story or book you wish you wrote?
Sooz: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell By Susanna Clarke
Shwab: The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman 

How to name characters?
Schwab knows how her books end before she even writes anything. She works backwards. She's in full control of everything in her world- except names. The names must come to her.
She was unnamed for two weeks after her parents brought her home after she was born. They wanted to live with her to see what name fit best.
She knew the end of the first and third book of A darker shade before she began writing.
(Sooz is about to tackle her for her writing style at this point; she is so intrigued. lol)

Sooz names her characters after the linguistics of the cultures she has created for her world.
She had to change Iseult's name from Sorsha(sp?) because her editor didn't want two S names for main characters because people could get them confused. Then she had another name that fit...but not well enough. Then she came up with Iseult's after going through another name change. 

World building balancing between civil and savage.
Schwab: Her setting is the first thing she comes up with- the world. A lot of authors use short cut methods to world build. Some uses food, clothes ect. She uses languages to differentiate between the inner circle and outer circle. Insider, Outsider and Hierarchy.
Sooz: Your character dictates what the readers sees. And each character will notice different things. Use that.
How did you come up with language?
Schwab: Her editor is a linguist person, while she is the poetic one who likes looking into hard consonants and softer vowels ect. 
She had to figure out how to use the language. in the book because different characters notice different language things. Like Lila would notice it more since she's learning it. 

Who would you hang out of your characters?
Sooz: Safi maybe? Thought shed be too impulsive
Schwab: Prince Rhy because he would be fun and hes a sweet summer child. Delilah and the main guy from vicious would be amusing to see together. 

What kinda witch would Sooz be?
Shes a water bender so shed be a water witch. She was also a marine biologist as well so makes sense! 

First thing you do after finishing a draft?
Schwab: I cry. Lay on the floor. The floor is quite grounding
Sooz: catalogue all the scenes. On note card summaries. Then stops 20% into the process. Then starts over. Then takes a break.. She has an online tutorial for revision for beginners

Schwab red flags things that doesn't feel quite right. She crashes word a LOT. She uses Scrivner because you can restructure everything more easily. 

Sooz loves to draw maps. She draws them for every location in the Witchlands. Also good for procrastination. It helps what you write feel more real. You can also discover story nuggets. Like rivers...hint hint.
Covers talk!
Susan had a lot of say in her new Witchlanders series. At Harper Teen, her previous books' publishers, she had no say. She didn't agree with strange and deadly design.
Tor is much smaller and more able to listen to what they want. She loves people on covers. She also thinks it shows whats inside the book.

Schwab: Historically she, and most authors, haven't had a say in designs. The first book she had a little say. They asked if she wanted to have covers like Brandan Sanderson (Mistborn)? She wanted something that looks like a poster. Something that catches the eye.  With Gathering she had four options and she picked the up reaching. She got to pic A Conjuring of Light title and cover. She had twenty options and could pic every detail. Savage song had a better original cover. It was too close to an adult literary cover. Shes happy with the end but is very sad about the original lost.
 She tells her editors that she will be so easy going with revisions. She will gut the whole thing ...until they get to the cover.

How to balance your life?
Schwab has like three books in 2018. Also graphic novels and the script for her series that was just bought. She writes slow and only one book at a time. But she can revise and plot one at the same time. Like Alex bracken. She writes by 'propping the door open' and continuously writes. 
She loves being busy.

Sooz struggles. She doesn't accomplish as much. Shes not a fast writer either. And it takes her a long time to find the RIGHT story. She stopped counting at 200,000 words she tossed in Windwitch.

Incubation is super important. Schwab has a lot of ideas on her back burner and adds ingredients bit by bit over time. She has something incubating for six years. Shes still not ready for it.

Both Susan and VE had amazing things to say and amazing chemistry with each other. They bonded over their writing and revision methods and it was adorable. 

*・゜゚・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆

After the chat, everyone got into 'line.' lol I jumped in to get my Conjuring of Light book signed, but then got confused if there were two lines or one and got out and... ended up having to go to the way way back.
(Me being a creep as I wait...)
I The signing lasted until almost 11pm! It ended up being Melissa, Katelyn, and I last with Sooz. I had all of her books and Melissa had them all, plus additional editions. We chatted while Sooz signed all our books and posed with us for pictures.
(Me with Sooz! Aaaah!♥♥♥)
I finally got home after 11pm thanks to Melissa for the ride! 
All my pretties signed ♥