Sunday, April 2, 2017

7 Things I Love About Laini Taylor

Hi everyone! I just got back from Parnassus Bookstore in Nashville, where I had the joy of attending a Q&A and book signing with Sharon Cameron, author of The Forgetting, and Laini Taylor, goddess of all, and writer of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, and more recently, Strange the Dreamer!!
I know you all have probably heard as much about these two as I have, but there's a link to the Goodreads page on both of those above if you don't know why I'm fangirling.

Parnassus is an independent bookstore in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville, one of my fave cities. It's a really cute bookstore, with a tiny little doorway modeled after the Parthenon (there's one in Nashville too, who knows why) leading to a kids area with little star lights high above. They are fabulous about having author events, and I'm so happy I made it to this one!

Laini and Sharon were delightful speakers, so I thought I'd share some highlights from their conversation with the audience and each other.

Tidbit #1: Although her writing seems effortless, Laini struggles a lot with the actual act of it. She says of writing, most days: "It's like driving with the brakes on: you can do it, but it's uncomfortable and bad for the car." 
Tidbit #2: Laini mentioned a trend in books she's read lately in which evil villains have to get more and more evil to outdo previous evil incarnations. "Evil has totally jumped the shark," according to Laini (guys, she is honestly hilarious), and so in Strange the Dreamer, she doesn't really see any protagonist as being a "villain". 
Yzma is my favorite kind of villain, tbh. Not the spinach puffs!!
Tidbit #3: As a kid and teenager, Laini always knew she wanted to be a writer, but didnt' actually write that much. She was a self-confessed "pretentious teen" and began reading only literature in that time. I really related to this, as a 23 year old YA fanatic. Sometimes I feel like I should be reading more Vonnegut or Hemingway and less Cabot or Maas. Honestly though, I think the most important part of reading is that you enjoy it, and while I do enjoy the occasional Pulitzer, YA really has my heart. Anyhoo, Laini went on to say that while reading and attempting to write literature she realized that she had had a happy childhood and didn't have anything to write about (lolz). So, when writing got too hard, Laini went for "the greatest backup plan ever", art school. 

Tidbit #4: Looking back on her earlier writing days, Laini recalled a vision that the mailman took all her manuscripts that she sent out to publishers and put them directly into a rocket, which fired them into space. I think the mailman did that with my job applications too, so I feel you Laini.
Tidbit #5: Sharon Cameron responded to a question about writing process with two categories: planners and pantzers. Planners are those (fictional probably) writers who make up a schedule, plan out the plot, and then begin writing. Pantzers fly by the seat of their pants. Sharon calls herself a "plantzer" (my new favorite word), meaning she makes a plan but then abandons it and goes her own way.
Just try and tell me you didn't immediately think of this too. Just try.
Tidbit #6: In response to a question about difference between writing YA and adult fiction, Laini admitted that she has the heart and soul of a 17 year old eternally, which is why she is drawn to YA. Sharon continued the conversation, saying that, aside from making sure things don't get too hot (wink wink), she doesn't consider audience much in writing novels. This was a relief to hear after recent YA authors talking down to their audiences, and critics saying that YA readers are less discerning than adult ones. k bye haters.
Tidbit #7: Laini mentioned her upcoming novels, for those interested! Right now, she's working on the sequel to Strange the Dreamer. After that, she's planning on an adult novel (20 somethings) about writers, then an historical science fiction novel. After that, things are less clear, but she did mention the possibility of another novel in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone universe (!!!!), and a novel about ballerinas in space. She also talked about a continuation of her Dreamdark series, which was originally slated to have 5-6 books, but, as she described it, her publishing house lost its main boss man, and the new guy came in and, like a new alpha baboon, came in and killed all the babies. Laini is the BEST at analogies.

I had a great time, and got some lovely bookish swag and photos, and an autographed book. 10/10 would recommend going to see Laini and Sharon if they swing into your town!

Also, in case the inspiration for the title on this post wasn't obvious:

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