Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of chatting with Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, authors of the Beautiful Creatures series. Below, you’ll find a transcript of our Q&A, information about the latest books in the series, PLUS your chance to win some signed books!
Keep reading after the jump to see everything!
EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH KAMI GARCIA & MARGARET STOHL
Sara: So, my question is kind of from when you first started working on the Caster Chronicles series to now when you’ve kind of finished with the last book, with at least getting it down, and now you’ve started kind of the little side projects like Dream Dark, how have your plans for the series changed since you first started, either through the writing process or because of reader reactions or other kind of outside influences?
Ms. Margaret Stohl: Well, first of all, we always have had a huge map of the world in our heads. So, there’s more than we’ll even be telling now, so that while there’s a sense of finishing the four books that we’ve contracted for with Little, Brown, it’s not the end of the world.
Whether or not we ever get to tell anymore of the world, the world is much more than what we’ve said. And that’s kind of fun when there’s at least two of us that know about the world. Even if it’s our imaginary world, you know, there is this piece that Kami and I will always have.
So, it’s not that our plans have changed. We’ve stayed remarkably close, actually, to the original concepts for the universe.
Ms. Kami Garcia: We had a pretty clear arc all along. So, none of that has changed.
We were really surprised the books took off. You guys are our friends and you know how surprised we were with the phenomenon of a debut novel and the degree to which Amazon embraced it right out of the bat, and then the different countries and things. We were not prepared for or expecting that. We really had written the book for seven teenagers.
And that sensibility has remained, although the reality has changed. We’ve tried really hard to keep the global big picture out of our heads when we were writing. And I feel like we’ve done that. We really do focus on telling the story to a few key readers who kind of represent the readers at large. But, we try to keep the bigness of all of these genre books out of our head and we try to stick with the stuff we had from the start.
I would say the main thing that’s changed is the characters, because they have grown and developed and they’ve had a ton of experiences that they hadn’t had at the very beginning. So, they change and change all the time. And that’s one of the things we’ve really, I think, enjoyed about the experience, ’cause it’s kind of like your friends growing up or your kids growing up. And we all change a little bit with every one of these books, wouldn’t you say, Kam?
Ms. Kami Garcia: Yeah, definitely.
And it’s interesting, too, because the reader reactions are great. But we don’t change the plan according to any of that. The story has its own kind of life. And sometimes there are things that even we might not want to write or that will be hard to write. But, we know we have to write them because they’re part of the evolution of those characters.
It’s sad in a way, because sometimes it’s hard to write things that are difficult for your characters when they’re going through different little things. But, otherwise, for us, I guess it wouldn’t be real.
Ms. Sara: No, definitely.
Have any of the characters changed and developed because of the events they go through, like, how much of that–and I’m just curious just from a process standpoint, has any of it kind of happened organically, kind of as you write?
Ms. Kami Garcia: Oh, sure. Sometimes we’ll write something, like in Beautiful Darkness, and then as we were writing Beautiful Chaos, we realized, “Oh, that was so impactful for that character, they clearly couldn’t just forget about that.” Or, “That’s changed him more than we thought it would.” So, definitely.
We always know the major events and the major arcs. But, sometimes the minor things and the way you get to places definitely change based on what ends up on the page.
Ms. Sara: So, you mentioned this earlier, Lena’s necklace and everyone making their own versions of it. And so, my question is kind of related to that. One of the projects we posted on NovelNovice back, like, almost two years ago when Beautiful Creatures was our book of the month was, you know, tips on making your own version of the necklace.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Oh, I remember that. That was so cool. I remember that.
Ms. Sara: Yeah. And we still get a lot of comments on that post. People love it. So, my question is what would you have on your version of Lena’s necklace?
Ms. Kami Garcia: I know what Margie would have on hers.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: What? Pie?
Ms. Kami Garcia: I was about to say you would have pie and cheese if those could fit on your necklace.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: That’s right. But, then I would have eaten the cheese right off my necklace–.
Ms. Kami Garcia: –That’s true–.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: –If I could fit it on mine.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Well, everyone knows what would be on my necklace. It would be full of charms to prevent me from having bad luck or encountering the number 13 or getting cursed or hexed in any other manner in any culture.
I do actually have a teeny little necklace that I wear that an initial for each of my children and a dog tag with the year I got married and a magnolia tree that our editor Julie gave me and Margie when Beautiful Darkness came out. So, I do wear that. But, I also have a special necklace that’s laden with charms in case I have to fly.
Ms. Sara: That’s awesome.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: And she changes out of it after the plane.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Yeah, ’cause Margie’s like, “Can you please take that off now? It’s really embarrassing.”
Ms. Margaret Stohl: Yeah.
I have a collection of charms that someone in my family gave me, because I travel all the time, of different places I’ve been. And I am sort of a collector. I collect found objects and strange experiences and random people. I am like a crow in that way.
And I definitely have that sort of sensibility. I saved the champagne cork from the night in France when Kami and I found out we hit the Times list.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Oh, that’s right. You do have the cork.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: Yeah, I save the bits and bobs. I don’t necessarily wear them, but I have significant pieces of string and envelopes and bits and bobs. And those are all important to me.
But, when it comes down to actual objects, those are usually associated with the places my life takes me. And I think that’s also been fun. Kami and I share that and that’s been a fun thing about the South. Southern Gothic has a real sense of place. It really evokes a particular land, and that was something we were both interested in.
Ms. Kami Garcia: I’ll tell you something that’s interesting, though, that not many people know that aren’t part of the superstition circle that is exposed to me and my strange observations on a regular basis.
I consider the full moon something I wish I could put on a necklace, because when Margie and I finished the end of the story for the seven teens, Beautiful Creatures, it was a full moon. When we got the call from the person we later found out was our agent, it was a full moon. When the book was auctioned, it was a full moon. And the night that I sat on the phone with Margie in her bathroom in her hotel in Germany and we accepted our movie deal, it was a full moon.
Ms. Sara: Oh, wow.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: Yeah.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Just saying.
Ms. Sara: You do need that on a good luck charm.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Whenever there’s a full moon now I’m spoiled and hoping something really exciting is going to happen.
Ms. Sara: Okay, so. These are the NovelNovice rapid-fire flash questions.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Oh, we like that. Speed round.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: Yeah.
Ms. Sara: All right. So, when you’re ready, favorite cartoon.
Ms. Kami Garcia: ThunderCats, the old one.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: Phineas & Ferb.
Ms. Sara: Chocolate or vanilla?
Ms. Kami Garcia: Chocolate.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: Dark.
Ms. Sara: Your personal theme song.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Back in Black by AC/DC.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: Any Rufus Wainwright.
Ms. Sara: Favorite book as a child.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: The Dark is Rising.
Ms. Kami Garcia: The White Mountain.
Ms. Sara: And secret talent.
Ms. Kami Garcia: I’m a painter.
Ms. Margaret Stohl: I read minds.
Ms. Kami Garcia: Only mine. That doesn’t count.
Ms. Sara: And that’s it. Thank you.
ENTER TO WIN SIGNED COPIES OF BEAUTIFUL CREATURES & BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS
Fill out the Beautiful Creatures Contest Entry Form and you’ll automatically be entered to win!
One (1) winner will receive signed copies of Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness
- U.S. only
- One entry per person
- Use the entry form
All entries are due by midnight (PT) on Monday, August 29th.
Questions? Leave ’em in the comments & we’ll reply!
MORE ABOUT THE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES BOOKS:
Read the all-new story Dream Dark now online, and get a sneak peek at Beautiful Chaos, the upcoming third book in the series!
This all-new original e-book story stars Link, who undergoes a heart-racing transformation after the climactic battle in Beautiful Darkness. Dream Dark also includes an exclusive sneak peek at the first five chapters of Beautiful Chaos, the third book in the bestselling Beautiful Creatures series.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
Together Ethan Wates and Lena Duchannes can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending. Ethan and Lena’s mesmerizing romance continues in the highly anticipated new Beautiful Creatures novel, coming October 18th.