I had the privilege of attending an author event for Laini Taylor’s newest book Strange the Dreamer (which you’ve all said is fantabulous, so I can’t wait to read it) with my mom, and I thought I’d share some of the fun facts that I learned! The event was really interesting because she was interviewed by Laura Ruby, author of The Bone Gap, so they had some great conversations about writing style, etc.
Fun facts about Laini Taylor and her writing process …
- Writing is a slow and laborious process for her. She says that “writing feels like driving with the brakes on.” She eventually gets to her destination, but the ride can be painful!
- She says she isn’t capable of writing a rough first draft and she edits as she goes.
- Before she started working on Strange the Dreamer, she had pitched a historical (I think she said it was historical science fiction) that was set during the Civil War. She spent four months researching the era and wrote like thirty different first chapters before she gave up and switched to StD.
- She was 35 before she finished her first book even though she’d always known she wanted to be a writer. She said she had to wait until it was more painful not to finish the book than it was to finish.
- She writes her own blurbs.
- She says that getting the wrong feedback too early can really kill a book. She has one friend who reads all her early drafts, but she’s really just a cheerleader (which we all need sometimes).
- Her daughter’s middle name is Pie. Yep, Clementine Pie. 🙂
About Daughter of Smoke and Bone …
- Nothing is happening with the movie at this point.
- Taylor had lists and lists of names. She used words from Uzbekistan for some of the names in the books because she loved how exotic they sounded.
- She went to Morocco after she wrote Daughter, and put a lot of that setting into the next book.
- Night of Cake and Puppets will be coming out in paperback! It’s fully illustrated by Taylor’s husband.
- She would love to write a novella about Mik and Zuzana’s wedding
About Strange the Dreamer …
- A major theme of this book (which could be shared with Daughter) : If you’re a survivor of horrible trauma, can you forgive and move on?
- Taylor sees this as a book without villains. It’s set 15 years after the villains die. Even though there are antagonists, they were victims too, and Taylor wants us to want to rescue them!
- The world in this book is completely out of her imagination. Could it be another dimension and exist parallel to the worlds in Daughter? Well … Taylor teased that this might be another multiverse, so ….
- Taylor calls Lazlo the comic book nerd of the middle ages. She says his character is a love story to fantasy readers.
- She says she likes to try to pack as much punch as she can into short worldbuilding descriptions in her books because she knows many readers (including her) skim over long descriptions.
- She actually knows the real name of the city that is known as Weep in the book, but she doesn’t know that she’ll ever be able to reveal it because it’s truly gone. Probably.
One other little unconfirmed tidbit:
I could swear that I heard Laini tell a reader named Kristen that her name (the name she was born with) was also Kristen, but that she always went by Laini. BUT I can’t find anything on the internet anywhere to corroborate that, so I’ve started doubting myself … maybe I misheard? (My mom says she heard it too, though. One of the fun things about sitting in the front row at these types of events is that you get to hear lots more besides what the author says in the “official” interview.)
That’s it! Hope you enjoyed my recap. If you ever have a chance to meet Laini Taylor in person, I highly recommend jumping at it—her fun and creative personality really shines through!!
Look at you and your adorable mom!!!! I’m so glad I got to meet you guys in Chicago 🙂 Anyway, it makes me super happy to see Laini say she didn’t finish a book until she was 35. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and sometimes I feel like I should have finished something by now, but this gives me HOPE!! Also, very cool to know she writes her own blurbs. I always wondered who did those.
I’m older than Laini was but it made me feel better too. I’ve always wanted to be a writer—I even finished a rough draft during NaNo this past November—but it’s easy to tell myself I’m just way too late for the game.
Sounds like a great event! I just love author events and getting to hear them talk about their work, their characters, their process is always fascinating to me. Interesting that Laini edits as she goes (in first draft, anyway). I very rarely hear of writers doing that. I love that she writes her own blurbs. Who better? 🙂 Clementine Pie has to go down with the greatest names ever. 🙂
Yes, she said it takes her forever to write because she edits as she goes and can’t move on until things are “perfect.”
This sounds like a great event and she was a great author to hear speak. I hope you find out about her name though!! I am curious now lol.
I know—I’ve searched and searched and I can’t find anything about it. I suppose I should just tweet and ask her!
I LOVED this recap. You are so lucky to have went to the event. I LOVE her books also. I cant wait to read strange the dreamer!
She was so fun and personable. And I loved that the interview was done by another author because it made it that much more interesting!
Great recap! You always get to go to such fun events. I still haven’t read a full Laini Taylor book, but I think all of them are on my TBR list. It will happen someday.
I’m lucky that I live near Anderson’s Bookshop (well, an hour away, but close enough to be considered “near”). They have SO many amazing author events. I’ve actually said it’s good that we don’t live even closer because it would be really tempting to just basically live at the bookstore.
I am convinced that I am going to adore Laini Taylor’s writing, because she reminds me of myself and my trouble with finishing a draft or even moving forward with a story. I love her spirit in interviews and her honesty. Plus, her books just sound so fascinating. I hope I can get to read them soon because that would make me so happy.
Yes, she mentioned several times that a lot of people feel discouraged if they don’t LOVE the writing process—she says you don’t have to love every minute of writing to be a writer. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you don’t have a story to tell!
Thanks for sharing! I’m SO jealous you got to meet Laini. I saw her walking around a lot at BEA last year but I never actually talked to her. haha I really need to get a copy if this one – I love the Daughter trilogy. I haven’t read Night of Cake and Puppets yet, but yay for a paperback/illustrated version.
I’m excited for the illustrated paperback of the novella—the book is already so adorable, I would imagine that would just make it more so.
What a great event for you and your mother. I have yet to read anything by Lani Taylor, but hopefully soon I will get to one of her books.
My mom and I love going to bookish events together—it’s so much fun!
Looks like you had a lot of fun, Nicole. I haven’t attended many readings yet this year, but next month is Phoenix ComicCon and I’m super excited by the guest list. Tons of authors (and actors) are attending.
Ooh! One of these days I’m going to attend a ComicCon. They seem like tons of fun!
How fun! And how curious about you hearing that her name is actually Kristen… if you find confirmation of that, definitely post about it! 😀 Wonderful recap!
Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles
I should probably just tweet her and ask! (Except if I’m wrong, I’ll feel so weird about it … Still, it makes sense to just ask.)
This event sounded like so much fun. I’d love to go to one of her events in the near future. I’d love to read her historical science fiction book if she ever went back to it. Actually, I’d read anything she writes haha. I still need to read Strange the Dreamer and I am so excited to get sucked into this world.
I’m pretty sure Laini Taylor could write just about anything and make it brilliant. 🙂
OMG that’s so awesome you got to attend this event! I’m so jealous of anyone who has the opportunity to attend events like this. I live in a city that nothing/nobody ever comes to (in the bookish world that is)!! That’s really interesting about her name…I wonder if you misheard or not!
I’m very lucky to live near Anderson’s because they have TONS of author events (I often say it’s good I don’t live CLOSER because I’d never be home!).
What a fun event! I wish I was able to go to more author events. I enjoyed reading the facts you shared about Taylor. Now I really need to read her books. 🙂
I can see how the wrong feedback upfront can kill a book. I haven’t been on the end she has, but I know what a balancing act it can be to be honest and constructive in criticism and to be a cheerleader as well. Too much of one or the other and it can be a determinant.
Thank you for sharing!
Yes, I thought that was a really interesting comment. Sometimes we think about authors like Laini Taylor and assume they have all the confidence in the world, but that’s definitely not always the case!
I AM SO JEALOUS NOW I CAN’T EVEN!!! I love Laini! Glad you got to meet her Nicole and hopeful to hear writing doesn’t come easy for a genius like Laini and that she also finds hard not to edit as she goes.. I’m not surprise writing as she does has to be a labor!
I agree about the effects of an early wrong feedback! That’s why I’m so hesitant to send my draft to beat readers.
Yes, I think early feedback can be great, but you want the book to be in the right state before you move toward any sort of critical feedback.
Thanks for such detailed recap, I feel like I’ve met Laini Taylor. I haven’t read Strange the Dreamer either. I hadn’t known she writes her own blurbs, I need to reread them now. Lol. Night of Cake and Puppets will befully illustrated by Taylor’s husband, I’m intrigued.
I always love sharing the things I learn at author events! Glad you enjoyed it!