So Maggie Stiefvater came close to my town this week! I was super excited and hired a babysitter so that my love and I could go see her together. There were about 250 people packed in between the shelves at the Barnes and Noble (that’s a guess – I was peering out from behind shelves myself) – so fun to be around the energy! I’d never seen her before. She was full of energy, turning everything that happens to her from her past career as a portrait artist to taking charge of rampaging miniature goats to having a guy try to hit on her in the parking lot of the Super Target into high-action stories that she acted out with voices. The premises of her books are often so depressing that you might not expect this, but so it was. The audience was in stitches the entire time. While we were waiting for things, we chatted with other fans about things like, could I do a Raven Boys fan event at the library like my popular Crafts for Hogwarts Grads and what would it involve? Also I learned that many of the teens had taken the day off school to hang out and wait for her to arrive.
Then it was time to stand in line to get the book signed. My love had already bought us the book from Audible, but I bought a print copy just to have it signed. I’d thought of lots and lots of things that I wanted to say to her, thinking about her advice A Shy Introvert’s Guide to Stiefvater Signings, but as it happened, the time was so short and line behind me so long that I could not possibly fit in everything I want to say. So here they are:
- My love is the very best. I know this has nothing to do with the books per se, but really: He drove to the bookstore before work and got me wristband number 26, a very low number. He gave up an evening at home and the chance to get a full night’s sleep on a school night to drive with me to a date night where we didn’t get to sit down and he didn’t actually get to speak with you in person. I should have been firmer with that employee about letting my love stand in line with me, as he didn’t want anything signed.
- My love finished the book before me, because he started it right away while I decided last-minute to re-listen to the first three books. This is what he told me happened: it was all going about like he expected until Will Patton (the narrator on the audiobooks) started singing Disney songs and then Buffy showed up. I’m guessing he could have shared these things at the event without being ushered out by stern bookstore employees, as you threatened.
- It sounds like a faint praise kind of thing to say that I love your books enough to finish the series or read more books by you. I used to be a series-finishing author-follower, until I became a librarian. Now I could easily add five books to my want-to-read list every day. I start far more series than I finish, even when I really enjoy the first book, and it’s even rarer for me to buy or reread a book. At this point in time (just to name one of your titles) I have three copies of The Raven Boys – a paperback, an autographed hardcover, and the eaudio. This is the long way of saying that I really, really love your books. Please keep writing them!
- Thank you for letting me take a picture with my sock! I got the idea from the Yarn Harlot (who is also really great to see in person, if you ever have the chance). Here are other authors holding the same sock in progress: Tracey Baptiste, author of The Jumbies and Jorge Aguirre, author of Giants Beware! (You didn’t talk much about your sons, but I think they’d enjoy both of these books.)
- On to things I love about the books: as a librarian and sometimes book judge, I look for books that have that perfect intersection of appealing to readers who read first for plot, character, setting or writing. Usually books will be strong in one or two of these areas – the Raven Cycle is strong with every single one of these aspects.
- The relationships: you talked in your PW Kidscast interview about it being healthy for teens to have friends of different ages. So true! I also really appreciate that your romances are between people who genuinely care about people and who they really are, not just swooning over bodies and ranks. And on the flip side, I love when your characters are in bad romantic relationships. They know it. They either try to fix it or they get out. They do not glorify the unhealthiness.
- I am a character reader, and I love your characters. I’ll find myself worrying about them as I’m falling asleep at night, wandering into my head when I’m doing something else. Right now, I’ll say I feel particularly sympathetic to Adam’s exhaustion (that was such a good description in The Dream Thieves) and Blue’s general prickliness, especially reacting to sexism.
- The thoughts on class are also excellent.
- There is magic and music. I get so very excited when harps show up in your books. I even enjoy your passion for cars, though I myself wish to spend less time in my car.
- There was that moment when I figured out that Maura, Calla and Persephone are the Triple Goddess. I swear it was before Persephone said it herself. I think I felt simultaneous clever and slow. (Also if anyone can help me identify all of the women in the book plate image? I am only able to identify Persephone for sure) .
- P.S. The car looks great!