I had so a fun time at the Magic and Mayhem tour! Leigh Bardugo was in conversation with Heather Havrilesky. Those two were quite the pair and had the audience laughing for more than half of this discussion/Q&A (not verbatim)
Discussion/Q&AQ: What do you think it will take to last in this euphoria (of being #1 on NYT Bestsellers List)?
A: Cocaine probably...
Q: Do you feel like you have a hangover from basking in your own success?
A: No. She obviously has lots of self doubt and sometimes thinks that "Somebody should write this! It would be amazing!"
Q: Do you feel guilty that you feel happy?
A: Don't feel guilty about it but she believes that something bad is going to happen especially if things are going too well. (Believes in hubris)
Q: There's a theme of thirst for ego driven power in your books. What can you tell us about that?
A: Every character driven by what they want vs. what they need. Characters in her story know what they want but what they need is something different. It what makes a character a character.
Q: Alina has a big desire and hunger for power. What does that say about you?
A: (Leigh tells a story about how there was this once where her band got a lot of attention at a bar once and recalls saying that it was really good they weren't successful because she would have become a monster basking in the fame. Alina doesn't want to rule/doesn't want to take responsibility. Everybody thinks they're a hero but there are always repercussions/karma.
Q: How much time has passed since the Grisha trilogy?
A: 2 years after Ravkan Civil War. She wanted to shy away from chosen one stories and write about a crew that's so desperate and willing to do anything.
Q: Did she feel that she didn't get a chance to write certain things she wanted in SoC?
A: Not entirely because Ketterdam is basically the anti-Ravka and opposites in lots of ways. It's the hub of world trade/illegal trade so everything was chaotic and represented what she wanted to write about.
Q: The world of SoC feels less safe. Ravka is like college while Ketterdam us like the real world.
A: Going into Ketterdam was like stepping out of fairy tale world. The violence is different: less magical and more real/disturbing.
Q: What is YA?
A: Before YA became what it is, books were marketed as YA. YA isn't a genre but a marketing category. Expectations: certain pace, coming of age (personal transition),
Q: Are there certain things she can't do or feel restricted to because she's writing YA?
A: There are some things contemporary authors get away with that they can't and there are some things they can get away with that contemporary can't get away with. It's all about the individual and what they're able to handle to read.
Q: She's written a lot of headstrong women. How do you approach creating these characters?
A: She doesn't have to worry about having that one wise (or women in this case) character because she creates a lot of them. So there's lots of different goals and a lot of diversity. She doesn't think of the characters (guys and girls) as love interest, good guy, bad guy, etc. She writes about guys who have pasts.
Q: Six of Crows is very much an ensemble book. Did she find herself loving that sort of cast of characters more?
A: She loves the ragtag band of misfits. The characters become stronger than they are apart. Ensemble books are all about finding your tribe which was very relatable.
Q: Leigh and her tribe.
A: For a good chunk of HS she thought she was a sociopath. But then she found her people in college and she wasn't alone and realized that she didn't have to conform to be liked. She was closest to Nina because their personalities. Most classic makeovers are about being seen not being transformed.
A: She doesn't look to lecture anybody. Young people are super sensitive to being preached to. Social media has helped for the better to amplify their voice. She's met 12 year old girls who are feminists and proud and understand the rape culture and slut shaming.
Q: Was it difficult from writing from 1st person (in the Grisha trilogy) to multiple POVs (in Six of Crows)?
A: No. Writing multiple voices was fun. The hardest part of writing SoC was planning and writing the heist.
Q: Who was one character that surprised her?
A: All of them revealed themselves gradually. But Inej and how she turned out to be surprised her the most.
Q: What got her interested in Russian mythology?
A: Her family. Half of her family is from that area so she's grown up with that. She also wanted to do something different and Russia is just perfect as a magical oppressor.
Q: Did she plan out the plot or wing it?
A: She's very into plotting. The heist was about flexibility. But she did have to switch up the process of plotting.
Q: How did she balanc out the power of the gangs in Ketterdam? How did you create the Ice Court?
A: Ketterdam came out very vividly. For the balance of power she made sure there was an old guard so there were codes and traditions that Kaz was also up against. For the Ice Court, there was a guy who was in CIA who sat down with her and talked about protocols of White House and such.
Q: Does she envision writing something as adult and not YA?
A: Yes. Possibly. She has an idea that she would like to write.
Q: What are the Hogwarts house of each Crow:
A: Kaz-Slytherin, Nina-Griffydor, Matthias- secret Hufflepuff, Inej-Gryffindor, Wylan-Ravenclaw, Jesper- Hufflepuff
Q: Has a character ever overwhelmed you so much that you wanted to throw them away?
A: Sturmhond was the one who spoke out to her the most and just wouldn't shut up. She could seriously write 5 chapters of his banter. But she's usually in control of her characters.
After the Q&A was the signing (in which my preordered copy of Six of Crows never arrived D:)
BUT alas I had the Grisha trilogy and it's always a pleasure meeting Leigh Bardugo.
(I'm on the picture on the left and Caitlyn's on the right)
Did any of you guys happen to make it to any one of the Magic and Mayhem tour events?