Hachette, Sarah, and my supportive family, I am fresh home from meeting with Laini Taylor, in Auckland. And it was glorious.
We came bearing cake.
We partook of said cake.
And Laini told stories of editing screenplays on transpacific flights, of reading Gail Carson Levine with her daughter, of finding her Muse; she spoke of early writing days -- wearing noise-cancelling headphones playing Persian music while she wrote in a café.
Sarah and I met with her in a charming space in a boutique hotel after a long day of Laini being lapped up by everyone wanting a piece (and she was jetlagged), and she was just as genuine and generous with her answers and warmth as I imagine she would be well-rested and fresh.
You might like to know: that Laini hinted that if the worlds of DOSB+ were to inspire more books by her hand, she feels pulled towards fleshing out Scarab.
You won't want to hear, but it's true: the character you want to know if he/she is really gone? ...and did he/she have to be? The answers are yes, and yes. You'll just have to deal. Karou is "meant to have the weight of the world on her shoulders," and "[The one who is gone] deserves rest."
My favourite story: when Laini (discussing her early interest in hamsas) retold how one long train ride...she drew eyes on her feet...and moved them around the cabin as though these feet-eyes could see..and eased one under a nun's habit.
Second favourite: how Laini was challenged by an outgoing man of mysterious origins to guess his ethnicity (he looked Mexican, and that would have been the safe guess based on where they both were, at the time), and she, knowing the obvious answer and his clear delight at being an Ethnic Rumpelstiltskin, dug deep and pulled out "Persian!" and floored the guy. Boom, now he can't steal her baby.
***A big thanks to Laini, too -- who was willing to share her time and thoughts with us. THANK YOU!***
Why am I leaning in an odd way in the top pic? What am I holding? Oh, that would be cherub flesh. Many pounds of it. During all of this, Mia was making mud in a glass of water from a mauled slice of the aforementioned cake, and she's on my left hip in the hug-out. Aw, baby got cropped? I said it then, and I'll say it now: Show Stealers get what they deserve. Mia was the only individual to get a named shout-out from Laini during a Q&A event later that evening...albeit in answer to her babychirps from the audience, but nonetheless; Show. Stealer. All is forgiven, because...cuteness/deep love/understanding of the wonder of her and...#mybabyshoutout.
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