A Series of Fortunate Reviews

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22. Event: V.E Schwab book signing.

This week V.E Schwab the author of the Darker Shade of Magic series did another book signing at Edinburgh that I had to go and see. By god did she make a good second impression on me. 

She came through a security exit to appear aloof and enter all mysteriously, and she set the alarm off. She appeared all humble and she crept to her seat while the staff sorted it out. Then the microphones didn't work setting out a loud screeching sound of which she made a remark of, "It sounds like a cat doesn't it?" 

We, all one hundred and twenty of us, laughed. 

Then she opened up with answers about closing off the Darker Shade of Magic series. 

"I love watching groups of friends who are at different parts of the series. I watch as one of them hates a character on the first book and one of them loves the character and defends them to the earth by the last book." 

She was quite energetic as she spoke about people's reactions to the third book ones which were quite close to my own reactions to it. She was also humbled by the sheer love of her characters and how people were sad to see the back of them. Schwab mentioned how they would always be in her head but how they would not be transcribed onto the page any more, she was almost sad to admit it. 

This year she's closed off two of her series, the one I've mentioned, and the duology A Savage Song and A Dark Duet, on concluding that series she said. 

"There was actually another two thousand words to the final chapter but my editor felt like it was straying too far from the plot. A lot of people are unhappy with the ending but I did it that way to appear hopeful and not all happy. Not everything is happy all of the time." 

She explained the woes of the ending and how it was one of the hardest things to do. When I first read it I was disappointed in it but then  I did nearly the exact thing she did in one of my novels and then I got it. The ending needs to be realistic not straying too far from the concept you started with. 

Schwab is quite an involved author, explaining how she has other projects in the works that she was writing on the train to the event and how she got so frustrated she crossed everything out. "It takes time," she said as she mimicked her frustration, "It usually takes me three years to get it right, to fill it out in just the right way. I'm envious of those authors who get their ideas through dreams because it never works like that for me." 

One thing that I liked was how she replied to fans questions. When I got my book signed it was like I had known her for a while not just for two book signings. When the questions opened up to the fans they were more like conversations rather than straight forward answers. Two of her answers struck with me. 

"I view writing as cooking. You're always adding something extra to make the final product a bit better. I usually leave my 'pots' on the back burner and let them simmer. Every once in a while I'll adjust the heat and add something new. I'll put more 'pots' on the hob and do the same to them. Even if they are on the back burner I keep adding to them. Then when I re-visit them I always find a 'pot' which is fuller than what it was before. Keep adding ingredients to your 'pots', it's easier to work with something that's there than an empty 'pot'."

It amazed me how she could battle six or seven projects at once when I'm itching to commit to one project at a time. 

The second quote that stuck with me was her love of places. 

"I've lived in a lot of places and I always expect to leave a bit of myself in each place. But that never happens. The only place that it's happened is Edinburgh. I love it enough that one of my next books is based entirely in Edinburgh." 

Her love shows because she's even got dual American and Scottish passports so she can come and go as she pleases. Better yet she's even moving to Edinburgh in the next couple of years. 

I felt so welcome and at home there and not because I was in Scotland itself but because I was at ease and content to be discussing something that I loved. 

I'll definitely be going to her next one. 


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