~post by Willa of Teen Press Corps
Author of Grave Mercy and her newest book, Dark Triumph, Robin LaFevers is a kind and fantastic person to talk to. Accoridng to Robin, her books come from a creative itch. Robin has always loved the middle ages. Using her background knowledge of the time period, plus the use of Google, brought her Brittany, a main character in Dark Triumph.
Robin says she loves to incorporate hard choices and shake up her characters’ world views. It allows her to explore her characters while bringing her favorite topic in: empowerment.
Robin mentioned the theme of empowerment multiple times in our interview. We talked about how, although, she would like to think girls have more freedom now than she did at our age, it’s just not true. In the His Fair Assassin trilogy, she wanted to explore a characters growth from no confidence to having great inner power.
The next book in the trilogy will be about Annith, who, of the girls in His Fair Assassin is the most subdued, and has never left the convent. Robin mentioned how Sybella jumped out at her during Grave Mercy, so that was an obvious choice for Dark Triumph.. But, Annith was a character she has wanted to explore more. In Mortal Heart (Annith’s book) we’ll have a completely new story, all while pulling in Ismae and Sybella.
Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young:
Having bonded over candy at a panel (which they both snacked on during the interview), these two ladies have a new friendship built on books. When Cat approached Suzanne about writing together, Suzanne jumped on the opportunity. They came to realize, as Cat said, “We share a brain.”
Just Like Fate was inspired by their combined experience of losing their grandmothers, and they both brought their grief to their book’s character. I was surprised to discover that they had almost no outline for the book while writing it. They would write some and the other would continue one where the other had left off. The whole book was written that way.
Cat explained she wanted to explore the theme of how a single decision can change everything, and Just Like Fate offered her that opportunity. These two writers have each written multiple solo books, each very unique in the YA genre. When I asked what made them write for teens, Cat replied how the teen years are filled with so much possibility. Suzanne smiled and said, “I was just writing and it happened to be about a teenager.”
When I asked Rae Carson about why she wrote The Girl of Fire and Thorns, she was completely open with me. “I had just come out of a relationship, and the guy was completely focused on my weight. I wanted to portray a girl who couldn’t drop those last ten pounds and a guy who didn’t mind.”
That combined with a recent belly-button piercing and a love for the desert, brought the story of Elisa to life. Girl of Fire and Thorns is set in a world that emulates Hispanic culture. When I asked Rae about it, she laughed and said, “I was learning Spanish at the time.” She has a number of friends who are of Mexican descent. After eating the food and ingesting the culture through her friends, it just felt natural.
One of my favorite responses she gave me was about how she stretched herself beyond her comfort zone in these books. Although Rae is not nearly as much of a deeply religious person as her character, Elisa; she mentioned how she felt it was important to give teenagers something to relate to.
COMING UP NEXT
I Made You A Mixtape and Tales of Tomorrow panel coverage. YA Better come back!!!