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Maggie Stiefvater
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Maggie Stiefvater   Maggie Stiefvater (pronounced Steve-Otter) is the New York Times best-selling author of Shiver, a young adult novel about the relationship between a girl and a werewolf. She is also the author of Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, which deals with secret, sometimes homicidal, faeries who blend in with high school students. In addition to writing, Maggie plays the harp, piano and even the bagpipes (but that's a long story). She's also won some awards for her colored pencil drawings.

Buy Maggie Stiefvater's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 10/29/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Maggie Stiefvater

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Matthew Peterson: Youíre listening to The Author Hour: Your Guide to Fantastic Fiction. Iím your host, Matthew Peterson. My next guest is Maggie Stiefvater. New York Times Bestselling author of Shiver, a young adult novel about a relationship between a girl and a werewolf. Maggie is also the author of Lament: The Faerie Queenís Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, which I hear deals with some killer faeries. Thanks for being on the show today, Maggie.

Maggie Stiefvater: Thanks for having me.

Matthew Peterson: So letís talk first about your debut novel, Lament. Whatís this about homicidal faeries? Tell us a little bit about that book.

Maggie Stiefvater: Actually itís about a girl who falls in love with a very mysterious boy, who turns out to be a soul-less faerie assassin. And sheís his next target. So, as you can see thereís some obstacles in their relationship.

Matthew Peterson: So, heís an assassin? He needs to kill her, but then he falls in love with her instead?

Maggie Stiefvater: Exactly, and of course, all hades breaks loose.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, you know, that can definitely put a strain on a relationship, I can see that. [laughs]

Maggie Stiefvater: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: And the sequel is Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie?

Maggie Stiefvater: Features more homicidal faeries.

Matthew Peterson: More homicidal faeries. Okay. Good! These faeries, why are they so angry with her? Whatís their deal?

Maggie Stiefvater: Well, the deal with Deirdre is that it turns out sheís a clover hand, which means she can see faeries. And not only that, but she draws faeries to her as well. So, itís a constant power play, to get rid of her before she gets too much power over them, even though she doesnít want it. Sheís still a threat.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, okay. Now, thereís a lot of music involved in this, right?

Maggie Stiefvater: Yes, a ton of traditional Irish music.

Matthew Peterson: Irish music. And I understand you play the bagpipes? Is that true?

Maggie Stiefvater: I do. It is one of the many instruments that I play.

Matthew Peterson: I donít even know how someone gets into the bagpipes, unless they have some Irish heritage I guess.

Maggie Stiefvater: It was an accident. Itís a very long and boring story, I assure you.

Matthew Peterson: But you play some other instruments, like the harp and the piano. Did that influence your book in any way?

Maggie Stiefvater: Oh definitely. When I think of magic, to me, I think about this thing that kind of transcends normal experience. And then music, kind of is the closest approximation to magic because it kind of affects everybody in a way thatís very subconscious and on a very universal level. And so for me, magic, music, theyíre very closely tied.

Matthew Peterson: Closely tied, Huh? Thatís cool. My wife plays the piano. Sheís like been playing ever since she was a little girl and sheís like amazing at it. And thatís a talent I just donít have.

Maggie Stiefvater: Really? My mom taught me to play the piano.

Matthew Peterson: Oh she did?

Maggie Stiefvater: I was a little tiny maggot.

Matthew Peterson: I took some piano lessons when I was a kid and it only lasted a couple years and . . . thatís one of those things that I wish my mom would have kept me in, playing the piano.

Maggie Stiefvater: I hear that a lot.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Youíre also an artist, arenít you?

Maggie Stiefvater: I am. I was actually a full time portrait artist before I was able to go full time with my writing.

Matthew Peterson: Cool! So do you do any illustrations for the book? Or for your website or anything?

Maggie Stiefvater: Well, actually when Lament first came out, I did a series of ďteasersĒ that were framed illustrated from the novel. Except to keep them from being spoilery I replaced all of the human characters with animals.

Matthew Peterson: Okay. Okay.

Maggie Stiefvater: So thatís not very serious. I really do have a graphic novel in there somewhere. Iím sure that it will come out eventually.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Well it sounds like a very serious book, and it is young adult, though, right? How old are your characters?

Maggie Stiefvater: About 16.

Matthew Peterson: 16, okay.

Maggie Stiefvater: . . . and 3,000, you know . . .

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, 16 . . . 3,000. Yeah, those changes. Well, you started another series called Shiver. And itís climbed right up to the New York Timesí Best Sellers List. You know, because of Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, weíve had a real influx of vampire and werewolf books. But what makes Shiver stand out from the rest?

Maggie Stiefvater: Well, I always like to tell people that I liked paranormal before it was cool to like paranormal.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Maggie Stiefvater: Hey, I read Harry Potter before there was Harry Potter! With Shiver, I think, what makes it stand out, though, is that I just finished reading The Time Travelerís Wife. And I really loved how she had a scientific explanation for his time traveling and it kind of grounded the fantasy and magical element. And so I was eager to try my hand at that. So in Shiver, my werewolves have a scientific explanation.

Matthew Peterson: Okay. I just watched The Time Travelerís Wife. So thereís a scientific explanation for it. So, tell us a little bit about Shiver, for those who havenít read the book. Itís not faeries, itís totally different, right?

Maggie Stiefvater: Itís not homicidal faeries. Itís werewolf. So, in Shiver, itís about Grace, a girl whoís always loved the wolves behind her house and Sam, whoís a boy who has to become a wolf each winter. And every single year he gets fewer and fewer months as a human. And they fall in love and the clock starts ticking.

Matthew Peterson: So, they fall in love, obviously as humans, right? So, how does she know that he goes into this transformation every winter?

Maggie Stiefvater: Well, their eyes stay the same.

Matthew Peterson: Okay, so, sheís not like, ďOh this is my pet, I love this wolf. Heís so nice.Ē And ďOh!Ē He turns into a boy! [laughs]

Maggie Stiefvater: No, itís not a dog with benefits. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah. Well, thatís cool, so they have this relationship and itís continuing on, the second book is coming out later in 2010, right?

Maggie Stiefvater: Thatís right, August.

Matthew Peterson: In August, okay. Whatís the name of that book, or at least the tentative name?

Maggie Stiefvater: That one is Linger, for sure.

Matthew Peterson: Linger, okay.

Maggie Stiefvater: And I actually . . . all of the books in the series, thereís three of them, end with -er. Which, getting the 3rd title involved me looking at a word search engine online, looking at every single word in the English language that ended with -er and crossing them off. Going nope, nope, sucker, nope, litter, nope.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] So whatís the second one going to be, anything you can tell us about?

Maggie Stiefvater: Second one is Linger and third one is Forever.

Matthew Peterson: Is there anything you can tell us about Linger, to wet our whistle?

Maggie Stiefvater: Iím trying to think of what I can say that wonít be spoilery for the first one. There will be werewolves again.

Matthew Peterson: The Amazon blurb.

Maggie Stiefvater: Thatís right! It shares some of the same point of view narrators. And itís about after you find out that the wolves behind your house are werewolves and after youíve become a person you canít live with and after you have everything you think that you wanted.

Matthew Peterson: So, what made you decide to write a book about a werewolf. Actually, itís not quite the same thing, I think youíve got a different twist on this because, when he turns into a wolf, heís a wolf for months, right?

Maggie Stiefvater: Yes. All winter.

Matthew Peterson: All winter long. Okay, so that is a different twist, a different take on the whole thing.

Maggie Stiefvater: And thereís no drooling, or slavering, or flea intake collars, like normal werewolves. And so I think technically theyíre shape shifters, the werewolves out there. But for me, I love the way that you can play with metaphor in fantasy and werewolves are very appealing, about losing your identity, especially in this increasingly suburban world. So it was fun to play with that.

Matthew Peterson: When he does turn into a wolf, are his faculties all there, I mean, his mental faculties? Does he still . . .

Maggie Stiefvater: No, he has some dim memories of his human life, but for the most part, itís a wolf. And so the threat is not that sheíll lose him in this form, but that heíll lose himself.

Matthew Peterson: Okay. I gotta tell you, my favorite, probably one of my favorite movies of all time is Ladyhawke.

Maggie Stiefvater: Yeah, there you go. [laughs] A lot of people have said, ďYeah, itís like Ladyhawke.Ē

Matthew Peterson: Oh, I donít know if itís like Ladyhawke, but I love Ladyhawke, and youíve got the big ole wolf.

Maggie Stiefvater: I do not want Michelle Pfeiffer to play Sam. If thereís any producers out there listening, I do not want Michelle Pfeiffer to play Sam.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Michelle Pfeiffer. Do you have any interests in a movie? Any movie producers looking at your book, yet?

Maggie Stiefvater: I do actually. Warner Brothers has signed a deal for the rights.

Matthew Peterson: Ah! They got the option, huh?

Maggie Stiefvater: Yes.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, that is exciting!

Maggie Stiefvater: And so itís never a definite in the movie business, but well, itís started, the process has started.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Iíve spoken to quite a few authors who have got their options, movie producers have bought the options, and itís one of those things that itís a hit or miss, you donít know if itís going to happen, but you still get paid regardless!

Maggie Stiefvater: When I first signed the deal, actually my editor said, ďYes, thereís a saying in novels, where it says, ĎMay your book always be optioned and never get made into a movie.íĒ

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Maggie Stiefvater: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: I spoke to one author whoís like, ďIíve sold the option 6 times to my book. I hope it never becomes a movie, because then . . . if itís a flop, then I wonít be able to sell the options any more.Ē

Maggie Stiefvater: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: But Iím sure that wonít happen with you. Cross your fingers, good luck!

Maggie Stiefvater: Yes, well, like you said, even if it never gets made into a movie, right now, enjoying the fact . . . pocketing the check for doing absolutely nothing. Thatís fine! Thatís fine!

Matthew Peterson: Yes, yeah, definitely. Iíd go for that any day.

Maggie Stiefvater: Yes. Well, and YA is really hot, too. Iíve noticed that a lot of YA books are getting optioned.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Like I said, itís a different take on the normal werewolf story. Let me ask you one last question, too, before we go. Do you have some ideas for some other series?

Maggie Stiefvater: I do. Iím actually . . . as soon as I finish writing Forever, I have another series that Iím starting, that will be coming out Spring of 2011. Iím excited about that one. It involves more homicidal things and beaches and blood.

Matthew Peterson: Beaches and blood. Is it still young adult?

Maggie Stiefvater: Yes. Still young adult.

Matthew Peterson: Still young adult. Okay. And the main antagonist that creates the blood [laughs], what do you have in mind?

Maggie Stiefvater: Well, I donít want to say too much, but I will say that this is the book that Iím pitching as ďJurassic Park meets National Velvet.Ē

Matthew Peterson: Ah! Okay.

Maggie Stiefvater: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah thatís interesting! [laughs] That should be fun. Well, thanks so much, Maggie, itís been nice talking with you. I think thatís about all the time weíve got, but Iíve been speaking with Maggie Stiefvater, New York Times bestselling author of Shiver, Lament, and Ballad. Thanks for being on the show today, Maggie.

Maggie Stiefvater: Thanks, Matt.

Matthew Peterson: Well, guys, after the show, if you head on over to you can learn more about Maggie and the other authors. Plus you can listen to the bonus questions that didnít make it on to the live show. Iíve got photos, biographies, transcribed interviews, links to places you can buy everyoneís books. I just created a forum where you can talk about authors or just about anything you want. Also, if you havenít done so already, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter and weekly eCard, which will keep you up-to-date on the show and the future guests Iíll be interviewing. For instance, next week Iím interviewing, really, the top authors in traditional fantasy: Terry Brooks, Brandon Sanderson, Tracy Hickman, Margaret Weis, and R. A. Salvatore.

Then after that Iím doing an episode with the classic authors of fantasy and science fiction, weíve got: Ursula K. Le Guin, Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, Anne Rice (whoís sold 100 million books), Orson Scott Card. Thatís going to be a great episode, so donít miss that one also.

And then Iíve got a vampire episode with Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, P. C. and Kristin Cast, and L. J. Smith. It should be lots of fun, so tell your friends and family about the show.

Some of you might now know this, but you can always listen to past episodes by going into the archives on I also have the transcribed interviews on my website if you want to read them at

Weíre coming up to a commercial break, so donít go away. Iíve got the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Wings: Aprilynne Pike.

  Read or Listen to the extra questions that didn't make it onto the live show.  

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