Good things to come for new series
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 22:09
Thursday afternoon, the UConn Co-op welcomed young adult fantasy author, Maggie Steifvater. Steifvater stopped at UConn on her way across the country to promote her newest novel, “The Raven Boys,” which has been confirmed as the first book in a series of five.
Steifvater has published numerous other works, including the “Books of Faerie” novel series, “The Wolves of Mercy” series, and the New York Times bestselling “Shiver” trilogy, all of which pertain to young adult readers and contain elements of fantasy.
Steifvater’s talk was short and sweet. She said that “The Raven Boys” draws upon Welsh mythology as its main inspiration and theme.
“The thing I love about this series is that a lot of it involves Welsh mythology and I’ve always wanted to write something like that,” Steifvater said.
Steifvater also said that she began writing this series while she was in college and it was the only creative project she worked on during her college education.
Her style of speech as she addressed the audience was informal and upbeat, and Steifvater used every opportunity to infuse humor into her brief address. Steifvater told the audience a story of the humorous circumstances under which she met her idol, Susan Cooper, author of The Dark is Rising sequence.
Audience member, high school teacher and Maggie Steifvater fan Jill Howart reacted positively to Steifvater’s sense of humor and engagement. “She was so charming and she sounds like someone who I’d want to have coffee with,” she said.
Steifvater told the audience, after a series of humorous anecdotes, that the writing process for “The Raven Boys” involved several frustrations and extensive research. She provided the example of how she often has difficulties finding the perfect words for cultural phenomena relevant to our culture and time period, but irrelevant in the future and other cultures.
She said that she wanted one of her characters, who is “fabulously rich,” to wear the shoes she often sees “rich Virgina elite wearing, often driving a BMW or a Lexus listening to Vampire Weekend.”
Steifvater said that the 80s child within her would call them deck shoes, but “the youth of Twitter explained to me that they’re ‘boat shoes’ or ‘TopSiders’ today.” While Steifvater faced challenges picking the perfect words to describe her characters, she said that the most difficult part of the writing process was the complicated mythology she wanted to use.
“I wanted to use both,” she said. “I had to have Welsh mythology, because I’ve always wanted to do that, and it had to be set in Virginia, because that’s where I live.”
She then explained that she had to figure out how to get the Welsh mythology to apply to Virginia teenagers, and part of this process was extensive research. Steifvater also offered advice to aspiring authors, saying that “no never means no, it means not yet. “
Steifvater finished her talk with a book signing and question and answers from the audience. Most audience members were fans from the local area, including Karyn Eves, a professor at Eastern Connecticut University.
“I’m a big fan of Maggie Steifvater,” Eves said. “I follow her on Facebook and I saw she was coming here She’s very lively.”