I'm not sure what I was expecting from Kristin Cashore in real life, but what I got was an enthusiastic, approachable, friendly author who more than carried the event with her personality. Most of the events I've gone to previously were for groups of authors and I was curious to see if I would take as many notes when it was primarily a reading and just one author. Well, when the author is so gosh-darn interesting and quotable, it turns out that answer is definitely yes.
Cashore said she was in a great mood that day for several reasons: a positive diagnosis for a family member, Obama's support of gay marriage, and finding out she was #2 on the New York Times bestseller list for the week. She'd decided, upon visiting Seattle, that she'd like to take a ferry ride since we have regular ferries running all over Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. While she was on the boat, she found out all this information so not only did that make it "the best ferry ride ever" but she was also contagiously happy that evening.
According to Cashore, the first draft is total crap. You know the heart of the story but you don't know how to get it into words. You just write it and rewrite it until you get it right, except even when you think you might've gotten there, you could be totally wrong. Bitterblue took twice as long as the previous two books for her to write and when she turned it in, her editor read the draft and said what is probably every author's nightmare sentence: "Would you consider starting from scratch?" Though it was an initial shock, Cashore agrees with her editor's statement and thinks the book is stronger for it. She used that first draft as a source and just lifted all the good stuff from it. Doing so allowed her to approach her revision with unbelievable freshness and when she was completed, her editor called the revision a miraculous feat.
Here's Cashore doing two readings from Bitterblue. Sorry the audio quality is not the greatest. Pump up the volume! (I wish there was some reason to put pics of young Christian Slater in this post.) These two videos are a bit long and straightforward so if you're pressed for time, watch the other two later in the post, in which she answers audience questions.
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The most exciting part of the night for me was when someone asked the inevitable "What's next?" question. The answer, I was ecstatic to find out, is contemporary, realistic YA! The draft is already completed so I, for one, cannot wait to read it when it comes out. What she will do in other arenas? Here's Kristin talking about the book she's just finished a draft of and what else might be next for her:
A few more fun facts:
- She queried Graceling along with a realistic middle-grade book, which is now, sadly, closeted.
- It took her one and a half years to write the first draft of Graceling, and six months to revise it.
- She doesn't remember the inspirations behind the characters in the series.
- She once worked as a waitress in a pub in Australia. She said she must've been hired for the novelty of having an American working there as she was a terrible waitress.
- When they were trying to think of a name for the overall series, one of her friends suggested "Kickass Women Who Kill Their Fathers."