Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Maggie Stiefvater to Chouett.com to celebrate the end of the Raven Cycle series with the last recently released “The Raven King”. It may be the end of an era for Maggie and the current readers of the series, however a lot of us are just about to discover a work. And while you are just about to pick up one of the instalments in the series, below Maggie is sharing a little bit of her journey.
1) For the reader who is new to the series, can you tell us what “The Raven Cycle” series is about in a few sentences?
A host of co-dependent teens with a battery of psychological issues comb rural Virginia for a dead Welsh king with dubious magical powers. Trees talk; hitmen put down roots; dead people live; living people die. Cars are described in loving detail. A house full of psychics tells everybody the future and drinks a lot on-page considering it’s a young adult series. Nobody kisses anybody, which is weird because everybody loves everybody. There’s rich boys! Poor boys! Sad boys! Angry boys! Raven boys! Collect them all!
2) How does it feel to close this chapter with the final instalment “The Raven King”? ‘
Weird. Even though I wrote many novels in between, I began this series when I was a teen, and Its dreams and interests are all tangled up with my own. I cannot quite believe it’s finally over.
3) Which character will you miss the most and why?
My real favorite in this series is the dynamic — the spaces between all of the characters — but if I have to choose, it’s Ronan. I’m sure the internet believes that he’s my favorite because he is the most like me (which, yes, fine, everyone likes stories about themselves), or because he is the “coolest” (I’m so pleased that a sullen gay boy who loves small animals and wants to live on a rural farm forever is the current cultural standard for cool). But really, he would have always been my favorite because he is the oldest. Not age-wise — he’s the second youngest, actually, of the group — but storywise. When I began writing these books as a teen, the story was Ronan’s story alone. What was the world to you if you were an impossible thing? What did you do with society if society didn’t know what to do with you? It was only after multiple scrambling iterations over nearly a decade that the rest of the Raven Cycle’s sprawling appeared, subsuming Ronan’s plotline. But even now — he’s still the heart. Ronan’s magic is still the oldest and most unchanging. During the writing of the current version of the Raven Cycle, every piece of magic in the series still turned its face to the rules of his magic for its marching orders.
4) Is your portrait artistry playing a part in your writing or is it something you have kept separate? Have you made any portraits of your characters and do you have a favourite?
It feels the same, really. When I was learning to draw as a kid, I thought the absolute best thing would be if I could copy a photograph exactly. Then, when I got a little better, I realized that it would be even better if I could create a version of the image that was better — truer — than a photograph could manage. And then I realized that the absolute best thing would be to create something better than a camera could manage, and also, a version that was very particular to me. Something only I could have painted in some way.
I build my characters the same way now. I’ve drawn them, but nothing official-official like a portrait. I suppose the bookplate that I just did for the Raven King might count as official. https://society6.com/product/the-raven-king-print_print#1=45
I think my most favorite recent is actually one I did of Sean and Puck from The Scorpio Races, though: https://society6.com/product/its-late-for-that-puck_print#1=45
5) Would you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I’ve gotten three pieces of writing advice that I’ve never forgotten: “write what you love to read,” “write the book you wish you could find on the shelf but can’t” and “write the book only you can write.” For all of those reasons, it’s difficult for me to imagine writing a book without at least a little magic in it. But I play around with the age range, I suppose. I had a middle grade series begin last year, and I’m working on an adult novel now. It feels a little silly to make such distinctions when my readers are already from all over the age spectrum, though.
6) Which favourite author, dead or alive, would you like to hang out with for a day and take for a spin in Loki?
Any. All. There’s very little I like more than playing in cars, and if I had been tasked with giving the entirety of the literary world a ride in my cars, I would get to spend hours and hours in cars each day.
I suppose I’d love to have Diana Wynne Jones in a ride in the car. I never got to tell her while she was alive, but she was an enormous influence on my writing. I would drive very safely. I wouldn’t set her on fire like John Green. (http://maggie-stiefvater.tumblr.com/post/131093304286/hello-stiefvater-i-like-many-of-your-literature)
7) If you had to live in one of the worlds you have created through your writing, which would be your favourite and why?
My version of the world is not that very different from the world of the Raven Cycle — it’s nearly ours, just turned a little sideways. Magic whispers very quietly from dark places.
8) What is your guilty pleasure?
Miniature Silky Fainting Goats, I guess. I have nine of them. They’re very cute and they don’t do anything except eat grass and sometimes get a little wobbly around the knees. People often ask if they have any purpose whatsoever. “Do you milk them?” they ask, and I reply, “No, but I don’t milk my cat either.”
9) Can you tell us “10 things” we don’t know about Maggie Stiefvater?
No. The internet knows everything about me. I can instead tell you ten places you can find me on the internet, which is why I have no secrets:
1 – Tumblr (http://maggie-stiefvater.tumblr.com/)
2 – Twitter (https://twitter.com/mstiefvater)
3 – Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/maggie_stiefvater/)
4 – Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MaggieStiefvaterAuthorPage?ref=hl)
5 – Website (maggiestiefvater.com/)
6 – Society6 (https://society6.com/maggiestiefvater)
7 – Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1330292.Maggie_Stiefvater)
8 – YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpwLW6yud_7OCIXdHP3-UfA)
9 – Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/people/maggiestiefvater/)
10 – Here. On La Chouett.
10) What makes you happy?
IF I KNEW THE ANSWER TO THIS I WOULD NOT OWN 9 MINIATURE SILKY FAINTING GOATS AND THREE CARS