As you all know, I still couldn't sleep the night before and coupled with exhaustion from being at Toycon 2015 on Saturday, I summoned what little energy I had left to attend and IT WAS WELL WORTH IT. Leigh was such a darling!
I've actually read Shadow & Bone a solid year right after it was released, so whatever hype there was has pretty much died down by then, and the second book was just released. And yet I was pretty sure I was hit with the same impact other readers got when they've read it the year before I did, so meeting Leigh was something I was looking forward to because I really loved Shadow & Bone. The bloggers started asking questions, but not before Leigh tried to tell us which Filipino words and phrases she had learned over the course of her visit here. Yep, she managed to say "Magandang hapon" and "Salamat" just right. :)
As for the Q&A, here's a rundown:
- Asked which amplifier she'd like to have and why, Leigh immediately said no, because she'd have to kill an animal, which was incidentally one of the hardest scenes for her to write. But if she really had to, she'd choose the third amplifier, the Firebird. (If you've read Ruin & Rising you know why.)
- If she were to collaborate with an author, she'd like to co-write with Laini Taylor though their writing process differs. Leigh likes to outline and Laini writes, re-reads what she writes and goes back to it. She'd also love to write with JK Rowling, but she'll probably just watch her write.
- Aside from writing high fantasy stories, Leigh has a horror story written in the anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, whose cover is one of her favorites because it's so creepy. She has also written a contemporary story included in Stephanie Perkins' anthology Summer Days, Summer Nights, set in a small town in New England with a fantastical element to it.
- Leigh will NEVER cut a steamy scene. She writes following an outline so she rarely cuts a scene. Her books tend to get longer on revision though because of gaps that had to be filled in. Some events that were supposed to be in Siege & Storm were included in the middle of Ruin & Rising. Leigh dreams of having a secret fanfiction account and just write secret, sexy fanfics of her characters.
- Leigh is a huge Game of Thrones fan and most of what she'd read growing up used Medieval England as a setting and so with Russia she wanted to take her readers someplace different. As for why it's in the 1800s is because Leigh wants to show the tension between the rise of modern military technology and magic. As for choosing to write in the same world as the Grisha, Leigh knew she had a story to tell set in Kerch so she did.
- Six of Crows was different for Leigh because the setting existed fully in her mind before she started writing the story. It's different than Shadow & Bone in a sense that it has 5 POVs, flashbacks, a heist, a prison break, and 6 kids trying to pull off a suicide mission. Shadow & Bone is a classic "chosen one" story, whereas the kids Six of Crows do not have grand destinies, not chosen ones, not Kings or Queens, and they'll never be. They aren't looking to start a revolution, they just want to survive.
- Louisse asked Leigh to create a haiku for Six of Crows, which was:
Six deadly outcasts,
One impossible heist, yeah!
You should order it.
- To clear things off, Leigh MIGHT write a book for Sturmhond but it won't happen for a few years since she's writing the sequel for Six of Crows and she will then take a break from the Grisha world. But Leigh already knows how his story will go and who he's gonna end up with. As for why Sturmhond? There was so much darkness in the book and here was this guy with confidence and optimism compared to other characters who was just keeping Leigh company. She loved writing about him.
- As for the inspiration for the Grishaverse, it was when Leigh was working as a make-up artist and had to do free make-up for three straight hours while a Halloween party was happening. She was so mad after that she stayed home after, read a book, fell asleep and was greeted with total darkness when she woke up. So after freaking out, turning on every light in the house and checking everywhere, Leigh realized that no matter how old you get or how smart a person was, the fear of the dark never goes away. And she thought what if Darkness was a place? What if the creatures you imagined in the dark were real and you had to fight them in your own territory? What would the place and creatures look like? What kind of magic would you use to fight them and why go there? That inspired the Shadowfold and every idea in the series sprang from that moment.
- Did she mean for the Darkling to be mean and sexy? Yes. Because the most dangerous people in our lives don't walk in with a sign that says "Hey I'm evil, ignore me.". They walk in being beautiful and brooding and charismatic and they know how to manipulate you. The challenge for Leigh was to make the readers to judge the Darkling not for what he says or how compelling he is but by what he actually does. If Leigh had read her books when she was younger she would have shipped The Darkling and Alina too, but alas, that is what fanfiction is for.
- And yes, The Darkling IS a MAIN love interest. One can be a love interest and an antagonist at the same time.
- A notable line from Leigh: "I don't set out to write love interests, I set out to write characters."
- Somewhere down the line, Leigh might write a novella about Alina's origins as there are a lot of threads in the story that can be expanded. This will probably happen after she has written Sturmhond's book.
- Did Leigh created her own languages for Shadow & Bone? Nope. She creates languages to suit the moment of the world, unlike Tolkien who happens to be a linguist and really created his own languages. Ravka takes its cue from Tsarist Russia, Kerch takes its cue from the Dutch Republic of the 1700s and Fjerdan is Scandinavian.
- Life has changed so much for Leigh since Shadow & Bone. 4 years ago, she was broke. She had a job she didn't like, a career she didn't want to be in and now she has her dream job she had dreamed when she was a kid. A friend of hers drew a picture of Leigh in a book signing for her 14th birthday (she still has it) and now she gets to travel to countries she's never been before, meet people and talk about her stories. It is the most unreal, magical, incredible thing.
Leigh might have teared up a little bit in the end, which was a first for us, and we were all just so happy for her.
Watch a video of Leigh sharing a short message to her readers:
And I am sharing a few photos with my blogger friends since it has been too long since we last saw each other and of course we just had to catch up and bond over out massive mutual love for books.
|Also known as #kaiselfie where I try to take a photo with as much people squeezed in the frame. Count: 16 people.|
The result: this one.
Whew. And now showing the actual signing. We got ARCs of Six of Crows just as Leigh was signing our trilogies and believe me when I said we all fawned over our copies.
With New York Times bestselling (and totally amazing) author @lbardugo! So glad to finally meet you, Leigh! And as always, thank you @nbsalert for the opportunity! And yep, that's an ARC of Six of Crows. ❤️❤️❤️ #leighbardugoinph #leighbardugo #leighbardugobooksigning #booksigning #yalit #yaauthor #authorlove #phyabookblogger
A group shot where I, for the first time, wasn't there. I had to leave early since it's Father's Day and I had to go have lunch with my family.
WIN A SIGNED COPY OF SHADOW AND BONE!
WIN A SIGNED COPY OF SHADOW AND BONE!
I made a last minute decision and grabbed a paperback copy of Shadow & Bone and had it signed for a giveaway. Hazel and I were actually paying for our copies at the cashier when Leigh arrived and we had to run to our seats to grab our phones and start taking photos / recording.