I think Maggie Stiefvater must have very fierce faeries, because she is not afraid of my manuscript zombie. Fierce Faeries! *thumbs up* To meet the fierce faeries, comment!
1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.
I would definitely rank myself at least a solid 8. I mean, a year ago, before I had any novels under contract, I was definitely a 6-7 on a good day, and now, having four novels under contract and working on editorial revisions for two at the same time has only pushed that number up.
I battle the insanity with sweet tea and cookie dough, and it seems to be working. Or maybe it’s just making me too hyper to notice that it’s not working. It helps that I have a very tolerant/ supportive husband. Without the tea, cookie dough, and my fearless companion-in-life, the men in the clean white coats would definitely be taking me away soon.
2. Have you always written and painted? Or did one come before the other?
Yeah, I was always a compulsive doodler and storyteller. I still remember sitting with my brother playing with our toy horses and before we sat down to actually play, he would ask, “What’s the ‘way’?” Way meaning plot. I had to plot out the rough happenings of our characters before we could even get started.
And then I took over my dad’s old word processor and all was lost.
As for painting and drawing, suffice to say that one of my early habits that I had to work to get rid of was drawing in the air with my finger. When no one was around and I had no paper to occupy myself, I’d draw figures in the air with my finger, practicing facial expressions and shapes. Yep, I was possibly even crazier back then.
3. Will we see a book written and illustrated by Maggie Stiefvater any time soon?
Actually, yes, though not in the way you were thinking. I have a weekly original short fiction blog (http://www.merryfates.com) with my friends and fellow writers, Brenna Yovanoff and Tessa Gratton, and at the end of this year, we’re collaborating on an anthology of the best stories from the blog this year. Nothing formal, but it will definitely have a couple internal drawings by yours truly and of course a third of the short stories will be mine.
One of these days, though, I would like to do a graphic novel. I’m a sucker for the art of J. W. Waterhouse and Maxfield Parrish and I’d love to do something fantastic and gorgeous like that. One of my favorite books growing up was a lushly illustrated version of King Arthur with all the squicky bits left in.
4. We all have a well for creativity. Do you have separate ones for art and for fiction? Does doing more of one mean less ‘creativity’ left over for the other?
I think the answer for this is sort of yes, sort of no. To a certain extent, I think that when one creative pursuit is going well, your other creative pursuits tend to go well too. So in that case, the art helps the writing, or vice versa. But sometimes, if I’m doing something really intensive – like working on a rough draft – I find that I’m just too mentally beat to start working on another creative pursuit.
5. And you’re a musician as well! Many writers have soundtracks for each of their books, songs that especially speak to the story they are telling. How about you?
Oh, absolutely. Not only do I tend to write songs to go along with my novels, I also listen to music 100% of the time while I’m writing. I burn CDs of songs that fit the mood of the novel and label them as such. For instance, I have ‘Homicidal Faerie Mix,’ ‘Angst Etc.,’ Wailing Atmospheric Females,’ and ‘Relentlessly Cheerful’ sitting on my desk right now, for four different novels. I can’t really seem to concentrate on writing unless I have music playing.
6. Since you first made your name as an artist, did it make it easier for you to put your fiction out in the world?
I think so. Actually, I put myself out musically before I started really displaying my art or sharing my writing, so that really broke down the barriers. Because I played the bagpipes, and you just don’t get much more public with your abilities than with an instrument that is as loud as a fire engine. Also, I had siblings that read over my shoulder all the time – I started the submission process with a far thicker skin than a lot of people, I think. It’s a fine line to walk between having a big enough ego to not get beaten down by rejection or easily swayed by subjective opinions and having an ego so big that you don’t keep learning or take note when you hear the same sorts of criticism over and over again.
If you’d like a signed copy, however, comment! Tell us why fierce faeries will beat up manuscript zombies!