Wednesday, August 05, 2009

OHMIGOSH

I . . . um . . . it's hard to type. I wasn't going to post on this blog before I picked winners for the book. But I just got off the phone with my editor and it's really hard to type because my right hand won't stop shaking since I heard the news from my editor. But, um . . . SHIVER debuted at #9 at the NYT Bestseller List. Um.

Um.

I am having a very hard time thinking.

I took a picture of myself right after I hung up the phone with David at Scholastic (with my wonderful publicist friends at Scholastic screaming behind him). You can see just how coherent I look.

Um.

This is making my hand shake again.

My husband is taking me out for chimichangas. I think this will help.

Oh my gosh guys. Just thanks for putting me there. It'll be in the 16th's edition of the NYT. OH MAN.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Where Maggie Is Now

Hi folks! I know it's been forever since I posted to this blog, but I figured that it was time to let you know what I've been doing. As you guys know, last year I sold my book, SHIVER (well, it was called STILL WOLF WATCHING back then) to Scholastic. I realized that I never came back and told you what happened.

Well, this week is the release week for SHIVER, so it seems like an appropriate time to tell you about my year. And this year . . . it's been insane.

This is what has happened.












I've been to New York City three times.


I've signed hundreds of advanced review copies of both SHIVER (August 1) and BALLAD (October 1).



I got a new sketchbook and have been filling it with sketches made in airports.




And in airplanes.





I've been to Chicago for the first time.





I've been interviewed for television, for podcasts, for blogs, for newspapers.





I've met hundreds of people who have already read my books.





I've signed hundreds of finished copies of SHIVER (and found out the interior ink is all in blue!)





My dogs and Moose have seen my author's copies arrive.





I have this week seen my book in stacks all over bookstores and folks have been sending me photographs of piles of SHIVERs in stores all over the country.


In my favorite indie, Fountain Bookstore:




In Barnes & Noble:





At Anderson's in Chicago:





And I've still been doing art, just in a slightly different way:




So that's me. I've been blown away by what's happened with this book -- a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, picked as Borders' August Original Voices pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and an inbox full of fanmail already.

I have been incredibly lucky to have some of you readers follow me over to my writing blog on Livejournal, but I should mention it is now also mirrored on Blogger.

And I'd like to give away a signed copy of SHIVER to one of my old Greywaren art readers, if you guys are still around -- so let me know in the comments if you want to be eligible for the giveaway!

I hope everyone's doing well and still creating art and still pushing towards their goals!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Great Name Debacle

The more observant of my readers on my Livejournal blog have noticed that the main character from SHIVER has changed names. This is sort of eerie, since I hadn't realized I'd babbled about them enough to realize the names weren't the same, but the fact is, it's true. Sam Roth (which is, for the record, the best name ever) the character from SHIVER who becomes a wolf for the winter, is now Lee Spence.

That sentence, my friends, is the result of 16 hours of baby name book searching, thousands of calories of cookie dough consumption, silent raging, not silent raging, denial, googling, and finally, acceptance.

Because this agony is something that other authors will probably have to go through and because it gives me an excuse to look at a photo of Lee Pace, I'm going to tell my sordid little naming story here.

So. This all started way back when my werewolf story was only a twinkle in my eye. I'd had the dream that sort of laid down the premise, but only two of the characters (neither of them main characters) came with names in the dream. (And one of the two names in the dream was "Robert de Niro" so I had to change it anyway). I can't start writing a novel until I have the Perfect Names for my main characters, so I was in the brainstorming phase. I wanted something sort of timeless, soft-sounding, and inherently sad and emotastic. Which brought me to Sam, partially because of the way that Meg Ryan said, "Oh, Sam," in Addicted to Love, after she's torn his heart into little tiny pieces and feels bad about it, but is stuck in the floor, so she can't do anything but watch from afar and say:

"Oh, Sam."

I just thought . . . whooo, shivers. I imagined the scene where Grace, the other main character, first sees him as a person after years of obsessing over him as a wolf. And when she asks his name, he says, "Sam." And I knew that was it.

Except it wasn't. Because there is this author y'all may have heard of, Stephenie Meyer, who apparently has also written about werewolves. Who knew?

That's sarcasm.

Anyway. So apparently, she also had a wolf character named Sam. Who knew?

That's not sarcasm.

I'd read TWILIGHT, but it's been a few years, so I'd completely forgotten that there was a werewolf named Sam in it. And my editors had too. And my crit partners. And basically all of the folks that had worked on the novel since last fall when I first began writing it. But not someone at the Scholastic sales meeting. And not, my editors reasoned (once they had this brought to their attention), the hoards of passionate TWILIGHT fans who had the demographics of every TWILIGHT character stenciled onto their arms with glittery pink ink. Sorry, sparkly. Sparkly pink ink. So at the very end of the editing process, after I'd lived with my characters as Sam and Grace my editors said that "Sam" had to go.

I sputtered and begged and pleaded and finally googled "sam werewolf," where I was greeted by one gagillion hits to Team Jacob and Sam Uley, The First Werewolf Named Sam. And I hung my sad head in defeat, because my editors were right, as they often are.

Which meant that my favorite bit of dialog in the entire novel had to completely change:


"Grace,” I said, very softly. “Say something.”
“Sam,” she said, and I crushed her to me.


This was when the silent raging began. Because I knew I had to do something, but I didn't want to. I still had a sequel to write, after all, and I was going to have to live with a not-Sam for another 95,000 words. It wasn't just SHIVER that was riding on this name change, it was the fate of the sequel, LINGER (probably LINGER), as well, and probably my entire sanity as well. My critique partner, Tessa Gratton, spent about 8 hours IMing me back and forth, sifting through hundreds of names, looking for the perfect replacement that would ellicit the same emotional response in me as "Sam."

The catalog copy deadline was, I should add, bearing down on us at this moment, giving us about two days to come up with a replacement. At that point, I think my mood was best classified as "angry/ morose drunk."

Examples of angry/morose drunk exchanges? This is sort of a montage of conversations that occured on Day Two of the Great Name Debacle.

DAVID (editor) to me and ABBY (other editor): How about Daniel? I've always been partial to Daniel.
ABBY to me and DAVID: Daniel is nice.
ME to TESSA: Daniel! Daniel!? Why do they keep saying Daniel to me in my hour of need? Have they not heard Elton John?
TESSA: There, there. How about Jonah? It sounds emotastic.
ME to my DAD: I need something other than Sam, even though Sam is the most perfect name invented.
DAD: Why, again? Because there's this other sampire in TWILIGHT?
ME: Werewolf.
DAD: But 'sampire' is funnier. How about Jack?
ME: Why was I ever born?

Eventually, I really buckled down, hit the stacks, and finally came back to the first name that had occured to me at the beginning of the Great Name Debacle: Lee. It was soft, reminded me of blue jeans, inherently emotastic, and moreover, was the name of the actor who I think of when I think of what Sam/ Lee looks like: Lee Pace. (cue audience reaction: awwww). So now I had Lee Roth. Like Kate Winslet's character at the end of Titanic, I was sad, but triumphant. I told my art critique partners about the name change.

One of them, my friend Nicole, said, "um, Maggie, have you, um, googled 'Lee Roth'?"

I did.

Those of you who were born slightly before me will probably already know what I found. Sigh. So, with a nod to irritating rockers who have ruined a generation of fictional "Roths", I changed his last name to Spence.

So there you have it. The story of how Sam Roth became Lee Spence and everyone lived happily ever after. And the other day, I actually said "Lee and Grace" all by myself, without accidentally saying "Sa-Lee" first. So maybe there is hope for me yet.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Three Tips on Kicking Artist's Block to the Curb


Since I wrote about writer's block for one of my guest blog posts this week, I figured it would be appropriate to write about Artist's Block for my tips post. They're rather related -- sort of evil kissing cousins and it's easy to believe when you're in the grips of one or the other that you will never do anything creative ever again.

So what is artist's block? It's when you've got the time, the materials, and sometimes even the commissions lined up, but you just can't bring yourself to put pen to paper or brush to canvas or Sharpie to wall or glue to trash.

And here are three tips for shaking it.

1) Immerse yourself in someone else's art. There are some amazing websites out there for Safely Dead Artists. For instance, I was a huge Monet fangirl when I was a teenager. I had Monet posters all over my bedroom walls. Sadly, back then, they didn't have this amazing site. Definitely lots of fodder for thought there. If you can, get to a local museum. The idea is to remind yourself what you found exciting about art in the first place.

2) Give yourself permission to create something unuseful. I used to get artist's block a lot when I was creating art for a series or doing a lot of portrait commissions. Every piece of art I did had a distinct purpose and deadline, and I knew before I started that I not only couldn't mess it up, but also that I pretty much knew what it was going to turn into. Giving myself permission to do something entirely not useful in the general scheme of things (like "The Summer Girls" at right) always got my juices flowing again.

3. Switch media. When I get stumped with my colored pencils, I pull out my acrylics, and vice versa. They both offer such a different experience -- one offers total control and the other total freedom and messiness.

Joy in art, for me, is really connected to learning and changing as an artist. So when I'm stumped, it's almost always because I've let myself plateau and get stale.

And that's our three tips for this week! I've got to go Febreeze a dog. Anyone else have tips for shaking off Artist's Block?

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Reason for my Disappearance REVEALED

So I know you guys think that I've abandoned you and this blog for Lament, but it would take more than that, my dear readers. I've had a good reason since back in May, I just couldn't announce it until now.

But it's official in Publisher's Weekly now, so here it is:

Abby Ranger and David Levithan at Scholastic prevailed in a multiple-round auction for world rights to Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver in a two-book deal with Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown. This YA novel describes the first love between a 16-year-old girl and a mysterious boy who spends his winters as a wolf and is fighting to stay human as the temperature drops. The 26-year-old Stiefvater has a YA novel, Lament, just out from Flux, with a sequel to follow. Shiver will be published in fall 2009.


This means that I've been working hard with both editor Andrew at Flux and Abby & David at Scholastic since then, and the amount of the deal means that I'm doing it full-time -- no art at all for income purposes. I'm still pinching myself on that front.

But that also means that this blog is going to have to change. I've given a lot of thought to this, and I think this is what I'm going to do, unless someone else has a better idea. Tomorrow, I'm going to officially announce the date of my sketchbook giveaway for blog subscribers and announce the end of this blog as a purely art blog.

From Wednesday on, this blog will mirror my blog on Livejournal, which is a mix of writing, life, and art. I understand if it loses me some subscribers but right now, that's what my life is. I'm planning on doing more close artistic studies later in the year, but for now, the emphasis is definitely on my writing.

So . . . um . . . yeah. That was longer than I planned for it to be!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering

It's 9/11, so I'm going to be doing radio-silence today aside from this post. Even though it's been 7 years, I can still remember the moment I heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon. Not the NYC ones. I must have heard about the NYC planes sometime when I was driving to my morning class, but I don't remember it.

I do remember hearing about the Pentagon plane, though. That was when I pulled into a gas station and found a pay phone. There was already a line of people waiting to use it, and when I got to my turn, I called my new boyfriend, who was a paramedic. I knew he'd be called to help at the Pentagon and who knew what else would happen there -- what if there was another plane? I'd just started dating him a month before but I was insanely in love and all I could think was that I'd just met him -- I wasn't ready to say goodbye yet.

Seven years later and he's still my husband. Seven years later and a lot of other people had to say goodbye that day.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Moose, Revisited

"Guess Who?" - 8 x 16" colored pencil on gessoboard.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.

As I haven't had a Moose-the-Cat piece available in a long time, I wanted to let you guys know that one of my old Moose pieces; the owner is selling it on eBay. It's one of criminally insane Moose hanging off the back of my computer desk while I worked.

If you're interested, it's here.