Intervju med Laini Taylor

Publisert 7. oktober 2015 12:00, sist redigert 9. oktober 2015 13:12

Last week I met up with Laini Taylor at the Eldorado book store in Oslo. She is an international bestselling author of a fantasy trilogy that I had been dying to read for quite some time. Then, last month I finally, finally got around to reading it and it was a brilliant experience. With the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Laini Taylor has created such an intriguing world. So many fascinating creatures! And the love story is beyond any normal romance. It is otherworldly (quite litterally). And the way Laini uses the language in her books creates such a dark and mysterious feel to it. 

Having now read and enjoyed her books, I was quite excited to meet her. I got to ask her plenty of questions, and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. 

The chimaera are such fascinating creatures, I wonder what was your inspiration for the chimaera and the chimaera universe Eretz?

From the time I was a kid I have always been a big reader of mythology and folklore, I think it's all in there and from years of reading. I have this fascination with the histories, and the stories that people have come up with, to try to explain the things they didn't understand. And I love monsters. The only books that I keep in my bookcase in my office, is my folklore and fairy tale books and things like that. The rest are in other parts of the house.

When I started writing what became Daughter of Smoke and Bone I didn't have a plan. It was just a day of writing for fun, and these characters appeared. There was a blue haired girl, and there was her father who, quite unexpectedly, was not human. He had these rams horns and was kind of a monster. That was the first idea I had of what Brimstone would become. The idea of the chimaera sort of gradually came later, and then even later than that, the seraphim.

It was so colorful to imagine a world populated by creatures where you can combine different creatures with human attributes. It was really just for the fun of it at first, and then it became a world where it had a meaning and where tribes lived together.

I remember when I first heard about these books I was really entranced by the titles. They sounded so lyrical and mysterious. Daughter of Smoke and BoneDays of Blood and StarlightDreams of Gods and Monsters. How did you come up with them? Was it a difficult process?

I didn't come up with the first one. My publisher did. The title that I had in mind as I was writing was "Wishbone". It's not like it was the best title ever, but there was always the significance of the wishbone from early on. So that was just in my mind as the title. But there was a really practical reason for why that couldn't be the title. It was because, and I didn't know this, but there had been a TV show about a dog that solves crimes and his name, and the name of the TV show, was Wishbone. So when you do a search on amazon or somewhere else, that is what comes up. And there is a lot of them, so it clearly couldn't be that. 

Then we started thinking. Making lists and lists. The publisher is the one in charge of the title so sometimes you come to them, like with my new book, they liked the title I proposed and that was lucky because that doesn't always happen. And so they came up with lists of titles and it took us a really long time. It was really hard to come up with a description without spoiling the mystery, and to make it fit the cover. Everything about it was hard. Eventually they came up with "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" and we liked it. With the subsequent ones I was able to use the construct of the first one and come up with the next two.

Once that was established we had lists of words that were cool or that might go well together, but it's so hard to know what will make a good, memorable title. And since then a lot of books came out that had titlies with smoke or blood or girl or other similar sounding words.

Imagine you were walking down a dark street and all of a sudden you notice a shadow looming over you, darkening the ground around your feet. Then you hear a deep dark rumbling and just as you turn around you see the one thing that scares you most. What are you confronted with?

Oh my god! I don't know. What scares me the most? It's funny, but the first thing that popped into my head was republicans. I mean I guess in the real world that is the scariest thing. Terrible, right wing republican politicians. Like Donald Trump. 

I'm a big wimp so if I had anything like that happen I would completely freak out, and not be at all like Karou. I'd scream. Or I don't know what I would do. I don't tend to react really. Jim, my husband, says I'm impossible to scare. When something jumpes out at me I tend to have no reaction at all. You know the fight or flight reflex? I don't think I have either of those. I might just have the stand there dumb reflex.

If you were a chimaera and you got the chance to create or build your own body for when you needed to be resurrected by Brimstone, how would you build it? Would your new body have any special or otherworldly chimaera features?

I think that I did create that chimaera, because that's Madrigal and the kirin. That was definitely the ideal chimaera form. It's human and of course beautiful, but also has wings and horns and are light on their feet with their antelope gait. So I really think I created the chimaera I wanted to be with Madrigal and the kirin. Wings for sure, I'd have that. Feathers are cool, but the bat wings... slightly evil, but real menacing. I'd like that.

What is your favorite scene in Daughter of Smoke and Bone? My personal favorite is the scene where Karou and Akiva are fighting and Akiva sees Karou flying for the first time. It was such a suspenseful moment. I was so worried one of them would get hurt. And there were all these people watching! I had no idea how they would get out of that situation.

I don't know if I have just one favorite scene, but something that pops into mind is that I would love to see Zusanna's puppet show created in reality. A couple of weeks ago I was went to France for a marionette festival and there was a lot of really cool stuff going on there. I thought it would be perfect for Zusannas puppet show. It would fit right in. I'd also like for poison kitchen to be real. To be a place where you can go to hang out and drink coffee, that would be great. And to eat goulash (hopefully not poisoned).

I also love some of the scenes in Dreams of Gods and Monsters where Karou and Akiva were finally getting to be together again, get rid of their anger, and start kissing a little bit. Finally! Finally kissing!

Do you have a quote from your trilogy that you are especially proud of? I know I was quite entranced by Brimstone telling Karou that “Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.

I think that really summarizes the idea behind the whole book, the whole series. Karou, her commitment to the cause, doing what's right. It all really comes down to the idea in that quote.

I'm sure there are other quotes that are also my favorites. "Be that cat", because I've seen it as tattoos, is really meaningful to me. Especially when girls get this tattoo with the context that it means in the book. I also think that it would have been a good message to myself as a teenager. To be content with yourself and not need the recognition or approval of boys. Be happy with yourself and be a power unto yourself, even without the reflection or approval from boys or other people. So when a girl gets that tattoo, and it's happened a few times now, I think "Yes! Keep that in mind".

A gavriel is a very intriguing magical item in Daughter of Smoke and Bone that you can exchange for a wish. If you had a gavriel how would you use it?

Well, they're not strong enough to wish for eternal life, or long life. If I had a Bruxis that's what I would want for sure. Health, maybe. But I think I would do what Karou did and wish to be able to fly. I'd probably worry so much about wishing for the wrong thing that it would take a really long time before I used it. If I only had one. You need a whole violin case of them and then it's not so precious.

Which books would you recommend that Karou, Akiva and Zuzanna read, and why?

I have just read Leigh Bardugo's new book, which I loved. Maybe that one, but maybe they should really read atlases or survival guides, technology or something. But no. Leigh, she wrote the Shadow and Bone trilogy, her new book Six of Crows is coming out in the states tomorrow. And Pat Rothfus. I love his fantasy books.

Maybe they should be reading more like history and philosophy. They have a whole society to create now so they have a lot of responsibility. They are going to need all the help they can get, so maybe they should be reading about more serious subject matters.

No, time for pleasure reading?

Maybe. Sometime for sure. Harry Potter. Let's say that. Lets get them Harry Potter. I can imagine Karou reading Harry Potter to Akiva. That would be nice.

Which books would you recommend to our ubok readers?

I  just read Half Bad by Sally Green, I finished it this morning. It was really good. I just met the author in Göteborg and it was really fun. The book was great. And I love Holly Black and Stephanie Perkins. I would recommend books by them.

Her kan du se Laini Taylor sin hilsen til våre lesere!

Bøker i dette innlegget

Guder og monstre

Laini Taylor

Mørk Engel

Laini Taylor

Støv og stjerneskinn

Laini Taylor

fantasy, forfattertreff, intervju, oktober 2015

Vera var tidligere med i ungdomsredaksjonen, men er nå med i "voksen"-redaksjonen. Hun er 20 år og studerer for å bli bibliotekar. Her på Ubok legger hun inn bøker i bokbasen, skriver litt i bloggen og iblant stikker hun også hodet inn på forumet. Hun er også med på ulike arrangementer som forfatterintervju og uboks lesesirkel.