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This blog was featured on 05/16/2019
Stephanie Garber on Creating Settings, Writing Fantasy and Loving Independent Bookstores
Written by
She Writes
May 2019
Written by
She Writes
May 2019

In 2017, readers became obsessed with the world of Caraval, a New York Times bestseller and the first in Stephanie Garber’s beloved series. This month, Finale, the third and final book, is releasing completing the fantastical trilogy.

“I think the exciting thing for me about this book is that it’s taken me two books to get to here – two books of building up characters and ideas in order to turn them into a story that I hope will break everyone’s heart and then piece it back together again,” Garber says. “It’s a bigger story than either Caraval or Legendary, so when my publishers sent me ideas for Covers I knew the covers needed to be bigger as well, and they delivered in a major way.”

This excerpt was originally published on Stephanie Garber’s website. Read her full post here.

On Writing

When she’s not writing, she’s teaching creative writing with a curriculum that is constantly evolving as she learns and grows as a writer herself.

 “There is one piece of advice that I give every semester. It’s also the advice I constantly return to whenever I am drafting or revising: Write the book you want to read,” she says.

“This isn’t the same as writing the book you want to write. We all write for different reasons, sometimes we want to tell a story because we think it will sell, or it feels good to put it on paper, but if you’re writing something just to write it or just to sell it, and not because you are aching to read it, then it’s very likely that no one else will ache to read it either.”

“But, I really believe if you write the story that you are burning to read then others will want to devour it as well. People who are like-minded are drawn to similar things. And, if you write the book that your heart cannot let go of it will show on the paper.”

The excerpt above was originally published on Adventures in YA Publishing. Read the full post here.

On Settings

Before she had the book, Garber had her setting – a place about which she became fixated, and one that inspired her mythical trilogy.

“I like being immersed inside of beautiful locations,” Garber says. “Stark and dreary settings are not my favorite. So I knew I wanted to create a world that was aesthetically pleasing, one that bled colors and delighted every sense. I knew I’d be spending a lot of time in this place, so I wanted it to be a place I wouldn’t want to leave. So ask yourself, where do you want to visit when you read?  Where could you spend hours on end? Or do you not like being in the same place for too long? Do you like books that take your characters all over the globe? Books that take your characters to places you’ve never been – like space, or other worlds?  There are so many amazing places we can visit with our imaginations, so rather than picking the easiest setting to write about, pick the location you most want to visit."

The excerpt above was originally published on Adventures in YA Publishing. Read the full post here.

On Character Development

In Finale, Garber created a seductive villain that would leave readers torn and tormented about their feelings for him. She encourages writers to evaluate what obstacles may lie ahead of the main character in order to create a story that will fully absorb readers.

“Villains are usually my favorite characters; I always find myself falling for them,” Garber admits. "So I knew I wanted a seductive villain. But not every story has a villain – maybe villains make you uncomfortable, or they don’t make you as uncomfortable as they should. Maybe you and your characters feel more threatened by well-meaning antagonists? Or maybe your character is their own antagonist? I like villains, so I try to put them in my books – you don’t have to do the same thing. But I would recommend, rather than just throwing obstacles in the way of your main character, take a minute to think about what kind of threats, problems, or antagonists surprise you the most or make you want to keep turning pages?"

The excerpt above was originally published on Adventures in YA Publishing. Read the full post here.

On Writing Fantasy

Garber recently shared that world building is the most challenging part of writing fantasy for her.

“I love creating new worlds but it’s also really difficult for me. When I’m drafting, I spend a lot of time thinking about my world, how to make it unique and creative and unexpected. But sometimes (or most times) I struggle to then convey all these ideas clearly on a page. I love fantasies that fully submerge readers into a different world, but it’s difficult to put lots of details and descriptions on the page without slowing the story down too much, or confusing the reader with too much information. So, my constant challenge is figuring how much to show, what to explain, and where and when to explain it.”

This excerpt was originally published on Swoon Reads. Read the full interview here.

On Independent Bookstores

Independent bookstores are a community, and one in which Garber loves, participates and openly supports.  

“Me and one of my closest friends would go there to [Kepler’s Books] book signings when they would have authors in town, and I made a ton of friends,” Garber says. “There was a strong writing community there. I didn’t have community where I lived, I didn’t know anyone. So I really found community going to those events. I learned so much by going and hearing the authors speak, so just personally, it meant a lot – really a whole lot – having that community.”

“I feel like I couldn’t imagine a book world without independent bookstores, so I’m really grateful for them on a personal level, on a reader level, on a writer level, and on an author level.”

This excerpt was originally published on Libro FM. Read the full interview here.

Photo Credit: Matthew Moores

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