Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The time it was a recommendation

I got an arc of Red Rising at WonderCon last year with the explicit instructions to read it immediately. Of course I didn't. It went into my TBR stacks and eventually I ended up giving it away. Flash forward to a couple of days ago and my phone started going crazy with people emailing me and texting me about Pierce's launch party.

It was a last minute decision to go. Mostly because I saw a glowing review from Entertainment Weekly and they're so picky. I knew that if I didn't go, it would be something that I would get pissed about later. 

We got down to Mysterious Galaxy before 6pm. There was all sorts of snacks set up, including a cake [it was Pierce's birthday]. But the most impressive thing was the book display. 

Pierce got to the store around 6:30 and went to work on signing the stacks of books that were around the store. 

Patrick started at 7. His introduction talked about how a year ago he started talking about the book and 8 months ago he was pimping out the arc. Now he can actually sell the book. 

Pierce did a brief introduction. He talked about this being his very first event and that he didn't have anything prepared like a lecture. There was talk about his childhood and parents, but I was taking photos and didn't get any of it. 

Also? I have a disclaimer: Pierce talks fast and smiles so pretty so my recap isn't anywhere near to being complete. Consider yourself warned about the hot mess that's about to happen.

There will be more?

Yes. It's a planned trilogy. It's always been 3 books for me. I don't want to prostitute the story for money. There could be more stories, but most of it will be told in 3 acts. There could be future stories set in the same world. I have a big black book that I try to hide that has info about the world and characters. 

Without discussing the plot, what is the set up for building the world?

It's sort of like those CDs "Now That's What I Call Music": a compilation of all of your favorite things. My first coloring book was about the Greek and Roman wars. Have you ever seen the great illustrated classics? My parents gave me those. They became part of my childhood. World building is my favorite. 

This book quickly became a revenge book and as I went on, it became about justice. There's a lot of Antigone. There's probably some Hardy Boys in there.  There's some Serenity

How did you get the idea for the book? Did you pick Mars because of the color or the god?

The first thing I knew was that on Mars there's a flower called a blood blossom and that was the first line and I don't know where it came from. [There was WAY more to this...somehow this was all I got down]

Were you an English major?

Nope. Political science and economics major. I couldn't get into AP English. They told me that I didn't write correctly. Economics really helped me with the story.

Will there be deleted scenes?

That's a question my editor should answer. I'm hoping that before book 1 and 2 there will be little episodes. I would like to show Darrow as a lancer. That would be fun. 

How did you end up getting assigned an editor and how do you decide work that way?

I've been trying since I was 18 to get an agent. I wrote books and query letters for each one. It took me 3 books, well my first book was 720 pages... Five books later, I finally got an agent. I had been rejected by 24 agents and I was working at a tech start up and I wasn't really liking it. 

An agent's former assistant contacted me and asked to be my agent. She was now an agent and I would be her first client. There's a lot of negatives to that, but the upside would be that they have a lot of time on their hands. And she helped me edit it. 

All of the publishers wanted to change something. And at Del Rey, they didn't want to change any of it. Then my editor ended up leaving to go to Amazon. My new editor, Mike, is amazing and we work well together. A good editor will champion your work and you don't have to argue about content. I know that if he sees there's something wrong in the book, there probably is. 

What modern day authors influenced you?

Gene Wolfe. Shadow and Claw traumatized me.  George RR Martin. Patrick Rothfuss's work is great. I like Neil Gaiman a lot, his world building second to none, except maybe Joss Whedon. They can battle it out. 

Did you try to draw in politics that are happening now and put them in dystopian situations?

No. I don't like to do that because it seems like I'm preaching. I haven't lived enough to have those sorts of opinions on humanity. I know they will change. When I'm 45 it'll be different, when I have kids, it'll be different.

Do you watch tv? 

Not as much as I used to. I like a lot of premium channels. I love the idea between revolution, but I couldn't get into the show. And I love Being Human, but I don't really watch. I love anything that JJ Abrams puts his stamp on, so I watch a lot of Buffy and Serenity

Are you anticipating studios contacting you?

Yes. I had a studio send me a gift today. I said that I loved a particular movie and they sent me 4 different copies of it and huge poster. I wasn't home and they sent a huge package and my roommate wanted to open it. So he did and videoed the entire thing. 

Hollywood is really good at first dates. I don't want to be stuck in development. If the right team comes along, sure. But I haven't given up my rights. 

How do you approach swearing?

I fucking love it. [There was more to this answer, but I just didn't catch it. I mean, really.  What more do you need?]

How do you categorize this? YA?

I wrote it to be YA, but quickly realized that I can't write YA. I find that in a lot of YA, they cater to what they think people want, to get readers. Like the love triangle. TFiOS is an amazing book and it's considered YA. Harry Potter is considered YA and that just literature. 

When I realized at page 20 that I was going to kill someone, I had to abandon the idea that it was YA.

Are you going to let them see your previous 6 books if they ask?

Oh god no. I don't think I could even read them. There's some good characters in there. 

Do you write with an outline?

No. And they hate that. I feel that outlines will keep away epiphanies while writing. I do always know where I'm going. The last scene of every book, it's all in my head. 

Social media? 

Pagers. No, twitter and facebook are the best. My email is a lost cause. I should be writing, but I could be doing that instead. I always answer. 

Then he started talking all about book two, giving us some of the plot and the title. I don't want to post that info, just in case...

The signing started around 7:45. Everyone in my row lined up like normal, only to find that we had to move to a different line up spot. So instead of being 3rd in line, I was near the end. 

I got up to Pierce almost an hour after the signing started. We talked about hot peppers, Scooby-Doo snuggies, raw cookie dough, London, living in LA, tater tots, throwing things at him and social security numbers...all within 5 minutes. He's chatty and adorable. 

I can't tell you anything about Red Rising other than the fact that it came very highly recommended by people I trust and Pierce is charismatic and everything I could want in an author when it comes to interacting with readers. 

That should be enough, right?


  1. I wish I could have gone to this event! I've heard awesome things and I definitely plan to read Red Rising soon

    1. It was a lot of fun, he goes off on some of the best tangents. And yes, I plan on reading it soon myself.

      Thanks for commenting, Nicole!

  2. Did I mention I was crying?? I'm so glad you had so much fun. But I'm still extremely bitter. Hahahaha.

    1. You can only blame yourself, you are the one who hounded me the most! I guess I should be thanking you...

      You're pretty.

  3. I love your post. I wish we had such events in our country.
    P.S. The best part about the post is the pictures. The guy is so damn cute!!

    1. Thanks! I am quite lucky where I live, eventually everyone ends up on the west coast, if they're not already here!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. LUCKY! You are right - he does smile pretty and can I say how much I love the fact that he watches Buffy...


  5. Love your commentary. I totally have a copy of this from SDCC or WonderCon as well and need to read it. I wish I lived as close to MG as you. So many awesome signings.

    1. Ha! Thanks! I feel like it was a total hot mess, but so many people have liked it. I think it's more of the photos than the content, but whatever. :D

      MG does have a lot of great signings, but it's also how I spend a lot of my money...

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. He sounds adorable, and I loved that you chatted about raw cookie dough and and Scooby Doo snuggies! I'll be keeping an eye out for his work!

    1. He really is so adorable. And so so so nice, very chatty and so genuine.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. That really is a sweet smile he has. A bit distracting if I might say so. I wish he'd come here because I'd like to hear him speak and talk about his book. I've read Red Rising and enjoyed it. I love the look of the finished copy. So pretty! I'm glad you had a good time and I'm jealous of your signed copy :-P

    1. It really is distracting, I'm blaming that smile for the hot mess of a recap. I haven't read his book yet, but it's near the top of the TBR stack.

      And I'll happily get you anything signed in the future, just let me know.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!



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