Sunday, September 28, 2008

Guest Blogger: Maggie Stiefvater

When Lisa asked me to guest blog for Enchanting Reviews, I was momentarily stumped. I mean, a whole world of possible topics was spread out before me, and I had to choose just one. I decided, finally, after talking to a bunch of teens at a high school, to talk about a question I get asked a lot: "why do you write about homicidal faeries?"

After I get over the temptation to answer "why not?", I realize that I write about supernatural in general and faeries in particular for a lot of different reasons.

1) I think characters are like rubber bands: they show how strong they are only when you stretch them. And of course a great way to stretch a character is to put them in a life-or-death situation. I don't really want to read or write about natural disasters or real life crimes, so for me, supernatural characters provide the life or death situations.

2) I'm in love with fairy tales. I love the thinly veiled morality tales, the vicious rules and taboos, the harsh punishments and lavish rewards. My favorite fiction for reading are books that bring fairy tales into a contemporary setting, and so naturally, it's my favorite to write as well.

3) Metaphor, baby. There is nothing like a supernatural creature with no inhibitions to stand as a metaphor for unbridled human greed or desire or venom. Without coming out and saying, "human life without consequences would suck pretty bad," you can show it by having faeries doing what humans can't or won't.

4) Otherness. I'm a Christian and a romantic and I love the idea of there being something more to the world than what we see. We live on a planet with fewer and fewer mysteries: there's very few places on Earth that you can't drive your Escalade to. No more New Worlds for us to discover. So little magic that can't be explained by a microscope. To write about hidden worlds and creatures and people that are beyond science and beyond understanding is to satisfy that craving for more.

A lot of people simply fantasy as "escapist" fiction, but I really think it's so much more than that. Sometimes conflict or theme is just easier to see when you pull halfway out of the real world. In fantasy, good and evil is just so much easier to see (and so much more fun to watch duking it out).

For that reason, I think there will always be some form of supernatural menace in my novels. It might be overt, as in LAMENT, or it might be more subtle, as in SHIVER (coming out fall '09), but it will definitely be there.

Thanks again, guys, for letting me blog for you!

Stay tuned for an exclusive contest from Maggie!

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