Author Chat with Maggie Stiefvater (Swamp Thing: Twin Branches), Plus Excerpt!
Today we're excited to chat with Maggie Stiefvator author of
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches.
Read on for more about Maggie and her book, plus an excerpt!
Meet Maggie Stiefvator!
New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races. Artist. Driver of things with wheels. Avid reader.
All of Maggie Stiefvater's life decisions have been formed by a desire to leave a mark, resulting in spray-painted cars, sharpie-covered computer printers, ink-splattered walls, and stories told in books, in magazines, and on stages. Maggie Stiefvater lives in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.
Meet Swamp Thing: Twin Branches!
Twins Alec and Walker Holland have a reputation around town. One is quiet and the other is the life of any party, but they are inseparable. For their last summer before college, the two leave the city to live with their rural cousins, where they find that the swamp holds far darker depths than they could have imagined.
While Walker carves their names into the new social scene, Alec recedes into a summer school laboratory, because he brought something from home on their trip—it’s an experiment that will soon consume him. This season, both brothers must confront truths, ancient and familial, and as their lives diverge, tensions increase and dormant memories claw to the surface.
~ Author Chat ~
- What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Science and magic are kind of my jam. I like that they seem like opposites, but they’re just different ways of processing the world: science is about ordering the unknown, magic is about disordering the known. Swamp Thing gave me an opportunity to do both, and in a YA space, which meant it got to all be a metaphor for identity and learning who you’re going to be (and also who you’re not going to be).
- Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I’ve been writing ever since I was a gross, awkward, unfriendly tadpole, so this requires quite a lot of thinking, but I guess the most crucial moment in my career came when I decided to write The Scorpio Races. I was coming off publishing the Shiver Trilogy, which had done enormously well, ridiculously well. The kind of success you just can’t hope to duplicate exactly because it wasn’t just about the book, it was about the book coming out at the right moment. I asked myself what I wanted out of my next project. Did I want to try to reach those ridiculous sales heights again? Or did I want to use this success to write something peculiar, something just for me?
I decided on the latter. I would write the book of my heart, The Scorpio Races, a cozy, creepy book about killer water horses coming out of the sea. And to my surprise . . . people liked it. It was very peculiar, very specific, and yet . . . people liked it. More than that. They loved it. Not everyone loved it, of course. Some people hated it. It invoked strong feelings, both ways.
That was when I realized that I could write about absolutely anything I liked as long as I took the time to invite the reader along with me. You can’t just throw them entirely in the deep end, you’ve got to take care of them, but if you love it, you can help others to love it too.
- What’s on your TBR pile?
A bookseller just handed me Hollow Kingdom, which is about a crow narrating the zombie apocalypse.
- What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
I just finished reading Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi and it is, hands down, my favorite novel of the past five years. It’s an exquisite little puzzle box that explores memory and identity and old, old magic, and it just took me entirely by surprise.
- What’s up next for you?
I’m working on the last book in the Dreamer trilogy, which is about people who can manifest things from their dreams, and I’ve got two secret projects I can’t say anything about. Oh, and I do have a tarot deck, the Scorpio Sea Tarot, coming out in October — I drew those 78 cards based on the imagery of the Scorpio Races last year.
- Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
I’m going to answer the opposite — which did I like the best. There’s a moment where the characters are driving and they come across their cousins’ dogs and I think it’s one of my favorites. It’s just one of those moments where the nature of the book begins to reveal itself.
- Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising, hands down. Drafting is like being pregnant. You lumber about and pant heavily and have no control over anything happening inside there. Revising is like parenthood. Once the baby’s popped out, you can give it braces and teach it the alphabet and how to play a musical instrument. That’s revision.
- What would you say is your superpower?
Grit. Is that a superpower? It’s very hard to discourage me. I’m always taking a look at the long view, which means the bumps along the way feel smaller.
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches
By: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: October 13th, 2020