On Wednesday evening, I went to see Maggie Stiefvater at Mrs. Dalloway’s.
Maggie Stiefvater is an incredible storyteller, not just in her books but real life too. When the event started, you couldn’t help but hang onto her every word. It’s almost like she hypnotizes her audience with her awesomeness.
When the event officially started, the first thing Maggie did was unravel the mic cords from the stand and proceeded to tell us, the audience, that she bought a few baked treats from the bakery and ate them all in the bookstore’s back room so she’s extra energetic. She talked about how her books are getting difficult to describe and that it’s failing the elevator test (which you have to describe your book in the time it takes to get up two floors. Elevator conversation, you may call it). She went on to talk about how The Dream Thieves is about Ronan, whose good attributes are that he’s brave and loyal.
Maggie talked about new characters – Joseph Kavinsky and Mr. Gray. She told us that Kavinsky is basically Ronan, but 100 times more horrible, and that Kavinsky tries to lure Ronan further into the dark side (haven’t we heard of this before? ;D).
While she talked about Kavinsky, she somehow segued into a story about her launch party for The Dream Thieves in Kansas City. Let me tell you that it was fucking hilarious; I was shaking so hard with laughter. I don’t remember all the specifics, but it involves: a knife spray-painted on the side of Maggie’s car; readers spray paint her car (which was on purpose); drunk guys approaching Maggie while she’s signing books and telling her there is somebody more famous in town; “got milk,” “we love cows,” and a gang sign on her car; removing said gang sign from the side of the car whilst the landscaping guys shaped the bushes; her goats got loose, got high on the spray paint remover thingy, and ran into the car door when they saw their reflection. A day in Maggie-Stiefvater’s life.
Then, when she talked about Mr. Gray, she got a couple of volunteers to read the different roles when Mr. Gray is first introduced. It was pretty cute and funny, seeing Maggie and the volunteers speak the lines.
After the Mr. Gray reading, Maggie answered questions. I don’t remember the questions at all. So, I’ll go with fun facts I remembered Maggie Stiefvater saying during the event:
- Maggie was part of a bagpiping competition for three years.
- When she was in Paris years ago for a book tour, it snowed for the first time there in 18 years, but she didn’t stay in the city; instead, she took her husband to the cliffs of Normandy.
- She is super into Maxfield Parrish, who you should Wikipedia because she said so.
- She did research on a Mitsubishi by going to a dealership and “accidentally” buying one.
- She raced cars. (She may or may not have said she raced that Mitsubishi she bought.)
- She has a mean right hook.
- She was “terrible” like Ronan when she was younger.
- She had the idea of The Raven Boys and knew she wanted the whole Noah thing to happen since she was 19.
- When she dined with her UK publisher and they asked her whom she’d want to play Sam (from The Wolves of Mercy Falls series) if there was a movie. Her answer was Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and she proceeded to describe that he’s perfect because he has a big nose and a gangly body. She was later told that Alex Turner’s (then-)girlfriend was sitting behind them, so Maggie inadvertently insulted Alex Turner.
- She chose the voices for The Scorpio Races’ audiobook – Fiona Hardingham and Steve West. Librarians were pretty much in love with Steve West.
- She gets angry when she thinks about Blue’s name because Jay Z and Beyoncé named their kid Blue Ivy. ;D
FACT: I did not know what to say to Maggie Stiefvater.
I wanted to say something along the lines of “hey, I love the history and mythology in The Raven Boys,” but I felt like I would have to elaborate on it. Yes, I did study history in college, but nothing about Welsh kings.
You know what I did say? “I’m a ball of nervousness.” Yup. That’s what I said. Maggie jokily asked me if she was an intimidating person, and yes, she is because of this overflow of energy she has. She asked me if I had a dog (nope), a cat (nope but I do like them), allergies (nope), if I was an only child (to which I responded with “I think like two” and she teased me for not knowing how many siblings I have. In my defense, I was very flustered by all these rapid-fire questions!).
Majestic horse! I wish I gotten Maggie to draw a raven since there was plenty of time. Alas, I didn’t. I will settle for the pretty horse!
Let’s be honest, nobody follows the age-old cliché that tells us not to judge a book by its covers. If you say you do, I am side-eyeing you. Book covers are the first thing that attracts any of us readers to a book. Before you pick up a book, the cover can essentially make or break a book. If I don’t like a cover design, I won’t pick it up. Lucky for us, publishing companies publish different cover designs, especially when a paperback book comes out. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t. Whatever the changes with cover designs, I will discuss it.
Today, we look at the cover of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
Okay, okay, I know there isn’t a vast difference between the hardcover cover and the paperback cover, so why talk about it at all? Well, I’m still on the “meeting Maggie Stiefvater” high and I want to talk about cover changes. My next logical thought was – “hey, let’s talk about the changes in The Raven Boys“ and voilà, here we are.
I love both covers because it’s a frickin’ painting! Any cover designs done by hand is a big A++++ in my book! I am always jealous of artists because, wow, they always blow me away with their drawings or paintings. I love the majestic raven hovering (or posing) like a goddamn boss, giving no fucks at all. The painting strokes of the raven’s feather is absolutely striking; the detail of it makes me want to squeal in joy. It is just so gorgeous. (I want to attempt to paint a raven myself, but alas, I have no painting talent.) For the paperback, I like that the image of the four boys is pretty accurate to Maggie’s description of them. (My hands are clutching my cheeks because hot damn! They are a good-looking bunch. ;D) I cheered that the boys are drawn instead of being an actual photograph of cover models because to me, photo-type covers get dated extremely fast.
But now we arrive at the dreaded “things I don’t like in this cover change” paragraph. What could I possibly dislike in this gorgeous cover? (You might ask.) I’ll tell you. It feels very cluttered. When I look at the hardcover design, I’m struck by the raven and the ley lines (two of the most important images in the book), but when I look at the paperback design, a lot of things are going on that I don’t know where my eyes should look at first. It doesn’t strike me as hard as the huge raven in the hardcover that commands my attention. The four boys’ presence demands my attention (which is good), but they blind me from spotting the ley lines, which looks like it fades into the background. And also, the raven isn’t a looming figure. I don’t like that the title is the same color as Maggie Stiefvater’s name because it doesn’t strike me as hard. It doesn’t feel unique or…separate (they look very together)? It’s really hard to explain.
The Raven Boys is a cover that, despite my dislikes, I love to pieces. I feel a deeper connection to covers when it is drawn. Maybe it’s because I know that it was handmade and I admire talented artists who can make me squeal in joy and make me jealous at the same time. Also, ravens are cool! ‘Nuff said.
(For those who are wondering about the cover artist, both covers are done by Adam S. Doyle, who also did The Dream Thieves and the paperback version of The Scorpio Races.)
What did you think of the cover designs and the changes? What do you like it? Is there anything you would change?