Inquisitive Wednesday– The Bookish Tag

It’s Inquisitive Wednesday! On IW, I answer 5-10 questions, be they from awards, tags, or reader input.

My friend Annie just launched her blog! And it is fabulous. To celebrate the launch, she is having a party with a tag and interviews and a giveaway!

And here is her tag!

1. What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?

Last book I read was an alpha-read. Which I totally would recommend, but you should probably wait until it’s been published.

I’m currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and Embassy by S. Alex Martin. I would currently recommend both.

2. Describe the perfect reading spot.

A cozy arm chair next to a lamp. Also a kitten or a baby dragon to read with you.

3. Favorite book beverage? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tears of your readers?

Coffee. Something vanilla or chocolate.

4. Share favorite quotes from four books.

Just four???

“Fate,” Blue replied, glowering at her mother, “is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast.” ~The Raven Boys

THAT’S A HIPPOPOTAMOUS!” ~Thud! by Terry Pratchett

“I kind of lost track of time…” “For two hours?” Elend nodded sheepishly. “There were books involved.”~The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

“Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We’ll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And then to bed! And then to bed!”

~The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

5. What is your most loved fantasy read? Dystopia? Contemporary? Sci-fi? Classic?

Fantasy: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. (Are any of you surprised?)

Dystopian: Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Contemporary: I’m going to cheat with this one. I don’t read many contemporaries, so I’m going with an urban fantasy. Which is basically the same thing, but with magic. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

Sci-fi: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline l’Engle.

Classic: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

6. List three authors you’ve collected the most books from.

Ooh. Maggie Stiefvater (7 books), Brandon Sanderson (at least 10), and Madeline l’Engle (at least 8, though some of those are duplicates).

7. What are your thoughts on magic in literature?

I love magic.

But there are boundaries. Mainly, it depends on where the magic comes from and what it’s being used for. If it’s being used wrongly and it comes from demons or something like that, I am not interested. If it’s mostly being used for good and the characters have it naturally or through some fairy-gift or something, then I’m okay with it. I don’t mind if the main character uses their “good” magic for evil once or twice, realizes their wrongdoing and then makes it right and tries to do better. That’s character development. I don’t want to read a story where people are getting mixed up in witchcraft and making terrible choices all over the place (unless they are the villain but even then I don’t want bunches of details about their magic misdeeds. Just tell me that they are evil and they are using evil magic or using good magic for evil and that’s truly enough for me.) Also… I don’t care if good magicians are called “wizards”. If they are not getting their magic from somewhere bad, then I couldn’t care less what they are called. “Witches” almost always has a bad connotation for me, but if you’re writing The Wizard of Oz (don’t, that’s plagarism) then I won’t care.

That almost turned into a blog post. But those are my thoughts on magic in literature.

8. What types of book covers capture your imagination most strongly? Feel free to include images.

Terrible truth, I almost don’t care about book covers. The cover could be absolutely gorgeous, but the story is terrible. Or the cover is ugly, but the story becomes one of my favorites.

But I like simplistic covers or artistic ones. Like this one:

The Scorpio Races
See how pretty and simple?

9. Mention the first book character that comes to mind. Elaborate on this.

My brain spit out Puck Connolly. Who happens to be one of the main characters of The Scorpio Races. Puck… Puck is awesome but not in a kick-butt, Katniss Everdeen way. The Scorpio Races is hard to explain, but I’m going to try. To try to keep her brother from leaving, Puck enters The Scorpio Races, a deadly race for men only that involves riding man-eating water horses. Puck is not trying to start a revolution or even break society rules. She just wants her brother to stay. (Go read it, it’s awesome.)

10. Do you lend out your books? Or is that the equivalent to giving away your babies?

I have a horror story about lending books. I used to lend them regularly, always getting them back at some point. And then… I lent my copy of Eragon. And I never saw it again.

So… if you are my sibling, live in my house, and be very, very, VERY careful, yes you can borrow my books. BUT BE CAREFUL AND I WANT IT BACK AS SOON AS YOU’RE DONE!!!

And that’s it! Go check out Annie’s blog!


So, I got to meet one of my author heroes.

I met Brandon Sanderson!!!

This was at Anderson’s Bookshop in Chicago last Friday. (And by the way, it is an absolutely lovely bookstore.)

So, what happened?

Well, it was a book signing.
First, he spoke for a while, mostly about writing.
At the beginning of the time he talked, he handed a girl a deck of cards and told her to shuffle them. Then he talked about how writing is treated differently than other hobbies. There are people who play basketball for fun and no one says “When are you joining the NBA?” But with writing, when you tell someone that you write, the response is “What have you published?” or “Oh, so you’re unemployed.” (Or something that certainly implies that.) We don’t need publication to validate writing. It can be a hobby. And if you want to get published, go for it, but it most certainly can be a hobby.
He talked about creativity. He asked for the deck of cards back and told the girl “Congratulations, you’ve just created something the world has never seen before.” He applied that to writing. There are only so many plots in the world, but it’s how it’s done that makes it new. Like for Mistborn, when he combined heists and the Chosen One failing. For the Stormlight Archives, knights in magic armor. For the Reckoners series, what if all the superheroes were evil? He said he takes something awesome and then creates a world around it so it can work.
He got his idea for Steelheart from a near car accident. He was driving to a book signing and running late. A car cut him off. He thought “You’re lucky I don’t have superpowers because I’d blast you.” And the thought horrified him, that he writes all these awesome people with powers who do good, but if he had powers, he’d be blasting people who cut him off in traffic. And that became a story seed.
For the rest of his talk, he spoke about his 0th of his Sanderson’s Laws of Magic, “Err on the side of what’s awesome.” And now, when someone asks him for writing advice, that’s what he tells them.

Err on the side of what’s awesome.

Then he took questions. Among the questions…

Are there unicorns in the Cosmere?

There are no plans for unicorns in the Cosmere.

What childhood books inspired you?

Brandon Sanderson was not reader until 8th grade, he says. His teacher gave him a fantasy book I forgot what book! and he was hooked. Then came Anne McCaffrey. And the rest is history. Eventually, he read The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. He says he has no idea what he was getting into. And yes, a lot of people say that, but he claims to trump them all on that (he did end up finishing the series, after all).

Then, after reading his unpublished novella, he signed books. I got to talk to him in the signing line.
My favorite book of his and my favorite quote from it.
My favorite book of his and my favorite quote from it.

I told him my favorite quote from Mistborn (because he was writing it in my copy of Mistborn!) and I asked him a writing question.

I asked him how does someone know when a story is done enough to submit to an agent or editor.

Because, let us face it, no story will ever be perfect. So when do you know when to submit?

He told me that for him, he writes the first draft, then a second draft in which he fixes the problems he sees, then a third draft to clean up prose, and then it gets sent to alphas, which for him are his editor and a few others. Then he does a final draft and submits. He said “For you, I suggest getting a group of friends for feedback.” (Done. Hello, my awesome alphas!) And when I told him that I had really only started learning about writing last year (not the best way to put it but I was fangirling  inside, so…) he said “Listen to my podcast.” (Also done.) Then I thanked him and went because he was done signing my books by then.
So, that was my meeting Brandon Sanderson. I’ve been inspired afresh to write and edit and ultimately, err on the side of what’s awesome.
And if you’ve never read anything by Brandon Sanderson, you totally should.

Err on the side of what’s awesome, my readers.


P.S.– I’d like to take a minute and thank my awesome dad for driving me to the book signing. I had fun on the trip and I hope you did, too, Dad. Love you.