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On anxiety, upheaval, and embracing change.

front porch

I’m sitting here on my front porch with a cup of tea and the beginnings of a book.

It is one of those impossible summer days made of July sky and October air. It is a perfect morning. And for the first time in months, I feel like I can breathe.

In two weeks, I will no longer be sitting on my front porch in Nashville. I’ll be in a conference center in London. A week later, I’ll be moving into my apartment in Edinburgh, wandering the streets of Old Town in search of tea and balance.

The last few months have been trying, to say the least. A plunge into the depths of anxiety rendered me unable to focus, to write, to live my life to the standard that I’ve always demanded of myself. I have always had one rule: to never let fear stop me from embracing change. And for the past few months, it has. I’ve wanted to shrink away from life, into safety, into the known. I looked at this move with dread, and if I’m being honest, there is still a measure of it there. But I’m not going to let that dread stop me. And that’s a sign that I’m finding my way back to myself. My stubborn, challenge-loving side is showing up again, and I’ve never been so happy to see it.

There is a line that shows up in most of my books. Said by Mackenzie Bishop’s father, or Aria Blue, or Delilah Bard (you will meet her soon).

It will be an adventure, they say. I say.

People keep asking me, “Are you ready?” and the answer is no. Of course not. I’m not sure how someone truly makes themselves ready for change. Change is something that happens to us, and even when we invite it, we are the reactive force, the recoil, the reverberation.

For the first time in my life, I’m not suffering from wanderlust. I’m not restless, eager to get away. I’d be perfectly happy to sit here on this front porch and write and breathe and be still. But change is coming. And I’m going to meet it with my chin up.

Because it’s going to be an adventure.

And if we didn’t have those, what would we have to write about?

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My LonCon Schedule!

Hey lovelies! I just hit send on the DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC final pass pages *and* a revision of the third EVERYDAY ANGEL book, so feeling equal parts like nap and win.

Anyway, as many of you know, I’m moving to Scotland in less than a month for a grad school program*, but on the way in, I’m passing through London to participate in LonCon! If you’re on that side of the ocean, here’s where you can find me:


Titan Books signing at Forbidden Planet!

Wednesday 13th August, 6-7pm, details to come!


Fresh Beasts in YA

Thursday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

YA writers seem particularly keen on supernatural monsters. Have we mined out the traditional ones — the Vampires, demons and zombies? What fresh angles would breathe new afterlife into them? Or do we need a whole slew of fresh beasts to keep the reader’s interest?

Panelists: Oisin McGann, Tom Pollock, Sarah Rees Brennan, V. E. Schwab, Catherynne M. Valente

Doctor Who: Fandom for the Whole Family

Thursday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 10 (ExCeL)

Doctor Who is an international cult hit phenomenon that began when the First Doctor landed the TARDIS on British soil in the 1960s and captured the hearts and minds of a generation. The Doctor’s companions, from Susan to Adric, from Zoe to Amy, have often been teenagers or children, a surrogate ‘family’ that brings the family together as our Doctors regenerate into our children’s Doctors—generation after generation. What is it about Doctor Who that attracts younger fans? Why do they identify with a thousand year old Time Lord? What was the Doctor like when he was a teenager? Panelists discuss the ageless and timeless appeal of Doctor Who, especially among younger fans and their families.

Panelists: Jody Lynn Nye, S. J. Groenewegen, V. E. Schwab, Kathryn Sullivan, Simon Guerrier.

Reading: V. E. Schwab

Thursday 22:30 – 23:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

Autographing 3 – V. E. Schwab

Saturday 16:30 – 18:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

*I am not panicking. I am not panicking. I am not panicking.

27! Some Birthday Thoughts.

Hello, lovelies!

So, today’s my 27th birthday, and as I’ve been remiss in posting I thought it was time to check in.

I won’t lie–26 was in many ways a rocky year. While I was fortunate enough to see both VICIOUS and THE UNBOUND hit shelves, I also dealt with setbacks, both professionally and personally. Some hurdles are now behind me, others I’m still fighting my way over.

And as happens with birthdays and major life changes, I’ve been thinking a lot lately, not only about where I’m going, but of how far I’ve come.

I’ve been in publishing for almost exactly 5 years now (I went on sub in May, and sold in September, so it depends which system of measurement you use). In those 5 years, I’ve been lucky enough to sell nearly a dozen books.

As an industry, we put so much expectation on debuts, but I have to say, I’m relieved to be on the other side of that particular hurdle. And, given publishing’s obsession with the new and shiny, I’m grateful to still be here, not only to my houses, but to my readers.

But it’s no surprise that I’m fighting burnout. These past couple of months have been particularly hard, and with an international move and graduate school looming, my batteries feel dangerously low. I feel like time is escaping through every crack, minutes from every hour and hours from every day. So any positive thoughts you can spare on that front would be appreciated. 

But as with all things, we press on. 27 is a new age, and a new year, and I’m hoping to make something of it. There are adventures to be had, stories to be written, books to be released into the world, Masters degrees to be pursued. And I promise to take you with me, wherever I go.

In the meantime, I go in search of cake and calm.

If you want to give me a birthday present, show THE ARCHIVED or VICIOUS some internet love today ;) And be kind to someone who might need it. 

Scatter-brained: a collection of snippets from the WIP file.

Hey, lovelies.

So I’m deep in a deadline cave–which I feel I shouldn’t even call a cave these days, just a default state–but my mind is always a dozen places, and my hands are always in a dozen projects, so I thought it might be fun to do a peak behind the curtain and post a snippet from each of them.

Disclaimer: Some of these projects might not become books. Some are things I’m just playing around with. Because of that, I’m not going to identify the source of each snippet. But some should be obvious ;)

 

#1.

The night Kate Harker decided to burn down the school chapel, she wasn’t angry, or drunk.

She was just desperate.

And in her defense, the chapel was empty. Burning it down was a last resort; she’d already broken a girl’s nose, smoked in the dormitories, cheated on her first exam, and verbally harassed the nuns. But no matter what she did, St. Agnes kept forgiving her. That was the problem with Catholic schools.

*

*

*

#2.

“Wesley, I need you to listen to me.”

“Why should I?”

“Because we’re a team. Because you’re my best friend—my partner—and because I can’t do this without you.”

 His eyes move feverishly over my face. “Mackenzie,” he says, my name little more than a breath. I lean in, hoping it’s recognition, but it’s too much to ask for. His brow furrows. “Whatever brought you to this, we’ll get through it. We’ll sort it out.”

My heart sinks. He’s trying to talk me down, like I’m a History, someone who might slip.

 *

*

*

#3.

Alucard slumped into his high-backed chair, the stolen crown slouched forward against his brow. The bounty glittered in the firelight, and his eyes shone, dark with drink, and in that moment he reminded her of Rhy, and of Kell, and yet of no one she’d ever met. A trickster god, face shifting in turns of light. He was dangerously charming, and Lila suspected he knew it.

“Tell me something.” His words had a slight drawl.

Lila raised a brow.

“Who was Delilah Bard before she came aboard my ship?”

*

*

*

#4. 

Eli Ever sat on the cot in isolation.

He wrapped his arms around himself, palms against ribs, fingers grazing the outside edges of the scars that traced his back. He ran a thumb over one of the lower lines, shuddering a little. He always did.

When he was young, and the scars were fresh, he tried to tell himself they looked like wings, the whip marks tracing out the feathers.

*

*

*

#5.

“Who do you think gave Joan of Arc her blessed sword, so that she could not be struck down?”

“But she was.”

“Not in battle.” Edric drew his fingertip around the glass’s rim. “Semantics may seem small, Addie, but the power of a deal is in its wording. She did not ask for the ability to keep hold of her weapon. Only the invincibility while wielding it. And even with her fate, I’d wager it was a fair trade.”

Addie shook her head. “I refuse to believe that Joan of Arc did a deal with the devil.”

Edric shrugged. “It’s possible she didn’t know. It’s possible that I let her believe I was something a little more…angelic? But deep down, I think she knew. Greatness requires sacrifice. Who you sacrifice to matters less than what you sacrifice for.”

On Making Time and Complicating Life on Purpose.

“How will you find the time?”

This has become the most asked question in my life. In exactly six months, I will move to the UK for a year, to do a Masters Program at the University of Edinburgh. It’s a crazy and terrifying and totally surreal thing to think about, and I’m very excited to have the opportunity.

But it’s got me thinking a lot about time, and the making of it (notice I don’t say ‘finding’ — I hate that phrase, ‘finding time’). Again and again and again I field a version of the question, “Why? Things are going so well for you! Why would you interrupt it? Why would you make your life more complicated? And how will you find the time?”

I don’t mind the question, exactly. But here’s my answer:

I’m a really strong believer that you expand to fill the time you have. You learn this the hard way: when you wake up fifteen minutes before a class, you discover that you can actually don clothes and sprint across campus in fourteen and a half. When you only have two hours a day to write, as I did in school–or as many do, stealing hours of time before their children wake or after they go to sleep–you discover just how focused you can be.

I have had the immense luxury for the last few years of being a full-time author. But so many people have writing careers without that luxury, some by necessity and some by choice. I believe there is room in life for writing, and room in life for more than writing. I actually believe it’s essential to make room in life for more than writing.

Imagine you can hold your work time in your hands (and let’s for the sake of argument assume you have two of them).

Now imagine that in one hand, you hold writing. In the other, you hold a job, or school, or both. Now let’s say you have the luxury to become a full-time writer, and you empty that non-writing hand. I don’t believe you should put writing in that second hand as well. In fact, for the vast majority of creative people, I don’t think you can. Or if you try, I don’t think you’ll end up with two hands’ worth of work to show for it. We have a creative capacity, and while that’s different for each person, I think it’s fairly constant for that person. A ceiling of efficiency, if you will. For me, personally, my creative capacity is roughly 3,000 words/day. I don’t enjoy writing more than that. My focus falls off, and so does my quality, and I know that about myself.

When I was in college, and stealing two hours in a coffee shop each night to write THE NEAR WITCH, I reached my creative capacity. These days, as a full-time writer, with 18 hours at my disposal instead of 2, I usually hit the same point. Yes, I get to fill the rest of the time doing a myriad of other authorly things, but the simple creative math of it is that my writing sits in one of my two hands, even when the other is free.

And even if someone can stretch themselves, push themselves, take up 8 or 10 or 18 hours of their day with writing, I don’t necessarily think they should. Even if burnout weren’t a factor, I believe that part of being a writer is finding things to write about, getting out in the world and absorbing new information and experiences.

So really, for the last few years, that’s what I’ve filled my other hand with. Movies and travel and books and research and chance and adventure and risk and wrong turns. Those are my true luxuries as a full-time author. For me, being a full-time author has allowed me neither stability nor comfort, but the ability to risk the second hand. Writing is one of the most important things in my life. It is woven into the fabric of who I am. But it cannot be the only thing. It shouldn’t be the only thing. I would not be a good writer if it were the only thing.

So “why would I complicate my life?”

Because life is for complicating.

It’s for living. It’s for taking wrong turns–and hopefully a few right ones. It’s for going on adventures, and learning new things, so that if the Archive turns out to be real, your History will be interesting enough to read ;)

And “how will I find time?”

I won’t. I’ll make it.

1 Month till THE UNBOUND!!! Announcing the Epic Pre-Order Prize Pack.

Lovelies!!

My editor just sent me this photo!

THEUNBOUNDlisa

Do you know what that means? THE UNBOUND IS ALIVE MWAHAHAAHAHA.

*clears throat*

And since it’s hitting shelves in exactly ONE MONTH, I think it’s time to announced the Epic Pre-Order Prize Pack.

Everyone who pre-orders THE UNBOUND from any retailer–local, chain, online, hardcopy, digital–and sends proof/confirmation to viciousveschwab at gmail dot com, will 1. receive signed UNBOUND bookmarks…

Photo on 2013-12-16 at 12.23

…and 2. be entered to win the epic prize pack containing:

–$75 to the local bookstore/chain bookstore/online retailer of your choice
–A signed hardcover of THE ARCHIVED
–A signed bookplate for your copy of THE UNBOUND
–A key necklace
–An ARCHIVED tote bag
–A signed US hardcover or UK paperback of VICIOUS

Simple, isn’t it?!

Allons-y!

The VICIOUS movie deal: what happened, what it means, and what it doesn’t.

Hello, lovelies!!

So, yesterday, after months and months of hope, development, and waiting, this went up on Deadline Hollywood:

DeadlineHollywood

Before I go any further, allow me to get this out of my system: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Okay. Deep breaths. Onward. As many of you have guessed, this is the reason (or at least a large portion of the reason) I flew out to LA this past October.

The deal was already underway, and while I was out there, I had the immense pleasure of meeting not only my film agent (the incredible, and incredibly patient-with-V, Jon Cassir) but also EVERYONE involved on this deal.

Ridley Scott’s company, Scott Free, have been absolute champions of VICIOUS from the very beginning. They were one of the first producers to vie for the project, and have fought for it at every single stage so far.

Getting to meet Allison, my acquiring producer, has been an absolute highlight of my journey so far. You guys, when the article says that Allison “brought in the book” that is an understatement. She discovered VICIOUS, and she championed it in-house with infectious excitement, and none of this would be happening without her. She is hungry and she is brilliant and I want to draw hearts on her picture. These are my feelings.

And Story Mining. Story Mining itself may be new on the block but it’s made up of powerhouse players. I got to have brunch with Jeffrey and Evan in the penthouse of an extraordinarily posh building in Beverly Hills and I still haven’t fully recovered. These gentleman are savvy, passionate, and smart, and getting to sit across from them and nervously eat a croissant while they talked about my book–my characters, my world–is something I can’t even describe. They GET IT.

Everyone involved GETS IT and while I’m obviously over the moon to have a film deal, I want to try and stress how important it is to have people on board who aren’t just making a power play, or collecting a project “just in case”, but are well and truly committed to the narrative. In that respect, I feel incredibly blessed.

Now, the down and dirty.

VICIOUS has been optioned. What this means is that the involved producers/production companies have essentially bought the exclusive right to make the movie for the next couple years. If they need more time, they can buy more time.

For those who don’t know, a film option does NOT mean VICIOUS will necessarily be coming to a theatre near you. There are still so. many. doors. to unlock, to pass through. Screenwriters and scripts and directors and casts and such. And none of those doors are in my control. This door wasn’t either. All that I have done–all that I could do–was write the book.

What it DOES mean is that a team of producers believes in the project enough to take the first and vital step in that direction. As with book publishing, there are many, many doors a project needs to get through, but this is the first one, and having the opportunity to cross this threshold is immense, to say the least.

One of the coolest parts of this deal is that it’s not with a studio. It’s with a financier. Often producers pair up with studios (Fox, WB, Lionsgate, etc) and while that’s awesome, the fact is that studios are huge, and take on a massive amount of content, and then the vast majority of that content simply, well, sits. Waiting.

But having a financier attached, and specifically an amazing, energetic financier like Story Mining (these are the guys behind the upcoming Outlander tv series!), means that VICIOUS has a better chance of progressing through the next few doors. It still means we need green lights, but it also means that VICIOUS can be sold to a studio before production OR after, which is an immense luxury. Scott Free and Story Mining have a unique partnership…that is to say, they came together FOR this project. And that’s a great thing.

Will VICIOUS become a movie? I don’t know. I like to proceed with extreme caution where these kinds of hopes are concerned (see: things out of my control). But while I can’t tell you what will happen next, I can tell you that everyone attached to VICIOUS believes in this project. They are passionate about the story, and about Victor and Eli, Sydney and Serena, and I could not ask for more.

If you have any questions, comments, etc. leave them below!

In which our intrepid heroine is strapped to a roller coaster.

Hi there, lovelies.

Only a few days into September, and it’s already proving to be a month of immense highs and lows.

Lows first. We lost our beloved golden, Sammy, yesterday. This came after losing Mitzi only a short number of weeks ago. Sammy was 13. Mitzi was 18. They defined my childhood, and their absence is immense. It’s heartbreaking, going to the vet with a dog, and coming back with only a collar, and I’m trying to hold on to the good instead of the sad in this summer of loss.

But there is a lot of good to hold on to.

VICIOUS comes out in 18 days. I don’t even know how to mentally handle that. To be measuring in days instead of weeks or months makes my heart ache in a totally different way.

Four years ago–almost exactly–I sold my first book. Today, I got to take this picture:

photo

Because today, I got to hold VICIOUS in its finished form. I don’t have the words (I suppose they are all in these books) to explain.

Photo on 2013-09-05 at 10.30

The entire back cover of VICIOUS is blurbs.

PART_1378335732866

And Tor, which has been so amazing and supportive from the start, is running a giveaway on their website for TEN galleys of the book, each with trading cards, and if you’d like in, you only need comment HERE.

Another spot of good to hold on to: this week, VICIOUS was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Again, speechless. Totally speechless.

VICIOUS as Amazon Best Book

More cool/exciting/terrifying things are happening, but of course, I cannot talk about them yet. Of course. It is a tease, I know. I cannot tell you who I’ll be paneling with a NY Comic Con, though it’s insane. I cannot show you new covers, though I’ve seen them. I cannot talk about new book deals, though they exist. I cannot share awesome opportunities just yet. Not yet. Stick with me awhile. <3

In the meantime, I have a book due Monday, and should probably get back to writing it, but as always, lovelies, I adore you. Thank you for riding the roller coaster with me.

The only things I’ll say on the issue of publishing fan fiction.

I had a reader come up to me at an event this past weekend and ask me how I’d feel about someone taking THE ARCHIVED and continuing the story once I’m done.

“Like fan fiction?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No,” she said, “I mean, like, write more books with Mac and Wes. To sell.”

“Well,” I tried to explain, “I hope the story will feel done. And in the end, those are *my* characters. I’m happy for people to write fan fiction, but I wouldn’t want to see it on shelves.”

“But if other people want the story to continue,” she said, “and you don’t want to write more, why not give the world to someone else?”

This question is indicative of a mental state being developed not only by writers, but readers in the current book climate.

It’s no secret that the hottest books selling right now started out as fan fiction. It’s no secret because it’s plastered all over the internet, and in the stores. Some books own it, and some books would rather not. The latter claim that while they might have had the seeds of their story in another (and really, aren’t most books inspired by elements of one sort or another) their stories no longer resemble their inspiration.

But if the fan fiction truly no longer bears resemblance to the original work, then why call it fan fiction? The answer insofar as I can tell is to capitalize on the fan fiction’s *audience*. But then, if you want the audience, you must also take the stigma. You can’t capitalize on the audience without being attached to it.

By glorifying a story’s origins in fan fiction, we are encouraging a creative world without clear delineation, where an author’s characters no longer belong to them.

And I think it’s being complicated by other endeavors–such as the Cassie Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson collaboration–that encourage the communal nature of a story. It’s so hard because we as writers WANT people to feel they are a part of our worlds, that those worlds belong as much to them as us, but at the end of the day, we are the creators of them, and the intellectual property owners (I’m actually fascinated by that collaboration, but the primary difference at the end of the day is that Clare is collaborating WITH the other two, and has given them permission).

Back to the topic of fan fiction being pulled to print…

I don’t take issue with the stories themselves. I take issue with the glorification of their ORIGIN stories.

If the stories themselves are well-written and appeal to the masses, then let them do those things on their own merit. But the continuing emphasis on how those stories got started blurs what I still consider to be a very important line.

Fan fiction is fan fiction.

Help me spice up my FAQ

I am the subject/victim of the most hellish deadline stress right now, so I haven’t been able to post a real post with real words and thoughts, but I did want to ask a favor, for when this deadline cloud of doom has passed.

I’ve been updating the blog (poking and prodding behind the scenes) and I desperately want to spice up my FAQ section, but my brain is so tired I can’t actually recall a lot of the things I’ve been F.A. lately.

So I’m asking you. What do YOU want to know? The questions can be as specific or random as you like, so ask away.

(Please.)

(Also, send cookies.)

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