Author Snapshot: Maggie Stiefvater on Shiver

You last visited Cynsations in October 2008 to talk about Lament: A Faerie Queen’s Deception (Flux, 2008), which is one of my favorite Gothic fantasies. Could you tell us about your latest release, Shiver?

If I was a novel and my books were chapters, Shiver would be a new chapter for me. Actually, it would possibly be a new part. One of those ones that says something like “Part Two: The Journey” and underneath has a little black and white illustration done by an eccentric old guy with a hyphenated last name. And possibly a quote from Yeats, followed by the regularly scheduled chapters.

The point of this very long analogy is that Shiver represents a big shift for me. It’s a new publishing house, a new format (hardcover!), a new mythology (werewolves!)(not the slavering kind!), a new style (now with 10% more angst!).

Basically, Shiver is a bittersweet love story about Grace, a girl who has always loved the wolves that live behind her house, especially the one with the yellow eyes, and Sam, a yellow-eyed boy who must become a wolf each winter. Each year, he gets less and less time as a human, and this year might be his last.

It’s different from Lament for a few reasons. First of all, it’s unabashedly a romance, which I never thought I’d do. Unlike Lament, which had a side dish of romance, love is center stage in Shiver. There is plenty of nookie to keep people warm during cold Minnesota winters. Secondly, Lament is drenched in folklore, something I absolutely love. But Shiver approaches its paranormal aspects–werewolves — in a scientific way. The magic comes from the setting and the subtle details of the interpersonal relationships and the wolves’ tie with nature. And finally, it’s more . . . me. I feel like I really grew and got confident with my writing style, somewhere along the way from Lament to Shiver to Ballad. I play with words a heckuva lot more.

What it comes down to is that I’m revoltingly excited and terrified for this book to come out. I’m torn between thinking this book is such a huge leap forward for me, people will love it! and what if no one thinks this book is such a huge leap forward for me!? Don’t even get me started on my neuroses about Ballad, the sequel to Lament. . .

Oh, oh. One last thing. I have heard rumors that some people read the last page of a book first, before they read the entire thing. If you are one of these people and you should happen to pick up Shiver and you should happen to read this and you happen to love me at all, kindly do not touch that last page until you read the rest of it.

Cynsational Notes

Listen to Maggie read chapters one and two of Shiver.

Find out more from Maggie about Shiver at Scholastic.