Here Is Where I Get Maudlin

And if you hang out here, you already know—I don’t get maudlin a lot.

However, this is a special occasion, and sometimes it’s good to be a little sentimental.*

First though, because everything is better with imaginary technology, let’s go back in time.

The year is 2008 and I am a fledgling writer with a whole mess of words and plans and big, amorphous dreams, some of which involve gainful employment, but most of which involve writing books forever and ever and drinking a lot of coffee.

I know what I want from my life, but I don’t know quite what to do about it.

So when Maggie Stiefvater says we need to get organized, I listen, because she is talented and determined and because she is hilarious, and because she seems to understand concepts like sticking to a schedule and remembering to wear socks. I figure I can learn a lot from her. And when she says we need to start taking advantage of the various resources at our disposal, like the internet and each other and Tessa Gratton, and why don’t we do something productive and fun, I listen, because I enjoy fun, and because Tess is also talented and determined and hilarious. And it’s in this burst of initiative that Merry Sister of Fate is born.

At this point, none of us are professionals in the sense of actually having books out on the shelves, but we’re dedicated and ambitious, and we all work like demons, and when we’re not working like demons, we talk about how one day we’ll all be on shelves together and get invited to conferences and participate in panels and talk about how we knew each other Way Back When.

It’s daydreaming, but also not. It’s the kind of daydreaming that is really you trying on possible futures, mentally practicing the steps, and that kind of daydreaming is very different from wishing. It’s the kind of daydreaming where you are constantly holding yourself and each other accountable.

In the Timeline of Books, Maggie has just sold Lament and is writing the first draft of what will eventually become Shiver—only it’s called Still Wolf Watching—and we’re all thinking that hey, she really might have something here. (Cue hilarity. Really. We told her that. I know I deal in understatements, but that is ridiculous.)

For my part, I’m cheerily flailing my way through the first draft of something that will eventually become The Replacement. It’s a grim little book where nothing happens, and all the creatures are symbols for personal shortcomings and the whole thing is rife with metaphors for adolescence, because as I mentioned before, the year is 2008, and I’m still confusing theme with plot on a regular basis.

And Tess—Tess hasn’t started writing Blood Magic because Tess is blissfully unaware that she’s going to write YA.

Back in the present, with the benefit of three highly eventful years between now and then, everything about this seems kind of hilarious. But right then, it just seemed normal. We were bold and optimistic and dedicated, but mostly, we were laughing uncontrollably and making fun of each other and keeping each other accountable.

What happens next is simple. It starts with a dare. It starts with Maggie saying, “Gratton, stop screwing around with that dear-to-your-heart historical epic you’ve been revising into oblivion and write something brand-spanking new. And you know what else? I want to see a finished draft by October.”

Tess says, “I’d really like to write a YA, but October is soon.”

Maggie says, “I dare you.”

I’m paraphrasing all this very, very loosely. Which is why they both just sound like me.

Regardless of actual words said, Tess finishes the first draft of Blood Magic in less than three months. Is it sorcery? Is it elaborate voodoo? Does it actually involve blood?** No, this is just how Tess rolls.

And now, the thing is . . . that thing we talked about—the three of us, together on the shelves, the three of us with the books and the careers and the knowing each other Way Back When? It happens this month, for real, ultimately and irrevocably. Eye-tearingly, even—maybe a little?

Okay, fine. Yes. A little.

Blood Magic comes out on May 24th. That’s a week from today.

That’s this, right here:


Perhaps you are thinking that this book looks gorgeous and bloody? If so, you’d be right, right, a thousand times right.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you can pre-order it? You absolutely can.

You can go here to find Blood Magic at IndieBound, or you can order it from the online vendor of your choice. Or, grab it in the store on the 24th, because it is available pretty much everywhere.

Which is so unassailably cool, I can’t even say.

*A lot. A lot sentimental.

**Well, some blood.

24 thoughts on “Here Is Where I Get Maudlin

    • Thanks, Heidi! I’m having one of those totally surreal moments/weeks/whatever. It seems like we were all just in Savannah, and I was still trying to get used to the idea of being a published writer who got to HANG OUT WITH OTHER PUBLISHED WRITERS! And Tess was trying to get used to Blood Magic being on sub, and we were crossing our fingers . . . they grow up so fast! :D

  1. Aw, man. Don’t make me write through tears! They are red-tinged and sparkly and distract me from my prose!
    Also hilarious: that historical epic close to my heart? Is what I’ve been cannibalizing for this current Shiny Novel. Ha ha ha.
    ALSO, also: I love you. But I will soften the blow of that sentiment with some two-headed fishes: <3 <3 <3

    • You know I love making you cry! Or, maybe I just love you and can’t—you know—say it, because we are 14-year-old boys. So, really, I just love making you cry. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! Have some mutant fishies: <3 <3 <3
      Also, that historical epic? It was just waiting for you to step away long enough to see that it desperately wanted to be YA. See? Still there waiting for you, being totally awesome.

    • I was telling Tess, her release date is the best thing that ever happened to me. I was all shell-shocked and numb for mine, but hers—this is perfect! Now I can get all sappy and jubilant!

  2. It has been very cool and inspirational watching you all become published. I’ve already pre-ordered Blood Magic. You guys are online mentors to me, and I see lots of books hitting the best seller list.

  3. I’m getting teary eyed as well because I remember the three of you all those years ago being an inspiration to me and countless others. I think I’ve said this more than once but when I grow up I want to be just like the three of you <3

  4. I remember reading all of your stories way back when and thinking you lot were destined for great things. I’m so happy to see them unfold.
    You’ve all inspired me more than you could know. (In fact, I’ve only ever written one fan letter in my life … and it was to the Fates.)
    Thanks for all the stories so far and all the stories to come.

    • And I remember you reading them and commenting and being generally awesome! Because three people making noise on the internet, that’s not a community. But finding other people who will talk and participate and hang out—that’s what makes it a Real Live Thing! ♥

  5. I love this story – not maudlin at all! It’s a wonderful reminder that all writers have to start somewhere, and once upon a time, all writers were dreaming of having actual books on shelves, and an actual audience to read them. And for some of those writers, dreams become reality.
    Thanks, Brenna.
    Still dreaming …

    • So true! I think it’s easy to forget that everyone has a starting point. Destinations/arrivals are so easy to identify, but they aren’t always what matters most—you know?
      Still, I will admit, the path is much easier to celebrate when you’re looking back at it. I feel like I never have a very clear view of the section I’m currently standing on :)

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