Between the Lines: Racing Maggie Stiefvater

Mar 24, 2017

Maggie Stiefvater
Credit Stephen Voss

You may have swiped one of Maggie Stiefvater’s books from your kid’s room. That's because it’s not just kids who find this New York Times bestselling author’s books irresistible. At her events for young adults, Stiefvater often finds just as many adult fans in the crowd.

Stiefvater's books include the Shiver trilogy, The Scorpio Races, The Books of Faerie, The Dream Thieves, and the list goes on.

Stiefvater says she can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a writer. But her work experience also includes stints as a wedding musician, a portrait artist, a waitress, a race car driver (she's still an artist and still loves racing cars). By the time she was 16, Stiefvater was already submitting manuscripts to publishers — although she says none of them deserved publication. She had a stack of 30 novel manuscripts by the time she was in college.

Credit Scholastic Paperbacks

“They say if you spend 10,000 hours at anything, you’ll achieve mastery,” Stiefvater says. “By the time I was a teenager, I should have been a master as all I did was write.”

Not only did she have a writing career firmly in mind as a child, Stiefvater says she also knew just what kind of books she wanted to write: the kind with shiny, eye-catching covers in racks at airports. You know, the ones where the author’s name on the cover is larger than the title.

Stiefvater’s first novel, Lament, was published in 2008, but she had sold rights to two more before it was released. One would hold its slot on the New York Times bestseller list for 40 weeks. She was well on her way.

While most of her books are categorized as young adult fiction, Stiefvater says, “The young adult fiction genre itself is having an identity crisis. Fifty-five percent of young adult books are bought by adults.”

Many of Stiefvater’s novels are also considered as fantasy, “My novels are about very peculiar things,” she admits. Readers meet water horses, werewolves, faeries, vampires, and other magical beings.

When she isn't writing, Stiefvater is also known for creating equestrian portraits, drawing her own book trailers, and adding animation. She has worked as a professional portrait artist and likes decorating her fast cars with colorful graffiti.

Stiefvater is also a musician, playing numerous instruments, including highland bagpipes with which she entered Celtic competitions and played in a band during her college years. Stiefvater composes the music to accompany her book trailers.

Stiefvater, who lives in Virginia, will give a public presentation and sign books at the Portage Northern High School auditorium on Tuesday, March 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is sponsored by Bookbug in Kalamazoo and is free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale.

Listen to WMUK's Between the Lines every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m.

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