The first two installments of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s wildly popular Beautiful Creatures series introduced a group of extraordinary teenagers in small-town Gatlin, South Carolina. Ethan (a mortal), his Caster girlfriend and their friends have faced death, rebirth, uncontrollable changes in magical powers and the ultimate choices between good and evil.
In Beautiful Chaos, the third book of this paranormal Southern Gothic series, their past actions have led to an even greater evil. Gatlin is ground zero for the end of the world, and Ethan and his friends race against time to challenge fate—all while juggling school dances and tricky love triangles.
Garcia and Stohl have whipped up an adventure that tears along at breakneck speed (but always has time to stop to appreciate the finer things of Southern living, such as homemade pie). BookPage chatted with the author duo about their current book tour, superstitions and more.
What drew you to setting this Gothic paranormal romance in the South? What is it about South Carolina that sparked the story?
Margaret: The South, particularly the Low Country setting of our book, seems like a place where magic could still happen.
Kami: My family is from a small town in North Carolina, and my family experiences and stories inspire my writing.
As co-authors, do each of you bring different talents to the writing process? Why are two heads better than one?
Margaret: Our Beautiful Creatures novels come out of our conversations. We love to sit and brainstorm together, though we go off separately to write.
Kami: Our process is so collaborative, and often the best ideas come from combining of our ideas together.
If you could become any of the creatures in the Beautiful Creatures series, what would you choose and why?
Margaret: I’d be Link, and go to New York City and make it big with my band, the Holy Rollers. He just really enjoys his life, no matter what a moron he may seem like.
Kami: I would love to be Ridley, and kick up some trouble in Exile or another Caster club.
Beautiful Creatures is currently being adapted into a movie. What is most exciting about the prospect of seeing the world you created come to life?
Margaret: Bringing the book to more readers. Sharing the book with the filmmakers—who are really gifted—and getting their perspective on the Caster world, as well as our own.
Kami: I can’t wait to see the world we created, somewhere outside of our minds.
The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour wrapped up in early October. What does it mean to be a Smart Chick to you?
Margaret: All of those women are people I loved to read long before the tour existed. There is truly a special mood at every stop on this tour, and we were honored to share it with our readers.
Kami: Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, the tour organizers, decided to call it the Smart Chicks tour because they wanted to include authors whose novels feature strong female protagonists. It’s amazing to be included among them.
What is your biggest superstition?
Margaret: I save things. I can’t throw anything away, it’s like I have to carry a piece of all my memories through my life, like Lena Duchannes’ necklace.
Kami: I’m like Amma. I have too many superstitions to count. I won’t sleep in a room with a 13 on the door, I fly with a special necklace full of charms, and I would never knowingly step on someone’s grave.
As a paranormal author, what is your favorite part about Halloween?
Margaret: The costumes. And the general suspension of belief—like everyone is willing to believe in anything, just for one night.
Kami: The eerie atmosphere is my favorite part, and the mythology that Halloween is the night when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest.