It's been a big year for fans of Maggie Stiefvater. The final book in her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Forever, came out in July . . . and just last week she released a new stand-alone book, The Scorpio Races. This novel is about a couple of teens who risk their lives in dangerous horse races on cliffs.
Trisha and I had the opportunity to meet Maggie at the American Library Association conference in New Orleans this year. Trisha talked to her about leaving her characters from the world of Shiver behind, and Maggie told us a bit about her research for The Scorpio Races.
Best part of the interview: When Maggie tells us how she had the opportunity to have a romantic day of sightseeing with her husband while she was on tour in Paris—and instead she whisked him off to go look at cliffs as research for the new book.
I linked to this video back in July, but I wanted to share it again in case any of you need reminding about The Scorpio Races. Other news: Today on Publishers Marketplace it was announced that Warner Brothers has bought the film rights to the novel.
Here's the interview from ALA:
Just for fun, check out this awesome stop-motion trailer that Maggie created for The Scorpio Races:
Have you read, or will you read, The Scorpio Races? We'll let you know if we hear any more details about the movie . . .
Even if you haven't read it yet (the novel only came out on August 23), you've probably at least heard of The Language of Flowers. The novel is about 18-year-old Victoria, a young woman who has nowhere to go after "aging out" of foster care. The story flashes back to her experiences bouncing from one foster situation to the next, then explores what happens when Victoria discovers her interest in the symbolism and secret meanings of flowers.
We liked this big-hearted debut novel so much that we interviewed author Vanessa Diffenbaugh for our September issue. If you read the interview, it is clear that this story was very much inspired by Diffenbaugh's passion. She told BookPage contributor Deanna Larson that she and her husband have been foster parents throughout their marriage, and she's even started an organization, The Camellia Network, to support young adults leaving foster care.
Learn more in our live interview with Diffenbaugh at Book Expo America:
Soon, you're going to start hearing about The Language of Flowers even more; Fox 2000 has acquired the rights to produce a movie version, and Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick will produce it. (They are producers of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, which is up there on my own personal list of most anticipated movies for 2012.)
Readers are clearly interested in the novel, too; last week it hit the New York Times bestseller list for the first time.
Have you read The Language of Flowers? If so, do you think it would make a compelling movie?
By the way, if your book club is reading this one, there are a lot of resources on Diffenbaugh's website.
Three weeks from today, a movie version of Kathryn Lasky's bestselling Guardians of Ga’Hoole series—about a brave young owl's magical journey—will hit theaters. From the looks of the trailer, I think it'll be quite a show (and it's in 3D!).
To get you pumped up for the release, BookPage asked Lasky to answer a few questions about her role in the adaptation and impressions of the movie.
What was your reaction when you saw the movie version of Guardians of Ga'Hoole? Is the adaptation faithful to the spirit of your books?
I have not seen the movie in its entirety yet. In July I saw a rough cut and not in 3D and not fully animated. But the ninety minutes of what I saw was honestly the most spectacular ninety minutes of animation I have ever seen in my life! The scenes of flying—and mind you as I said this was not 3D yet—were absolutely breathtaking.
What came across loud and clear was how faithful this adaptation is to the spirit of the books and the characters. For nearly 10 years I have lived with these characters’ voices in my head and now to hear them and hear them voiced by such great actors like Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren and Sam Neil was overwhelming to me. I started crying.
All I could think was ‘all this stuff in my head for so long and now it’s out there.’ This is strange to say but I almost felt as if I had been away—lonely and away for a long time and I was now back and being welcomed by long lost friends—even the bad guys!
Were you involved at all in the movie's production?
Oh yes I was involved to a limited extent. I made three trips to Los Angeles to discuss the movie both before the screenwriter and director were hired and then after. The screenwriter, John Orloff, called me throughout the process to consult with me on the screenplay. He was terrific—open to ideas, really probing me on how I viewed certain plot elements, characters, etc. I knew there were changes that would have to be made for a movie is not a book. But I was very comfortable how he and Zack Snyder, the director, handled these changes.
A complete screenplay was sent to me maybe eighteen months ago and I read it and wrote an extensive memo concerning things that I felt needed some adjusting and they really incorporated most of my changes. Zack, John and the producers Lionel Wigram and Donald De Line were very attentive to my suggestions. All of them good listeners.
Why should children read the book before they see the movie?
Of course it’s always wonderful if children read the book before the movie because then they know the story and the characters so well. But on the other hand I am sure there are instances where children might not be aware of a book, or had the interest or opportunity to read it. If they see the film first this might inspire them to go out and read the book and it will open them up to an equally rich and different experience.
In Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture, Soren is inspired by legends about the Guardians of Ga'Hoole. What legends do you personally find inspiring?
Probably and most obviously the Arthurian legends. The Guardians of Ga’Hoole is, I admit, very derivative of this cycle. As a child I read all the Greek myths and loved them but they seemed a bit removed to me compared to the Arthurian tales. I also loved the selkie stories, those tales of the seal folk who were seals in the ocean and became humans on shore. I generally love all shape shifter stories.
You have received many honors over the course of your career, from getting a Newbery Honor for Sugaring Time to seeing your characters transformed by Warner Brothers. Which award, accomplishment or honor are you most proud of?
Oh that’s kind of impossible for me to say. The best reward of all is just knowing that readers are connecting with what I write. An award like that doesn’t need a medal or a gold seal or a movie marquee.
BookPage is giving away two copies of The Capture (Book One in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series) in the next edition of Reading Corner. To receive our e-newsletter about books for children and teens, sign up here.
Author photo by Christopher G. Knight.
Coming to theaters near you this weekend: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on Jeff Kinney's best-selling middle-grade series. The movie hits theaters Friday, and the companion book, Movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid, is in libraries and bookstores today.
Judging from the trailer, the movie looks like a winning adaptation—likely to be a hit with the the 6- to 10-year-old set (and parents wondering how to pass the long hours of spring break).
Related in BookPage: Check out our Meet the Author featuring Jeff Kinney.
We’ve noticed that books (with the exception of political books) get little coverage on network TV, so we were happy to see that Katie Couric covers many authors on her web show @katiecouric.
Just Tuesday, her conversation with Kathryn Stockett, best-selling author of The Help, was posted. During the hour-long interview, Stockett also took questions from book clubs in Ohio and Washington D.C. via Skype, and in a separate segment (without Stockett) Couric interviewed three women from Jackson, Mississippi—the setting of the novel.
If you loved The Help—and I know many of you do, since it was the #1 book in our Best Books of 2009 reader survey—then you’ll be interested to hear about Stockett’s relationship with Demetrie, her own family’s help, and why the author wanted to tell this story.
Watch the interview here:
I was especially excited to hear Stockett mention the movie version of The Help—news to me. A quick online search shows that Tate Taylor (Pretty Ugly People) will direct. According to Variety, “Taylor grew up with Stockett in Mississippi—his mother inspired one of the Mississippi matriarchs in the novel—and was so helpful to the author that she gave him an early peek; an option was made well before the book came out.”
On the @katiecouric website, find interviews with Sapphire, the author of Push (the movie-version, Precious, is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture); Malcolm Gladwell; and other authors.
What authors would you like to see Couric interview? Did you learn anything surprising in the Stockett segment?
By the way, in my Stockett research for this post, I learned on the PenguinUK website that the author is at work on a second novel: “It also takes place in Mississippi, during the 1930’s and the Great Depression. It’s about a family of women who learn to get around the rules, rules created by men, in order to survive.” I can’t wait for this one! What about you?
Related in BookPage: Read our interview with Kathryn Stockett about The Help.