Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme created by The Broke and the Bookish, and you should definitely check it out for some bookish fun!
This week’s topic is all about authors. Who would I love to meet? Who have I met? But since I haven’t actually met any authors, ever, I guess I’ll just stick to my wishful thinking.
1) Maggie Stiefvater
Let me tell you a story. It’s kind of a long story.
I wasn’t always a big reader. When I was younger, I was more interested in coming up with my own ideas than reading about someone else’s. I would groan with boredom whenever I had to read, and when I turned 12 and the world became obsessed with Twilight, I would groan with frustration because now I didn’t want to read about romance and kissing and falling in love because ew, gross. Spoiler alert: It turned out that I was actually really into all of that romantic fluff, and I was just denying it because I wanted to be all tough. (Tbh, I still do.)
So, when I was at the midnight premiere of New Moon, a trailer came on in the cinema. It had hauntingly romantic music and the blue silhouettes of trees and wolves against a stark white screen. It looked hand-made and delicate compared to the blockbuster trailers that had been pumped out for the past fifteen minutes. I guess that was part of why I was so drawn to it.
I went in search for that book. Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater. I remember buying it at Big W, worried that my mum would think it was too ‘grown up’ for me because it was a romance. (I worried about the stupidest of things. I still do.) And I remember reading the first few lines of the first chapter and feeling my heart melt with the words.
“I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves. They were licking me, biting me, worrying at my body, pressing in… Their tongues melted my skin; their careless teeth ripped at my sleeves and snagged through my hair, pushed against my collarbone, the pulse at my neck.”
I fell in love with her writing before I fell in love with her characters. That was the first ever Young Adult book that I had ever read. After that, I decided to read the Twilight books, and was swept up in the fandom, then I decided to read the Fallen books by Lauren Kate, and was swept up in that fandom.
Reading Shiver was me dipping my toe into the ocean, and getting swept away.
Fast forward seven years. I was now 18 and the biggest book nerd on the planet, with basically the entire canon of YA literature under my belt. I had read all, except for one series. I’d seen a new fandom slowly developing on Tumblr – a fandom for a book called The Raven Boys. I liked the aesthetics of their posts – lots of forests and green and crowns and swords and books. Looked right up my alley, and it was written by an author that I used to love. Easy peasy.
I bought the book, but couldn’t make it past the first few chapters before giving it up. I was in the middle of graduating and doing my High School Certificate. I didn’t have time to immerse myself in this world. So, I put it away.
Fast forward six months. I had now graduated, been accepted in my first preference university, and was ready to relax for five stressless months. Naturally, the first thing I did was buy books – ten of them, to be exact. But when I had come home from Dymocks, I saw The Raven Boys collecting dust on my shelf. I stared at it for a long moment, then stared at the pile of new books I’d just bought, then stared at The Raven Boys again. Then, I sighed and picked it up. I never liked to leave things unfinished.
Fast forward a few hours. I remember sitting on the couch and smiling as I read the book. My mum asked me what the hell I was reading, with a grin like that on my face. “Nothing,” I said, becoming aware of the tingling warmth in my chest, “I’d just forgotten how much this author’s writing felt like home.”
Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle consists of four books: The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue, and The Raven King. These books are my favourite books of all time. I can read them all day, every day, a thousand times over, and still feel so much love for this story, for these characters, for this world. To me, these books transcend the YA fantasy genre. They are literature. Nothing has ever taught me more about myself, about writing and about life than these four books.
And, to think that I almost abandoned reading them.
Maggie Stiefvater is the number one author that I would KILL to meet because I want to tell her: thank you. Thank you for the entertainment – everything she writes, whether it be her books, her blog, her Ted Talks, her tarot cards, or her Tweets, is written with such an ingenious quirk that I absolutely adore. Thank you for creating the books that sparked a passion in my heart and the books that eased the ache of wanting something more. Thank you for inspiring me when nothing else could. I would encourage all of you to read Maggie’s blog post This Is Going to Be About Heroes because it made me cry. Here is my favourite snippet:
“I built an idea in my head of the hero I wanted to be, a grab bag of traits from heroes, villains, and side characters. I did not have book role models, I had book blueprints. But there remained a huge gap between the person I wanted to be and the person who I was. This was because no matter how many book blueprints I had, as much as I wanted to make myself the hero of my own life, it didn’t matter as long as I kept telling the story wrong. Nowadays, as a storyteller, I know what the problem was. I had all the elements I needed to tell a good story. But I was telling it the wrong way, so I could never get to the ending I wanted.
Here’s the story I was telling myself back when I was little edible child waiting to be carried away by hawks and making OCD rituals for herself: once upon a time, there was a girl who was afraid of everything. When I was 16, I realized that I knew what this story looked like and how it ended, and it wasn’t the life I wanted for myself. If I wanted my ending to look different, I needed to change the kind of story I was telling about myself. I needed to shape my events into a different genre: once upon a time, there was a woman who was afraid of nothing.”
Dealing with anxiety and identity issues and all of the fun stuff that comes along with growing up has been difficult, as I imagine it has been for most people around the globe. But Maggie not only gave me the world’s best advice, but she did so through the lens of a story – something that I could relate to, could understand. Maggie doesn’t know that I exist, but she managed to influence my life in such a profound way, and all I want to say is thank you.
I promise I won’t ramble on about the other authors on this list anywhere near as long. Maggie is the only one who deserves my ramblings, anyway.
2) Cassandra Clare
I always find myself conflicted with Cassie. She has written the epic characters and fantasy world that I have grown up with – the Shadowhunters books are my version of what Harry Potter is to most people. But sometimes she can come across as so bitter and rude, it’s very off-putting. Obviously, I don’t know her and am only basing this off of her public appearances and things she has said in the media, so I may be completely wrong. Hopefully, I am wrong.
Because WILL HERONDALE IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE.
That’s what I’m going to scream at her if I ever meet her.
3) Sarah J Maas
I literally only want to meet Sarah because SHE IS SO HOT AND I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE A GIGANTIC CRUSH ON HER. SERIOUSLY. LOOK AT HER. I also adore her books and am secretly thankful for all the smut in them. Oh, and let’s not forget about the Godsend that is A Court of Mist and Fury. What a whirlwind of feels that was!
4) Leigh Bardugo
This lady seems like THE COOLEST lady on the planet. I love stalking her Instagram and watching her Insta Stories. Her fashion sense is the best, and let’s not forget about the fact that if it wasn’t for her, my darling son Kaz Brekker would never have existed.
5) Michelle Hodkins
NOAH SHAW IS ALSO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS WILL HERONDALE.
That’s what I want to scream at her if I meet her.
6) C. S. Pacat
C S Pacat is a bisexual Australian-Greek woman. I am an Australian-Yugoslav woman. We are both ‘wogs’, something she talks about proudly on her Twitter, and I’d love to fangirl about our shared culture with her. I’d also like to thank her for the smut 🙂
7) Rainbow Rowell
I would love to know how she managed to write a book about me. Was she stalking me? How did she get inside my brain and transfer that into Cath’s mind in Fangirl? I am still shook at how relatable that book was… It was suspiciously relatable…
Also, I like Rainbow’s hair. And I like that her name is Rainbow.
8) Adam Silvera
I just want to give him a hug and thank him for piercing the needle through the swelling balloon of emotions that I wasn’t dealing with. I can always count on him to make me cry.
9) Susan Cain
I want to thank her for helping me realise that there is nothing wrong with me for being an introvert. I didn’t realise that all I had wanted for so long was for someone to pat my shoulder and tell me that there was no reason to feel guilty about not wanting to be around people sometimes, until she did with her book, Quiet.
10) William Shakespeare
Other than the fact that this would be the single most interesting conversation in the world because I’d get to learn all about history and what it was like to live inside Shakespeare’s mind, I would also thank him for writing Hamlet. That play shattered all my notions about the world and simultaneously pieced them back together again.
Thanks for reading! Let me know which authors you want to meet/have met in the comments!