Laini Taylor Official Fan Group discussion

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)
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Laini Taylor Q&A #1

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Hodder Books (hodderbooks) | 43 comments Mod


Hello everyone and welcome to the first Laini Taylor Q&A! This Q&A will be around the incredible first book in the trilogy, Daughter of Smoke & Bone!

Laini will be popping in and out of this thread tomorrow (Feb 13th) to answer your questions, and you can start asking away now.

We've loved reading all your thoughts about the book over on the DOSAB Re-Read thread, and we can't wait to hear your questions and, of course, Laini's answers!

There may be a few people here who have only read Daughter of Smoke & Bone, so please no spoilers about the other books in the series. :)





Margo | 3 comments I noticed that every book you write is so much better than the previous one. I wonder - how did you do it? Was there any particular inspiration or advice that makes you write even better?

Also, I would like to know how much of what we read is planned ahead and how much is an improvisation. In other words: how do you write?

Thank you so much for all the answers!


message 3: by Mya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mya Novak | 1 comments *SPOILER ALERT -just in case*

Hi Laini! I've actually got probably one too many questions, since I'm asking for a group of DoSaB fans on tumblr/twitter.

(view spoiler)

You don't have to answer all of these questions. They were just some thoughts that emerged during discussions about your books on twitter. Thanks for taking the time to read all this!


Brooke | 2 comments Hi Lani! I'm a huge fan of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy! I have a few questions about them that I am hoping you can answer.
Your books are so unique and beautifully written,so I was wondering if you ever took any classes or if you just are that good. I was also wondering where your inspiration comes from. Your characters have so much depth and personality, so do you invent them or are they based on, or partially based on, people people you actually know? Did you plan out the story and map everything out, or did you make things up as you went along? And lastly, do you have any plans for future books and can you tell us anything about them?
Thanks for reading my questions and I hope that you you can answer some of them! You're an awesome author and I hope you continue to write more fantastic novels!


Raquel (Joux_Joux) | 14 comments Recently JK Rowling stated that she would have wrote a different ending for her characters. She let her personal feelings affect her endings, instead of letting the characters and their stories' evolve naturally. I sometimes feel authors compromise the integrity of the story to tie endings up in a neat little bow. Have you struggled with this? Do you think authors feel pressure from publishers and/or fans to make happy endings? How do you make sure that your not just writing "happily ever afters" and staying true to your characters and the story?


message 6: by Megan (new)

Megan Steltz | 1 comments -- minor spoilers
Hi, I was wondering if we are going to find out more about the fallen in dreams of gods and monsters? if not could you please give me some clue to what happened. I've always wondered about Razgut's story and why he was exiled from Erez in the first place.


Vanessa Bastardo (vanelbastardo) | 1 comments Hi Laini! I absolutely adore DOSAB, and it has inspired me quite a bit. What I love the most about the books is the way you write them, in prose that feels like poetry. I think is particular and truly magical. Why do you write like that? Is that your writing voice, I mean, you don't have to think about it at all or you do think carefully and revise your sentences? Have you read a lot of poetry? If so, which poems and what authors are your favorites? Thanks and I hope you are having a happy pre-DOGAM few months!
P.d.: I love Clementine! She is so cute!


message 8: by Sophie (last edited Feb 12, 2014 01:35PM) (new) - added it

Sophie (Sophiebarnetuk) | 2 comments Hi Laini,
Here are my questions - really looking forward to the last book in the trilogy.

The concept of DOSAB is so interesting - that another world can exist behind an ordinary looking door - how did you come up with it?

Where did your inspiration come for Akiva's character?

How do you choose the names for your characters and did you change any during the writing process?

You write for young-adults. Do you feel a sense of responsibility for the themes and content of your books. How would you describe the main themes in DOSAB?

My favorite scenes in the book are when Zuzana sees Akiva for the first time (I laughed out loud!) and the dance scene. Which is your favorite scene and why?


message 9: by Ana (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ana (analove) Hi Laini! Here are my questions:

Where were you when you came up with the idea for DOSAB?

Are the characters inspired by people in your life?

Where would you go to write?

How long did it take you to complete DOSAB?

And this one doesn't really have to do with DOSAB but I'm curious:

What are your favorite books/authors?


Alice Haworth | 3 comments Hey Laini, I'm not sure if this has even asked but as a budding writer I'd love to know where you got the inspiration for your fantasy world. Fantasy is such an unusual genre so I guess I'm wondering how much dreaming there is vs the research and how you develop it?

Thanks!

Alice


message 11: by Andreah (last edited Feb 12, 2014 02:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Andreah Hi Laini. I love this series! I have listened to both books on audio and they are great! You are a great inspiration to me as I hope to publish my novels someday.

I have a less exciting question as a lot of other readers have asked most of the ones I was thinking of asking.

Do you listen to music while writing? And if so, what do you listen to?


message 12: by Sean (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sean Heflin | 1 comments When writing Daughter of Smoke and Bone, did you use any other novels as inspiration?

Also, who are your favorite authors? What are some books you can't stop raving about?

P.S. Thanks for all of your blog posts on writing advice; it really helps. And you're definitely my favorite author :D


Jenny Lynn (jennylynnferg) | 3 comments This is sort of a modified version of my typical comic con panel question: Which literary classic (book, play, epic poem, whatever strikes your fancy) would you adapt/rewrite/modernize/turn into some awesomely cool fantasy if you had the chance? I know there was the Christina Rossetti Goblin Market reminiscent story in Lips Touch: Three Times, but I just wondered if there were any other stories you might have in mind to revamp in some equally awesome way (because, seriously, I was in awe of that story).

And another related question just for funsies: What are some books/poetry/art that helped inspire you while writing or developing your stories?


Ceecee (qquiet) | 2 comments hello laini!

i absolutely adored DOSAB. it was the kind of fantasy novel i never knew i was looking for. i loved the concept of these warrior angels, of corrupt angels, and of these various chimera. it really got my imagination going, add that to the romantic atmosphere of prague.

my question is, how did you come up with the characters' names? do you like collecting names and their meanings? or was it a totally different process? thank you for stopping by!


Pamela (pamelaalvarado) | 3 comments Hey Laini!

Like many people around, I completely love the books. They have a bit of a twisted fairy tale side that I adore! And the plot is original with a good pace. ;D

So, my most important question is one that has already been asked:

If when you're not writing, you're plotting, of if you just write and hope everything makes some sense and the end, and then rewrite, and rewrite until it's a solid plot.

And the other one,
How do you do to stay focused on your writing? How do you push other distractions away, and manage to still be inmersed in the story?

And the other one :3
What do you do when you have writer's block/laziness and feel you're stuck in a scene? Do you force yourself to write it, or skip it, or leave it like that until inspiration comes to you?

Thanks in advance and good luck with future projects!


Alexandra | 16 comments Hi Laini!

Q: does Karou have blue hair because you have pink? Or vice versa?

Thank you for writing one of my favorite series!
Alexandra


message 17: by Joanna Marie (last edited Feb 12, 2014 06:21PM) (new) - added it

Joanna Marie (joannacapats) Hi Laini!

Wonderful series! :)

Q: How did you become fascinated with teeth, tattoos and nude paintings? What inspired you to have these "symbols" in your series?

Thank you so much for your time reading this!


Heidi Hi Laini!
Love your books! My question might be silly but I'm curious. What does Akiva think when he goes to Karou's apartment and sees the giant angel wings?


Daiane Barros (daibrrs) | 2 comments Hi Laini!Your book is amazing!

Here is a question: I saw on the Internet that the rights of the book were sold and they plan to make the movie with it. It's that true? I would be so excited to see who would be Karou! Thanks for read! I'm anxious for the next book!

BRAZIL LOVES U ♥


Jessica Ramos (writewanderjess) | 2 comments Hi Laini! Loved DOSAB. As a budding writer, your writing inspires me, and your books also got me back into reading when I read Daughter for the first time last year. Thank you for that.
My question is:
Do you have any funny moments you can think of that didn't quite make it into the novel? Maybe something with Karou and Akiva? How much of the scenes you write are edited out?

And I guess one more question: What do you have planned after you publish the final book in the series as far as future writing projects?

Stay writing, Laini. You are truly imaginative and always an inspiration :)


Epiphany Brown Is there a way for those who buy digital/audio to get your Karou artwork? Or do you see there being a way soon? -- I love your novels and the woman who read the first 2 in this series is my favorite voice actress so I want to complete the trilogy as audio. Also I tend to read on my kindle for convenience. BUT all you wonderful authors are making great art for pre-orders, and I'm jealous. I would totally pay extra to get the art work.. but don't think I could pay for a Hardback and audio.. anyway, do you see there being some way to buy just the artwork or bundle it with digital content?
I know this isn't really a writer question, so thank you if you answer and give any info or opinion you have.
I'd ask writing questions but I already read your writing advise site.. thank you for that! as well as this series! and your time during this re-read ! have a fantastic day! Too many exclamations!(sorry I'm tired!)!


message 22: by N.R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

N.R. Tomasheski (nrbt) | 4 comments Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us! Most of the ones I had thought of have already been asked, or near enough, so I'll go somewhere else with it:

What is your favorite painting (or etching)?


message 23: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill Blume | 8 comments Laini, one of my best friends talked me into reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone last year, and it really blew me away.

I was wondering how much of the plot's structure you had planned before starting the writing process. Using a lengthy flashback for the last third of the book was a rather gutsy and risky move, but one that pays off.


Kristy (Book Nerd Reviews) (kristy-book-nerd-reviews) | 4 comments I have so many questions! But I'll limit it to two:

Is there any chance of a graphic novel, or better yet, a book of Karou's art being published? Jim done an amazing job of the DOSAB sampler, and I would love to see more of his art for DOSAB.

Second one isn't DOSAB specific, but stems from Brimstone and his mysterious past - will we ever find out more about his past (either through DOGAM or a novella)?


message 25: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen (persnicketyjen) Hi Laini! Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!

One of the many things that sets DOSAB apart from other YA fantasy (for me, anyway) is the worldbuilding. It is rich and evocative and complex, and I'm always eager to learn more about the seraphs, the chimaera, and Eretz. One of my favorite scenes between Madrigal and Akiva is when she shares the chimaera myth of Nitid and Ellai. I was wondering if you were inspired by any particular myth or tradition when you wrote it, and what one of your favorite myths is?


Alexandra | 16 comments Brimstone is so reserved with Karou (a bit less so with Madrigal)yet he holds so much information and insight. It seems easy for him to hold this all in; at first I couldn't even tell he knew something at all about Karou's life and past.
Was it difficult for you, while writing him, to also withold so much?

Alexandra
P.S. Thanks for looking at my question #2!


Margo | 3 comments there's so much fan art work based o the characters and stories you created. i was wondering if you follow them at all. if so, do you have any favourites? did somebody capture in a picture what you had in mind like that?


Jennifer Mancini (jennmancini) | 1 comments Love the books and I am really looking forward to the next. My question is general, rather than book specific -- how do you (and did you) deal with negative criticism, rejection (if any) and bad reviews? Obviously, writers put their heart and soul into what they write; what's your trick for soldiering on in spite of any bad mojo?


Laini | 80 comments Kassie wrote: "I noticed that every book you write is so much better than the previous one. I wonder - how did you do it? Was there any particular inspiration or advice that makes you write even better?

Also, I ..."


Hi Kassie! Well thank you! That's a lovely thing to say. Of course one always hopes that each book is better than the last :-) I think each book is a learning experience, and though each one *feels* just as hard to write, there are tools an confidence gained along the way. As for how much of it was planned ...

Well, I always thought I was really a plot-planner, but this story really defied my efforts at outlining. I knew generally how I wanted the story to resolve, but not how I was going to accomplish it. Beginning DAYS, it came as a shock to me (in retrospect this is so dumb) that I'd set myself up to write a WAR BOOK. I was a little panicky! ha ha. And also that I'd given my characters this insurmountable obstacle! Thanks a lot, me! So I basically try to figure out what feels "true" as I tell the story, and then cope with it, and figure out what my characters would "really" do in any given situation. I don't need to have an outline, but I need to have some major story beats I'm working toward, trying to reach them in a manner that feels organic and true. It may not be the most efficient method (there's a lot of rewriting!) but it's how I wrote this trilogy.

Thanks for the question, Kassie! :-)


Michaela Ling | 1 comments This is totally unrelated to your books, but of the utmost importance.

What brand is your hair dye and where on earth do you buy it, it's gorgeous.


Donna (donnahr) Epiphany wrote: "Is there a way for those who buy digital/audio to get your Karou artwork? Or do you see there being a way soon? -- I love your novels and the woman who read the first 2 in this series is my favorite voice actress so I want to complete the trilogy as audio. Also I tend to read on my kindle for convenience. BUT all you wonderful authors are making great art for pre-orders, and I'm jealous. I would totally pay extra to get the art work."

I have this same question. I only read on the Kindle or listen to audiobooks anymore.

I am glad someone mentioned audiobooks. The narrator for the series is simply outstanding and adds an entirely different level to the experience. Have you listened to the audiobook versions yourself? Also, did you have any input in the process of picking a narrator or did you just get lucky with Khristine Hvam?


Laini | 80 comments Brooke wrote: "Hi Lani! I'm a huge fan of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy! I have a few questions about them that I am hoping you can answer.
Your books are so unique and beautifully written,so I was wonde..."


Hi Brooke! Thank you for the lovely questions :-) I have taken some writing workshops over the years (in college and out), but not many. I've always loved playing with language, so the prose part of writing I would say I developed through practice on my own. Storytelling and narrative structure and all of that very important stuff I worked on by reading and by attending SCBWI workshops, and of course by trying it out in my writing, and rewriting, and rewriting!

As for the writing/outlining question, see my last response to Kassie.

And future books, well, I'm working on a few ideas right now and I'm not 100% sure what's next!

Thank you Brooke!


Laini | 80 comments Mya wrote: "*SPOILER ALERT -just in case*

Hi Laini! I've actually got probably one too many questions, since I'm asking for a group of DoSaB fans on tumblr/twitter.

Firstly, were there any mythological or ..."


Thanks Mya! Wow, what questions! These are great world building questions, and I can't say I have answers to them! But I love that you're thinking about the world in such detail :-)


Laini | 80 comments Raquel wrote: "Recently JK Rowling stated that she would have wrote a different ending for her characters. She let her personal feelings affect her endings, instead of letting the characters and their stories' ev..."

Interesting question. First, I want to say that I've never had a publisher try to influence the direction of the story. Fans, maybe :-) My guiding principle while figuring out the story and resolution is what feels "true" within the narrative and world I've created. Sometimes the things I thought would happen don't feel right when it comes down to it. Of course, I also have ideas of how I want things to be. But I've never had a case like JK Rowling expressed where I felt that I had done something artificial. When you read Dreams, hopefully you will agree! :-)


Laini | 80 comments Megan wrote: "-- minor spoilers
Hi, I was wondering if we are going to find out more about the fallen in dreams of gods and monsters? if not could you please give me some clue to what happened. I've always wonde..."


Megan, I'm so glad you asked this! The chances are VERY GOOD that you will find out about the Fallen in Dreams :-)


Laini | 80 comments vanessa wrote: "Hi Laini! I absolutely adore DOSAB, and it has inspired me quite a bit. What I love the most about the books is the way you write them, in prose that feels like poetry. I think is particular and tr..."

Hi Vanessa! Thanks you for the compliments! :-) The answer I guess is that it is my writing style. When I was a younger writer my prose was much more flowery and verbose. I've toned it down, but I still love language and playing with sentences, and yes, I revise everything a lot. I try to get a certain rhythm in the language, and I try not to use cliche phrases, though sometimes they slip in and I don't notice them until it's too late! I read everything to myself out loud to hear how it sounds. An author friend of mine, Holly Black, goes to the extent of having someone else read it out loud to her so she can really hear the rhythm. I haven't done that, but it's a great idea!


message 37: by Lauren (last edited Feb 13, 2014 08:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lauren Stoolfire Hi Laini! Thanks for visiting the group and answering our burning questions. :)

I've loved the Daughter of Smoke & Bone books and I'm really looking forward to the release of Dreams of Gods & Monsters in April!

My questions: Did you have a playlist, or specific music, in mind for certain characters or scenes while you were writing? And will we ever see any Karou's art?

Thanks again! :)


message 38: by Savannah (last edited Feb 13, 2014 08:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Savannah B (savannahbee) | 1 comments Hi!
I have absolutely loved Smoke & Bone so far, and have re-read both books twice over. It occurred to me while reading Days this last time (in anticipation of Dreams!), to wonder whether or not you've known the ending the whole time.
I know some authors know their last lines when they start writing, and others are surprised where they end up.
Have you known where/how Karou and Akiva's story ends from the very beginning?


Laini | 80 comments Andreah wrote: "Hi Laini. I love this series! I have listened to both books on audio and they are great! You are a great inspiration to me as I hope to publish my novels someday.

I have a less exciting question a..."


Hi Andreah! Thank you :-) To the music question, the answer is that my ideal environment for writing is silence, but if I have to write somewhere non-silent, like a cafe, I have noise-canceling headphones and listen to music that is atmospheric but isn't disruptive to my train of thought. A favorite is Niyaz. I think I wrote all of Days of Blood and Starlight in cafes listening to Niyaz. Also Radiohead, Snow Patrol, Bat for Lashes, Florence and the Machine ...


Laini | 80 comments Jenny Lynn wrote: "This is sort of a modified version of my typical comic con panel question: Which literary classic (book, play, epic poem, whatever strikes your fancy) would you adapt/rewrite/modernize/turn into so..."

Wellll, she said cagily, there is one, but I hesitate to say what it is because I don't want anyone to do it first! Hahaha! But there's one I'll tell you. I think it would be really interesting to write an adaptation of the ballet Coppelia, which is just so weird, and would make a great fantasy story or novella. Maybe a novel, maybe not. No plans at this moment to do it, but it would be fun!


Laini | 80 comments Alexandra wrote: "Brimstone is so reserved with Karou (a bit less so with Madrigal)yet he holds so much information and insight. It seems easy for him to hold this all in; at first I couldn't even tell he knew some..."

Hi Alexandra, thanks for asking! Since Brimstone had really good reasons for keeping his secrets from Karou, I don't think it was too difficult for him. Really, it was better for her not to know. She might have been able to have a normal life, what a gift! Alas, it was not to be. The relationship between Brimstone and Karou was the first thing I saw/discovered when I sat down to write something new one day. I didn't have any plan, and they just appeared, and they had his dynamic from the start. I really fell in love with them, and though Karou changed a lot from that first day (she'd been a more troubled teen), Brimstone pretty much stayed the same. Though -ha!- in that very first writing day, before this was anything at all, there was a reference to this monstrous character having a daughter, whose hand he had eaten. So funny to recall that! There was also this other character in that scene, predating Issa and the rest, who was a "haruspex" with dragonfly eyes. Look up haruspex, it's so creepy :-)


Laini | 80 comments Kayla wrote: "This is totally unrelated to your books, but of the utmost importance.

What brand is your hair dye and where on earth do you buy it, it's gorgeous."


Ha!

[First, I have to report that as I write this Sarah Rees Brennan and my daughter are forcibly dragging Holly Black beneath the dining table. It's quite savage. And also loud :-)]

Second: it's Elumen by Goldwell and it's a salon product. My hair stylist procures it!


message 43: by OhWell (last edited Feb 13, 2014 08:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

OhWell Hi Laini,
I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, read both books in the trilogy and I am looking forward to Dreams of Gods and Monsters! However, my first encounter with the unique worlds you create was in Blackbringer. Not strictly related to today’s topic: are you planning to write any more Dreamdark stories? My daughters and I would love to know! :-)
And although you might be tired of answering this question already: do you have a favourite character?


Laini | 80 comments Ceecee wrote: "hello laini!

i absolutely adored DOSAB. it was the kind of fantasy novel i never knew i was looking for. i loved the concept of these warrior angels, of corrupt angels, and of these various chimer..."


Hi Ceecee! I love character names. As a kid writer, I would come up with the character names, maybe do the world building, and that was all. I never actually wrote the stories!

Now I collect names. There are pages of them in my writing notebooks. I like to find an interesting linguistic group/culture and pillage it for names. That's a good way to get a cohesive group of names for a tribe/group. The seraphim are obviously Hebrew inspired, and from names of angels. Some of the names are from Amazigh, a Berber language of North Africa that's just got some really cool sounding names. Ziri means "moonlight" in Amazigh. Izil, Amzallag are also from Berber names. And I occasionally check out the fantasy name generator to come up with cool sounds. I often modify them, but it's a good source!
Karou is actually the last name of my best friend's aunt and uncle. It wasn't their real name, but one they chose for themselves when they got married, instead of keeping either of their own names. I just really liked it, and it seemed like it might mean something in an otherworldly language!


Daisy (thedaisydeer) Daughter of Smoke and bone is one of my all-time favourites. It's amazing and I absolutely can't wait for the last book (but why is it the last book? Why does it have to end?)
My question is this: who is the most influential person on your writing? Is it an author or someone else, and why?


message 46: by Erin (last edited Feb 13, 2014 09:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin (oxforderin) | 1 comments Hi Laini!

Partly out of love for DoSaB, I recently visited Prague. I had a great time discovering the city partly through my touristy eyes and partly through your books, imagining the epic fight on the Charles Bridge, or Kaz jumping out at people the back lanes. The first night, I dragged my partner to the water wheel by Kampa Island, since I had just finished reading Night of Cake and Puppets.

Have you visited any cities/places that were heavily coloured by your own reading/film-viewing, etc?

P.S. Can't wait for Dreams. Have pre-ordered the UK edition with special art. :)


Linda | 2 comments Laini wrote: "Beginning DAYS, it came as a shock to me (in retrospect this is so dumb) that I'd set myself up to write a WAR BOOK. I was a little panicky! ha ha."

Wow! Your books have such a deep message on the effects of war on people's lives that is hard to imagine that wasn't planned in some way. With so much unrest in the world, you've cut right to the heart of how it changes people... how it hurts individuals on a core level.


message 48: by J.F. (last edited Feb 13, 2014 09:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

J.F. Castillo (JFCastillo) | 13 comments Hi! I have four questions:
1. In DoSaB we learn the truth behind wishes and the purpose of the teeth. I was wondering, with all the deaths of the Chimaera, wouldn't there be a surplus of teeth and pain? Is there a reason they could not use the teeth of the fallen? I would understand that at first they might not due to respect for the dead, but as the war eventually alters their view of death I would think they'd have no qualms doing so.
2. Has anyone taken any issue with the light in which you cast angels? I was thinking about how your books are going to be made into movies and how books/movies like Harry Potter have been attacked. As angels are portrayed as the bad guys, I was wondering if you have had any people become angry over that.
3. Do you know when you will be going on another book tour? I'm constantly checking your site and my mom is always asking me!
4. How do you keep your hair so pink? :D
Love your books! You're awesome! Thank you!


Laini | 80 comments Heidi wrote: "Hi Laini!
Love your books! My question might be silly but I'm curious. What does Akiva think when he goes to Karou's apartment and sees the giant angel wings?"


Good question! I think he thinks, "Hm, that's curious..." :-)

But seriously, I think at that point, he's been on guard against any kind of hope for so long, that even though these connections are very much being made in his mind, he's kind of denying them. But a part of him, certainly, if not suspects, at least hopes ... But at the same time, it's horrendous, right? If Karou IS you-know-who, then YIKES the consequences of what he has done are unbearable. So there's a lot going on in Akiva around then.

Thanks Heidi!


opaliteyume | 1 comments Hey Laini! Huge fan of your books :) In fact, I often say that Daughter of Smoke and Bone is my favourite book of all time :3 Just a quick message to ask what advice you would give to someone who wants to write a heavy fantasy book like the DOSAB series? How do you go about building the world without it seeming forced?? P.S. So excited for Dreams of Gods and Monsters!! Most anticipated book of 2014 for me :D From Niamh xx


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