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Introducing new guest blogger: V.E. Schwab


Hi there, I'm Victoria "V.E." Schwab, and Charlie has been gracious enough to let me join the party.

I'm the author of numerous books for children (Scholastic), teens (Hyperion, Harper/Greenwillow), and adults (Tor), and my most recent series, A Darker Shade of Magic, just sold TV rights. The strange bit there is that I'm attached to write the pilot script (and have been working steadily on that for the last six months. As well as a comic series. And a couple stories for anthologies.

The second book in the Shades of Magic series, A GATHERING OF SHADOWS, hits shelves in 8 days (not that I'm counting).

I often get asked about why I write in multiple genres, or how I write in multiple worlds. Do I sleep? Did I, at some point, sell my soul?

I can't comment on the last one, but I did make the conscious decision several years ago to diversify, not in order to snag more minions, or for my own creative edification, but because my career was in trouble. I'd only just started in YA, and already hit a major stumbling block when my editor left, and my profitable series was summarily dropped. When this happens (a friend told me once that if you stay in this business long enough, every thing--good and bad--will happen), you can really only do one thing, which is to focus on writing. But at the time, I wasn't ready--physically or emotionally--to sell another YA, so I turned my attention to an adult project called VICIOUS, something I'd been playing with for two years because it made me happy. It was totally unsellable, and I knew it, but I wrote it any way, and then it sold (publishing is a finicky little shit sometimes).

At the same time, I was tapped by Scholastic to audition for a small Book Clubs and Fairs package, a trilogy of books. The pay was almost nill, but I felt like exposure and experience were important, so I signed on, and the strange little series went and sold half a million copies.

I felt like a hydra. Or Hercules Mulligan, if you've seen/heard the Hamilton show.
With the sudden influx of flexibility came the new challenge of sustaining that momentum, which is arguably something I'm still trying to do.

Publishing is great at stoking fears not only of inferiority, but of irrelevance, and so over the last several years, I've done my best to keep the candle burning not only at both ends, but in the middle.

The simple answers to how I get things done come off as irreverent: I don't sleep; I work my ass off; I just do it.

But the thing I'm constantly reminding readers and writers of online is that these books, whether slight or massive, don't happen in single fell swoops, but day by day by day by day, over weeks, months, years. And whether you're writing one book or four, the process is the same. You make the time. You do the work. You accept that it's flawed. You demand better. You go on.

And sometimes you procrastinate by offering to blog about it instead of actually doing the work.

I'll be back shortly to talk about world-building in fantasy (my Shades of Magic series involves not one but four separate versions of London, each with their own relationship to magic), but for now, hello, and cheers.



I've been looking forward to reading "A Darker Shade of Magic" for a while--got the trade paper edition a couple weeks ago. I almost missed it though; it wasn't in the SF/F section of one of the local Barnes & Nobles, but on a table of New Arrivals. But I was being thorough and happily came across it.


Oh, I so hope you enjoy it! (And glad you spotted it on that table.)



Being the weirdo that I am, I keep wondering about the wisdom of using burning candle metaphors, especially since I have a friend who runs a candle shop. In real life, burning a candle the wrong way usually produces a lot of smoke and a mess. Perhaps the metaphor is a bit *too* accurate?

Still, I'm glad you've got steady work. Break a keyboard or something.


Welcome, you human dynamo! It looks like I have a bunch of new books to buy. I have long enjoyed fantasy that isn't stuck in pseudo-medieval settings, and there has been a great outpouring lately. Or at least it seems a lot more common now than when I browsed the library stacks as a kid. I don't know if there's an accepted umbrella term -- "urban fantasy" seems to sometimes carry narrow connotations of its own -- but whatever-it-is, I'm loving it. 10 years ago I read a lot more science fiction than fantasy. Nowadays it's split about evenly.

Thanks for blogging here, and thanks to Charlie for picking you as a guest.


I thought I recognised your name and on checking my Kindle app I have indeed read A Darker Shade of Magic which was good.


Oh man, I think that's why it might actually be the PERFECT metaphor. It would certainly explain the mess.


It fascinates me that every time we do manage an umbrella term, it quickly narrows to the size of a tiny cocktail one. Whatever the word for it, I'm glad we're seeing more.

Thanks for welcoming me!


If I went to Hogwarts I would definitely join Slytherin. They certainly seem to have the most fun. And they have Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix LeStrange on their side, instead of the boring Weasleys.


I too have discovered ADSoM on my eReader - a Nook in this case, but using my wife's Kindle account.

Having started it on the train this morning, it appears my wife has good taste. Not infallibly perhaps, as she married me, but certainly in this case.


Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a kosher Epub version available. Kobo is not selling to the UK.


It's neater than that... if you burn a candle at both ends (with it supported in the middle) it will see-saw back and forth, as the downward end drips faster and so becomes lighter and swings up, etc.

Which isn't so bad, but if you then somehow light it in the middle as well, it breaks in half and falls down and starts setting fire to things...


Welcome and congratulations!

Haven't read any of your books yet, but from the descriptions and comments I've read so far, will definitely do so. Which brings me to this and I'm taking some liberties by using the plural ...

Anyways, because we've just met you, it's kinda hard to ask any relevant-while-friendly questions ... sorta like that awkward pause at a cocktail mixer ... otherwise we're a pretty chatty and opinionated bunch.

So to start ... a question ... why London? Your Wikipedia bio only gives 'American' as background so I'm wondering what it is about London that's so right for your story, as well as what type of research you did to set the scenes for four different versions of this city. I'm assuming this will not trigger any spoiler alerts.


Nice I liked A darker shade of magic, welcome !


I ran the Kindle edition through Calibre. I do have a Kindle Paperwhite somewhere, and I could have read it on that, but everything else is on this Nook so I tend to do the format conversion.


Vicious has been sitting on my shelves for a while. (Not your fault; I have hundreds of unread books on my shelves.) Is Darker Shade a better place to start with your work?



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This page contains a single entry by V. E. Schwab published on February 15, 2016 12:00 PM.

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