Today Leigh Bardugo, debut author of the fantastic Shadow and Bone, is here at The Hiding Spot to answer a few questions about her novel, her inspiration, words, and hiding spots. Enjoy!
Did you have trouble writing any of your characters or specific scenes within the novel? Or, were any characters or scenes particularly easy to write?
There’s a scene a little over halfway through the book that I call the “pivot,” where everything changes for my main character. Big revelations. Lots of new information. I rewrote that scene so many times that I actually gave myself hives. I am not exaggerating. I don’t know that anything was “easy,” but I really enjoyed writing the scenes between Alina and Genya. On the surface, they’re so different, but they’re both outsiders who have found their own ways to survive. I like the bond that forms between them.
Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication?
Oh no, Shadow and Bone has had a few titles. Back when it was a WIP, I called it The Darkling. Then I heard about a little book called Graceling and I knew I had to change it before I queried agents. I wanted something that would stand out and hint at the book’s Russian inspiration, so I called it The Grisha (referring to the kingdom’s magical elite). Then, after the sale, my publisher felt that particular title would be too hard to pronounce or google, so we put our heads together and came up with Shadow and Bone. I know it’s been confusing because of Laini Taylor’s and Robin Wasserman’s books, but hopefully the cover will help it stand out in people’s minds. (On a sidenote, I posted about this on Pub(lishing) Crawl recently and Robin tweeted that she’d been thinking about calling her next book The Gathering Dark– the UK title of Shadow and Bone!)
What book or author has most influenced you as a writer or in general?
Such a hard question. I’m not sure about influences, but I can tell you that Dune was the first book I was truly sorry to finish. I just didn’t want to leave Frank Herbert’s world behind, and that was a powerful thing. Also, I remember Louise Erdrich’s story “Fleur” wrecked me. I read her a lot when I was younger, and she had a big impact on the way I understood myth in relation to narrative and language.
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a writer/published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing?
I worked at an ad firm, as a journalist, for a dotcom, for the FOX network, and as a beer girl. (I sat at bars and said, “Brand X beer tastes delicious!” Lies! That beer did not taste delicious.) I wrote movie trailers (“in a land without justice” etc.) and eventually I ended up as a makeup and special effects artist. I’ve had a few monstrous bosses and I suspect they’ve all made it into my work, one way or another.
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?
Oooh, so many! Kerfuffle! Dubloon! Umbrage! Rhombus… Oh how I love to say “Rhombus.” Also, “toothsome” makes me laugh for some reason. “Was he hot?” “Oh yes, get this, he had all of his teeth.” I really want to bring that back. Who’s in?
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
Last year, my friends and I spent July 4th eating pupusas, drinking cocktails in the garden, and marathoning the entire first season of Game of Thrones. Days like that are all the escape from reality I need.
You can find out more about Leigh and her novel on at her website. And be sure to check out my review of Shadow and Bone, here! Don’t forget to enter to win a copy for yourself below!
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