After going to the Shannon Messenger Flashback author talk, I was really excited not only to go to this year’s tour but also to finally read book eight of this amazing series!
When I arrived at the place, I got to pick up the free signed book, (not personalized, it came with the purchase of a ticket) Then we got some swag and a raffle ticket.
We got front row seats again! We literally camped out for like an hour because we were so early, which was very exciting! I read the first 100 pages of Legacy by the time the event actually started!
When she finally arrived, it was so cool getting to see her in person again! She is a really nice lady and it was so fun to hear her talk about my favorite book. The administrator of the event was Laini Taylor, again. I was really glad because I loved how she “administrated” last time.
I had noticed that Legacy looked a lot shorter than Flashback, but Shannon started by reassuring the fans that Legacy is longer, they just changed around the font size a bit. The publishers were worried that if the binding had to get any bigger, it would snap!
What was the original idea?
Shannon Messenger first came up with the idea for KOTLC when she was writing another short story. The main character was Fitz, but he wasn’t the Fitz we know and love today.
She was playing with some of the side characters from the short story when she happened upon a little girl who was an elf. (sound familiar?) She came up with the idea, did some world building, got to know Sophie a little better, spent another year stalling, and the rest is history.
So much writing went into this series that the published version of the first book was actually draft 20!
At what point did you figure out the whole plot?
I sort of hybridized between plotting and writing as I go.Shannon messenger
Shannon realized that anytime she tries to plan the book too much, it ends up dry and flat.
Shannon says that plots are turning points, and it can be useful to get an idea of where you are heading, but you also need to let the story guide you. She wrote out the story and then figured out how to fix it.
It’s my job to torture my characters.Shannon Messenger
Shannon feels it is easy for her to torture her characters, which is evident in all the books. As she says, “Conflict is where the interesting part of the story is.” Shannon even keeps a running count of all the injuries she has inflicted on the characters of her creation!
Do you enjoy writing villains?
Shannon believes that villains have to be logical. Their ideals have to have some logic to them, they have to be relatable. In her opinion, that makes them even scarier!
The scariest villain is the one you can almost agree with.Shannon Messenger
Shannon’s favorite villain to write is Vespera. (Read the book to find out who that is!) She is the most unbalanced and unpredictable, yet a part of you might sympathize with some of her ideals…
Have you ever cried when writing scenes?
Messenger admitted to “crying like a baby at home,” during which her “embarassing number of cats” stare at her!
You have some pretty big characters…
Mabye that means I need to kill some…Shannon Messenger
(After the above quote, a lot of audience members screamed!)
Shannon says that her characters are not based on real people in her life like some authors do. (Probably because no one is as perfect as Keefe) Next, Shannon asked who likes Fitz better versus Keefe. As expected, both sides were equally passionate, although people who like Keefe are probably louder in general, as Shannon noted.
To get to know a character, Shannon first tries to come up with their secrets. A lot of times those are what tell you the most about a person.
Once I know that, I kind of own them.Shannon Messenger
Shannon then tries to figure out how they talk. In reality, people have different mannerisms, accents, and vocabularies. Shannon tries to make her characters as relatable as possible by figuring out how they speak. To discover this, Shannon might throw two characters in a room and see how they interact based on what she knows them to be in her brain. This is a great strategy, one she used to use in film school, but Shannon admits it would be easier if she hadn’t created 800 characters!
What’s your favorite scene?
Both of Shannon’s favorite scenes from the whole series are in the newest book, Legacy. I will be listing them here, so…
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
One of Shannon’s favorite scenes is the one where Sophie brings Keefe a package of Keebler Elf cookies from the human world. He freaks out about their adorable faces and such, and it is absolutely hilarious. It is probably my favorite scene too!
The next scene Shannon didn’t give us any hints, (because nobody had read the entirety of Legacy yet) but she did say it was one she had been building towards for a long time… She froze up and had no idea how to write it. She surprised herself and wrote a scene where Sophie does a mindfulness exercise that could probably be useful in real life too. “I hope you love that scene,” she says.
When I get stuck, I play the what-if game.Shannon Messenger
Shannon lists some “what-ifs” in her head. The more “absolutely crazy and outlandish” the idea, the better. Sometimes she even uses these what-ifs in her stories! Sometimes she gets really weird ideas, even if it is like 2:00 in the morning!
Do you have any advice for writers?
- Enjoy this time period. “Right now you are in your most special time.” You have no deadlines to worry about, no scathing reviews, no sales numbers and reader amounts, you can just write and enjoy it.
- A lot of writers hurry to publish a book, but Shannon thinks you should take your time and not rush, just write the best you possibly can.
How many books are you planning on writing?
Shannon admits that she has not started book 9 in the KOTLC series because she just finished “crashing a book,” (Legacy.) It was discovered that Laini Taylor and Shannon have the same french publisher!
Laini Taylor teases Shannon and tells her to, “write books faster!” Shannon actually has little to no time to write any faster. She had only just finished writing book 8 when she had to start prepping for the tour.
Any hints about Legacy?
Unfortunately, Legacy ends with yet another frustrating cliffhanger. Apparently it has a lot to do with how she left things in Flashback…
This book, Iggy will be ice blue with crimped fur. Iggy has different colored fur every book, courtesy of Dex’s fur-changing potions. Shannon holds a survey to see what the fans want his fur to be. This year, the options were teal and ice blue. One can’t help but notice those colors correspond to the colors of Fitz and Keefe’s eyes…
What are your favorite things?
Shannon loves cats, tacos over pizza, empath over telepath, (again, Fitz is a telepath and Keefe is an empath…)
Let’s play a game!
Shannon played a game where we had to guess if she was lying or telling the truth.
TRUTH: Iggy was originally going to be a tiny kangaroo who sat on people’s shoulders!
Shannon didn’t know how he would hold on to the shoulder if he was a kangaroo, so she thought about making him a pygmy marmoset (good shoulder animals, apparently)
TRUTH: Sophie was named Alexandra for a short time, but was originally named Agnes McWeeney!
Alexandra meant “helper, defender of mankind.
LIE: Silveny was Stina Hek’s pet
This was a lie, but only by a little bit. In fact, Biana Vacker was originally the “owner” of Silveny. Shannon was planning on making it so that Silveny likes Sophie better, which was one of the reasons that Biana didn’t like her in the beginning. Shannon just thought it felt wrong, though.
TRUTH: “I was rejected at least 17 times!”
Shannon was rejected so many times she actually forgot the real number. It was hard for her to handle when a publisher rejected her book. 4 months went by before she got accepted.
Rejection is part of the process.Shannon Messenger
TRUTH: Since Sandor the bodyguard was introduced, Shannon has planned to kill him in every book!
“He almost works against me,” she says. Every time she tries to kill him off, she realizes that Sandor wouldn’t want to die if only for the purpose of protecting Sophie. As Laini Taylor said,
The fact that he [Sandor] still lives is a testament to how much she [Shannon] loves that character!Laini Taylor
Shannon says that when she writes a scene, she always forgets to put the bodyguards in the first time through. She might write something about Sophie doing something dangerous and then realize that Sandor would never let her do that.
After that Shannon started signing books. It was amazing to get to hear all of this from my favorite author. It was super fun, and I highly recommend finding an author talk or something of the sort near you!
Check out Shannon’s Books! Keeper of the Lost Cities