Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl’s debut novel, Beautiful Creatures, is our Book of the Month during January. The authors took some time our of their busy schedules to answer some questions about their story and their beloved characters. Enjoy.
*Author photo credit: Alex Hoerner
Margie: You know, since this is our debut novel, we really don’t know any other way to do it. The most complicated part is definitely juggling our schedules so we can work. The easiest part is the writing. We’ve been friends longer than writing partners, so we can finish each other’s sentences – and that’s how we write, too.
Kami: We can fight like sisters, but it’s always about the mundane – the schedule – how cold our office is – why there is no ice for the Diet Coke. We’ve never disagreed about the story. And this year has been so overwhelming for us in so many ways, I can’t imagine going through it alone.
When you write, do you get together and write, or do you writing individually and then come together and edit?
Margie: We work separately. If we are in the same room, we’re still separated by my enormous earphones. Music vs. no music – we can’t write in the same airspace!
Kami: But we edit together, hashing out huge, color-coded whiteboards that plot all the character arcs, magic developments, and story beats. Our office is in Margie’s house, and it’s like the war room.
Was focalizing the story through Ethan’s POV a conscious decision, or did it just kind of happen?
Margie: We knew Lena was our mystery, and our supernatural. We wanted a strong female character with power, and we wanted to follow Ethan as he found his way into her story.
Kami: We also knew we were doing something less typical in YA, by allowing the reader to experience insecurity, first love, and fear through the eyes of a guy. To see what guys are thinking about girls, for once.We also fell in love with Ethan, the guy we never dated in high school…
As two female authors, was it difficult to write a romance-centered story from a male point of view?
Margie: Not really. We have six brothers between us. Also, there is so much already out there that is written from a teen girl’s perspective, it might have been harder to find our own voice if we hadn’t written from Ethan’s POV.
Kami: Sometimes it’s easier to write from a perspective that is definitely not your own. And Ethan is a great guy. He’s easy to write, because we love him so much.
Did you have prior knowledge/personal interest in magic and witchcraft, or was this something you had to research for Beautiful Creatures?
Margie: Just a lifetime of reading Diana Wynne Jones and high fantasy! I can’t imagine writing a book that didn’t have some sort of magic in it. Ever since I first read Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series in third grade, I have been living in a fantasy world. And yes, I can still recite the poem from the front of that book.
Kami: We are both huge fantasy readers, so magic and magical lore has always been swimming around in our minds. I don’t consider the magic in BC witchcraft, per say. But I have always been interested in the way religions from Africa and the West Indies influenced Southern culture. I’m so superstitious that I might as well be Amma.
When it comes to naming your characters, what kind of process do you go through?
Margie: We have raided our family genealogy for generations, to begin with… But we also do lots of research on the meaning of the names.
Kami: We used French-Creole names for Lena’s family, and traditional or more obscure Southern names for the folks in Gatlin.
A little birdy told us that Beautiful Creatures has just been optioned by Warner Bros and is set to be made into a film. Can you confirm or deny this?
Margie: Was the little birdy named Variety? ☺
Kami: Yes. We are so thrilled that Warner Brothers optioned the film for a supremely talented writer/director, Richard LaGravenese, and a hugely capable producer, Erwin Stoff.
How much input/control will the two of you have (if any at all)?
Margie: When Richard and Erwin came into the picture, we knew we could trust them. Their track records speak for themselves.
Kami: And we knew Warner Brothers would be the perfect home for Beautiful Creatures. Really, we couldn’t be happier. We’ll stick to writing and leave the rest to them.
What’s in your to-be-read list at the moment?
Margie: I am just finishing a draft of a work in progress, the newest middle grade book by my old friend, Pseudonymous Bosch. He’s the Roald Dahl of my generation, I adore him.
Kami: I am completely in love with the draft of Holly Black’s WHITE CAT, which I’m reading for the second time. Her new Curse Workers series is going to be huge! And I just finished her short story collection, POISON EATERS.
What are your all time fave YA novels?
Margie: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. In case you couldn’t tell…
Kami: Well, she took my favorite. After TKM, it would be THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton & FREAK THE MIGHTY by Rodman Philbrick.
Is it true that this series is set to be a five-book series?
Margie: We are just finishing our sequel now.
Kami: It comes out this same time next year. We are really excited about it!
Can you tell us anything about the next instalment?
Margie: Mortal danger. True love. Broken hearts.
Kami: Ethan and Lena are up against unbelievable odds. And there’s sweet tea.
You can keep up with Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl at www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com.
Join the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES US fansite at www.CasterGirls.com.
Visit Little, Brown’s Beautiful Creatures website at