Cate Tiernan et Maggie Stiefvater - Bordeaux 24/09/11
Maggie et Cate étaient en France pour une tournée de quelques dates et Chilila et moi (Exécutrice) avons eu le plaisir de les rencontrer au restaurant Les Mots Bleus avant leur dédicace chez Mollat.
Merci à Cécile de chez Black Moon por cette rencontre et merci à Maggie et Cate pour leur gentillesse et leur disponibilité !
voici dans un premier temps l'interview en Anglais, elle viendra en Français très bientôt.
Compte rendu de l'interview
Exécutrice: Maggie, you did an amazing work with the trailers for your Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Composing the music, doing the stop-motion short movie. How did your agent/editor react to it? Did you offer to do it from A to Z or was it discussed first?
Maggie: The very first one that I did, I was meeting my publisher and they said “Hey we are doing a trailer!” so I said, “That’s cool because I am too!” and they gave me a look that felt like “Oh sure you are!". And they asked me what I was doing for this trailer and I sure sounded crazy because I said “I’m going to take little cut out pieces of paper and make them running around!” so they said “Ok ! Sounds fun”. And they did a perfectly beautiful trailer and then I did mine, then mine got a 100 000 more hits than theirs, and then they asked me to keep on doing it, so they would stop. So they were very happy that I did it but at first they thought I was crazy. But now I do all of them, they didn’t even bother to ask “Are you going to do a trailer for this book too?” when the second book came out.
Exécutrice: Cate, isn't it weird to see Darkness Fall coming out in France before the USA and UK?
Cate: It is, I mean it’s nice for French people. Originally it was supposed to come out in September, so even before the French version, but at the last minute they decided to change the cover and the whole approach for the trilogy so they pushed back the publication date to January. So it can’t be published in English anywhere else until they come out with their, but at least France, Italy, and Germany etc can publish theirs.
Exécutrice: It’s nice! (laugh) Maggie, your next book: The Scorpio Races is being released on October 18. From the reviews online, it seems to be about flesh-eating water horses and obviously a race that happens once every year.
Maggie: (Laugh) When you put it that way it sounds so bad!
Exécutrice: Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Maggie: Hey, it’s not really about flesh-eating horses, well, it kind of is, sort of. I really like the Publisher Weekly review because they said it’s not about flesh-eating horses, it’s really about this tiny little island, people who live on it and how it’s hard to make a living there and how it’s like to grow up when everyone knows who you are. And there is that very repressed love story, so it’s much more about the setting of the place than the fact that horses sometimes eat people, though they do eat some people in the book.
Exécutrice : But it’s still a YA book?
Exécutrice: Cate, you've been writing for over 20 years now. What is your perception of the YA world today? Do you think the messages are delivered differently to the audience? Or maybe that the messages underlying are different?
Cate: I think the messages are very different nowadays. I mean 20 years ago, there was either problem books, like “I have anorexia” or “I’m dying of cancer”, or romance. Now I think there are so many other genres showing women and young people in many different situations and there is also a lot more paranormal, you know, it’s not straight fiction. And I do think the message is different because I remember reading YA books 20 years ago and I thought they were really sexists, it was about having a boyfriend, and be a good girlfriend and not to loose him. And that made me so mad (laugh) and that was one reason I started doing something that is not about how to keep your boyfriend. It’s more how to be yourself, to be truly yourself and if you have a boyfriend that’s great but you don’t have to.
Exécutrice: Some authors tend to make the parents of their young hero/heroin disappear in the background or even "kill" them, some are even more immature than their own child. What do you think of the parent’s roles in the YA universe? Should they always be absent from the picture for the main character to grow up?
Maggie: Hum I don’t think they have to be absent but I think about their role because your main character, no matter what their age is, has to be the one to solve their problems on their own. So sometimes the parents have to be out of the way, sometimes parents are bad parents, but a lot of times, I don’t know. When you read middle grade the parents are always this image of virtue, mom and dad are always there for you, but by the time you get to be a teen you see your parents have flaws and I try to say that in my books and sometimes, sometimes they are just really bad … or dead …
Exécutrice: What about you Cate ?
Cate: I agree, the main character, the teenager, has to be the one who the story is about. So they have to solve their own problems and go on their own journey without their parents to fix everything for them because they are starting to become adults too, so they must be more independent. In Wicca, Morgan has parents who live there and she has curfews and she has to be at home every night and so they are real characters. But, she still has to forge her own path and disagree with them and the way they tell her to live her life. And sometimes it is more convenient to have them gone because you want your character to have a lot of freedom to do what they have to do and whatever they want to do.
Exécutrice: You both have a husband and children. What is your typical day when you're writing and you still have to have a family life?
Maggie: Thank goodness for school! Well that’s part of it, when my kids go out to school it’s easy because you don’t have to worry about the time schedule, you just go and start at 7 o’clock in the morning and you don’t stop until 4 o’clock when they get back. But a huge part of it is that my husband is a superhero, he takes care of a lot of things, especially when I’m on a deadline and all I do is stay up all night and eat burrito and drink tea to finish my book. And the next day I’m a zombie and he says “That’s ok honey, I’ll do it!” He doesn’t mean the laundry but he means everything else. (laugh)
Exécutrice: That’s pretty cool! (laugh)
Cate: I’m in the same situation, the kids go off to school, you sit down and work throughout the day. It’s useful, if I get stuck somewhere I can do something else, do a load of laundry and then comeback. I also have a husband who is very supportive, he would get the children from school, get dinner together and you know all the other things that keep a household running. So I don’t have to take a break and it means he values my work.
Exécutrice: So you have very cool husbands! (laugh)
Cate & Maggie: Yes!! (laughs)
Maggie: And sometimes you end up working late at night, because the office never goes away, your home is your office so I work until midnight. You get stopped to make dinner and then go back to work.
Cate: and I bring work on vacations almost always.
Maggie: I have my next novel in my bag right here…
Exécutrice: And on our hand!
Maggie: Yes that too (laugh) because I was working on the train today so…
Cate: But other than that, we eat dinner as a family every night.
Exécutrice: As adults, it's sometimes difficult to reconnect with our inner teenager. All those problems are in the past, we outgrew them. How do you do it? Do you find inspiration in the world around you? Or is it based on strong personal experiences that left a mark in your lives?
Maggie: Maybe you outgrew those problems! (laugh) I don’t know, I feel like I’m grappling with the same issues that I had as a teen, just on a slightly less emotional scale. I mean as a teen I saw things in black and white and that’s the big thing to reconnect with the fact that teens don’t see a middle ground, it’s either a good thing or a bad thing. This is really the big thing, otherwise it's just passion; teens are very passionate, in good and bad.
Cate: For me those feelings are right there, I don’t have to look anywhere else to remember the emotions when you are a teenager when everything is life or death. Like “my friend left me out of a party and I’m gonna kill myself.” It’s all still so easy for me to access but I am older, I am a grown up, I know where I am in my life. So I’m not writing about myself, I’m writing about how I remember how this character could feel about it. But it’s not difficult to put myself back.
Maggie: It does amuse me when I write a scene and it’s how I would react to the scene, and then there are readers review and they say “Oh I don’t know, this scene is so full of teen angst!” and I say “Hey, that is the way I would react now!” (laugh)
Exécutrice: Did you have fun at the Fantasy tavern yesterday?
Maggie: Yeah it was fun!
Cate: Yes, it was so different.
Maggie: Yeah, it really was. It was really nice to have Cate to bounce things off too because it didn’t seem like an hour.
Cate: It is easier with someone else because we can talk to each other, we can react to what the other one says, if I forget to say something in an answer maybe Maggie can complete so I felt it was easier.
Maggie: I’m trying to imagine if it had just been me, that would have felt a long time!
Exécutrice: I suppose you had time to talk with each other during this short French Tour. Did you find one book that you both agree is a masterpiece? Or maybe a recent book you both have only praises for? It doesn't have to be a YA book.
Maggie: Masterpiece! Again this word masterpiece!
Exécutrice: Yeah? It’s a cool word (laugh)
Cate: In general or about the books we’ve read?
Maggie: We haven’t talk so much about what we’ve read. We talked a lot about writing books. In the other interview, people used the word masterpiece a lot.
Cate: We haven’t really talked about who we read or who we think is great.
Maggie: we did talk about what we’ve read when we were younger, like The Chronicles Of Narnia.
Cate: Yeah, but of things that are out today we didn’t.
Sa : Ok, now I have a lot of questions from Miguel
Maggie: Can you make tortillas? (laugh)
Exécutrice: (laugh) Do you like the titles of your books in French?
Maggie: Yeah, they sound much better than in English you know “Frisson”, "Fièvre" “Fusion” (imagine the way she said it)
Cate: In America, the title for the series Wicca is Sweep which doesn’t make a lot of sense for people who first hear it. So Wicca is very to the point and describes what it is and you immediately know what you're getting and the same thing happened with Immortal. It's Immortel. We know what it's about.
Exécutrice: What is the weirdest translation for a title you came across?
Maggie: I was just talking to a Danish reader last night who asked me if Linger had come out in Denmark and I said “I think so, isn’t there a danish word “Vildskab”?” and she said, Vildskab is a danish word but it means “wild” like feral so apparently it's called "feral". And Italians renamed Linger : Deeper which in the US has an extremely pornographic connotation … hum
Exécutrice: For a YA book it’s weird.
Maggie: Yeah, those are the most odd of my books
Cate: I think the German title of Immortal is like Entflammt and it means "combust" or "catch on fire" and I don't know how they got that. Sometimes countries just literally translate. You have to trust the foreign publisher to have a title that makes sense to the country. I know they're trying to do the best titles for their market.
Exécutrice: It’s like with movies …
Maggie: There was a lot of countries that were unhappy with the word “linger” because they had no word for "linger". The Dutch said “we have no word for linger that we can use”, and I said “don’t you ever linger?” and they said that they never do. And then I went to Amsterdam and that’s true, they never linger!
Exécutrice: Your books are going to be adapted into movies, would you like to make an appearance like Charlaine Harris did in True Blood or Stephenie Meyer in Twilight?
Maggie: Who could I be? I could be the snow! (laugh)
Cate: I don’t think so (laugh)
Maggie: Yes! I want to be the girl in the candy shop! That’s who I want to do! And I'd do "Oh! You too are so cute!" People would be like “Oh that's Maggie!" That’s a great idea, I’m gonna ask for it!
Cate: I don’t think I could do it, or I should be just passing by, be a part of the crowd or something. Hitchcock, didn’t he always put himself in his movies?
Exécutrice: Peter Jackson makes an appearance in every movies he directs, like in Lord of the rings.
Maggie: Really ? Was he a hobbit? What was he?
Chilila: He was a soldier and a pirate
Exécutrice: That’s it! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvgwXAky1t8) and Quentin Tarantino plays in all his movies too. Cate, you said at the fantasy tavern that your mother is French, have you seen her house, where she lived?
Cate: We are supposed to go find it and take a picture for her, we are going to Neuilly on Monday.
Exécutrice: She married an American?
Cate: Well her mother was American and her father was French and Russian. He was Russian but was born in France, and so she was born in France too, but she has dual citizenship and then she married my father who is American.
Exécutrice: You never came to France for vacations?
Cate: No she never returned until I brought her back here; it was 6 or 7 years ago, for her 78’s birthday I said “I’m going to take you back to France”. And we made a tour in France. I love France.
Exécutrice: Cate, would you like to write a book about werewolves?
Cate: In one of my books in the Wicca series, she did shapeshift into a wolf and it was fun writing because she didn’t feel so much like a human, more like a wolf, and she was running through the woods, feeling wolfy, and she almost killed her boyfriend because he was like a prey you know. So that was really fun but I don’t feel like exploring it.
Exécutrice: You are more about magic and witches?
Cate : yeah.
Maggie: I can’t talk much about magical novel because that's what I am working on now but it is called magical novels for a reason, because it kind of have some witches in them. I cannot tell you more, it’s a secret! But it does fulfill the answer to that question somewhere.
Exécutrice: So Cate, what it is about magic that pleases you so much?
Cate: I just like the idea that there could be more to the life that you're living, to our ordinary everyday like we go to work, we go to school. And I love the idea that there is an all other level we could access in this life that would make things even more special, more powerful.
Exécutrice: I do like witches too! Do you watch tv or go to the movies?
Maggie: Yes, hum what did I last watch, hum I just watch X Men First Class on the plane which I totally didn’t expect to like. But it was very good!
Cate: I don’t watch a lot of current TV, I tend to discover things after they’re already gone so then I watch them on Hulu or Netflix and I love going to movies but it’s so hard to find the time when you are not doing something for the kids or for work or traveling. And sometimes it’s like a month before we go back to a movie. But I love movies and I love some TV shows.
Maggie: What was the last one that you saw and you loved?
Cate: We saw Contagion, well I didn’t love it but I thought it was good.
Maggie: I heard it was very realistic and that everybody dies. (Singing) spoiler! (laugh)
Exécutrice: What TV shows do you like?
Cate: I love Modern Family, it’s such a wonderful show, families from different situations, it shows all the different ways to be a family. We watch Boardwalk Empire and Battlestar Galactica.
Exécutrice: I loved this show! It’s a shame it’s over!
Maggie: I would always stop whatever I’m doing if Top Gear is on or Scrubs. Or Burn Notice! Have you guys watched Burn Notice? It’s very funny.