Australian YA Bloggers Exclusive Interview with Laini Taylor


Laini Taylor visited Australia in September and I was lucky enough to be able to interview this phenomenal author on behalf of the Australian YA Bloggers group. As I adore Laini, I naturally jumped at the chance to chat with my idol about her books and ask the questions that Aussie readers and bloggers submitted (and to fangirl just a little).

The first part of the interview was posted in the Australian YA Bloggers October newsletter, but there was even more to the interview (mainly because I talked Laini’s ear off) that didn’t make it in to the newsletter. So instead of it sitting on my computer for me to re-read over and over again, it was suggested that the rest of the interview should be posted for everyone to enjoy. The first part of the interview can be found at the Australian YA Bloggers website, with more of the interview found at Diva Booknerd and here at Book Nerd Reviews. But that is not all - there will a final part of the interview posted back at the Australian YA Bloggers website, this will be a spoiler edition! So if you have read the series, be sure to read the final part of this interview in November. Better yet, sign up for the newsletter and it will be delivered right to your mailbox!

Below are some of the questions asked in the interview. My section will be focusing on Laini’s writing and her work; past and future titles, as well as her work with her amazingly talented husband Jim Di Bartolo.

Some of the answers have been edited, just to reduce the the length of the answer or to remove spoilers, but these are all Laini’s words, and nothing has been removed that alters the context of her answer.


As a perfectionist, is it hard to work when things are constantly changing?

I don’t write a fast first draft, I’ll write a fast first draft of a scene. After having done that fast first draft of the scene or chapter, then I will understand what that scene or chapter might want to be, and then I will start crafting it and working on it and getting a draft that I like and then I’ll move on from there and do the same thing again and again. At a certain point I will have a big chunk and I will realise what the over-arching things that then need to be fixed in that section are, so then I’ll edit more. Usually it’s the first third that takes me a long, long time - that first act, getting to the next “once upon a time”. That I would say is easily a year and then after that it goes very quickly.


Out of all the characters you have written, do any of them have any traits that your admire?

Karou’s loyalty. And it’s also like Magpie’s loyalty. They are very alike, I think that maybe Karou is a re-envisioning of Magpie in some way, though I didn’t understand that at the time, though I can now see that. That loyalty and courage and the determination to do what needs to be done is very admirable and we would all like to be that hero, the quiet hero who isn’t tooting their own horn.


Speaking of Magpie, are you returning to the Dreamdark series?

I hope so. It was never my idea to quit those books, it wasn’t a choice on my part. We are working on hopefully laying the groundwork for being able to get back to those in the future. It’s very complicated, but I hope so. I definitely had intended it to be 5 books, of course I was just figuring out how to write books so it was also terrifying thinking of 5 books, but I think I will finish that series.


A lot of other people, myself included, who are wanting to know about a prequel about Brimstone.

I think that would be really interesting, but it’s also daunting. I think it could be really interesting to write this revolt and the massacre and what lead up to it, and what it was like in the height of the empire of the Seraphim and what Brimstones early life was like. It would be really interesting, I don’t know, I only know in the vaguest way, I didn’t do exhaustive encyclopaedic world building where I decided everything, I just needed to know enough. I like to not write myself into corners, I try to not nail everything down. But I think it will be really interesting to figure that out. But we all know how it ends so prequels are hard. I think it would be a different world, it would be interesting. Maybe. Too bad I’m not a faster writer.


Are there plans for any collaborations with Jim in the future?

There is something that we have been tossing around, and he has another project that he is hard at work on, but I did write a little bit of something to get him started on the idea of this collaboration, which would be a graphic novel or possibly monthly comic books, that we are really excited but it isn’t going anywhere quite yet. We always want to work together.


Do you know if Night of Cake and Puppets will ever get to print?

I hope so. When I wrote it I believed that it was going to be in print, or I don’t know if I would have done it because I don’t read ebooks. I am not against them, I think they are great for the people who read them. It is weird for me to not have it on my shelf, I forget that it exists. It’s weird, it doesn’t feel like it exists because I am such a dinosaur when it comes to technology. I like books and I want it on my shelf. I think possibly the only way that it would ever be in print is if I wrote more novellas and it could be bound together because it’s too short. I’d like it to be just a slim volume, but I don’t know the publishing reality of these things, but that’s probably not an option.


I think a slim volume would still be a good seller, everyone loved Night of Cake and Puppets.

I would love to see that happen. I would love to see it illustrated. Like Zuzana’s sketchbook, have all the maps and that stuff in it.


That would be fantastic! Gee, I wonder if you could find an artist to do that?
I know right. But then we would have to go to Prague though, and do some research. It would be terrible.


Laini Taylor is the author of the New York Times bestselling trilogy Daughter of Smoke & Bone, the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the National Book Award finalist Lips Touch: Three Times. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter, Clementine. You can visit her website here


The Drowned (graphic novel, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo),2004
Dreamdark: Blackbringer (illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo), 2007
Dreamdark: Silksinger (illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo), 2009
Lips Touch: Three Times, (illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo), 2009
Daughter of Smoke & Bone, 2011
Days of Blood & Starlight, 2012
story Gentlemen Send Phantoms in Foretold anthology, 2012
Night of Cake & Puppets, 2013
Dreams of Gods & Monsters, 2014
Story The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer in My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories anthology, 2014


Check out Laini’s titles on Goodreads


I would like to thank Laini for taking time out of her busy Australian tour schedule and allowing me to interview her!

I would also like to thank Hachette Australia for arranging this interview. And a special thank you to Kelly Diva Booknerd - because without her I would not have been able to conduct this interview.


What do you think?

  • Ooh, I definitely vote for more short stories all bound in a novella! Like The Assassin’s Blade! If Sarah J Maas is allowed then Laini Taylor should be too. XD This is a fabulous interview! I just read the other part at Kelly’s site too. Omg, sooo lucky you got to chat to Laini! XD EEEK. I still have the last book to read, but I will read it soon!! Hopefully before this year ends.
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    • Kristy says:

      It would be amazing wouldn’t it Cait? Especially if it was illustrated! (yes, I am dreaming big here).
      And yes, I was crazy lucky to interview Laini… I still can’t believe it really happened, it feels like a dream :)
      I hope you get to read Dreams of Gods and Monsters soon!

  • Car9lyn says:

    Great interview with an awesome lady. She is so nice in person and thanks to Daughter of Smoke and Bone I discovered Prague which is now my new favourite place in the world.

  • Kelly says:

    Ooh, what happened to the Dreamdark series that was beyond her control? Surely she wouldn’t have had a series canned, I mean, this IS Laini Taylor were talking about. I wonder if she’ll bring out a few more novellas so Cake and Puppets can go to print. Bit like the Heir of Fire series, that one was super popular with fans.

    Absolutely INCREDIBLE interview Kristy. Now, where can we find the audio?
    Carolyn, you’ll have to get onto finding it.

    I want to hear the swooning and muffled squealing :D
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    • Kristy says:

      It IS Laini Taylor, so really, what could have happened??? Fingers crossed for more in the Dreamdark series in the future.
      Oh, a printed copy of Laini novellas in print *sign*. I have everything crossed for that to happen!

      Thank you Kelly. And you will never get your grubby little hands on the audio. Never I say!!! lol. But for the record, I was smart and done most of the swooning and squealing before and after the mic was switching on :D

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