What We Learned From V.E. Schwab

Victoria “V.E.” Schwab, whose newest book A Gathering of Shadows came out this week, and her best friend-turned-beta reader Patricia Riley were both playful and informative during their visit to One More Page Books last night. If you weren’t able to make it (or fit through the door–it quickly became standing room only!), here are some highlights.


Schwab says that her stories always begin with an image. Often, they involve doors, walls, characters in fabulous clothing (long billowing coats!), different dimensions, or a combination of all of these. “I don’t get to mine my dreams for stories,” says Schwab. (This was preceded by, “I had a dream about zombie puppies the other night… It was very stressful because I like animals.”)

“I don’t remember anything about my writing process!” says Schwab, laughing. Every book she completes in shrouded in nostalgia, while memories of sleepless nights and tears shed are buried. Riley adds, “It’s like having a child; you have to forget [labor], or you’ll never have another one!”

“Magic has always been that one true spark for me, for fantasy,” says Schwab, reflecting on how she grew up in real-time with Harry Potter, and how that has influenced her own writing.

She’s made her living by selling about three books a year, across age-groups and genres. “I swear by my sticker method,” she says when asked how she organizes her time. “Stickers are glorious.” (For more information on this, check out her social media accounts!) “There’s always some kind of thing in the creative-way,” she concludes.

“I would write whether I was an author or not. I just like to write!”

If you’re interested in exploring Schwab’s reading list, she suggests that you start with The Library at Mount Char. “I like to read books twice, if I can,” she says, “first as a consumer, and then as a writer.”

As for future releases, Schwab hinted that Savage Song is going to be “Romeo and Juliet without romance”–not to mention a character who steals people’s souls with his violin. “There’s no romance, and there’s a lot of bloodshed, and I love it!” she grins. (For her more artsy fans, Schwab says that she can’t wait to see fan art in the shape of violins–or even on a violin!)

Schwab is in the process of pitching the pilot for the Darker Shade of Magic television series. If it gets picked up, readers can expect a faithful, one book-to-one season adaptation. If the director had wanted it any other way, Schwab says, she wouldn’t have been the right writer for the show. “I would like a female badass team,” says Schwab about her ideal team for the show. “I’m not saying there aren’t equally qualified males in the world–I’m just saying that they have more opportunities.”

Above all else, Schwab is grateful and genuinely humbled by her tour experience. “I keep expecting people to realize they’re at the wrong event!” she said during the book-signing.

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