The Fandom had the extreme pleasure to sit down with Laini Taylor, author of the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE trilogy, to chat about her fantastical books at Comic-Con!
Get an update on the DoSaB movie (the TFIOS writers are on board!), the possibility of a spin-off series, and with whom she’s developing a new story!
Any word on the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE movie?
Yeah! It’s coming along. It’s in development at Universal with The Rock Company and they’ve been having some script work done. The latest draft of the script is by Neustadter and Weber, who wrote THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, so that’s exciting! And hopefully they’ll be real news soon. The script stage is so intense.
In DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, you hinted that the angels and chimaera would fight a long and glorious battle against the Nithilim and become the godstars. Will fans ever get to see that battle play out in book form?
You know, I hadn’t intended to lay the groundwork for a new series, but I was writing the book it sort of happened. I definitely knew I wasn’t going to write that book right away because I have other projects lined up, but now I definitely what to go back. I have a lot of things to grow in my mind over the next couple of years before I have that piece of the story, but I would like to. I hope so. I hope that there’s the demand and that it happens.
Your story mixes high fantasy concepts with the human world. What kind of challenges did this present in the writing process?
I don’t know if it really presented any challenges, it was just more interesting and fun. I like playing with the idea– perfect to be talking at Comic-Con about this– the idea that.. What would it take in today’s world to see something on the street and believe, as your first thought, that is was real? That you’re really seeing something extraordinary versus “How’d they do that?” I love the idea of what it would take for you to go “Oh my God, there’s a monster!” versus “Wow, look at that makeup!” I think here, with all of these things you see, you don’t even question it. So I think that’s one of the fun things about putting fantasy into the real world is playing with that idea of our sort of unshockable-ness now because of special effects and everything.
And I didn’t intend to sort of trick people into reading high fantasy. The book evolved, but it is sort of a gateway into high fantasy for readers who might be a little scared of high fantasy or don’t think they like it. It starts in a very grounded way and then sort of slowly pulls you into this high fantasy world. I think a lot of people who don’t think they’re fantasy readers, it’s because they don’t understand the breadth of fantasy or they have a very simplistic idea of what fantasy is. I wasn’t intentionally trying to get new readers by trickery, but it has happened! You know, people who have been reading urban fantasy or something a little more grounded and then thought “Oh, I just read a high fantasy”. But also, it’s got some sci-fi elements in there. I don’t know!
So are you a pants-er?
I am now, I would say. I have major hangups with perfectionism so I used to always– well I never finished anything, but I always planned exactly what was going to happen because it’s too terrifying things of something where you put in so much work and it could do in the wrong direction, you know? It’s scary! But I have become a very spontaneous writer. But I don’t pants the whole story line. I pants a scene and then incorporate it and start thinking about it and maybe go back and do it again. But yeah, I couldn’t– I wasn’t able to outline the series. I wasn’t able to figure it out in advance. It had to be something that developed organically through the character’s actions. When I think about it in retrospect, I’m sort of stunned that I did that. It was so against my nature as a writer, previously. If someone told me “This is how you have to write this book”, I would have been paralyzed and not been able to do it. It started spontaneously out of free writing and it was always slow, always stopping to figure things out, then moving forward again.
What can you tell us about your next writing project?
It’s still in the early stages. It’s Young Adult. It’s more of a Science Fiction story in a historical setting. And that’s really all I can say about it right now, but I’m really excited about it. It’s been in my head for a while.
Your husband is an amazing artist. Have you ever considered working with him on a graphic novel version of the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE series?
You know, I don’t know if we would work together on a graphic novel of this. But we do have something we’re working on that we’re in the development stages of now. Jim is such an amazing creator himself that I think rather than taking a story that’s already done, to have him be part of it more in a co-author sort of way… I would love to see a graphic novel of SMOKE AND BONE, but I think I would rther have Jim be doing something new.
If you had your own gavriel, what would you wish for?
Totally wings, I would say! I really just wish I could be able to fly and I’ve had that conversation a lot. I maybe would cave and just wish for flight, but there’s a part of me that really wants to have wings! I know they would probably be a huge pain in the ass, but how awesome, right? You could walk around Comic-Con and people who be like “Where’d you get those? They’re amazing! They’re so life-like!”