Hello, my lovelies! Happy Monday! How are all of you? Let’s chat.
On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely Kiersten White, who graced us with her magnanimous presence in celebration of the recent release of her book, And I Darken (which you can read my review of here). And I Darken is my top book of the year so far, so if you haven’t read it, please go out and get a copy of it. I love this book with my whole heart.
And meeting the author was such a delight!
The evening began with a group discussion with Kiersten White, spoke on the background of the book and opened it up for Q&A. It was amazing to get her insight and what inspired her to write the story. Her advice? Never ever write historical fiction! Jokes. But the process she described was very intensive, time consuming, and all in all challenging. I was impressed with the amount of effort she put into the tiniest details of the novels, such as trying to figure out what the windows of a keep in the Ottoman Empire would be like just after the Dark Ages. Good thing the history is fascinating, right Kiersten?
One of the aspects of the novel I enjoyed was how unlikeable all of the characters are. Was this intentional?! Kiersten explained that yes it was. She specifically explained that she began the book with the books of the story with the characters’ births so that we could totally understand why they were the way they were and where their major flaws came from. I hadn’t thought about that before, but the decision completely makes sense. I appreciate that she made characters whose actions we may not agree with or like, but that we can understand and comprehend why they might be justified.
And yes, Lada’s tendency to bite people is a nod to the vampire mythology that came from Vlad the Implaer.
The most impactful part of the evening for me though was when Kiersten was asked by another audience member what kind of sacrifices she’d had to make in order to be both a mother and a writer. Kiersten laughingly answered sleep. But then she went on to talk about how she’s had to make sacrifices to balance these aspects of her life, she’s glad that her children see her doing something she loves and going for it.
That struck me because when I became pregnant with Oliver, it quickly became clear that the mother I had imagined I would be and the one I was did not align. I always thought I’d want a gazillion children around me and be this wonderful motherly mama. But the truth is that’s just not me. Not that I’m not loving or motherly, but I am not content or fulfilled just being a mom and housewife. I want to work, I want to write, I want to go back to school. And I’m slowly realizing that that’s all okay. Though it may be a challenge to find the balance, it’s okay to not give up who I am in order to be a mom. I firmly believe that children are born into their families for specific reasons. Maybe, just maybe, part of my purpose in being Oliver’s mother is so that I can teach him the value of books, education, and hard work.
Only time will tell, I suppose.
But in short, Kiersten White is a phenomenal person, and I am just so thrilled I had the chance to meet her. I was inspired by her words of encouragement and by learning more about her writing process. I loved the advice she wrote when signing the books: Be a knife. Hopefully, I’ll run into her again in a few months at ComicCon, where she can impart more words of wisdom to me!
Tootle loo, darlings! This week expect a discussion post on Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet as well as a review of the recently released, Never Ever. I also will have a new giveaway running on Instagram either at the end of this week or early next week.