Maggie Stiefvater shattered no small amount of dreams when she ended The Raven Boys on a somewhat torturous cliffhanger (don’t worry, no spoilers here). Book 2 in the Raven Cycle is still a very long summer away, but today we can offer you the first look at The Dream Thieves, as well as an interview with Stiefvater herself.
The ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken and nothing will ever be the same for Blue, Gansey, Ronan, and Adam. Ronan’s dreams are intensifying, and some shady figures have come to town seeking to solve the same puzzle that Gansey is obsessed with. Check out an exclusive excerpt from the Dream Thieves prologue below, then read on to find out more about Book 2 and why Stiefvater’s got a grudge against Beyoncé.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s been almost a year since The Raven Boys hit shelves. What’s the reaction been like?
MAGGIE STIEFVATER: It’s actually really fascinating. Because I thought I had a really solid fan base with the Shiver trilogy — and I do, I love my Shiver readers — but the readers for Raven Boys have responded in a very different way in that there’s a lot of fan fiction and fan art. They really get this idea of them as this gang that has adventures. It’s really cool to see them take ownership of the characters.
The Raven Boys ended in quite the cliffhanger. I’ve seen many angry gifs on Goodreads. Have you gotten lots of angry fan email?
I haven’t gotten much of a backlash because it was so clearly pitched as a series. The only ones I can think of are the ones that said, “I cannot believe you ended it this way, please write another one.” I’m like, “Good news for you.” [Laughs] Most of the people come in knowing that it’ll be a series and they were totally fine with the ending. It’s funny because I didn’t really think of it as a cliffhanger, I just cackled at that line. I have to warn you, that might happen again. It might possibly be worse [laughs]. I’m actually very neurotic about this book coming out.
It is my favorite of all of the books that I’ve written. It’s a Maggie sort of book. I started writing this book way back when I was 19. So, it has very, very old roots.
What can you tell us about The Dream Thieves? The synopsis is disturbingly short…
It is very, very evil for a synopsis [laughs]. I don’t even think it’s because the copy writers are trying to be coy. It’s just because, like The Raven Boys, each of my books gets more and more difficult to describe. I will say that as much as there are boys behaving badly in Book 1, they behave much worse in Book 2. There is 100% more kissing in Book 2 [laughs] and it all revolves around that last line in Raven Boys.
Speaking of boys behaving badly, I remember reading a blog post from you a while back where you spoke about a “black-hearted” character. Can you tell us a little about that? It must be tricky to write a character with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
It is interesting because this book took me longer to write than any of my others. And that’s not even counting going back to when I was 19. It took me 14 months to actually draft this because I was very painstaking. I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted it to be. So I lived with this black-hearted character for 14 months. I had such a blast writing him, but it was a really different experience than any other character I’ve ever done. I do so enjoy writing the bad boy with the heart of gold or the angry girl with the heart of gold. However, I do still think there are certain redeeming qualities… That’s all I’ll say.
Your characters have some of the strangest names I’ve ever heard. Where do you get them?
First of all, I have to tell you I’m very angry with Beyoncé because she named her baby Blue. And Blue [Sargent] has been named Blue ever since that first draft all that time ago. I was very pleased with that name — it came from a plot line that was lost, but basically Blue’s mother originally said that Blue’s aura was blue and that was how she got the name. So I persisted with this name and I thought it was so quirky and then Beyoncé named her child Blue [laughs]. Gansey was because when I was growing up I was a competition bagpiper and the boys never referred to each other by first name, ever. They always had some reason why they would refer to themselves by their last names, so I knew that had to go in there. Barrington Whelk… I feel very badly about naming my villain Barrington Whelk. He is named after a realtor who showed us a nice house during our house hunt and I just thought, Barrington, that sounds like an evil name. So I apologize to the real Barrington out there.