Spoiled shares a look at the books you can't wait to read, long before they hit stores. Today Young Adult author Maggie Stiefvater gives RT readers a peek inside her new Raven Cycle series before the first book, The Raven Boys, releases in September. Find out how heroine, Blue, evolved and what role the dire prophesy, “if she kisses her true love, he will die” plays in her life!
As someone who has spent the last five years painstakingly building a reputation of writing love stories, it seems a little insane that my new series revolves around a girl who can’t kiss her true love — or anyone else, really. But in The Raven Boys, the first book in the four-book Raven Cycle, that’s what Blue Sargent has grown up knowing about herself. As the daughter of a small-town psychic, she has grown up surrounded by clairvoyants. In several different ways — tarot cards, palm reading, scrying — they’ve read her fortune, and all have come to the same conclusion: if Blue kisses her true love, he’ll die.
It’s an unspecific and dire sort of fortune, and another girl might have lost a lot of sleep over it. Blue, however, is a lot like I was at sixteen. Creative, busy, and pragmatic, she not only doesn’t have time for boys, but she refuses to make time for them. She’s met enough of them to know that the best are self-involved and the worst are pigs. Her opinion has been shaped by growing up in a small Virginia town equally divided between families just getting by, like hers, and the spoiled Raven Boys — her name for the rich boys that attend the prestigious Aglionby Academy. Not only is Blue not in any danger of accidentally kissing (or killing) any boys when they’re around, she’s definitely not in any danger of meeting her true love.
Or so she thinks.
I’ve had a lot of fun writing Blue. The idea that she would kill her true love with a kiss intrigued me because I had to think through how a girl might react to that knowledge. Would she steer clear of kissing altogether? Would she only kiss boys she hated? Would she long for what she was missing, or would she build up parts of her life to make up for the lack of kissing? When I first began plotting her arc through the books, I thought that this no-kissing curse would define her, but as I started to build up her character, I was amazed at how rich and complicated her interpersonal relationships were apart from her curse. She not only had this core group of eccentric, spiritual women raising her, but she had developed all sorts of ways to become close to people — kissing was barely on her radar.
Of course, in retrospect, I see that I was stealing again from my own life. My parents were fairly strict, and we were raised quite aware that we were not meant to date until we were sixteen or eighteen or possibly thirty. I never remember being told not to date, but the knowledge of their impending disapproval hung there. Implied. When it was just there, like that, like a fact, it wasn’t something to rebel against — it was just a rule of nature, like the idea that no matter how much you want to fly, jumping off a building is never going to work. You don’t get mad at gravity. You get into a plane or a car instead. So, likewise, I never questioned my very own “no-kissing” adolescence.
Instead, I made some wonderful friendships with guys in my teen years. I had guys in my bands and I had guy friends in my major and I never gave a second thought to dating any of them. I do recall punching one of them in the nose over the suggestion that we might try being an item, but that is a story for another time. Nope, I didn’t miss that kissing at all ... until I met my own true love when I was 19. Luckily for me, I had no real curse to test.
But Blue does, and I’m telling you right now, The Raven Boys takes place in the year that she finds her true love. Sorry, babe.
Oh, yes, I’m enjoying myself hugely.
Want to find out what happens to Blue and her cursed true love? Mark your calendar, The Raven Boys will be released on September 18, 2012. You can also take a look at more upcoming releases here! And for more fantastic young adult books and genre news visit our Everything Young Adult Page!