By Fully Booked Staff Writer
Photo from Victoria Schwab’s Blog
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Humans and monsters, we are proud to present Victoria Schwab: the mastermind behind the fantasy worlds of The Archived, Vicious, and A Darker Shade of Magic.
Today we’ve come to ask her about This Savage Song—a duet between a human girl and a monster boy stuck in a city torn in two. In this realm, violent deeds birth monsters called Corsai, Malchai, and Sunai, and bloodshed haunts the streets nightly.
FULLY BOOKED: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Ms. Schwab! This Savage Song was highly anticipated, and it did not disappoint. What sparked you to write it?
VICTORIA SCHWAB: You know, most fantasy is simply reality through a fantastical lens. The supernatural allows us to consider and examine the natural from a safe distance. In that way, This Savage Song allowed me to explore societal violence. I was looking at my own culture and country, with its mass shootings, its domestic terrorism, trying to understand how there was so little consequence, so little aftermath. And then I wondered, what would the world look like if suddenly there WAS an aftermath, and that aftermath was monstrous.
You’re loved for your speculative fiction—your other worlds, morally gray characters, and the feats of magic mentioned in your books. What first drew you to the worlds of fantasy and writing?
Honestly, I like writing fantasy because that’s my particular brand of escapism. But I’m drawn, again and again, to the moral grey, as a reaction to the idea that the world divides into good and evil. The vast majority of people are neither good nor evil but a product of their own minds and the environments in which those minds are nurtured. I’m fascinated by the idea of outsiders, and to write those, you have to have a very good handle on the world they exist outside, hence the fascination with both a society and those who don’t belong.
How does your usual writing day (or night!) go?
It depends, these days, on the week/month/year. Ideally I write first thing in the morning, then edit and handle non-writing work (such as this interview) in the afternoons, with the evening reserved for more writing, or reading. But I’ve been traveling so much to promote that there are stretches of time when I don’t get to write, so I end up cramming it in whenever I have time to make a cup of tea 😉
This Savage Song is wrought with musical motifs. What did you listen to as you wrote it?
I listen to quite a bit of classical music, as well as movie/TV soundtracks, everything from Joshua Bell and Lindsey Sterling to Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. I almost never listen to music with lyrics whilst writing, as the words interrupt my attention and flow.
Are the Corsai, Malchai, and Sunai based on specific monsters?
They are my incarnations of a demonic, a vampiric, and an angelic force.
This Savage Song is set in Verity City. What places inspired V-City?
Verity was most definitely inspired by several cities in the US fused into a supercity (essentially, multiplied far beyond its current size/boundaries). One of the big inspirations was St. Louis, another Chicago.
Which of your characters do you relate to most?
I honestly relate to all of them. I believe that a book’s cast of characters are all facets of the author themselves, some desirable, some dark. In A Darker Shade of Magic, Lila Bard is the person I wish I was, while Kell is closer to who I am currently. In This Savage Song, Kate and August are the different manifestations of my own anxiety, one control, the other madness, and so on.
What are your favorite books? What are you reading right now?
The is one of the hardest questions to ask an author (or any reader, for that matter!). But a few of my recent favorites include Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, and Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.
Right now I’m reading The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemesin, Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova, and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.
What’s a story you’d like to write about, but haven’t started yet?
I’m a back-burner author, meaning at any given time I’ve got 2-3 ideas sitting on the back of my mental stove, stewing. Two stories I can’t wait to dive into, but haven’t really started yet, are about an estate at the border between the human world and the fae called Gallant, and a love story between a French girl and the devil over 300 years.
Thanks again, Ms. Schwab! Now, to make sure you aren’t a monster, can you please take a selfie for us and your fans in the Philippines?
Find books by Victoria Schwab at Fully Booked Online.