SO. A lot of you have probably noticed that I haven’t been around a lot the past couple of weeks . . .
There’s a very simple reason for that . . . and that reason is—ILONA ANDREWS.
YEP. I’m not shy about sharing my Ilona love, and if you’re friends with me on Goodreads, you know the first half of my absence was due to my last minute decision to say, “Who cares that I’ve got a least a dozen books I should be reading? (<——NOT me.) I want to reread Kate Daniels AGAIN, b/c Magic Breaks is the last book in this story arc, and I’m not going to miss something, b/c I haven’t read the books in a year.”
So I did.
I’m sorry I’ve neglected some of the blogosphere (but not too sorry, b/c KATE). *shrugs*
Then I had to get over my EPIC book hangover, and after that . . . after that I had to get ready to MEET MY #1 FAVORITE AUTHOR, OMG.
Seriously guys . . . the second I started doing this blog thing, and learned about the book cons, it became my life’s ambition to make it to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention next year, and meet Ilona Andrews. <——I need a new life’s ambition. 😀 😀 😀
OKAY. First you need to know how awesome the Andrews are. They didn’t even have to do a book signing in Atlanta. They were given the option of taking the day off, but they said, “NOPE. We don’t need no stinking day off. Six cities in six days . . . pfft. We got this thing.”
And not only did they sign on for six book signings in six different cities in six days, but (as they are apparently wont to do) they arranged “Meet and Greets” before the actual signings at nearby coffee houses to give fans a chance to just hang out in a casual environment.
And that’s what is going on here (ALSO—the chickypoo in the hot pink shirt is my bff Katy, who was awesome enough to drive 3 hours roundtrip with me, after only getting 3 hours of sleep the night before, b/c nightshift—can we get a round of applause for Katy!):
There were probably around 50 people who showed up for the Meet and Greet. We were arranged in an arc all the way around the Andrews, and how lucky for us that this particular coffee house had stadium seating, right?
Once the Andrews arrived, we had about an hour and half to ask questions, beg for spoilers, see the cover of Kate #8 (it’s amazeballs), and generally just fangirl the heck out.
By the time all of this—both Meet and Greet, and the book signing—was over, I had THREE HOURS of digital recording, which accounts for the second half of my absence. I’m not going to tell you how long it took to transcribe all of it, b/c it’s embarrasing, but trust me . . . it was a LONG time.
I really wish you hear them for yourself, b/c 1. they are hilarious, and 2. Ilona has a fairly thick Russian accent (which is just cool to listen to). Everything I transcribed, from the spoilers and whatnot, are word-for-word verbatim, so even if you won’t be able to tell when her voice goes all sing-song, if you read it with a Russian accent in your head, you can still get a pretty good idea of what it sounded like. PLUS it’s more fun that way.
The very first question was about Nick (Nolastname for those of you haven’t gotten around to reading Magic Breaks yet *looks down nose in condemnation* *taps foot*). Don’t read the spoiler unless you want to know both what Nick’s last name is, AND some spoilery background info that I don’t feel guilty sharing, b/c they shared a less detailed version on their blog.View Spoiler »Ilona: What actually happened was . . . you know about Kate’s mom—that she had the talent to make people really like her. It worked really, really well. Greg really liked her. Greg was married at the time to Anna, and he had a son, his name was Nikolas, and . . . Kate’s mother is the reason the marriage broke up. Nothing actually happened with Kate’s mother and Greg, but b/c he wanted for something to happen, Anna left. This was before [Kalina] met Roland, and before Kate was born, before any of that. It just so happened that she worked with the Order periodically, Greg and her would run into each other, and you know, Greg was infatuated with her.
So what occurred later was, when Voron basically was running with Kate, Kate’s mother told him, she said, “Look—if you need help, this guy will help you.” And one of the names that she gave to Voron was Greg Feldman. So Voron eventually looked him up, and at that point Voron had little baby Kate, and Anna had really mixed feelings about it, b/c Nikolas was still very young at that point, so they were just doing the co-parenting/divorced parents type of thing, so it’s kind of complicated with them, b/c Anna never really liked Kate.
Anna wants to be a good person, right? But it’s very hard to like the daughter of somebody who broke up your marriage. It’s just a difficult thing for her. So she kind of grudgingly helps Kate sometimes out of sense of duty. But that’s part of the reason why she’s not so much in the series. It’s so hard to bring all of that stuff in. We probably will in the next couple of books, but that’s what happened there. Also, Nikolas figured out later who Kate was. He didn’t know who she was at time of Magic Bites, but later he got it, so he knows.
Kate fan: Does he blame her?
Gordon: Nooooo, I don’t think so. I think the thing would be, “Should I kill her? Can I kill her?”
Nick knows, obviously, what Roland is, and I think he would be worried what Kate will be, and “Should I kill her now? She hasn’t really done anything bad, but she could . . . ” And the thing is, what if she and Roland get together, and they team up? So I think that Nick is that person who thinks, “Should I do something bad for the greater good?” And he’s kind of okay with that. He’s got a certain moral flexibility.
Me: Does Kate know that her mom busted up Anna and Greg’s marriage?
Ilona: She has no clue. « Hide Spoiler
Before Kate #7 came out, there was a lot of discussion concerning certain aspects of the story arc, predictions about the answers to long-running questions, etc., and one of the questions I encountered the most was, “What are the longterm implications of Kate having a intimate relationship with someone?” ALSO—for those of you who are getting sick of people NOT dying, there’s an explanation for that in there as well.View Spoiler »Me: A lot of us want to know what the deal with Kate and sex is, b/c it’s supposed to be this big deal, and if Kate has relations with somebody, it changes them fundamentally, and I think . . . I don’t know how we got the idea that we were going to get an answer to that in this book, but . . .
Ilona: You have the answer, if you read the book carefully.
Me: See that’s what I said! That’s what I said, but everybody else was like, “Noooo, that’s not it. You have to ask,” so here I am. It’s the immortality thing, right?
Ilona: Do you remember Magic Mourns? Where Teddy Jo brings the apples?
Me: Oh, I first thought about it with the tattoo fading and the scars fading . . .
Ilona: Yes, but Kate and Curran can eat the apples, and that is a huge, huge deal, b/c if she loves you, and in particular if you’re a man and she has sex with you, there’s transfer.
Me: So does that mean Julie is too now?
Ilona: Yes. And that’s dicey, that’s very, very dicey.
Gorden: Yes, it’s dicey with Julie. It’s also the fact that just by sheer force of will, if you’re in Roland’s court and he doesn’t want you to grow old and die, then you won’t grow old and die, which is what Ghastek wants from Kate.
Me: And that’s why a lot of people didn’t think that it was answered, b/c you could have extended life just by being in proximity, so it must be something more . . .
Gordon: If either of them wished you to be–
Ilona: Yes, but with Roland, you know, he’s enormously powerful. He’s been doing this for awhile, so all he has to do is just think it. Kate actually has to actively fight for it, and if you look at the track record of the books, right? This is where we get . . . [???]
Andrea should have died. Derek should have died. Several times. Curran should have died. Julie too should have died. So, you know, all those people are not dying, or almost dying, for a reason. They’re not dying b/c Kate, even though she doesn’t understand how she does it, holds on to them.
The one time where she actively tried to do it was with Bran—it didn’t work. B/c she was going to bring the undeath. So that’s why she can never sort of . . . that’s what Greg knew, b/c Voron told him, and he was trying to prevent her from being used. What he wanted to not happen was somebody coming along, realizing what she is, realizing what kind of power she has, and then being with her for the sake of her power. Which is really, really, really important.
Gordon: It also works the other way. For instance Voron aged rapidly once removed from Roland.
Gordon: So it had that . . . side effect, I guess. With the extended life, then kind of aging very rapidly [if removed].
Me: So, again, it’s the proximity.
Gordon. Yeah, it’s proximity.
Me: Well, that’s incentive.
Ilona: Yeah, it’s a huge incentive, and that’s why Roland comes across . . . He kind of comes across nice–he’s NOT. He has Hugh, and Hugh is wrecking ball. He deploys him liberally. I mean, Roland’s all, “I’m conflicted and making beautiful things.”–
Gordon: And he would regularly unleash, well, then Voron, and now, Hugh, and even Erra, and he would regularly unleash them to do . . . kind of horrible things, and then he comes in, and he’s a nice guy. It’s kind of like when you’re in the army, and the first sergeant is the bad guy, and the sergeant major gets to be the good guy. « Hide Spoiler
Other random Q & A’s:
1. YES, Gordon does intend to write more Curran POVs. The next one most likely will be from Magic Rises to give us some insight into his . . . *coughs* . . . . objectionable . . . *coughs* . . . behavior.
2. YES, the dragon from Magic Tests (the novella included at the end of Magic Breaks) is the same dragon from the Jim and Dali novella, Magic Mourns, and Magic Mourns takes place first in the timeline.
And the dragon question set off a whole slew of novella questions, and you remember how I said the Andrews were awesome? Check this out (it’s about halfway down):
Ilona: We try to do like one mythology per book and Magic Slays was our modern take sort of, and we took the whole idea of like an atomic bomb basically and covered our magical device. We actually got a really, really angry email [from some woman] who felt, even though it was not specifically stated that the creator was autistic.
Gordon: That the creator was what?
Ilona: She said that it was really unfair that he was treated that way, which is, we didn’t write the character as autistic. You know . . . I see how it could be taken that way, but it was . . . it’s very interesting what people get out of a book, but we also had somebody—we were actually in the copyedit stage—in the original draft of Magic Breaks Doolittle actually walks. B/c he healed. And at the copyedit stage we got this email from this gentleman who said, “You know, it’s so nice to see a disabled person portrayed as an able, functioning member of society. We have nobody, well, we have Professor Xavier, you know, and we just do not have those role models and I’m disabled . . . ” And we read that, and I was like ooohhh . . . Doolittle cannot walk.
Gordon: We gave him like, “I can wiggle my toes.”
Ilona: That’s right. The value of Doolittle to that person supersedes the value of Doolittle to us, so that was one of the cases where we altered the narrative. In general though we don’t do like people who like write us, “Can you wriiiiite where Derek and Julie get togeeether, and then they have babies . . . ” We don’t write to order.
In Magic Rises a beloved character dies, and there was discord in the Andrews home over it. *snickers* If you want to know the details . . .View Spoiler »Question: I gotta know–does it hurt you when your character dies?
[Ilona glowers at Gordon]
Gordon: When . . . when I killed Aunt B, she was very mad at me. People ask if we fight over the books—very rarely—but we had heated discussion over the demise of poor Aunt B. She never wants to kill any character off. I always have to say yeah, this person or that person–
Ilona: I aggressively loaded the dishwater.
Ilona: The discussion was happening in the kitchen, b/c . . . you know . . . when we’re not basically writing we’re cleaning or doing other household chores–
Gordon: Yeah, cleaning the kitchen—the kids aren’t gonna do it.
Ilona: Actually that is a lie, b/c the oldest one turned 18 . . . the house has never been so clean.
Gordon: Yeah, she’s terrified that we’re going to kick her out of the house. When she got the tattoo, right? We saw the tattoo, we’d been in San Antonio, she was still fussing about something, we were sitting down at Morton’s, which is this chain steakhouse—it’s actually good—so we’re sitting down and we see this thing, and I’m like oh, look at that, and ummm . . . she actually had her sister call us and be like, “You’re not gonna kick Cat out of the house, are you?” Nooooo, we are not kicking your sister out of the house.
Ilona: Some of her friends have been kicked out.
Gordon: Well, we know this b/c they live with us.
Hahahaha!! « Hide Spoiler
And finally someone did ask about Christopher. It’s not terribly spoilery, but yeah, it is a little bit, so, again, don’t click on it, if you don’t want to know. There also a brief explanation for why someone a lot of us REALLY wanted to die, didn’t die:View Spoiler »Question: What happens to Christopher? Is he okay?
Ilona: Christopher is okay.
Gordon: He will slowly recover.
Ilona: Christopher was really, really, really powerful at one point. Christopher can actually fly.
Gordon: Yes, but he forgot. Has anyone read Douglas Adams? Do you remember Douglas Adams’ theory that all of us could fly? But we forgot, and if we were sufficiently startled, like in the act of falling, we would forget to fall, and float gently and learn to fly. He forgot . . . he has simply forgotten how to fly.
Ilona: There is . . . if you read Magic Breaks closely, you can kind of figure out what Christopher used to be. Because there’s a certain rivalry Hugh has with a different character. The rivalry is not so much between the two people, but the two opposites, b/c Roland is very shrewd.
Gordon: If you have two people below you, you want those two people to kind of compete with each other, instead of them ganging up and throwing you out.
Ilona: Yes. There are certain things, and Hugh’s tab is adding up.
I can’t figure out exactly what was said here b/c they’re both talking, but basically they seriously considered killing Hugh, but . . .
Ilona: Here’s the thing. You guys like Hugh.
Ilona: Yes. You do.
Gordon: Some people do.
Ilona: You like to . . . hate him . . . and wait for him to die . . . which makes him a very good character to keep around. Hugh comes on the page and you’re like, “Goddammit somebody nuke this bastard!”
If you want to know the master plan, you’re going to have to read the books. « Hide Spoiler
Thus concludes the Meet and Greet portion of this post.
So about two minutes before the book signing was supposed to begin, we all walked from the coffee shop to the bookstore where we more than doubled our number. Atlanta had the biggest turnout of any of the book signings. (*fist pumps*) ALSO—you may be surprised to learn that I am apparently NOT the biggest fangirl, b/c someone made the Andrews a picture book that catalogued all of the different versions of all the different covers of the Kate books . . . SO THERE.
That, of course, prompted them to show the cover to Kate #8 again, but this time we got a funny story to go with it:
Ilona: Here’s the thing—they asked us what we wanted on the cover, and since the book is not written yet, we said, “A girl, a sword, and a lion.” (<——*snickers*) And our editor actually got fussy with us, and she was like, “I will need a little bit more than that.” Okay. “A girl, a sword, a lion, and we want it to be green.” (<——*snickers AGAIN*)
Actually, the next book will be a little bit more about . . . umm . . . we’re hoping to do some Arabian Nights mythology in there . . . and here’s how weird they get, right? So we are, we’re discussing the cover and the fact that Arabian Nights are in there, and she’s like, “You know what we should do? We should have crumbled buildings on the cover again, ’cause that’s GREAT.” So I’m like, YES, okay, crumbled buildings. [Editor——>] “We should have a crumbled mosque.” I’m like NO, we shouldn’t.
People, we will not have any crumbling houses of worship on the cover. We actually got a really nice email one time from a Rabbi . . . over the contents of Magic Bleeds. They were like, “while you research into Talmud is sound . . . here’s why the theory wouldn’t work in real life.” We were kind of not planning for it to work in real life . . .
SEE. She’s hilarious.
There were probably another half dozen anecdotal stories, as well as a lengthy introduction to their next book Burn for Me, but this post is already ridiculously long, so I’m forced to cut it short. (<——HA!)
If anyone is a crazy fangirl like me, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll send you the transcript.
So that is it. Life should be getting back to normal now that I’m not spending several hours everyday transcribing, but honestly—I regret nothing. And seriously, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if you want more Ilona and Gordon. I’ve got funny stories about their daughters, about the (in)accuracies of their alternate world maps, crazy doomsdayers in Savannah, HOW THEY MET AND THEIR FIRST DATE. Hit me, people!