Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small
Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her
power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within
the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten
South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been
counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a
beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most
infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to
uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one
secret could change everything.
Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his
apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina,
until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams
(literally--she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart,
modern fantasy--a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret.
Beautiful Creatures is a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the
first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge
gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how
many more you're willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil
the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of
this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. --Daphne Durham
Exclusive Interview with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Authors of Beautiful
does your writing process look like? Is it tough to write a book together? Did
you ever have any knock-down drag-out fights over a plot point or character
Margie: The best way to describe our writing process is like a
running stitch. We don't write separate chapters, or characters. We pass the
draft back and forth constantly, and we actually write over each other's work,
until we get to the point where we truly don't know who has written
Kami: By the end of the book, we don't even know. The classic example
is when I said, "Marg, I really hate that line. It has to go." And she said,
"Cut it. You wrote it."
Margie: I think we were friends for so long before we
were writing partners that there was an unusual amount of trust from the
Kami: It's about respect. And it helps that we can't remember when who
wrote the bad line.
Margie: We save our big fights for the important things,
like the lack of ice in my house or how cold our office is. And why none of my
YouTube videos are as popular as the one of Kami's three-fingered typing…okay,
that one is understandable, given the page count for "Beautiful
Kami: What can I say? I was saving the other seven fingers for
What kinds of books do you like to read?
Kami: I read almost
exclusively Young Adult fiction, with some Middle Grade fiction thrown in for
good measure. As a Reading Specialist, I work with children and teens in grades
K-12, so basically I read what they read.
Margie: When I write it comes from
the same place as when I read: wanting to hang out with fictional characters in
fictional worlds. I identify more as a reader than a writer; I just have to
write it first so I can read it.
What books/authors have inspired you?
Kami: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "A Good Man is Hard to Find
& Other Stories" by Flannery O'Connor, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury and
"The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. I also love Pablo Neruda.
Margie: I think
Harper Lee is the greatest writer alive today. Eudora Welty is my other Southern
writer kindred; I was obsessed with her in grad school. Susan Cooper and Diana
Wynne Jones made me love fantasy, and my favorite poets are Emily Dickinson (at
Amherst College, I even lived on her street) and Stevie Smith.
Did you set
out to write fiction for young adults? Why?
Kami: We actually wrote
"Beautiful Creatures" on a dare from some of the teen readers in our
Margie: Not so much readers as bosses.
Kami: Looking back, we wrote
it sort of like the serialized fiction of Charles Dickens, turning in pages to
our teen readers every week.
Margie: And by week she means day.
we were getting texts in the middle of the night from teens demanding more
pages, we knew we had to finish.
Margie: As it says in our acknowledgements,
their asking what happened next changed what happened next. Teens are so
authentic. That's probably why we love YA. Even when it's fantasy, it's the
A lot of us voracious readers like to cast a book after
reading it. Did you guys have a shared view of who your characters are? Did each
of you take a different character to develop, or did you share every aspect?
Kami: We've never cast our characters, but we definitely know what they look
like. Sometimes we see actors in magazines and say, "Lena just wore
Margie: We create all our characters together, but after a point they
became as real as any of the other people we know. We forget they're
Kami: I never thought of it like that. I guess we do spend all our time
talking about imaginary people. Margie: So long as it's not to them…
always plan to start the book with Ethan's story? Why?
Kami: We knew before
we started that we wanted to write from a boy's point of view. Margie and I both
have brothers—-six, between us-—so it wasn't a stretch. It's an interesting
experience to fall in love with the guy telling the story rather than the guy
the story is about.
Margie: We do kind of love Ethan, so we wanted there to
be more to him than just the boy from boy meets girl.
Kami: He's the guy who
stands by you at all costs and accepts you for who you are, even if you aren't
quite sure who that is.
What is on your nightstand now?
Kami: I have a
huge stack, but here are ones at the top: "Mama Dip's Kitchen," a cookbook by
Mildred Council, "The Demon's Lexicon" by Sarah Rees Brennan, "Shadowed Summer"
by Saundra Mitchell, "Rampant" by Diana Peterfreund, and an Advanced Reader Copy
of "Sisters Red" by Jackson Pearce.
Margie: I have Robin McKinley's "Beauty,"
Maggie Stiefvater's "Ballad," Kristen Cashore's "Fire," Libba Bray's "Going
Bovine," and "Everything Is Fine" by AnnDee Ellis. And now I'm mad because I
know a) Kami stole my "Rampant" and b) didn't tell me she has "Sisters
What is your idea of comfort reading?
Kami: If given the choice,
I'll always reach for a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy. I also re-read
my favorite books over and over.
Margie: It's all comfort reading to me. I
sleep with books in my bed. Like a dog, only without the shedding and the
Have you written the next book already? What's next for Lena and
Margie: We are revising the next book now. I don't want to give too
much away, but summer in Gatlin isn't always a vacation.
Kami: I would
describe book two as intense and emotional. For Ethan and Lena, the stakes are
Margie: That's true. Book two involves true love, broken hearts,
the Seventeenth Moon, and cream-of-grief casseroles…
Kami: Gatlin at it's
This was toward the end when I could walk
again. I got bitten on May 31, 2004 and this was taken on July 31 just to give
you an idea of the amount of time involved. The black part (necrotized,
mummified tissue) was surgically removed about a month later, the day that I was
laid off from my government contract job. I still have the chunk, about the size
of a potato chip. Today there is a giant scar there and I still have little
sensation in my ankle.
Photo courtesy of Mr. Norman Feller
Brown Recluse formed in 2006 around the core of
Timothy Meskers and Mark Saddlemire. Their debut release, the six-song Black
Sunday EP, is a brilliant blast of pop invention, blending influences from the
psych pop of The Zombies and Margo Guryan, the tropicalia of Os Mutantes and
'60s producers like Joe Meek and Phil Spector. Over the next year, the duo
expanded to a six-piece that played numerous East Coast shows with bands as
varied as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Tyvek and Dirty Projectors, writing
new material and winning new fans along the way. The Soft Skin EP was recorded
in mid-2007 and released on Slumberland in September 2009. Its pastoral,
psychedelic vibe brings mind the sunshine pop of Curt Boettcher's The
Millennium/Sagittarius projects as well as familiar touchstones Brian Wilson,
The Clientele and the Elephant 6 collective. Evening Tapestry is Brown Recluse's
long-awaited debut album. From the summertime daydream of opener "Hobble to Your
Tomb" to the '50s-tinged