Google+ YA Romantics: Author Interview: Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Author Interview: Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm


I am very excited to be a stop on the Siege and Storm Blog Tour. 

And I am even more excited that Leigh Bardugo, author of the New York Times best-seller Shadow and Bone and its soon-to-be-published sequel, Siege and Storm, is here to answer a few questions. I love her books so much -- it's amazing that I could even collect myself to think of anything to ask. Here goes…

Leigh, I am so honored that you could stop by. Shadow and Bone is a fantastic book, but I think I might have liked Siege and Storm even more!


Leigh: Thank you! I'm so glad you liked Siege and Storm

Jen: I love that the books explore the issue of women and power. In Shadow and Bone, Alina remembers suppressing her Grisha abilities as a child. Using her powers brings Alina a sense of joy and even pride, but also a great deal of ambivalence, guilt and self-doubt.  Can you talk a little about this?

Leigh: One of the questions at the heart of Shadow and Bone is what we give up, what we're willing to sacrifice to belong to someone or something. I think we often make those concessions—women in particular—without even realizing it, so I wanted to explore that. But I also think Alina's struggle with power is as much about class as it is about gender. At the beginning of the series, she's a girl without status or prospects or any kind of real say in her life. So while using her power is a joyful thing, the repercussions of actually wielding influence are much harder for her to contend with. 

Jen: Dealing with those repercussions is certainly a huge part of Alina's story in Siege and Storm. Transformation is another theme in your books. Besides being a writer, you’ve worked as a “glamour and ghouls” make-up artist. Do life and art intersect in this area for you?


Photo from leighbardugo.com

Leigh: I worked primarily in beauty as opposed to effects, so most of the time, my job was to make someone look "natural" (now there's an illusion) or perfect a smoky eye. But my favorite shoots were the ones that combined the beautiful and the bizarre, where I got to bring a little bit of fantasy to life. With both makeup and writing, the goal is to hide the craft, so that the viewer or the reader never has cause to question the illusion. Hopefully, they just get to experience something magical.

Jen: I would definitely call your books magical! And yet, Alina also feels like a real girl. She can be prickly and sarcastic -- and funny!  In an interview last year with author Claire Legrand, you described Alina as someone who “struggles to be strong.” Would you still describe her that way in Siege and Storm?

Leigh: I think that may depend on your definition of strength. Alina is far more powerful, more confident, and simply more dangerous in Siege and Storm. Now she has to struggle to maintain her humanity. Being merciful, kind, and just, and balancing those traits with the authority to rule requires a different kind of strength.

Jen: You’ve also written a trio of swoonworthy yet complicated male characters: Mal, the hunky guy next door with a chip on his shoulder, the Darkling – the tortured bad boy - and then, in Siege and Storm, the swashbuckling, wisecracking Sturmhond, who is creating quite a buzz around the blogosphere. They’ve inspired fan art and fanfic. Are you amazed by how invested people have become in your characters?

Leigh: It's the craziest, most wonderful thing. I am so blown away by the things that people create, by their talent, by the fact that they care enough about the characters and the story to find all of these wonderful ways to bring them to life. I just don't think there's any higher compliment. But one of the reasons I like tumblr so much is that we're all fans of something. I love finding out that I share fandoms with my readers, because then we get to geek out over Legend of Korra or The Mortal Instruments or Game of Thrones together. 

Jen: I love your Game of Thrones posts! I can tell that you're an avid fantasy fan, but I also think about history and historical figures when reading your books. After finishing Siege and Storm, I began to wonder if Alina might surprise us all and stay single, like Queen Elizabeth I. Then last month I saw an intriguing little tidbit that you posted on tumblr:


Is this wedding you speak of a love match? A marriage of convenience?  Is it reminiscent of the plots of any of these Hollywood wedding movies: The Runaway Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding or What Happens In Vegas? 

Leigh: Ha! Well, I didn't say it would be Alina's wedding, did I? Elizabeth is an interesting parallel. 




Jen: Well, no, you didn't say that.  But… hmmm… I'm going to have to think more about this.

One last question: you dedicated Shadow and Bone to your grandfather, and in your acknowledgments described him as someone who “taught me to love poetry, seek adventure, and throw a punch.” Can you tell us a little more about how he influenced your life and your writing?

Leigh: My grandfather pretty much raised me. He had very old-school taste in books: Steinbeck, Hemingway, Frost, Kipling, Saroyan. He made me read all of The Ballad of Reading Gaol aloud, and I still remember flipping through our illustrated version of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner with him. He was a dirt poor brawler from Boston, but he loved science, he loved learning, and he loved language. He passed all of that along to me. I wish he could have lived to see me get published. He was happiest on the ocean, and I like to think he'd have been a fan of Sturmhond and the Volkvolny. 

Jen: He sounds like an amazing person -- someone I could picture in one of your stories. In fact, I can imagine him on the deck of the Volkvolny, teaching Sturmhond some new sparring moves...

This was so much fun -- thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

Leigh: My pleasure! Thanks for hosting me.

Thanks to the generosity of Macmillan/Holt, I get to host amazing giveaway: a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone  (with new bonus content) AND a hardcover of Siege and Storm to one lucky winner. Prize can be mailed to residents of US/Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Can't wait until June 4? Download the first five chapters of Siege and Storm for FREE!

You can check out all the rest of the stops on the Siege and Storm blog tour here.


81 comments:

  1. Thanks for this great interview. Although I didn't love the author's book, I still enjoyed reading this post.

    Andreea

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    1. Well, I hope Leigh writes many, many more books and that you will find one that you love :)

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  2. Great post-I'm really looking forward to reading Siege and Storm this week and meeting the buzzed about Sturmhond!

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    1. Can't wait to hear what you think. He's just …. no words...

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  3. I loved, loved Siege & Storm & Shadow & Bone. I can imagine the Darkling creating an evil ploy to marry Alina!
    -Scott Reads It

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    1. See, that was my thought. Or one of them. So. Many. Possibilites. But if it's not Alina's wedding, then… who? WHO???

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  4. Ooh! Thanks so much for the giveaway Jen! Also..I'm back to blogging, so I'll be sure to stop by your posts too! I really want to read one of her books, and I hope I picked up one soon!

    Happy Reading!

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    1. Must. Read. You must read Shadow and Bone over the summer. Promise?

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  5. Ugh, I loved Shadow and Bone so much So so so so much. I don't even know how to comment about how I loved it because I loved it ALL.

    As for weddings, I don't even want to guess. I kind of think none of the characters, but we'll learn about the traditions other ways, since Leigh seems sneaky like that.

    Brynna

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    1. I feel the same way, and I think Siege and Storm was even more amazing.

      Leigh is sneaky! You see how she she answered the question about the wedding, but then left me with even more questions...

      *Goes off to read biography of Elizabeth I *

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    2. The big thing is that Elizabeth doesn't get married and stays the "virgin queen." Very intriguing parallel.

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    3. I know!!!! For some reason I kept thinking of Elizabeth while reading the book. Also Joan of Arc -- maybe because Alina was doing all that reading about saints.

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  6. I loved Shadow and Bone and can't wait for Siege and Storm!! I'm not sure who might be getting married. It sounds like a lot of new characters are introduced in Siege and Storm so reading that one would affect my decision.

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    1. Well, I've read both and I still can't figure it out. I guess I will have to wait and see!

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  7. Ummm...That's a good one! I have NO Idea! But I can't wait to read Siege of Storm! I'm counting down the days! :) Great Giveaway!!!

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  8. I haven't read Shadow and Bone yet, but it's sitting on my shelf waiting!! I've heard nothing but amazing things about this series, so I'm excited to dive into them! Thanks for the great interview & giveaway!

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  9. I read the first one. Great worldbuilding.

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    1. Right? If you go to Leigh's website (or maybe it's her tumblr) she has TONS of information on the story world -- food, language… Really cool stuff!

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  10. I haven't read this series yet. I may be the only one left that hadn't. :( I promised myself I would read it this summer. Let's hope I keep my promise!! :)

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    1. Perfect summer read and then you will have book two ready and waiting for you :)

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  11. What a FANTASTIC interview! I just started reading Siege and Storm last night and I'm already crushing on Sturmhond.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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    1. LOL -- take a number. He's fantastic, right?

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  12. WOW. You ask some really compelling questions, Jen. I really love Alina's struggle with her humanity in Siege and Storm, as well as the question about what she is willing to sacrifice for what she wants - as we all consider what it is that Alina actually wants. And a WEDDING!!!! I hadn't seen that post, so thanks for sharing. Love that question about what movie it compares to, tho very interesting that Leigh says Elizabeth. Hmmmm. I'm still a Mal fan, but I really love Sturmhond as well. Don't we all wish we had a pirate in our lives?

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    1. Sigh. She really does write great guy characters….

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  13. I havent read the first book yet- its in my to be read pile.. Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!!

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  14. What an amazing interview! I really loved your questions Jen, well done! Of course the roles of gender and class always fascinate me, especially in fantasy works, but I really loved what Bardugo had to say about Alina struggling to retain her humanity in the face of all her power. That was what stood out the most to me in my reading of S&S.

    I can tell you had fun doing this post and interview. It's so awesome to get inside the mind of an author of some of your favorite works:)

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    1. Ha -- well, you know the spoilery questions I REALLY wanted to ask, but I didn't want to put her on the spot like that…..

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  15. I havent yet! But ive been wanting to!!!!!!!!!!
    Mary G Loki

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  16. I haven't read Shadow and Bone yet, but I've been meaning to!

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  17. I haven't read Shadow and Bone yet, but I've been meaning to!

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  18. LOVED Shadow and Bone, but I have no clue about the marriage. The closest I could guess would be Alina and Mal, or else Alina and The Darkling out of some threat on his part. But I just can't wait to meet Sturmhond--from what I've heard, he absolutely steals the show in terms of swoony male characters :D

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  19. I loved Shadow and Bone!! It was absolutely amazing. As far as who is getting married... I have no idea. I'd like to think Alina and The Darkling get married because of some horrible threat, but that she somehow finds a loophole and runs away with Mal. Ooooo!

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

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  20. I haven't read these books yet but I very much want to!

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  21. I have read Shadow & Bone but it was SO long ago. I'll definitely need to re-read before read Siege. As for guesses, you got me!!

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  22. I didn't know she was a make-up too! That's pretty awesome. I really need to start these books and join in on all the flailing for the series. :)

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  23. Well, I have the feeling that Genya and David can marry soon

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  24. I loved Shadow and Bone and I can't wait to read Siege and Storm. I have no idea who is getting married but I would totally marry the Darkling :)!!!!!

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  25. Grr. I just wrote out a comment and I think I just erased it. Sigh. Well, I'll recap: great interview! I love Leigh and I'm jealous (in the nicest way) you got to read S&S, interview Leigh and be part of the tour! Thank you so much for sharing it all with us! <3

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  26. Fabulous interview!!! I have about two weeks before I get my copy. That whole wedding thing totally threw me! I would love it to be Alina, but after her comment it could be Mal (to someone else) or that one magical chick that I totally don't like from book one. Hmm. Maybe she could speed up publishing so that Ruin and Rising comes out this year? I know it's going to kill me to wait!

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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  27. Oh, what a great interview!! I loved all your questions! That was what I really wanted to know! :)
    Thanks for asking!

    Lis @ The reader lines

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  28. I haven't read her books but it's creating quite a buzz in the blogosphere. I'm looking forward to reading it once I finish the books I am reading right now :)

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  29. I haven't read any of this series yet, but really want to. Fantasy isn't usually my thing, but with all the awesome reviews for Shadow and Bone and this one I am definitely interested.

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  30. Love Leigh! So is so awesome and sweet! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  31. Lol. Alina!! Although... that would take a lot for one book, maybe. Or maybe not. LOVED Shadow & Bone. I need a copy for my library and I MUST READ Siege and Storm!! Thank you for the Giveaway!! :-D

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  32. This was a great interview! I'm currently reading Siege and Storm and this just made me want to go run and pick up the book and finish it right now!!

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  33. I loved the first book and can't wait to read Siege and Storm! As for the marriage, maybe some kind of marriage of convenience among one the the other minor characters or that one girl (a ladies maid?) that Alina friendly? It has been awhile since I read the first book! Thanks for the awesome giveaway and the great interview!

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  34. Great interview, thank you for posting! :) Shadow and Bone sounds really wonderful. I'm definitely buying both books. Oh can't wait to meet all those swoon-worthy guys in the book.(s) ;D

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  35. This is a great post. I haven't read her books but I'd love to try them! Thanks for this... :)

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  36. Awesome post. Loved it. And I hope it's Mal and Alina. Sure, I haven't read about this new hunky pirate dude yet, but I'm still rooting for Mal. I hope the Darkling dies. But honestly, I can see this marriage thing going into several possibilities. I mean, we could see the Darkling force Alina to marry him, or she does marry Mal (hopefully) or that she does do the Queen Elizabeth thing and say a single but powerful. Who knows with this series. I can't wait to read it! :D

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  37. I haven't read them yet but I would like to!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  38. II'm so excited for the second book! I've read the first one and loved it.

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  39. Lovely interview! Though this marriage talk has me a bit worried...... :-)

    Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to read Siege & Storm!

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  40. Such an awesome interview, Jen! ;) Um, about the wedding...she's writing me in as a character and I'm going to wed Sturmhond in an attempt to save the kingdom. There, mystery solved. :D Gawd, wouldn't Wendy D. throw a fit THEN?!? Please don't let her see this comment...

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  41. That was an awesome interview. I can't wait to meet Leigh Bardugo next month!!! :D

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  42. Great interview!!! I have only read the first book so far so now I can't wait to read Siege and Storm even more!! <3
    -Cali W.

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  43. I cannot believe I waited so long to read Shadow and Bone! I absolutely could not put it down, and am looking forward to reading Siege and Storm!

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  44. I still haven't read Shadow & Bone, but the book trailer looks so good that it has me even more excited to read the series! I like the idea of being able to read the books back-to-back :)

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  45. Ugh, Shadow and Bone was awesome. I loved all the characters, mostly the Darkling.

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  46. I loved Shadow and Bone! I'm featured in the paperback edition! And I seriously don't want to know who's getting married in Book 3 - not until I read Book 2! :D

    Thank you for the giveaway!

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  47. I'm just about finish reading Shadow and Bone and already fiending for Siege and Storm. Not sure about whose future has the wedding bells but I think it would be adorable if it is Genya and David :)

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  48. I haven't read either book yet, but I'm dying to! Thanks for the giveaway :)

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  49. Just read Shadow and Bone and really enjoyed it! Especially Mal! He is so sweet. I can understand Alina hiding her powers. She was young and afraid and Mal was the only thing good in her life. I would be scared to be forced to leave him and have to go somewhere else and train to be a Grisha.

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  50. I haven't read either. My SNL is reading Shadow and Bone right now and I'll borrow it from her as soon as she's done.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

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  51. Loooved the interview! And so glad I've decided to read Shadow and Bone!

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  52. I haven't read the books yet but I am definitely looking forward to them after this awesomesauce interview! Thanks so much for sharing! :D

    ~ Maida

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  53. I've read both books and I have a feeling either Strumhound or his brother is going to have to get married! Maybe an arranged royal marriage? Or it could very well be one of the lesser Grisha, weren't a couple of them dating?

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  54. I haven't read the books but I am looking forward to them.

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  55. I've read the first book, but not the second, so not sure if I know who's getting married! Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  56. I've read Shadow and Bone. Hmm... I think Mal and Alina are plausible, but secretly I'm hoping it's Sturmhond and Genya.

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  57. I haven't read either book yet, so I don't know who's getting married in the third book.

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  58. I haven't read either book yet but I can't wait! I have heard so many great things about them! Thanks for this amazing giveaway - I would love to win!

    Suz Reads

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  59. I have only read the first book, but if not Alina maybe the Darkling...or Genya.

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  60. I have yet to read these but I love everything I have heard so far and can't wait to get started!!

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  61. I hope Mal and Alina are getting married... but (a less wishful guess) is Genya.

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  62. I have yet to read Shadows and Bones, but I'm excited to!

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  63. I really want to read this series, the world that Leigh Barugo created sounds like one I would enjoy reading about:)

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  64. I feel like I'm one of the very few who hasn't yet begun this series - though looking at the comments, it seems I'm not alone!! I've been wanting to read S&B since even before it came out, but....well, I'm always running at least a year behind in my reading, and if I'm being honest, it's usually more like, oh, 13-15 years behind! HA! And I swear, there are just more and more and more great books being published each year, I've resigned myself to just never catching up. BUT, there are books that are WORTH making time for, and clearly Leigh's books are in that category! I just HAVE TO get cracking, as I KNOW I'm going to love them...and boy oh boy a set of these two books would be phenomenal and just the thing to get me going! ;)

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