Hey--look! It's me! And Shannon Messenger!
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that Shannon Messenger is my favorite author before. If not--now you know. And my wonderful mother took me to see her on tour for her new novel, Flashback, this year.
We got to the bookstore area a little early, so my friend (who my mom had so graciously let me bring along) and I waited inside a coffee shop that looked like Pinterest had come to life. I didn't take any pictures (no clue why *facepalm*) but it was probably the most aesthetic place I've ever been to.
Shannon Messenger's presentation was super fun to listen to, although if you're not in the fandom, you'll probably have no idea what I'm talking about. :P
It turns out that Fitz was originally 97 years old, because when she first started writing about elves, she wanted to have their entire lives stretched out. So, while Fitz was going to be 97, he would still play the part of a teenage boy.
Not only that--but Fitz wasn't even created for Keeper of the Lost Cities. Shannon had originally written him into a scene from another book she was writing, and when she had writers block, she decided to explore her side characters more in-depth. And then the short story she'd written to explore Fitz's character became the short story that inspires Keeper of the Lost Cities.
And unfortunately for us, Shannon emphasized that while she still doesn't know who Sophie is going to end up with--she does have her theories. She explained that she thinks of it like she controls the plot, but not the characters' emotions, so she tries not to pre-plan the way the characters feel about things.
Contrary to popular belief, Shannon does not end her books of cliff-hangers because she likes to torture her readers. She does it because she doesn't want her readers to lose interest in the series. She explained that when she was a kid, she would stop reading a series because a book would end on a sportive note, and she didn't want to have to watch everything fall apart again, and she didn't want that to happen with her books.
Shannon also admitted that she actually hates love triangles.
She elaborated that although there is a Team Keefe and a Team Fitz, she doesn't *really* consider Sophie's whole square-triangle-fan-club thing to be a *true* love triangle. The way she defines a love triangle is when the girl knows that both boys are legitimate options, and she spends an entire book running around in circles saying "I don't know who I love!" Sophie is oblivious to it all.
Interestingly enough, Dex happened to be a white-blonde, not a strawberry blonde in a majority of the drafts of Keeper. Shannon revealed that her editor had her change his hair color because it looked too similar to Sophie's on the cover of the first book. Apparently there is a middle-grade genre called sibling adventure, and her editor didn't want Keeper falsely put under that category because Sophie and Dex's hair colors made them look like siblings.
And while Keeper went through twenty drafts, a small mistake still managed to slip into the final draft--the fact that Shannon accidentally gave Stina's family two last names. (Those two last names being Logner and Heks.) Apparently, while Shannon was writing book two, she got to a scene with Stina, where she needed her last name, and she couldn't recall her last name. She looked back to her notes, where she had written down that Stina's last name was Whethers, but that she didn't like that name, and left a note for herself that she had to come up with something else.
So, she assumed that Stina was never given a last name, and asked her editor if she could fit it in the manuscript of Keeper, before it went to the printer. Logner was put in the first book, and Shannon didn't realize she'd given her two last names until her editor gave her notes on book two, asking why she was calling them Logner when their last name was Heks.
And, most excitingly of all (for me at least) Shannon revealed that there will be a Keeper of the Lost Cities short story book, where she will explore all of the things she's briefly touched on, but not given us a full explanation of, like the Great Gulon Incident, which will be told from Keefe's POV.
Keefe is definitely my favorite character. :P