AUTHOR(S) SPOTLIGHT: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stoh ~ An Unstoppable Force of Two (Part I)
After meeting Kamie Garcia and Margaret Stohl, it's hard to focus on anything but their immeasurable talent. Together they come across -- loud, brash, outspoken and opinionated. These two ladies skyrocketed to the top of charts, together and now separately. They earned their place in literary celebrity with hard work, time and energy well placed in others. Their social media lit up with encouragement for others, inspirational go-get-'em sayings and personal tidbits of what gets their writing revved up. It's a beautiful sight to behold, and so are they! Do hope that my introduction to them, if this time is your first time meeting them, comes across as awesome as it was for me. Such amazing ladies deserve a grand entrance, which is what I tried giving them with this write-up.
You know what the beginning of a beautiful friendship is?
Advocacy… no really that’s what it is. Trust me. Because if you haven’t heard the whole story of how Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl became a match made in literary heaven, then you are missing out on one heck of a good story.
Now if Margaret (Margo, Marg… Margie… take your pick) is to be believed, her daughter was the seventh demon spawn of the seventh generation of the seventh… just joking, only apparently Margaret’s daughter was misunderstood at school and only Kami knew how to champion her. I say that’s what good teachers do, isn’t it? Find students who need an advocate, someone who understands the battle they’re facing every day and gets up and fights for them. So if I sound a little enamored of Kami’s badassery, it’s because I am and because Margaret totally sells her that way.
In return, Margaret not only discovered a good teacher (Kami taught for 17 years.) but a lively, outspoken fangirl who would humor her. A die-hard Susan Cooper – The Dark is Rising Sequence fan, Margaret yearned for someone who got her deep-rooted love of sci-fi/fantasy and her need to meet, discuss and prank call Harrison Ford. (Yes, yes, Margaret admits to prank-calling Harrison Ford’s home. She also nearly brought me to tears when she began reciting from memory the prophecy from the Dark is Rising because that was the second book I mary-sued myself into… of course after Sherlock – yes it’s always Sherlock with me!)
These ladies fostered 11 years of friendship before they came full bloom into the publishing powerhouse of two they are now! And the rest is history as they say.
Mostly developed from a dare on Margaret’s precocious but brilliant daughter, Beautiful Creatures turned into a family affair that would span four books and a movie before these two ladies really grasped the magnitude of the Caster’s Chronicles. Sitting on looooong international flights gives one time to think and chat… Kami spent her birthday the year of Beautiful Creatures [movie] release in Paris while Margaret would spend hers in Rome. These jet-setting ways gave them loads of time to gossip, and like every good writer knows, who best to talk about than the fictional characters you love. And so they did, again and again and made up more, newer stories and revisited characters who they suspected had so much more to tell and eventually… duh! It clicked and they realized while Beautiful Redemption was the ending to just one portion of the Chronicles, they had a whole bunch of other characters just begging for a voice.
And so, to the relief of fans everywhere, Dangerous Creatures was born into existence – transitioning with two e-novellas… Dream Dark and Dangerous Dream. A new, funnier dynamic, but still steeped in the Caster world, The Dangerous Creatures series will take place in different locations, the first in New York City and will feature all new supernatural creatures not known to readers before now.
This carefully constructed world – a supernatural existence – in the Caster Chronicles resides solely in the minds of Kami and Margaret. Together, they make up the rules that govern this world and try their hardest not to pull from familiar folklore or mythology. It gives their work the edge and originality they need so in the perfect balance of ‘them’ – a writing team so dynamic that they do not discuss much or worry about the deletions each other might make – they can be free to edit and create as they like. Margaret focused on the internal with Kami focused on the external. Ying and yang at its finest unless joking around and then Kami’s the murderer and Margaret is the feelings girl… but seriously… what book isn’t made of all the feels if it is good? And you cannot feel properly without the crap hitting the fan in some god-awful ways, yeah?!
These two partners-in-writing enjoy paying careful attention to character and plot. They choose to write commercial fiction, meaning they desire readers to want and fan their books whenever possible. The reactions secondary to the realization they’ve made their mark on someone – either it be hating or loving. Readers have felt something because of the words they have written. A dream each of them have long attained together.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise, that these two authors pushed each other into fulfilling the dream of writing a novel. Yes, I said writing a novel, because as Margaret put it, they had not really written a novel… standalone. They’ve always written together and for some reason that didn’t count in her mind as actually writing a novel. It was too much fun and she had all the backup that an author doesn’t usually have when writing a novel on their own.
Kami wasn’t as sure of this endeavor, but as the two of them and friends are wont to do, Margaret demanded that if she had to write a standalone novel, that Kami should too. Not that they didn’t think either could do it; it was just a lot more added to their already busy schedules. However, mind made up, Margaret forged ahead and wrote Icons which has already been optioned for a film [same people who did Beautiful Creatures will be producing] and the second book, Idols, along with tackling Marvel's enigmatic Black Widow, all on her own. Kami followed along, more hesitant, but just as prolifically with UnBreakable (book 1 of the Legion Series) and the second, UnMarked, while getting to try her hand on her own with just as revered character from the silver screen. Agent Mulder from the X-Files gets a YA make-over from The Lovely Reckless author.
Together, I do believe these two ladies are UnStoppable (pardon the pun). But then again, friends… friends should advocate for each other and most people are lucky to have friendships around 10 years of age, much less the 20+ years these two have together. Even fewer, are the people who can say with certainty my life has been made all the better with you in it.
So yeah, do Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have the best of both worlds… they do and then some… they have the best of worlds… of their own-making.