Harriet: What was your biggest inspiration for writing the Caraval trilogy? Was the inspiration behind the Caraval story the same as that behind Legendary and eventually Finale?

Stephanie: I find so much inspiration from films and music. I almost always write to music; it helps me figure out which feelings and emotions I’m trying to evoke. When I wrote Caraval I wanted it to feel like a Florence + Machine song meets a Baz Lurhmann movie—I wanted it to be bold and colorful and a little over the top. So Florence + Machine and Baz Lurhmann were definitely inspirations for Caraval, and those inspirations have influenced Legendary and Finale as well.

Harriet: If you were not an author or teacher, what career would you want to have?

Stephanie: This is a tough question. I have no idea what I would do if wasn’t an author or teacher. I love both writing and teaching, so I don’t ever find myself dreaming about other careers, and I think a career is something that a person should dream about.

 Harriet: Have you used anyone from your day to day life to inspire your characters?

Stephanie: I actually don’t base my characters on people I know. My characters usually grow out of ideas and questions. For example, a character in Legendary was inspired by one question that I became a little obsessed with: What would happen if the Jack of Hearts, from a deck of cards, came to life? This question grew and grew until it turned into a character that showed up in the book.

Harriet: If Caraval existed today, would you want to play or watch?

Stephanie: This one is always so tough to answer. I think it would be fun to watch, I’d love to wander around the world of Caraval, to shop in the dress shops, and to taste all the food. But, I think I’d rather play than watch. I love playing games—I think that’s why I wrote a book about a game that comes to life—so I think it would be really hard for me to resist the game of Caraval. I’d also like to play the game because I would really like to meet Legend.

 Harriet: What made you decide to incorporate all of the letters visually into the text, rather than just telling their contents?

Stephanie: I love anything visual—for Legendary I actually asked my editor if we could have an index with all the pictures of Fates—so when my editor asked if I’d like the letters in Caraval to be illustrated I was all for it. I also like to think that seeing illustrated letters makes the book a little more immersive.

 Harriet: Which of your characters would you be friends with?

Stephanie: I would be friends with Scarlett and Tella for sure! I might be a little closer to Scarlett because we are so similar, but I love Tella and I think she would be so fun to hang out with.


 Harriet: How did you know you wanted to write a novel intended for young adult readers? Is this a genre you predominantly read yourself?

Stephanie: I read a lot of YA, when I first started writing it was all that I read, so it never even occurred to me to write anything else.

Harriet: If Caraval was adapted into a movie, who would be in your dream cast, and what songs would be on the soundtrack?

Stephanie: It would be a dream come true to see Caraval made into a movie. I wrote a lot of the book to movie scores written by Hans Zimmer, so I think it would be amazing to have him write the music. As far as casting, I think Lily James is fantastic—I totally picture Tella as Lily James, so I think she would be the dream. I think Mackenzie Foy would make a wonderful Scarlett. I’d love to see Sean Teale as Julian, I

Harriet: Did you enjoy writing predominantly from Scarlett or Tella’s perspective?

Stephanie: I love writing from both Scarlett and Tella’s POV. I think Tella is a little easier because she’s a more impulsive character, so I don’t have to really justify her decisions. But Scarlett is more like me, so it’s really easy for me to get into her head and know what she’s thinking and planning on doing.

 Harriet: When designing the world of Caraval, did you use any places in the world to inspire your descriptions/locations?

 Stephanie: Yes! Awhile ago I took a trip to The Netherlands and Belguim

Harriet: What is your favorite book of all time?

Stephanie: I don’t know that I have a favorite book of all time, but I do have a lot of favorite books. I love Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock also by Melina Marchetta, and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, to name a few.


Thanks to Stephanie Garber! And thanks to all of you for attending the event. 

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