The Fierce Reads tour stop came here to the Philadelphia area and did a great event at Towne Book Center with Marie Rutkoski, Ann Aguirre and Caragh O’Brien. These 3 ladies were HILARIOUS together and I had the privilege of being able to sit down and chat with them before the event started and it was so lovely and inspiring! I recorded the interview so I could better transcribe it later at home and, I have to say, I was laughing out loud A LOT while playing back the whole conversation.

The event itself was entertaining and lively and it was recorded if you want to check it out! They talked about favorite childhood books, if they were plotters or pantsers, how they balance romance & story, which Harry Potter House they would be sorted into, if they could see their books as tv shows or movies (Ann said movie and she’s actually turned down 2 options because they weren’t right; Caragh & Marie think tv show for theirs). It was a lot of fun and very good conversation. I’d definitely recommend watching the recording!


Fierce reads tourAnn, myself, Marie and Caragh


1. I ask this to every author I interview — describe your book in 6 words or less!

Marie: I’m going to use Ann’s description of my book: Young girl buys hot boy.
Ann: Marie’s answer for Ann’s since she did hers — Suicidal girl makes bad bargain.
Caragh: Dreams and danger collide.


2. How do you plan for your series? Do you know the end game when you start?

Marie: I didn’t intend for The Winner’s Curse to be a part of a series. I was about 1/3 through and I realized the ending I was trying to write toward I couldn’t visualize in the way that I usually visualize my endings. I usually see them from fairly far away and in fairly good detail. So I was having problems progressing — I was actually blocked. I asked myself some careful questions — Am I going towards the wrong ending? What would the right ending look like? What would the ending that is true to my book and true to my characters be? Once I realized that, I wrote the ending that now exists in the book and I realized what THAT ending would be that, “I’m good if I stop there. It feels to me like a story but I thought probably my readers would want a little bit more than that.” So I wondered whether I would want to continue that story and I did. I wanted to continue the story of Kestral and Arin so I plotted out how it would be in the next two books. I couldn’t have done it in only two; it had to be done in 3. Once I was 2/3 through Winner’s Curse I plotted out loose details of the following 2 books.

Caragh: I knew from the beginning it was a 3 book arc and I had a general idea of what was going to be happening in all 3 books. Once I finished the first book and started writing the second book I realized that my plan for the 2nd book does not work at all so I threw that out the window and now that I’m writing book 2 I had to start back at the beginning. Fortunately I left myself enough room from the first book and the world is big enough that I have some unsolved threads to play with. But now that I’m coming up with a totally new plan for book 2, my plan for book 3 has to be different.

Ann: YES. I do know my end game when I started.

3. Let’s say you were writing a spinoff series. Which minor/non-main character would it be about?

Marie: I would write about a character named Roshar that you will meet in book 2 but I’m not going to say why because you haven’t met him yet!

Caragh: I would write about Otis! I love Otis! (Ann interjects: but he’s an adult!) I know but he still really intrigues me! He’s got this interesting family and he’s an interesting person and I wonder why he’s there. (Marie wants her to write about Burnam!)

Ann: I would write about the Harbinger from book 2. He’s mentioned in book 1 but you don’t actually know that you’ve met him! But in fact you HAVE met him, you just didn’t know it was the Harbinger. I planted one fairly significant clue toward the end of the book. I’ll be curious if any readers actually figure it out. The reason I want to write about the Harbinger is because he is essentially Loki. So, if you like Loki from the Avengers it may be relevant to your interests.


Jaime-350x262Photo credit: Caragh O’Brien

4. What’s one or two skills or things that you possess that would help you to survive in your character’s world or predicament?

Caragh: I would have a camera. A filming camera.

Ann: I would say money and common sense.

Marie: Once I took a fencing class and I thought I would discover I was naturally gifted and I would be able to fight so gracefully. I was terrible awkward and really bad at it. So I like Kestral I would not be able to survive this world with any physical skills so I guess I would have to fall back on strategical skills. I think that maybe like Arin I can bide my time in order to execute my plans. Although Arin is sometimes not good at keeping his mouth shut while he is biding his time. Maybe I AM like Arin because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

5. What’s the coolest/most interesting/funniest/most memorable thing that’s happened on this tour?

Caragh (and this was also Ann’s answer but Caragh stole it first): They are SECRETS. We can’t tell the stories. But there was this taxi driver. He was telling us supernatural stories about celebrities and houses in the area. And he had so many details. He would NOT stop.  We’d try to say, “okay that’s really cool” and turn the conversation to something else unrelated  but before we could talk about it he’d be like, “well let’s talk about the munchkins some more.”  Then he added in these spooky weird stories. He was all, ” did you know Regis Philbin had a haunting? And that Christopher McDonald had an out of body experience?” And I think if we wouldn’t have been so tired it would had been fine.

Marie: A reader (@born_bookish) made a Winner’s Curse game — a Bite & Sting game from the book. It was really beautifully done and thoughtfully presented. She even made a box that had quotes on the outside from when they were playing and bits of dialogue that had while playing. It was really special. (Ann interjects — it was REALLY cool…very polished). Another special moment was the Downer’s Grove stop because that’s near where I grew up and lots of friends from high school came. And I got to spend time with my dad.

Bite & Sting gamePhoto credit: @fiercereads

6. In the spirit of Mortal Danger, if you were given 3 wishes what would you wish for (no strings attached!)

Marie: That all of my family members have a long and happy life. That sounds cheesy but it’s true. More hours in the day for ME (nobody else)…even 4 to 6 hours just for me. I want a painting — one of my favorite paintings and would be millions and millions of dollars. I’d have to choose one and that would be hard but I could do it.

Ann: I want to learn to teleport.  Then time travel. For my 3rd wish I want a Tardis.

Caragh: Peace on earth, wish that I could fly and wish that they would stop standardized testings in high school.  (Marie interjects and says “mine were so selfish. Ann says peace on earth is actually a really bad idea. Didn’t you see the Simpsons episode..they wish for it and then the aliens come and subjugate us. Marie — but if there were peace on earth the aliens shouldn’t be able to come.)


Check out the other Fierce Reads bloggers for more recaps, interviews and giveaways!

Downers Grove, IL: YA Bibliophile | @HMZ1505

Exeter, NH: Love is Not a Triangle | @LaurayJames

Cambridge, MA: Ticket to Anywhere | @Irisheyz77

New York, NY: Queen Ella Bee Reads | @GabySalpeter

Charleston, SC: Reading Underground | @andriaamaral




One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Winner’s Curse, The Vault of Dreamers & Mortal Danger!

Rules & Other Things:
* US only.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y) reasons. Have a parent or guardian or sister or brother do it for you if not!
* Prize will be fulfilled by Macmillan.
* Giveaway ends October 4th 11:59 EST

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This leg of the tour is over but leg 2 is starting up soon with all new authors and more shenanigans! Selfishly I wish another tour stop was coming to meeee!

Fierce reads tour stops

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I think the three-wishes question was my favorite, because it’s always a topic I like discussing with my friends! All of their answers held a lot of merit. I’m curious about the standardized testing though~ (I mean, I by no means enjoy filling in long bubble sheets, but I suppose they serve a purpose).
    And I also liked that photo of the tour stops you included, because it reminds me that they’re coming to my area of California soon! I don’t live near LA, so I really don’t have great access to these types of events, and I’m super psyched to attend this one ^_^

    Also, just wanted to say that your blog is seriously one of my favorites! I was reading it for quite a long time before starting mine, and you were definitely an inspiration for me (:

  2. Christina R. says:

    LOVE their three wished!! Really you get a sense of what’s important to each author and you get their sense of humor as well!!

    Lovely interview 🙂

    thank you so very much!! 🙂

    And your blog ROCKS!!

  3. Samantha Wallace says:

    I didn’t know that Marie took a fencing class, that would be a good skill to acquire and thanks for the giveaway!! 🙂

  4. Great interview! I’m super jealous. There are very few author events where I live, and most of them aren’t YA authors.

    That story that Caragh told for number five is super random. I’m not sure if I would’ve found the driver annoying or creepy.

  5. I found the second question they answered interesting! As a writer, I always tend to know roughly my end game, but sometimes, it completely changes by the time I get to writing it (since I’m more of a linear writer). GRR Martin said in an interview once that there are architects and then there are gardeners. Gardeners let the words take them wherever, though most of the time they at least have an idea, but generally the book is very different by the end than what they pictured in the beginning. And then you have the architects that plan every single little detail before sitting down to write that first chapter. Great interview, and thanks so much for the giveaway! 🙂

  6. their skills to survive

  7. I feel I can relate to Marie on not knowing her end game right away. When I’m writing, my thoughts go in so many different directions and end up adding on so much that I eventually think I’ll need to expand the story into more than one book. I’m not published, though! I love that she took a fencing class! It’s important to get hands-on experience that can help develop your characters! 🙂

  8. Nikki Robinson says:

    I like question one. I think short descriptions are better than long ones! Thanks for the giveaway! I can’t find a copy of the winner’s curse anywhere and really want to read it!

  9. I always find it interesting to see how authors plan their series. I’m a really huge fan of foreshadowing in serieses, so I like to see how much of that an author put into everything.

  10. I loved seeing how they plan and plot.

  11. I love the answers to how the authors would spend their “wishes”. I totally would want to be able to teleport too 🙂 thanks for the fun post and giveaway!

  12. Probably what they would wish for 🙂

  13. All three of these books are on my TBR already!!! I just read my first Ann Aguirre book last week and LOVED it. I want to start her Mortal Danger series next!

  14. I really liked the six word descriptions! Thanks for the cool interview and awesome giveaway.

  15. I like the 6 word summaries–it’s interesting to see how they capture the essentials.

  16. Mary DeBorde says:

    #5 where Regis actually had a haunting and Christopher McDonald experienced an OBE! I dunno, but I would have pestered the taxi driver for more info as I love anecdotal accounts lol 😉

  17. Stephanie says:

    I’ve really been wanting to read all of these books but haven’t gotten around to any of them yet.
    And I love their wishes and the comments, as well as the rest of the interview too, of course.

  18. I am SOOO glad I saw this post – not just because I loved your interview and I totally want to win these books (which I did and I do), but because it made me realize that the second leg of this tour is coming to a library that’s like 15 minutes from me! Yay! I’m all registered now, so I’m going!

  19. I loved their responses to “describe your book in 6 words or less”. Especially Marie’s XD Girl buys hot boy. HA!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. Michelle Lee says:

    Thank you for this amazing giveaway! The Fierce Reads tour came around my area, but I wasn’t able to go see them. I loved your interview! My favorite was — “describe your book in 6 words or less” question. I love Marie’s response : Young girl buys hot boy! 🙂