Maggie Stiefvater is a young-adult author with a passionate fan base — she describes her subject matter as everything from "homicidal faeries" to "werewolf nookie."
She wrote the best-selling Shiver trilogy and the novel The Scorpio Races. Her most-recent book, The Raven Boys, is the first in a series of four that will follow Blue Sargent, daughter of the Henrietta, Va., town psychic, as she becomes involved with the lives of four students at the local private school who call themselves the Raven Boys.
Though Blue comes from a family of clairvoyants, she herself has no particular powers.
"She's completely ordinary — except she amplifies other people's psychic abilities," Stiefvater tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer. But that doesn't mean Blue's life is boring: She's destined to fall in love with one of the Raven Boys — and be the cause of his death.
Writing the stories of the four Raven Boys was the fun part, Stiefvater says.
hide captionMaggie Stiefvater says her books are about everything from "homicidal faeries" to "werewolf nookie."
Maggie Stiefvater says her books are about everything from "homicidal faeries" to "werewolf nookie."
"I love writing characters, and this was like a French braid, a knot of characterization to deal with. All of these boys are defined by each other, and they're very much defined by money or not having it" at their affluent private school, she says. "It was interesting as an author to try and play them off each other."
Blue — like many of the townies in Henrietta — wants nothing to do with the Raven Boys and their private school cohort. But once a year, Blue and her mother watch the spirits of the dead appear on a ley line, a line of magical energy running through the town. When one of the Raven Boys appears on the ley line even though he's still alive, Blue knows he's doomed.
Stiefvater based her story on magic and Welsh mythology about sleeping kings who will return to save a troubled land. But at its heart, The Raven Boys is a simple human story of a star-crossed love between a poor girl and a rich boy.
"As teenagers, we all see ourselves as outsiders ... and it's very easy to look at other people who are more popular, who have more pocket money, and it makes you feel even more like an outsider, and it does shape who you become as a person," she says.