About the book
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Publication date: June 4th, 2019
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
About the author
Margaret Rogerson is the author of the New York Times bestseller An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses.
I freaking LOVED this book SO MUCH you guys!!! I highly recommend it, was one of my top 3 reads of 2018. Definitely a new favorite! You can read my 5 star review HERE!
Interview with Margaret
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Thank you so much to Margaret for taking the time to answer my questions!!
- The idea of sentient magical books that turn into raging ink monsters when provoked is absolutely fantastic and unique! Where did the idea for that come from?
Thank you! I wanted to write a book about magical libraries, and thought it would be fun if the books were so dangerous that the librarians needed to carry swords. With that initial concept in mind, I had to figure out what exactly made the books dangerous. What if they could turn into monsters? That would explain why the librarians carry swords. So if they can become monsters, what would they look like and, being based on books, what properties should they have? I find that a lot of my ideas don’t just come to me randomly; they originate from asking myself “what if” questions that build from an initial premise. I also try to view the idea from a reader’s perspective, and imagine what I would be most excited about after hearing the idea and would like to see happen in the story. It’s surprising how my writing brain can work so differently than my reading brain.
One small piece of trivia: a book monster was called a libramonstrum in Sorcery’s first draft, but I changed it to Malefict after my editor thought the term should sound more ominous and less clunky. Definitely the right call!
- Who is your favorite character that you’ve ever written?
Silas in Sorcery of Thorns, for sure. I wish I could explain why, but I think it would all be spoilers. People will just have to read for themselves and see. :)
- How many tries did it take you to get published? (I know this can be kind of a depressing question, but I love asking because it’s also inspiring. It reminds aspiring authors that even the successful authors had a few setbacks at first!)
Not a depressing question at all! I got published on my second try with An Enchantment of Ravens. Prior to writing Enchantment, I had finished another YA fantasy that received dozens of form rejections from literary agents, including one from Sara, my wonderful now-agent. That first novel is now shelved forever, since it wasn’t very good and would require some serious work to be publishable!
I will say that writing An Enchantment of Ravens during the querying process for my first manuscript was critical to not getting crushed by all those rejections. It allowed me to put my heart into something else, so all my hopes and dreams didn’t hinge solely upon that first book.
- Plotter or pantser?
Plotter to the grave! I pantsed my way through my first manuscript, and it took me about two years to finish, mostly because I kept wandering off in weird directions and had go back and rework huge chunks of the book to fix my mistakes. I didn’t want to take years to write my next book, so I tried making a detailed outline first. I was worried that outlining might spoil the sense of discovery and adventure that comes with writing a first draft, but to the contrary, I found that it allowed me to craft every scene in advance to include elements that I was excited to write, like a series of carrots dangling in front of me as encouragement. I’ll always be a plotter now. That said, I still sometimes need to re-think a book’s direction when I stumble across issues that the outline didn’t reveal to me in advance. Every book is different and requires slightly unique tactics.
- Did you cry while writing the end of Sorcery? (Because I cried while reading it!!)
This sounds terrible, but I’m so glad it made you cry! Ha! The climactic chapter was a really difficult one for me to write—I remember being awake at 4 AM on the day that it was due to my editor, still chipping away at it, feeling as though it wasn’t quite right. That feeling persisted after I turned it in. Knowing that my editor hadn’t had a chance to read it yet, I kept revising it until I reached the end of my newest version and realized I had started crying. At that moment I knew deep in my heart that I’d finally nailed it. That was the first and only time I’ve ever cried while writing.
- How long did it take you to finish Sorcery?
If I’m remembering correctly, it took about a year from the initial idea to the last of my significant edits.
- If you could choose any female from another author’s book to be besties with Elisabeth, who would you pick?
I bet Elisabeth would be great friends with Lirael, the titular character from Lirael by Garth Nix.
- Are there any particular books that inspired you to become a writer? What book(s) would you recommend to your fans?
I think every book I’ve read has inspired me to write in some way or another, so much so that it’s difficult for me to isolate specific books. I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I’ve been able to read. But Diana Wynne Jones left a huge impression on me, especially my favorite book of hers (and my favorite book in general), Howl’s Moving Castle.
To my fans I recommend Howl’s Moving Castle, the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and for Sorcery of Thorns specifically, the Abhorsen books by Garth Nix.
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog—I absolutely loved your questions!