Secret Library Podcast


Secret Library Podcast Episodes

#38 V.E. Schwab

V.E. Schwab | Shades of Magic | Secret Library Podcast

V.E. Schwab | Shades of Magic | Secret Library Podcast

V. E.  Schwab is a professional novelist.

What I mean by this is, V.E. Schwab has had exactly one career: novelist. New York Times-bestselling novelist at that. She is that special thing we all dream of: a writing unicorn, if you will. But don't let this fact think that her story is one you won't relate to. Does she write full time? Yes. Was it easy to get to that place? Hell, no. She's spoken quite openly about how demoralizing the myth of the overnight success is. She is one of the most inspiring people I have had the privilege of interviewing so far. One example? As I was preparing the show notes for this episode, I came up with 37 quotations that would rock as the Instagram post for this episode. 37.

One reason Victoria is such an inspiration is this: she's able to simultaneously prove that it's possible to survive as a professional writer while also being honest and vulnerable enough to share what it's like inside that life. She's afraid of the work drying up, that the draft isn't going to work out- all the things we feel, too. But she's published eleven books before turning 30 and she's got a system that is working. She's the real thing. I dare you to listen to this and not feel inspired. I triple dog dare you.

Listen up on iTunes | V.E. Schwab's Blog | Books | A Conjuring of Light | Book Tour

Show notes for Episode 38 with V.E. Schwab:

  • On having time vs. making time for writing (2:00)

  • Starting her first novel as a college student (2:40)

  • Victoria's relationship to fear (3:00)

  • The first experience shopping a book to publishers (4:00)

  • Quite well-versed in rejection (4:20)

  • The divergent point (5:15)

  • Making time to write every single day (5:40) Mentioned: The Near Witch

  • Selling her first book (6:15)

  • Debunking the overnight success myth (7:20)

  • The cult of the new (8:00)

  • Why you don't want a big advance the first time around (9:00)

  • Hitting bumps and feeling like a failure (10:45)

  • The transformation process (11:45)

  • Balancing between genres and age brackets (12:30)

  • On being a kitchen writer & how books are like soup (13:40)

  • Managing multiple books at the same time (15:00)

  • Balancing creation and promotion & refilling the well (17:00)

  • The phobia of the work drying up (18:15)

  • Royalties and the uphill trajectory (19:00)

  • The first draft struggle as an experienced writer (19:45)

  • Balancing doubt with the need to create (20:10)

  • Why you should write to yourself first (21:00)

  • The toxicity of trying to write to trends (22:00)

  • What your job is as a writer (& what it isn't) (22:40)

  • Surviving the first draft bite by bite (24:00)

  • Her daily writing schedule (24:40)

  • Recognizing the madness of the cycle & the siren call of the delete key (25:15)

  • Reconciling the story in your head with the story on paper (26:10)

  • Deciding between 3 or 4 books for Shades of Magic (27:00)

  • Playing with format & structure (28:00) Mentioned: Vicious | Savage Song

  • Why she loves to write series (29:45)

  • The world-building process (31:30)

  • Writing about outsiders & insiders (32:15)

  • On language in a world (33:00)

  • The story bible for Shades of Magic (34:00)

  • The role of language in the book (34:45)

  • Wanderlust and its role in writing (36:10)

  • Where stories & ideas come from (37:15)

  • The importance of taverns (38:45)

  • Making time for reading & the Story Monster (39:15) Mentioned: The Paying Guest

  • Having a series optioned and writing the screenplay (43:30)

  • Needing the series to be a gift to the readers (46:50)

  • Saying goodbye to the Shades of Magic world (49:00)

This episode sponsored by Scrivener