Starstruck: On the Kristin Cashore Signing

Friends, there are some authors who you leave work early to go see. Some authors where you volunteer to take every crappy task at work just so you earn karma enough to take off before 5 p.m. For me, that author is Kristin Cashore. Wednesday afternoon I took a half day at work in order to drive downstate with co-blogger Allison to Oblong Books & Music to go see one of my favorite authors EVER, and you guys, it was worth every minute, it was worth leaving early, it was AMAZING.

Kristin Cashore Reading

Reading Aloud From Bitterblue

First, I want to talk a little bit about Oblong Books. The location I went to was in Rhinebeck, NY. I always find myself driving 2.5 hours just to go to their YA events, because I  know it will be worth it. Oblong Books is the kind of store where as an adult you can wander the YA section and not ever feel shamed by the employees for reading books intended for teens and kids. Plus, the owner is a passionate reader and YA fan and it is absolutely reflected every time I go there. It’s an independent store that I wish was geographically closer to me, but one where I am GLAD to pay full price for books because I know that increases the likelihood of more great YA events.

So, big huge thank you to Oblong Books for hosting such an awesome event.

I am betting you want to know what I learned about Kristin Cashore while at the event, yes? BOOM I GOT BULLET POINTS!

  • She writes her books by hand and transcribes them into word using voice recognition software. She then edits the print outs.
  • Kristin brought her notebook that contained the end of Fire and the beginning of Bitterblue. There was A LOT crossed out.
  • The first draft of Bitterblue took 7 notebooks. It is 770 pages long and took her 3 years to write.
  • She re-wrote Bitterblue on the print out — she crossed out every line and wrote in the space between the lines.
  • Bitterblue went through 5 drafts.
  • Kristin Cashore’s advice to writers: “Just keep writing.” She really emphasized failure and how you keep going.
  • Her characters are the ones who drive the story. She told the audience about having to reign in Po. He would start talking and going on tangents and Kristin would often think ‘just shut up!’
  • Kristin Cashore also has wicked good taste in authors. She was influenced by Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley.
  • What’s next for Kristin Cashore?: A contemporary realistic book written in first person that is a very different voice from the Seven Kingdoms books, and also very short. It’s only 250 pages. Also? Another fantasy, set in the same realm but that may expand the map again.
  • More advice from Kristin: ‘Never surrender — don’t give up.’ You learn to write by actually doing writing, not research.

Here I am with Kristin Cashore! YAYYY!

I have to say that I was so incredibly starstruck by Kristin Cashore because her trilogy is one of my favorite series EVER, but she is legitimately nice and kind and intelligent and fascinating. I remember walking out of the signing with co-blogger Allison and remarking to Allison about how impressed I was by Cashore’s personality.

Graceling Trilogy Books

Three Times The Awesome

So friends, my starstruckedness IS ALSO YOUR GAIN TOO! That’s right. I picked up a second signed set of the trilogy to giveaway to YOU. This contest is international and ends 5/17/12. Obvi, it’s a Rafflecopter contest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are three good reasons why you should enter:

Disclosure: All prizes/signed books were purchased. SUPPORT INDIE BOOK STORES, HOLLA!

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. So, so many. Recently I loved The Book of Blood and Shadow. And Grave Mercy.

  2. Awesome giveaway! The best fantasy I’ve read recently is Shadow and Bone. So good.

  3. I am going to her signing in Naperville tomorrow!! I cannot wait! I got Fire signed at an event a couple years ago so I cannot wait to have the whole beautiful trilogy signed and sitting on my shelf πŸ™‚

  4. I’d have to say Grave Mercy. Historical fiction + fantasy = LOVE.

  5. I am quite surprised to learn Kristin is planning to write more in the series. Thanks for the info, April.

  6. Kristin Cashore’s books are so wonderful. You are so lucky you got to see her speak! I recently reread Graceling and Fire (and Bitterblue is next on my TBR) and they are definitely some of my favorite fantasies. But other than the Seven Kingdoms? I’ll say Shannon Hale’s works, as her books are ones I keep coming back to, and love every time.

  7. Okay so I’m JUST jumping on the Seven Kingdoms bandwagon now by listening to Graceling on audio and I can’t believe I waited this long! I can already tell it’s exactly the kind of book I’ll love forever. I think Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books are probably my fave fantasies – especially her Protector of the Small & Song of the Lioness series. LOOOOVE them. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read them. Sad thing is I actually gave away my whole set a couple years ago (I was like 15 and dumb, and thought I was too cool for silly teen books) then regretted it and went out and bought them all over again.

  8. hm… recent fantasy book I loved? Destined by Aprilynne Pike. That falls more under the urban fantasy/paranormal realm, but it was SO. GOOD.

    also, I can’t WAIT to read her contemporary. I love contemps and got so excited when I saw your tweet about what’s next for her.

    thanks for the giveaway!!

  9. Eilis O’Neal – The False Princess. Great book. And it’s a standalone – very rare, nowadays – or so it seems. πŸ™‚

  10. I’m so jealous that you got to see Kristin Cashore. I absolutely love her books and I’d love to meet her! Thanks for the recap so I could live vicariously through you. πŸ˜€

    My favorite high fantasy books are Cashore’s and my favorite other general fantasy books are Harry Potter.

  11. sounds like an awesome event. even though it’s far away that’s great that you got to go. a good bookstore is totally worth the effort.

  12. My favorite Fantasy series is the Farseer series by Robin Hobb, but if we’re talking YA, then Harry Potter all the way!

  13. It’s exciting to hear that she was influenced by Robin McKinley, as she is one of my all time favorites. I adore “The Hero and the Crown” and “The Outlaws of Sherwood” best, but I’m sure you’ve already read those.

    One fantasy book that I recently read and adored was Patricia Wrede’s “Snow White and Rose Red”, which was a reworking of the fairy tale. It was fantastic.

  14. Holy crap. Bitterblue looks thick. Also Kristin Cashore is so pretty. Okay, my thoughts are freakin haywire right now. Let me organize a la Asheley:

    1. “Another fantasy, set in the same realm but that may expand the map again.” –> HELLZ YES. More please. Key words: ‘same realm’ and ‘expand the map’ have me fangirling.
    2. “A contemporary realistic book written in first person…” –> I am not opposed to this. πŸ˜‰
    3. I freakin love Po.
    4. Crossing out and writing in the spaces between the lines is so hard core. She is so awesome.
    5. Three years. Be still my heart. Even after the mixed reviews for Bitterblue, I am nuts over the Seven Kingdoms. I will not lie.

    You are generous to share the information and the trilogy April. I’m glad you got to go to the event and that Allison got to go with you! Good times!

  15. Okay, okay, I commented first.

    A fantasy book that I am almost finished loving and will love forever is The Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss. I won’t get started on the reasons why. You don’t have enough time.

  16. Dude. This series…I just can’t get enough of it, as you know from our MANY conversations about it. Kristin is in my area this weekend but I”ll be out of town — so sad I won’t make it!!! Must live vicariously through you in the meantime…

  17. Argh! So jealous! I was tempted to drive up from NYC to Rhinebeck, but there’s school and all…
    I LOVE KRISTIN CASHORE. I seriously need to meet her…at some point. πŸ™ (Maybe I’ll move up to Boston ans stalk her.)
    I knew about the hand-written thing, but not that she has new books in the works. I can’t wait!

    Thanks so much for the giveaway. =D

    • Forgot to answer the question. I think one of the most recent high fantasies I read was Inheritance, and it was pretty cool except for a few eye-roll parts that involve discovering the world is round. I haven’t read too many fantasies, or too many books at all, lately. (Unless my own high fantasy WIP counts…)

  18. Aside from all the Seven Kingdoms books, I also liked the Belgariad series by David Eddings, starting with Pawn of Prophecy. He’s definitely my favourite fantasy author. I liked his standalone, The Redemption of Althalus too πŸ™‚

  19. I adore Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series and Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series.

  20. That’s so amazing that you got to meet Kristin Cashore and hear her read and speak! I’d read before that she writes everything by hand. That’s crazy! I think my hand would fall off if I hand-wrote for that long every day. I do love the idea of it, though. Probably for the same reason I love typewriters – it just makes the act of writing itself seem more romantic. A computer screen is just so cold and boring in comparison.

  21. Justine says

    Realistic contemporary is my favorite genre so I’m definitely looking forward to Kristin Cashore’s next novel!

    I enjoyed Finnikin of the Rock and plan to read Froi of the Exiles. Melina Marchetta is an author I will follow to any genre because her characterizations and dialogue are so grounded in reality. For example, several passages in Finnikin of the Rock reminded me of the immigrant experience, immigrant culture, and even Italians (or Europeans) left behind in the homeland. As far as I can recall, nowhere in Finnikin does the word “immigrant” or “expat” appear, but exiles and living in exile are main themes in the novel.

    Thanks for sharing the Seven Kingdoms love with us!

  22. Whoops! I left a comment and forgot to look at the prompt before I posted. Let’s see. I don’t read a whole lot of fantasy (although, apparently, I don’t define “fantasy” as broadly as Goodreads does), but I really liked the first few books of the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa (well, until I realized there was no way she was going to end up with the right guy…then I stopped reading them.). Harry Potter, obviously. I liked the Faeriewalker series by Jenna Black.

  23. The last fantasy book that I’ve read is Froi of the Exiles, which was ah- mazing! Melina Marchetta is probably one of my favorite authors. (Right next to Kristin Cashore) Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. I am blown away by the fact that she HAND WROTE all of her books! That’s just insane! What is this 1892? πŸ˜› But seriously, my brain thinks so much faster than I can write, I feel like handwriting a novel would be a handicap – for me anyway. I’m amazed at anyone who could do that in this day and age. My hand is cramping just thinking about it.

  25. Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott

  26. I think my favorite fantasy novel would have to be Beauty by Robin McKinley.


  27. I love The Edge Chronicles!

  28. My all time favorite fantasy book is Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. I love his Sword of Truth series. I also love the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier. So good! And of course, Harry Potter!

  29. Lord of the Rings! I also loved Brightly Woven. πŸ™‚ I would be starstrucked by Kristin Cashore too!

  30. Mary Preston says

    Has to be HARRY POTTER.

  31. Wow you’re so lucky πŸ˜€ !!! Kristin Cashore seems awesome.
    I’m currently reading Bitterblue and loving it :).

  32. And thanks for this awesome giveaway πŸ˜€ !

  33. Hey ! Thanks for the giveaway ! =D I wanted to read her books for a long time now and I’m crossing my fingers x)
    One of my favorites fantasy books are The Iron Fey’s series written by Julie Kagawa. Especially book 4 The Iron Knight.
    See-ya and thanks again !

  34. thank you very much for this great giveaway:) Firelight by Sophie Jordan

  35. Well, Graceling πŸ˜€ But also Finnikin of the Rock. <3 Loved that book πŸ™‚ Thank you for this amazing giveaway! And for it being international :D:D:D

  36. I’m beyond jealous! I wish one of her events would have been close to me! I always have to drive at least 2 hours and it’s totally worth it!
    All the bullet points are so interesting! Thanks so much for sharing.

  37. Woohoo, Kristin Cashore is planning to write a contemporary novel? Really curious where she’ll go with that. She’s an auto-buy author for me because I love her writing – even though I just started reading Bitterblue so still have to decide about that one. She sounds so nice though. I’m glad you got to meet her in person and I think you’re awesome for giving away signed copies of her books (internationally!)

  38. The most recent fantasy themed book that I read was Magyk by Angie Sage. That was earlier this year (January I think), but it was pretty good. Most of the books I have read since then have has fantastical elements, but they haven’t had been truly fantasy. I think I am overdue for a good fantasy novel.

  39. HOOOLLLLAAA, April. You are amazing. For serious. Only you would pick up a second set of the entire trilogy for all of us to take a shot at. AMAZING. Gosh, I would’ve loved to have met Kristin Cashore. I just read Graceling this year, and she wowed me with her fantasy elements and, UH DUH, Prince Flipping Po. I LOVE that guy! I totally picked up Fire from my library as per several bloggers’ recommendations, including yours, and I’m so stoked, bro. Can’t freaking flubbering wait!

    Also, favorite fantasy book? Oh my G, that’s a hard question. I’d say Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen (not sure if that’s fantasy, though), and Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. I’m hoping to add Fire and Bitterblue to the lists! πŸ˜€

  40. Ok. I’ll bite. I’ll break down and read this series. *lol* I always use the excuse that I don’t really read fantasy – yet, when I do find myself reading the genre? I love it. So I don’t know why I’m dragging my feet.

    She writes by hand? That is just awesome, because I really didn’t think anyone did that anymore!! But, a notebook would be FAR easier to carry around than a laptop! (Although in my case? Far easier to lose too! *lol*)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  41. I love this series! I think Graceling is my favorite fantasy book I have read. I am really excited to read Bitterblue! Also excited that there will be more from the Seven Kingdoms!! πŸ™‚

  42. Ah, I need to hurry up and read these books! Thanks for sharing this post with us, April.

  43. Thank you for such a generous giveaway! I’ve been wanting to read this trilogy *forever*

    • Forgot to answer the question: I just read and loved Eon and Eona. Definitely highly recommended πŸ™‚

  44. Rebecca Hipworth says

    I LOVE Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series πŸ™‚

  45. I so wish she would come visit somewhere nearby–I would love to hear her speak. My favorite fantasy books are by Tamora Pierce, I would say my favorite series is the Lioness Quartet, but my favorite book has always been book 2 in that series In the HAnd of the Goddess.

  46. I think the last fantasy book that IÒ€ℒve read was Finniking Of The Rock by Melina Marchetta & I loved! ^^
    Thanks for such a generous giveaway, you rock!!

  47. We’ll go with the most recent, I just finished The False Prince this week and thought it was wonderful!

    I’m so happy for you having gotten to go to this event! She seems lovely, and I have heard nothing but the most wonderful things about this series. Now that it is complete, I cannot wait to sit down and finally read it myself.

  48. Definitely Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta! I cannot wait for Quintana of Charyn! πŸ˜€
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  49. I loved the Iron Fey series!

  50. So many that I’ve loved. I guess I will go with The Iron Fey.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  51. I do love the Iron Fey series. πŸ™‚

  52. I went to a signing with Kristin Cashore this week as well and also took off early from work just so I could attend. I’m not entering the giveaway… I just wanted to gush about the event and how awesome Kristin is!

    I was planning on buying only Bitterblue because I already owned Graceling and Fire in paperback, which I brought along, but then when I was at the signing I decided I wanted to have an all hardcover set for my shelf so I bought them as a treat for myself (and justified it by saying that I was supporting my indie bookstore that hosted the event even more! Yay!). The spines are so gorgeous lined up on my shelf in a row!

    I really liked finding out why Bitterblue took so long to get published (an entire re-write… yikes!) because it is a book I have been eagerly waiting for FOREVER and I didn’t understand why the release date kept getting pushed back. Despite my impatience, I think it was cool that her publisher allowed her the time she needed to write the best possible story she could. I have a feeling that the long wait will be worth it!

  53. The Iron King and the rest of the series. <3

  54. Jennifer Vu says

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone- my favorite!

  55. Nayana Catoia says

    The Mortal Instruments Series *-*

  56. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

    thank you for the giveaway πŸ™‚

  57. Umm, I think if fantasy is involved that would be the Seven Kingdoms (yep!), Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for the fabulous giveaway! I love Kristin Cashore! πŸ˜€

  58. Finniking of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta!

  59. Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima and Lumatere series by Melina Marchetta.

  60. Awesome! I wish she was going to be somewhere near me. I KNEW she must have liked McKinley and Pierce. In my review, I said that she was like their literary lovechild. πŸ™‚

    Favorite YA fantasy: Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen. Along with The Blue Sword and Hero’s Crown. It’s easy to see why I love Cashore.

  61. I loveloveloved The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson! I’ve been meaning to read more high fantasy and I’m going to continue with Melina Marchetta’s books and possibly Game of Thrones. Awesome contest!

  62. Great recap…and I love the first bullet point. I write most things by hand before typing them out…most people think I’m weird because of it πŸ˜‰

  63. Just ONE fantasy book? Well, my all-time favorite is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis, of course. πŸ™‚

  64. My favorite fantasy series is Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles! Ugh, so good. I read Graceling and that was so good, too. I’m starting to really get into fantasy books.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  65. My favorite fantasy series is Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles! Ugh, so good. I read Graceling and that was so good, too. I’m starting to really get into fantasy books.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  66. Genevieve says

    Other than this series, I really love Tamora Pierce’s books! I’ve been meaning to get Mastiff! : )

  67. Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles are my favorite as well. They are so amazing.
    Thanks for the contest!

  68. Favorite fantasy book, mmm let’s see I’ll go with The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

  69. I can’t even handle how jealous I am right now. YOU ARE SO LUCKY!!!

  70. The Seven Kingdoms!!!!

  71. Cris Evert says

    Favorite fantasy books? Hmm. Trickster’s Queen and Trickster’s Choice, Fire, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter series, Blue Sword, Crown Duel

  72. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay and A Song For Arbonne by the same author, also Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars series.

  73. I am SO jealous you got to meet Kristin Cashore! So amazing! Thanks so much for the giveaway, too!

    I read it when it came out last year, but haven’t seen anyone mention CHIME by Franny Billingsley yet. Incredible.

    Thanks again, April!

  74. I just started graceling this morning. I’d love to win this series! πŸ™‚

  75. My favourite fantasy is Harry Potter!

  76. The last book I gave a five-star rating, even if my review isn’t up yet, is Graceling. I absolutely love it! I’m also very much into The Bartimaeus Trilogy… Fantasy all the way! Neil Gaiman’s works are amazing, though. And Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. And, though not on the same level as the others, Clockwork Prince. Lovelovelove!

  77. Christine says

    Never read any fantasy book, but I’m excited for these series πŸ™‚

  78. Most of what I read is fantasy. Some of my favorites have been Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready, Hounded by Kevin Hearne, and Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep.

  79. Noely Jeleen says

    I love The Mortal Instruments and Harry Potter. πŸ™‚

    Anyway, I’m really hoping on getting to read a Kristin Cashore book.

    Thanks for the very generous giveaway! πŸ™‚

  80. Haven’t read many fantasy books but this sereis looks FAB! Thanks for the generous and amazing giveaway!

  81. Minus the ending of it all The Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini was a highly enjoyable series.

  82. BÑrbara says

    I recently read Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken and I loved!

  83. BΓ‘rbara says

    I recently read Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken and I loved!

  84. Lexie@BookBug says

    I LOVE the Lord of the Rings trilogy! My all time favorite!

  85. Catherine S. says

    I really really LOVE Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor! Simply my all time favorite fantasy read! πŸ˜€ Thanks for the giveaway!

  86. This whole series with my whole heart. Also, The Girl of Fire and Thorns and anything Tamora Pierce puts out into the world.

  87. This is an absolutely wonderful post! I LOVE Kristin Cashore and I am just currently finishing off Bitterblue πŸ™‚ – I just finished Fire recently and it is definitely a favourite of mine! Thank you for hosting a great giveaway!

  88. The Iron Fey series. <3

  89. I am most in love with Harry Potter

  90. Ugh, just one fantasy book? Can it be fantasy/horror? I make an effort to reread The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancy – it continues to scare the pants off me and it’s amazingly well-written. And the audiobooks rock!

  91. Crown and Court duet by Sherwood Smith. LOVED it. ^^

  92. I think The Hobbit was my favorite.

  93. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo πŸ™‚

  94. Harry Potter + A Song of Ice and Fire come to mind but the first fantasy book I’ve really liked is Geraldine Harris’ Prince of the Godborn. Thanks for the giveaway! πŸ˜‰

  95. Stephanie27 says

    I really enjoyed Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. Thanks for the giveaway!

  96. Kristen Cashore is amazing!!!! The Seven Kingdoms books are some of the best YA I’ve read in recent years (and there’s been a lot of great YA out there recently). Fire is still the only 10/10 review I’ve ever given on my blog. I’m so, so, so jealous that you met her. Rock on.


  1. […] I’m already hoping and waiting for another book by Kristin Cashore set in the Seven Kingdoms. April at Good Books and Good Wine recently went to an author signing, in which she learned that next up from Cashore is a novella […]