In the spring of 2008 I had the opportunity to go on a retreat (in Ireland!) with 10 other writers, one of whom was Holly Black.
Well, it took all of about five seconds to realize that Holly is one of the nicest people on the planet. About five seconds after that we both realized that we love to cook. What followed was a week of us hanging out in the kitchen, chopping and baking and, of course, talking books.
The day before I’d left for Ireland I’d turned the final draft of “Heist Society,” a book about a teenager named Kat who has been raised in an infamous family of criminals but cons her way into a boarding school to try to find another life. I’d thought it was so different and fresh and unlike anything else in YA fiction. And then I started talking to Holly…
Who had recently finished a book called “White Cat” about a teenager who has grown up in an infamous family of criminals who cons his way into a boarding school to try to find another life.
Part of me was panicked. And part was just happy that a tiny piece of my brain could operate like Holly’s.
We spent the rest of that afternoon at the kitchen table, Holly telling me about “White Cat” and her “Curseworkers” series—about a boy who is the dark sheep of his family because he wasn’t born with powerful (and illegal) magic; about the girl he loved—and killed.
The final book in that series, “Black Heart,” debuted this year, and I read it with heart-pounding anticipation and a lingering hint of sadness, knowing that the story that Holly had started telling me in that Irish kitchen in 2008 was finally coming to an end.
But for anyone who hasn’t yet picked up “White Cat” and the “Curseworkers” series, the journey can still begin for you. And I really hope you’ll take it.