'Beautiful Creatures' film exceeds author's expectations

By Emily Ellsworth

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 16 2013 12:00 p.m. MST

For Margaret Stohl, "Beautiful Creatures" began with a great idea and a dare. Sitting with co-author Kami Garcia and throwing back some Diet Cokes during lunch inspired the Southern gothic paranormal novel, but the real drive to complete the book came from the pair’s teenagers who wanted to read it.

Now, three years later, that book is on its way to the big screen with names like Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson, Viola Davis and Jeremy Irons in the credits. For Stohl, it’s beyond a dream come true.

“I’ve visited readers everywhere from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to France, Spain and Italy. It’s surreal,” said Stohl, who is a part time Park City resident. “Knowing that we’ll be walking the red carpet at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with our incredible case and Academy Award nominated director, Richard LaGravenese — well, it’s not even something I could have dreamed. When Valentino said they’d dress me for the premiere, I almost passed out.”

The final book in the Caster Chronicles series, "Beautiful Redemption," was released last October, but even with the movie on the horizon, it marked an ending of this project with Garcia.

“My family was driving to Park City as I wrote my last part of the last book, and I cried most of the way across the Mojave,” Stohl said. “I think my books are like my children; they’re all different, but I love them all the same.”

Stohl’s next writing project is a solo endeavor, a near-future love story set in a world where emotions can kill. "Icons" will debut in May from Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

“It’s scary to transition from co-author to author, and it makes me appreciate everything I shared with Kami, but it’s something we both needed to do,” says Stohl.

Each book in the series will be set on a different continent, but the setting for the second book in Stohl’s series will be familiar to Utah readers. The currently unnamed novel will be set in Richfield as well as the mountains near Little Cottonwood Canyon.

“I actually wrote part of 'Icons' in the cabins at Zions Canyon, but I often write in Park City at the old library,” Stohl said. “I think anyone who spends enough time in Utah lets the land creep into their writing — the natural world around you is so compelling and so dramatic, it’s hard not to!”

But for now, it’s all about the "Beautiful Creatures" movie. Stohl has great aspirations for Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert, who play the roles of main characters Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes respectively.

“I predict Alden Ehrenreich, our Ethan Wate, will have a huge career after this,” Stohl said. “He reminds me of a young Leo DiCaprio. I can’t wait for our readers to see for themselves.”

Emily Ellsworth is a blogger at Emily's Reading Room, a blog dedicated to promoting a love of young adult fiction. For book reviews, author interviews and more about the latest in young adult fiction, visit her blog at emilysreadingroom.com.

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