“But that story arc was over, and so we came up with the idea for a spinoff,” Garcia said. “Margi was like, ‘This should be a gift to the fans. To all the people who loved this series and supported it ... we should just do it.’ ”
And so they did.
The new spinoff series, tentatively set to be four books, starts with "Dangerous Creatures" (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $19) and follows Ridley and Link to New York City Caster underground — a place that is Dark in every sense of the word. And even though Link arrived with big hopes and dreams to make it with his music, someone else has other plans for both of them that don’t involve happy endings.
“Part of the evolution of bringing a side character into the foreground is that everyone can be a hero, and nobody is ever a lost cause,” Stohl said. “And that is what we are working on. That there is no such thing as only a bad girl.”
Readers will get glimpses into Ridley’s past and learn how she became the girl who was claimed by the Dark, and they may see that everyone’s favorite wicked princess isn’t all bad all the time.
“Link has always been the sidekick,” Garcia continued. “At different points in the story, he has to face who he really is and what his real gifts are and how to embrace who he is instead of trying to be someone different.”
While Beautiful Creatures had the small-town feel of Gatlin in the South, "Dangerous Creatures" has more of a rock ’n’ roll, city flavor.
“(‘Dangerous Creatures') will be about them striking out on their own. There are a lot of fun real places in New York mentioned, and references, and the underground Caster Club scene. So you get a little more music and band stuff,” Garcia said.
Their latest book tour is called “Club Beautiful Creatures” because each event is more of a party, with a live band, rather than a traditional book signing.
Stohl described the process of writing Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures as fun, but the experience has also given her and Garcia a humbling view of the world.
“It’s one thing to write a book about free will and being able to make their own choices and hand it to a Western child,” said Stohl, whose parents live in Park City, which she frequently visits. “It’s really different handing it to someone in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) who is going off to an arranged marriage, which has actually happened to us.”
Stohl and Garcia have given their books to soldiers, prisoners and people from countries governed by strict governments or religions, and though those exchanges have not changed the way they write, it has made them more aware of their freedom and the importance of being able to tell a story in a certain way.
“They can identify with things in the book even if they apply them differently,” Garcia said. “A lot of people just want to be themselves, and maybe instead of being hindered by a small town, they are actually hindered by government. It’s the desire to be yourself and express the person you are.
“They pick up the story and they bring to it their experience, and it is fascinating. We had to become aware that the world is such a big place,” she said.
From small towns to big cities, Stohl and Garcia are prepared to take their readers on a new journey with "Dangerous Creatures." But Stohl has a warning for readers: “No one really leaves Gatlin behind forever.”
If you go ...
What: "Club Dangerous Creatures" event and Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia book signing
When: Tuesday, May 20, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Note: Tickets are required for the event and are available free with the purchase of a copy of "Dangerous Creatures" from The King's English.
Hikari Loftus is a graduate of the University of Utah.
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