Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she’s a bad girl. She’s Dark. She’s a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she’s around. Lucky for her, Wesley “Link” Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley.
When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn’t hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.
Olivia: Kami, Margaret, welcome! What a wild and crazy ride it must have been for you two these past few years.
OH: Let’s talk about Ridley. How did you two first meet? What drew you two back to tell her and Link’s story?
Margaret Stohl: Ridley is a hot mess–we always knew there was more to her than just being the bad girl. Our readers loved her odd-couple romance with goofball Link, and we all knew Link was headed to NYC to become a rock star after high school. So it was a natural story to tell.
Kami Garcia: Ridley and Link were reader favorites from the moment they appeared in Beautiful Creatures. Though Ridley is the quintessential bad girl and Link is loyal to a fault, they are both more complex than that, and we wanted to give readers a chance to learn more about them.
OH: What sets Ridley’s story apart from other supernatural romances? What will readers find that they can’t anywhere else?
KG: Ridley is a unique heroine because she isn’t afraid to show us her dark side—or her mistakes. As a reader, I think it’s interesting to see how that kind of character perceives herself versus what she chooses to show the world. By writing parts of Dangerous Creatures from Ridley’s POV, readers get to see what’s really inside her head (and it’s not always pretty).
MS: I think of Ridley and Link’s story as the opposite of Lena and Ethan’s. In some ways, Rid and Link are our most relatable, most modern couple of all. As Rid says on page one, this is not a fairy tale. And it’s not.
OH: What non-book influences (films, television shows, music, plays, etc) helped spark this story for each of you?
MS: My daughter goes to school in NYC, and I’ve been there quite often as a result. So I wrote much of the NY story while physically being in NY, which helps. I think nobody can write about teens in NY and not have Chuck from Gossip Girl in their head, but there were lots of musical influences here as well.
KG: Music has always been one of my primary influences, and Link and I just happen to have very similar musical tastes. Classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd have a huge influence on Link, but he also loves metal bands like Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest, which gives him an edge. I grew up in Maryland, right outside of Washington, DC, and I spent a lot of time in DC clubs like the 9:30 Club, which made it easier to write about the Dark Caster band Link joins. In college, my best friend went to NYU, and I spent more than my share of weekends in New York hanging out in clubs like The Tunnel, which inspired aspects of Sirene.
OH: When you were teens, what was your favorite book (YA or otherwise)? Now that you’re authors for teens, what are your favorite contemporary YAs?
KG: I grew up reading fantasy novels like The Hobbit and A Wrinkle in Time. But as a teen, I gravitated to poetry and grittier contemporary fiction (which would today be considered contemporary YA) like The Outsiders, The Bell Jar, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Eventually I discovered Ray Bradbury, Anne Rice, and Stephen King—three of my greatest literary influences. There are so many young adult books that I love on the shelves right now, but a few of my favorites are: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel, and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. I’m also really excited to read Four by Veronica Roth, because I’m a fan of Divergent (and Four is one of my literary crushes).
MS: I loved classic fantasy – CS Lewis, Susan Cooper, Ursula Le Guin, Diana Wynn Jones. I still love fantasy and sci fi, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Gayle Forman’s If I Stay at the movies this summer. That book captivated me.
OH: What is the story behind the title DANGEROUS CREATURES?
MS: I think that was sort of how we thought of the project in its most basic terms – dangerous, wicked, not your mother’s protagonists – and it stuck.
OH: What has been the most difficult part of returning to the world of Casters? What has been the most enjoyable?
KG: Writing the final Beautiful Creatures novel, Beautiful Redemption, was so bittersweet. I missed the Caster world and writing with Margie. So writing Dangerous Creatures has been pure fun.
MS: I think it’s only been enjoyable. We so missed these characters and this world–and each other! It’s a privilege.
OH: Your first novel together, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, was adapted into a feature film last year. What was it like to see your characters on screen, played by such a talented cast? Are there any talks of bringing DANGEROUS CREATURES to the screen as well?
MS: It was amazing to see the Beautiful Creatures brought to life. We loved the entire cast, but especially our teens. They really held their own, surrounded by Oscar winners! As for Dangerous–who knows!
KG: It’s crazy to see imaginary people and places brought to life in such detail. The teen cast was remarkable. And since we’re talking about Dangerous Creatures, Emmy Rossum gave us such a sexy and layered portrayal of Ridley.
OH: What’s up next for you in YA land, either separate or together?
KG: Right now, we’re revising the sequel to Dangerous Creatures, which is a welcome distraction while I wait for Unmarked (the sequel to my solo novel Unbreakable) to release on September 30th. Luckily, Margie’s sequel, Idols, comes out first, so cheering her on will keep me busy.
MS: Just finishing the sequel to Dangerous now! And then my Icons sequel, Idols, comes out July 8, and Kami’s Unbreakable/Legion sequel is out in the fall. Busy girls!
OH: Last one! If you could spend one day with Ridley and Link, what would you do together? What would advice would you give to Ridley about her past or future?
MS: I think I’d send Rid straight to therapy. And then maybe I’d help Link with his lyrics…
KG: I’d go shopping with Ridley. I have a serious jewelry obsession, and Ridley would be the perfect shopping partner. Link and I would probably just hole up in my office and listen to Black Sabbath and talk about how much we both love Magneto. I’d give them both the same advice I give everyone, including myself: Be yourself. Fitting in is overrated.
OH: Thank you very much, Kami and Margaret! And congratulations on the latest addition to your world, DANGEROUS CREATURES!
DANGEROUS CREATURES, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, is now available at your favorite retailers and local independent bookstores!
Interview by Olivia Hennis, originally published 6/16/2014 on YoungAdultMag.com