Victoria Schwab Reveals Why She's Returning To The World Of 'Shades Of Magic'

Victoria Schwab/Jenna Maurice
By Kerri Jarema

Author Victoria Schwab has had a very busy year, and things are only going to get crazier...and more exciting. For starters, she made waves throughout the publishing world when Tor announced that they had inked a $1 million deal with the author, for a trilogy entitled Threads of Power (which will take place in the same universe as her popular Shades of Magic trilogy) as well as an unrelated stand-alone novel. It was a huge moment, not only for the industry, but for female fantasy authors in particular... and of course for Schwab most of all.

"It's certainly been a surreal and humbling year," Schwab tells Bustle. "As with so much of publishing, there's a lag between actually getting good news and getting to share it. My incredible agent and editor facilitated the deal in June, and I've had to keep it secret for months! I was an emotional wreck, and on top of that, I kept 'forgetting' that the deal happened, and then I'd remember and convince myself that it had never happened. I can't even say if there's a specific element I'm most looking forward to. It's more the sense of commitment from the publisher. I have had such an incredible time working with Tor, and I'm so grateful they want to continue working with me."

And Schwab's fans are grateful, too. Because they have a grand total of six books from the author to look forward to in the coming years, including Vengeful, the much-anticipated follow-up to her superhero fantasy, Vicious. Schwab is returning to the story of Victor and Eli four years after releasing their first installment...and so far it's all going according to plan.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab, $11, Amazon

"It's currently fighting back, which is par for the course with my books and, according to my agent and editor, a sign I'm on the right track," Schwab says. "It's set two plus years after the end of Vicious, and it follows the same cast, as well as a new set of villains led by a woman named Marcella.... Over the last two to three years I've been going through the plot and honing it, and now I'm finally finishing a first draft."

But the biggest news of all, perhaps, has been Schwab's planned return to the world of her Shades of Magic trilogy, with three more books set to follow new characters in the universe she created. Readers were ecstatic to know it wasn't quite over yet... and Schwab counts herself among those fans.

"Honestly, I'm over the moon about this particular piece of news. I was about halfway through Conjuring of Light when I realized I wasn't ready to let go," she says. "There was so much of the world unexplored, so many stories left to tell, and I knew I hadn't seen the last of this motley crew. The format will be a little different, with each book really focusing on one of the three new main characters—a tinkerer, a noble, and a con artist—but their stories will intertwine and entangle over the course of the series."

And Threads of Power is not the only thing keeping the Shades of Magic world alive, because Schwab has still more exciting news to contend with: the first book in her Shades of Magic trilogy, A Darker Shade of Magic, is being turned into a movie, and she's a producer.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, $10, Amazon

"I'm the eternal skeptic about the adaptation process—I'll believe it's a movie when I can buy a bucket of popcorn and watch—but in the meantime, I'm cautiously optimistic," Schwab says. "There are so many stages to go through, and we're in the early ones of nailing down a screenwriter, but my team is super communicative and I know I'm in good hands. If it happens, I'm most excited about seeing Kell, Lila, Rhy, and Holland brought to life by actors. I can't even fathom how surreal that would be."

So, with six books, film producing, and keeping up with author appearances like her upcoming panel at New York Comic Con, has it gotten any easier for Schwab to juggle all of her projects the more practice she has?

"Oh man, not really? If anything, I have to focus on the trees, not the forest, or else I get completely overwhelmed," she says. "It's a wonderful problem to have, but it's easy to forget that all projects, big or small, take time. Nothing gets finished in a single sitting. It's about showing up day after day after day, word after word after word."

But with voraciously people lining up to read each and every one, for Schwab, it's obvious that all that hard work is more than worth it.