An Interview with Leigh Bardugo

© Leigh Bardugo @ Goodreads
© Leigh Bardugo @ Goodreads

Before attending the BookExpo back in May, I made a list of the galleys that I wanted to pick up and starred those that were absolutely necessary for me to acquire or I would be sad and mopey for months. I only starred three titles, and one of those was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I’ll spare you all the gory details of my attempts to obtain a copy, but as you can see, I was successful! Set in the same universe as her best-selling Grisha trilogy (a series that I completely devoured last year), Six of Crows returns to the same world – just a different part of it. Described as Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s 11, this book revolves around a motley crew of six ne’er-do-wells who are desperate to pull off an impossible heist.

I had the chance to interview author Leigh Bardugo in anticipation of her newest book and find out a little bit more about Six of Crows (and its sequel)!


Six of Crows takes place in the same universe as the Grisha trilogy. How exactly did the idea for the “spin-off” evolve?

I always knew I wanted to write a story set in Ketterdam because it’s a kind of anti-Ravka – wealthy, modern, cosmopolitan. Ravka has largely been isolated from the world, while Ketterdam is the hub of world trade, legal and illegal. But what was the story going to be? Then, I was driving down Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles and I saw a billboard for the movie Monuments Men starring Matt Damon and George Clooney. I thought, “Wow, I have zero interest in seeing that but I should watch Ocean’s 11 again.” And then I nearly drove off the road because all I could think was MAGICAL HEIST.

What was it like switching from a first person narrative (in the Grisha trilogy) to a third person narrative with multiple perspectives?

The great thing about being in so many different characters’ heads is that you always have an out. I was cover - six of crowsworking on a particular character’s back story and it is dark. I’d been wrestling with it for hours and decided to take a break, but instead of going for a walk or stress-eating pistachios, I ended up writing an entire chapter of comic banter for two other characters. It was like narrative therapy. I didn’t have that luxury while I was writing the Grisha Trilogy.

What was the most challenging thing about writing Six of Crows?

The big heist. So many of our expectations for heists are defined by television and film. But there are tricks that work in a visual medium that simply don’t in a novel, so you need to find new ways to satisfy those expectations.

The Dregs are from all over the place. We’ve seen Kerch and Fjerda now in Six of Crows – will the second book take us somewhere new (or perhaps somewhere old again, like Ravka)?

I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but I can tell you that a lot of the action takes place in Kerch. Some very powerful forces are converging on Ketterdam.

Not everyone had a chapter told from their perspective in Six of Crows (for example, no Wylan!). Will the second book feature any new POVs?

I can only tell you that Wylan gets his own POV chapters in the next book. He’s so different from the other characters and I think that made him doubly fun to write.

I’ll be honest – when I heard this was a heist story, I expected the heist itself to be spread out over both books! I was actually happy to have been wrong. So what can you tell us about the second book?

Oh no way! You’ve got to pay off the heist! For me that was at the heart of the book, the thing that was going to push the characters beyond their limits. You’ll still see heist elements in the next book, and quite a few cons too. There’s a lot of unfinished business for the characters at the end of Six of Crows. In the sequel, it’s time to settle up.

Thank you, Leigh, for taking the time to speak to me!


Six of Crows will be released on September 29. Stay tuned to The Geekiary for my review! I’ll be posting it closer to the publication date.

In the meantime, you should definitely check out Leigh’s fabulous Grisha trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Seige and Storm, Ruin and Rising)! It’s not really necessary to have read the trilogy to understand Six of Crows, but I just really loved those books and suggest you all read them anyway. They’re fantastic!

EDIT 9/11/15: Second book title not final. Sorry about that, everyone!

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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