YA Wednesday: The Inspirations of Laini Taylor

Last year Laini Taylor's The Daughter of Smoke and Bone was our #1 pick of the Best Teen Books of 2011 and we all waited (and waited..) for a chance to read the follow-up.  It's always a bit of a dice roll, reading a second book when you really love the first, but Days of Blood and Starlight delivered everything I'd hoped for, and more.  Days is on our 2012 list of Best Teen Books, and right from the beginning it engulfs you in a story rich with emotion, brutality, and breath-taking twists.  Like the first book, Days also takes you to exotic, faraway lands--lands Taylor visited and photographed.  In an Amazon exclusive, Taylor shared some photographs from her trip to Morocco after she finished The Daughter of Smoke and Bone--she's an amazing photographer and the places that inspired Days are even more beautiful than I imagined.  Note to self: go to Morocco and pack Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight for re-reading.


When I wrote DAUGHTER, I had been to Prague but not Morocco, but it was the source of my travel lust at the time, so I did the best research I could, including watching videos, and created a sense of place that way. Then, going to Morocco was my reward for finishing the book. I did not know at that time that the trip would inspire book 2 in such a major way, but it did. Whereas Marrakesh features in DAUGHTER, the action of DAYS (well, some of it) has moved on to the land of kasbahs and palm oases in southern Morocco. My husband Jim and I came *this close* to abandoning this portion of our trip as a result of the driving time. Clementine was 16 months old and hated her car seat with a burning passion, so that drive over the Atlas Mountains was ... blood-pressure raising. We actually stopped at one point and seriously considered turning back to Marrakesh. But I'm so glad we didn't.

 Here is a glimpse of the world that inspired my "land of dust and starlight"--Laini Taylor


kasbah of Telouet, which was the real inspiration for the primary setting of DAYS:














Ait Benhaddou, the most famous kasbah in Morocco; it is where Zuzana and Mik are when "it" begins: "It. The thing that would never be eclipsed, that would own the third-person neuter pronoun "it" forever. Where were you the day it began?"















Agdz, where Karou goes to buy supplies:















Imagine Karou standing here, and that blue robe as a flash of her blue hair:


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