Maggie Hall is the author of the Conspiracy of Us series. The Conspiracy of Us trilogy follows Avery West’s adventures as she goes from an average American teenager to pawn of a powerful secret society called the Circle of Twelve.
If you’re interested in multiple European destinations, this series is for you. Avery first visits Paris, but later finds herself traipsing around European destinations like Istanbul, London, Venice, Cannes, and the Greek islands. We rated all three books in the series ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.
You can follow Maggie Hall’s updates here!
1. When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Unlike a lot of writers, I haven’t been on this path since childhood. Reading has always been pretty much my favorite thing, but it wasn’t until I worked at a bookstore doing author events that I thought about being on the other side. Until then I’d thought of authors as having special training, or special connections, or just being something that I wasn’t–but when I met authors as they came through the store, I realized they were just normal, everyday people, and I started to wonder whether I could write a book, too. Then I had an idea for a book (see the next question!) and the rest is history.
2. What inspired you to write the Conspiracy of Us trilogy?
I had an idea for a book that I wanted to read but that didn’t exist! I loved YA, with its excitement, fast-paced nature, romance . . . 🙂 and I also loved adult international thrillers, with the fabulous locations and dangerous hijinks–but there wasn’t anything out there that really combined them in the way I wished I could read. So the idea for Conspiracy was born!
3. Which character do you relate to most in your series?
Probably Avery. There are a lot of ways in which she is not like me at all, but in a lot of the important ways–how she feels about things that happen to her, her insecurities, her fears–I put a lot of myself (or, I should say, my 16-year-old self) into her. Though I have to admit, sometimes when Elodie is making a snarky comment about something dumb someone is doing, it’s the kind of comment I make in my head, but usually manage not to say out loud. 🙂
4. What are you hoping readers will take away from this series?
The dedication to Ends of the World reads: “To all the girls who are stronger at the end of the story than they were at the beginning.” Avery starts book 1 as a naive girl who tries her best–but doesn’t really know what she’s doing, and makes a lot of dumb mistakes. In short, she’s who I–or a lot of girls–would have been if they’d been thrown into something like this at sixteen. By the end of the series, though, she’s grown into a strong, smart, competent young woman who yes, still makes mistakes, but has learned a lot about herself and the world along the way. I think of Avery like my little sister or something, and I’m really proud of her for who she became despite everything that happened to her. I hope that readers can see themselves in her and know that it’s okay start out as something that’s not the strong, “perfect” YA heroine.
5. What are Avery, Stellan, and Jack doing now, two years after the final book?
Ooh, I don’t know if I can tell you that! 🙂 I try not to say anything that’s not in the books, because I like to leave it up to reader interpretation. I will say that I see them going along the paths that they’d gotten on at the end of book 3, and that I think that now, two years later, they’re happy.
6. Be honest, would you rather date Jack or Stellan?
Ha! I truly love qualities about both of them. It was so hard to see one of them (no spoilers!) get his heart broken. I think both of them were good for Avery at times, and that both of them are good people, and that both of them have some stuff to work out before they’re perfect boyfriends . . . That doesn’t answer your question at all, but there it is. 🙂
7. What are your favorite Young Adult Books?
Currently, I’m really into Leigh Bardugo. I loved the original Grisha trilogy, and I really loved the Six of Crows series–I think she’s so good at characterization, and at weaving together a complicated story, and at pacing…I just want to be her as a writer, pretty much. I love The Raven Boys series for a more real-world based magical series. Anything Laini Taylor for gorgeous and lyrical and lush stories that are nothing at all like what I write, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes or Ally Carter for fun, adventurous books in the vein of the Conspiracy trilogy.
8. Which writers influence you the most?
Um…see above? 🙂 I think it also depends on the book, and the scene, and the character. I draw inspiration from different books or TV shows or movies depending on the mood and what I’m trying to achieve. So I don’t think I can say that there are certain writers who I really try to emulate–it’s more that I draw inspiration from lots of different bits and pieces here and there.
9. What was the most difficult part of the publishing process for you?
Probably how little control the writer actually has. I am a person who really likes being in control, and in publishing, so much is out of the writer’s hands. From the cover to the taglines to how it’s marketed and how it’s received–you write the book (though it then gets edited, so even the story isn’t entirely just yours) but after that, it’s up to the publisher, the readers, the whims of the universe . . . And that’s hard! I had to learn to let go a lot more than I was comfortable with.
10. What is the best advice that you have received? Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
My best advice for aspiring authors is twofold: 1. Finish things. It’s reallllllly easy as a new writer to start a book, decide that it’s bad, or the writing is too hard, and move on to something else. But here’s the thing: there will always be something else more shiny, something else that looks like it’ll be easier, etc etc. And once you get a few chapters into that, the same thing will happen. So finish what you’re working on! If nothing else, it’s a huge accomplishment to know you can get through writing a whole book. Most aspiring authors stay “aspiring” because they never get to that finishing point. And 2. Be able to let go. The other reason I see aspiring authors stall is that they write one book (which is a huge accomplishment–definitely be proud of that!) but they decide this book is their end-all be-all, and they keep a strangle-hold on it past when they should shelve it. So if you finish a book, and you’re getting nowhere with agents, or your readers feel like it’s just not right–sure, work on it for a while (writing IS revising–I guess that’s my #3 advice) but know that it’s okay to just let it go. Your next book will be way easier to write and way better, I promise. Just having written that first book levels you up so much. And you know what? Almost every published author has quite a few shelved manuscripts. This first one is not your only chance, by a long shot! (Also: I know of quite a few situations in which a writer couldn’t get their first book published, but after years of publishing came back to it and retooled it and published it! Just saying.)
11. What is your writing process like?
It depends! I used to be less of an outliner than I am now, but I have really come to value having a road map before the writing starts. So I will get an idea and the first thing I’ll do is flesh it out as much as possible. I’ll try to figure out the main conflicts, the main characters, the ending if possible. Then I let myself play. I write little bits here and there, trash things, start over, try different POVs–just mess around. Hopefully that leads to something that feels right. Then I fill in my outline as much as I can. And when I feel like I have a good idea of the overall story, I start writing for real. At that point, I follow the outline to the extent that it makes sense, but I let myself go off of it if the story goes that way. An outline for me isn’t meant to be rigid, but just meant to keep me on a general trajectory so I don’t veer off and write a whole lot of unnecessary stuff. So that’s the general process–the specifics change a ton from book to book. Even within the Conspiracy trilogy, I was constantly tweaking my process–literally no two books are the same!
12. Are you currently writing any new books? If so, will they be released soon?
I am! Unfortunately I don’t have anything releasing very soon, but I really hope to have some news to share with readers sooner than later. I will always share any news there is to share in my newsletter at www.maggiehall.com/newsletter (and if you sign up for the Fandom newsletter, there are occasionally juicy little bits like Conspiracy deleted scenes!).
Thank so much, Maggie! We’ve already signed up for the newsletter and can’t wait to see what’s next!