Marissa Meyer – *Laughs*
BA – Great smile so I’m not that nervous
MM – I’m going to give really tough answers, like one word answers
BA – So I did my homework and did a lot of research on other interviews you’ve done so I’m trying to to ask a lot of repeat questions so they may be “unique”.
MM – Okay, because repeat questions, I can roll those off
BA – I know! You probably have canned responses—here you go, copy, paste.
MM – Where did I get the idea? Oh, boy
BA – One interesting thing I read about you is that you is that you murder house plants
MM – Oh, gosh
BA – So do I!
MM – Is that really on the internet?
BA – Yes, it is.
MM – Laughs
BA – I saw that, and I was like, a kindred spirit. I cannot keep a house plant alive
MM – It’s terrible, it’s like I always read the tags and they say, Hey, they’re really easy to take care of, and I’m like, No. Like Lucky Bamboo, supposedly you can’t kill it. Oh, watch me.
BA – Your book is, in my opinion, a huge success. Did you ever think that it was going to get this big? And really quickly, too.
MM – Really quickly. Um…yes and no. There would be times, because obviously I’m in love with the book, and I’m in love with the series, so there would be day’s I’d be like, Yes! I have something really great going on here, and if I could just get a chance then it could get huge. And then there were days when I’d be writing and I’d be, This is terrible! And No one’s going to like this, and I’m crazy. So it would go back and forth. Everyone always dreams about being, you know, a success and being able to quite their day job and be a fulltime writer, and the idea that it could happen – especially so quickly – no, I didn’t expect it.
BA – Still pinching yourself?
MM – A little bit
BA – So was it any reflection—your querying process – was that any reflection of the success you’re having now?
MM – Yeah, my querying process went really fast. I queried about a dozen or so agents and had offers from three
BA – That’s awesome
MM – That took about two months and then I ended up signing with the first agent that I queried, so, she was my dream agent. I was so excited that she wanted me. And then she and I worked on the submission package for about two weeks and she went out with it on a Friday, and we had our first offer on Monday.
BA – Wow! So you queried with a pretty polished manuscript—like they want.
MM – Yeah, it was very polished, and I also, at that point, had a draft written of book two and three and then book four outlined. And we were able to go to them with the first fifty pages of book two and then really detailed synopses of what was going to happen in the rest of the series.
BA – It’s awesome timing, because right now fairy tales are so big—TV, books, Movies—talk about perfect timing. And the thing I really like about your book, is that you can tell that it is Cinderella, but it’s so…more creative and broad—
MM – Thank you!
BA – You’re welcome. It’s very awesome. And your characters are amazing. There’s not one character that is just a surface character or one-dimensional—to me, anyway, they all seem so 3D. They’re real people. Even Pearl, even though she doesn’t have that big of a role, when she is in there, she really is larger than life. And they’re all like that.
MM – Thank you.
BA – You’re welcome. So, do you do that intentionally, or is that subconscious that you do that? Is it important for you to have big characters like that?
MM – It’s very important. And I find that some characters come very easily. Cinder hasn’t changed that much from the first draft, I always had a really clear idea of who she was. But then other characters, I’ll be writing the first draft, and maybe not really focusing on this, it’s not really a essential part of the plot and I just kind of stick them in there, and later in revisions I have to stop and think, Who is this person really? What do they want out of life? What is their motivation in this chapter? And really make sure that’s coming through.
BA – It does come through really, really well. I’m excited to see the other books knowing that they’re going to be that much and more. So book two, Scarlet, does it pick up where this one left off? I know if focuses on a different character, but is it in a difference province? Is it a different story? Do we still learn more about Cinder?
MM – It will continue Cinder’s story. Scarlet takes on two kind of parallel plots. So on one side, you will be seeing Cinder as she tries to escape the Queen and tries to learn more about her past, and then you’ll also meet Scarlet, and she lives in France on a little farm that’s owned by her grandmother. And at the start of the book, her grandmother has disappeared, and nobody knows what’s happened to her. And so she is trying to find out what’s happened to her grandmother and the only person who has any information is a street fighter who goes by Wolf. So, that’s kind of my Little Red Riding Hood story.
BA – Very cool. So the cover of Scarlet has the red cape and the cover of Cinder has the red shoe, so is red—cheesy question—is red a theme color for all the covers then?
MM – I assume so, that was kind of my design team at MacMillan does all that, but I think that’s the plan. Which I love. I can’t wait to see them all when they’re all done.
BA – It’s great because they’re all subdued and then there’s this pop. So do you have much say in the cover designs?
MM – Not really. The usually send me kind of an early draft, for me to look at, and I loved all of the covers so I haven’t had much criticism.
BA – I’ve been trying to see if there’s any buzz about a movie for this and haven’t been able to find anything. Do you know anything, or can you say anything?
MM – I can say that we’re in negotiations.
BA - *Gasp* That’s exciting! And I’m glad, because this will make a great movie, in my opinion.
MM – Thank you!
BA – It’s one of those things where your characters are so detailed and your setting is just amazing, that you can see everything playing out.
MM – I would love to see this made into a movie. I have all my fingers crossed and the studio that we’re talking to seems very enthusiastic about it and it seems like they really do want to go forward and make it. A lot of times when a book gets optioned for film rights, that doesn’t really mean very much. Maybe 1% of those will go on to be made into movies. So I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but like I said, they seem really enthusiastic about it.
BA – Is there any timeframe of when you’ll know one way or the other?
MM – Hopefully we’ll be able to make the announcement that the rights have sold soon-ish. But, if it were to go forward, probably not for another year or two before we could say, “Yes! It’s being made into a movie.”
BA – But that’s exciting that it has interest out there. Congratulations. Things are going really well, so that’s awesome. After the Lunar Chronicles—there’s going to be four—do you have other ideas for other books you want to get out there?
MM – Yeah, we actually just recently pitched two new ideas to the publisher. And they liked them both.
BA – Awesome, so we’ll be getting a lot more great books from you. That’s exciting.
MM – They’re both YA but not Sci-fi. One of them is kind of a fantasy, and the other—I don’t know what to call it—urban fantasy maybe, or horror.
BA – Interesting. So what do you love most about writing for YA?
MM – The fans! The readers are just so great and, I haven’t written for adult, but I’ve talked to adult writers, and you can tell there’s a difference between the interactions that you have. Teenagers just get so excited—
BA – So passionate about everything.
MM – So passionate. And if they love a book, they just want to tell everyone they know, they want to force it onto people, “You have to read this!” and I feel that you kind of get a camaraderie with the readers.
BA – Almost like an instant family, friendship.
MM – Yeah!
BA – What does your writing process look like? Are you a pantser or an outliner?
MM – I’m an outliner. In a big way. I usually, if I get an idea, I’ll spend a few months just kind of letting it sit in my head and think about what the big story idea will be, what the characters might be like; and then once I have an idea of what the story will look like, I’ll start penciling out scene ideas—almost like a puzzle. What should come first? And how do I get them from Point A to Point B. And at the end, hopefully I have an outline. Something that looks like a story and makes sense.
BA – So then, do you work better in a quiet environment, a chaotic environment?
MM – You know, either. I write a lot at home, I have a home office. But then, I love going to cafes and restaurants for the change of scenery. I used to have an hour and a half commute each way, and I would take the bus, and I had no problem writing on the bus.
BA – Pretty adaptable. So, editing, then: on paper or on screen?
MM – Screen. I have a problem wasting paper printing out this 400 page manuscript is not good for the environment. But obviously, then, we’ll get a paper copy of the manuscript for copyedits from the publisher and so that was nice to see it on paper. You inevitably catch things on paper that you’d never catch on a computer screen.
BA – So, fun questions. I saw that you have three cats. What are their names?
MM - Alexandria Josephine. We call her Cali. Blackland Rockwell the Third; Blackie. And Stormous-Enormous.
BA – I like that one.
MM – What are your cat’s names?
BA – We have Kitty—it’s not creative at all, but that was his name when we got him. We call him Handsome. Then we have Katie—or Princess, and then we have one that kind of adopted us, he’s a stray, and we named him Merlin because I was on a BBC Merlin kick at the time he came around.
MM – Nice. So his is the most creative.
BA – It’s funny because you always start out with the really boring names – Blackie is black, Cali’s a calico, Stormy’s grey—and then the complex names kind of grow out of those.
BA – Out of their personalities. Cat’s are great. So, on Facebook, I saw your photos of ComiCon. Was that a good time for you? Was that your first time there?
MM – It was my first time. It was fun, but it was rather overwhelming. There’s so much to see and so much to do, and I feel like you kind of need the initial trip to ComiCon to get your bearings. And now, when I go back. I’ll be able to plan.
BA – Did you have a favorite panel while you were there?
MM – Joss Whedon. And I missed his big Firefly panel because I had a big panel the same time as the Firefly panel
BA – That would have been awesome.
MM – But we did later get to go see Joss Whedon speaking.
BA – Two more quick questions for you. The best YA book that you’ve recently read, besides your own.
MM – Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. I just finished it last week, and it’s a mermaid book. But it was so a-typical. It was almost like a murder mystery thriller. Very dark, beautifully written.
BA – I’ll have to try that, because I’ve tried reading some mermaid books, thinking, “Oooh! Yay!” and then they’ve fallen short. So that will be exciting.
MM – Yeah, this one excelled.
BA – If you could co-write a book with any author, alive or dead, who would it be and what would it be titled?
MM – I can start and say that I think I would be a horrible co-author. I’m like super controlling and kind of neurotic about stuff sometimes. So I think it’d have to be someone I didn’t care if I stayed friends with or not. Let’s just go with J.K. Rowling, because she’s amazing in every way. And it would be great just to be able to work with her. And obviously we’d make like, eight billion dollars.
BA – Of course! And what would the title be?
MM – *laughs* I don’t know.
BA – Okay, last question. What’s your favorite song on the radio right now?
MM – The Shins, Simple Song. I’m addicted to it.
BA – Thank you so very much, this was fun, and I appreciate it.
MM – Thank you! I appreciate it, too.
BA – It’s amazing, because I finished reading the book for a second time just moments before I walked in, and it’s amazing all the clues I’m picking up this time around. You’re a very talented writer and it’s a privilege to get to meet you and read your book.
MM – Thank you!
This was one of the best interviews that I’ve gotten to do. Marissa is such a fun person with a great personality and a bubbly laugh and smile. Not only is she a talented writer, but friendly and outgoing, too. Here's a link to her website and the Goodreads page of her book.