San Diego Comic-Con has become a mecca not only for those who love comics and movies and everything pop culture, but also for those who love books, including young adult literature. So, I took the opportunity to talk one-on-one with a few of the authors of some of my favorite books. One of them was the author of the Lunar Chronicles series, Marissa Meyer.
I had only just read Cinder this past May, and then Scarlet a week later and I found them to be such an awesome and refreshing take on the fairy tale characters that I so very much wanted to spend some time with the author and find out a little more about her.
I started off by asking her about her experience at Comic-Con thus far. She had been to Comic-Con in 2012, which apparently was not as great as she hoped:
When we got here last year, we were so overwhelmed, had no idea where to go, what to do, we ended up waiting in line for a lot of things we didn’t get into.
So, being that this was her and her husband’s 2nd time into the fanfest event, they prepared:
I actually looked at the schedule beforehand and had a plan, and have seen quite a few things that I wanted to see. The highlight for me was seeing the Divergent/Ender’s Game panel on Thursday, which was fantastic! And included Harrison Ford, oh my God!
My husband’s here with me and I think the highlight for him was definitely Ygritte [Rose Leslie] from Game of Thrones in the hotel lobby. Got a picture with her and everything, so that was very cool.
Despite the craziness of Comic-Con, a major highlight for those in and around the area of downtown San Diego is the possibility of seeing an actual star:
There’s been a lot of star gazing. We’ve seen lots of Game of Thrones people. We saw one guy from True Blood. One guy from Grimm. It’s been pretty- just in our hotel- it’s like wow, how did we end up in the cool hotel?! I have no idea!
I told Marissa how Comic-Con is a great mish mash of of celebrities and non-celebrities alike and she agreed:
Definitely! I’ve heard stories about how Nathan Fillion used to walk around the Exhibition Hall, so now I’m constantly, like, where is he?! He’s gotta be around here somewhere. I don’t even know if he’s here this year. That would be my dream. I just want to see Nathan Fillion.
After some more fangirling about Nathan and Comic-Con in general, I asked her about the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cress, which is scheduled to be released on February 4, 2014.
The title character Cress is based off of Rapunzel, whereas the fourth and final book’s title character, Winter, would be based off of Snow White.
Read the the rest of the interview after the jump, as I asked about the characters and what to expect.
I do love how you brought a new vision to these classic fairy tale characters. What brought on the idea of a cyborg Cinderella?
It actually came to me in a dream, or a semi-dream. I was lying in bed one night, trying to fall asleep, and for a couple of months prior to that, I had this idea of meshing science fiction with fairy tales. I loved the concept and I felt there’s a lot of potential there, and so I was kind of mulling that around in my brain for a while. And then one night as I was trying to go to sleep, I had a vision of Cinderella. And it was your very typical Cinderella, like she’s wearing her big, flouncy ball gown and she’s running away from the castle because the clock was about to strike midnight, and she tripped on the palace steps, but instead of a glass slipper falling off, her foot fell off. And I snapped awake in the middle of the night, and I was like, ‘Oh, her foot fell off because she’s a cyborg!’ That’s where my brain went with that. And so I just very quickly started to envision who this character might be and what story she might have to tell, and it kind of sorted to spin out from there.
Did you consider any other characters aside from the four main ones that you chose?
I did. In the initial ponderings of it, I thought that there would be a fifth book that I planned on basing on Puss in Boots, because the idea kind of originated with a short story that I wrote that was a sci-fi retelling of Puss in Boots. And so my plan had been to expand that short story into a novel and that that would be the ultimate fifth book that everything kind of comes together, ties together. But then as I had the idea for the Cinderella character and she was facing off against the Evil Queen, who’s the Evil Queen from Snow White, it became clear to me that Snow White’s tale was going to be the fourth and final book of the series, and that it was all going to kind of wrap up by then.
Can you give us any hints as to what the characters are coming up against in the next book?
So, book three is based on Rapunzel. So, my Rapunzel character whose name is Cress, is a skilled computer hacker. But that amazing skill has kind of ended up with her under the control of the Evil Queen, who has stuck Cress is a satellite orbiting Earth, as opposed to your typical tower. And she is being forced to spy on the people and the leaders of Earth and then report back to the Evil Queen.
And she’s become an Earthen sympathizer and she’s trying to find a way to escape, so trying to find a way to escape kind of brings her in contact with Cinder and Scarlet and the other characters. They attempt a rescue that goes awry very quickly.
Have you finished writing all the books for the series?
No, book three is done. Book Four, I’m about halfway through the second draft.
Can you give us any info on maybe your next novella for the Lunar Chronicles?
Well, I’m actually writing two short stories for promotion for Cress’ release. One of them will be another prequel similar to Glitches and The Queen’s Army. And one of them is actually more as a companion story, and Cinder has a small cameo, but otherwise it’s a completely different story, but it’s a retelling of another popular fairy tale. The information hasn’t been released on the internet, so I can’t give any more details than that, but I’m really excited about it.
Which fairy tale character was your favorite growing up?
For me, the starting for my fascination with fairy tales was The Little Mermaid, because of the Disney movie which was the first movie I ever saw in theaters. I was of course completely fascinated, and I was like every girl in my generation, if I was in a bathtub or a pool, in my head, I was The Little Mermaid. And then I remembered watching the movie and singing along to all the songs and there’s that scene where she jumps up on the rock in the middle of the song, and so my little cousin and I would always get behind our couches and jump up onto the couches pretending it was a rock. So there’s that.
One more question is was it hard to use elements from something that’s already been told and then revise it to your own imagining?
No. I feel like using the old fairy tales, if anything, kind of made the storytelling easier for me because you had that archetypal story already laid out for you. And I knew early on what iconic moments from the fairy tales were important for me to bring in. So I knew that Cinder would be at odds with her step-family. I knew there was going to be a prince. I knew that there was a ball that was part of the epic climax that we were working towards. So, just having those kind of was like this trail of crumbs (fairy tale reference, who knew!) and I just could kind of follow those whenever I felt like I was getting lost in all of the other things that are happening, the Lunars and the Evil Queen and the plague. There’s a lot of moving parts to these books, but having that fairy tale structure already there, I felt really helped to focus me and focus the plot.
All in all, it was great to spend a few minutes with this amazing young writer and she was a joy to talk to, and I look forward to reading more books from her in the near future, and also hopefully seeing her again at Comic-Con 2014. Maybe she’ll try for a Rapunzel cosplay!