Interview with Marissa Meyer

marissa_meyer_3Meet Marissa Meyer, YA novelist and author of the Lunar Chronicles. (One of my new favorite series!) Cinder, Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles and Meyer’s debut, was a NaNoWriMo novel. I recently read Cinder and Scarlet and completely fell in love with Meyer’s world and the fairy-tale retellings. Cress, Meyer’s newest release, is first on my Spring Break reading list. Winter, the fourth book of the Lunar Chronicles, has an expected publication date of February 2015. To find out more about Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles, visit her website and follow her on Twitter.

What is your greatest challenge while writing, and how do you overcome it?

Every book seems to come with its own challenges. I can bet that there will be a period about 40% in where I’m convinced that I’m writing the most boring book in the world, and at 60% of the way through I wonder what on earth I’ve gotten myself into, and at some point during the second draft I’m overwhelmed with world building and subplots… but whatever the problem is, I can always remind myself that I’ve been here before and I’ve had these doubts before and it’s all worked out just fine, so I just need to keep pushing on and get through it. I also find it’s helpful to break the work up into manageable tasks. Maybe I can’t keep every single subplot in my head at once, but I can think about THIS subplot, and I can figure out this character ARC or how to increase this romantic tension, and so I’ll focus on just that one thing and worry about everything else in its own time.

Are you a fan of sharing what you’ve written during the β€œearly stages,” and asking for advice? If so, who has the privilege of reading your first drafts?

I like to get the book as far as I can take it on my own before I share it with anyone. Usually after the third draft I hit a wall where I can no longer see the book clearly and I don’t know what I need to do to make it better. That’s when I send it to my editor, agent, and beta readers – I have three amazing betas who are BRILLIANT, and always help me see things that I’ve missed. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Cress finalWhat would you say to teen writers who struggle with completing their drafts?

This is obvious, but if you ever want to finish something… you’re going to have to finish something! It’s so, so tempting to get called away by a shiny new idea, especially when your current project is giving you a headache. But eventually you’ll need to hunker down and push through to the end. Remind yourself why you started on this project in the first place – what did you love about it? And if you need to jump to the end and write the big climax or the happy resolution to keep yourself motivated, then do that! Though I will say that there WILL be projects that simply aren’t right for you at this time (I certainly have my share of unfinished writing projects lying around), try to be really mindful about choosing when to keep working on something and when to let it go.

What are the two most important traits writers can possess, and why?

Ooh, good question! I think writers have to be curious. We want to know about people and the world. You never know where an idea will come from – an idea for a new story, or something that opens up your imagination to some cool new twist for your current project, and I find that half the time it’s in reading or researching or talking to someone that I get those little pieces of inspiration that grow into stories.

And I think the second trait for a writer is dogged determination. Or stubborness. Writing can be a long, slow, trying process. There are a lot of doubts along the way, a lot of doubters, a lot of rejection and criticism. But if you can still get up every day and keep moving forward in the face of all that, you’ll always be making progress.

What is the one piece of advice you wish you had been given when you began writing?

Read craft guides! I didn’t start reading books on plot and structure and editing and characterization until after college, and as soon as I started reading them my skills increased exponentially. I think some writers are afraid that learning the elements of writing will somehow destroy their creativity or originality – hogwash! Once you know the “rules,” and WHY something works and why it doesn’t, then you know how and when to deviate from that to make something that’s your own. Knowledge is always a good thing.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

An aspiring writer! πŸ˜‰

*Thanks so much for answering my questions!!

Read my review of Cinder.

12 thoughts on “Interview with Marissa Meyer

  1. Monique

    I loved, loved, LOVE the Lunar Chronicles, she might just be my favorite author. This is going to sound really corny, but I mean everything I say. Marissa Meyer has been teasing me with her awesome writing talent since 2012 and I’ve never been the same. Her latest installment of the Lunar Chronicles (Cress) is still fresh in my mind and I can’t get it out of my head. It’s just a bunch of awesome packed inside an awesome cover. I can’t even comprehend such talent and personality. What I loved most about The Lunar Chronicles was definitely the different characters. They were DIFFERENT! My favorite is Emperor Kai <3 Gah! Sorry for the long post.

    1. brooke Post author

      I totally agree! Marissa Meyer is so talented and her books are riveting – I think it’s incredible each book introduces a new leading character and I care about them all the same! The characters are so unique. I have a huge crush on Emperor Kai, too. πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Solaire

    Great interview! πŸ™‚ I loved the Lunar Chronicles too, can’t wait for Winter. I didn’t know “Cinder” was a NaNoWriMo novel though, that makes me even more excited to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this year.

    By the way, I just discovered your Sky City trilogy after browsing through your blog – sounds very interesting, will definitely add it to my reading list! πŸ™‚
    The blurb reminded me of a novel by German author Kai Meyer, “Silk and Sword”. I’m afraid it hasn’t been translated into English, though, but I love the idea of a city in the sky!

    1. brooke Post author

      Thanks so much! When I realized Cinder was a NaNo novel, I was so excited, too. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the past two years but haven’t yet made it to the 50,000 words. I am definitely going to take it more seriously this year! As for Silk and Sword, I’ve never heard of it, but I’m going to check it out! Not that I can read German, but it sounds really interesting and is probably something I’d enjoy. The idea for the city in the sky came to me during a 5th grade project. Our teacher asked us to create a government, and so I wanted to be different. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

  4. Solaire

    That sounds like a fun assignment! πŸ˜€ I wish our teacher had given us similar homework. There was quite a fun task that some of my fellow students got at university, as well: to take a fairytale and transform it into a journalistic article – could be a crime report, a gossip story… Fairytales are just great raw material, as evident in Marissa Meyer’s stories πŸ™‚
    Anyway, I wish you good luck next time you participate in NaNoWriMo!

    1. brooke Post author

      I really love fairytales, too. Definitely one of the many reasons I love Marissa Meyer’s books! I recently bought a complete collection of Grimm’s fairytales, because I’d love to write a retelling myself one day and I wanted to read the originals. πŸ™‚

  5. Solaire

    Let me know if you ever do write a retelling, I’d be one of the first to buy it! πŸ™‚
    I recently tried to find my old fairytale book again, because even though I love the stories, I mostly know them the way Disney told them….

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  7. Topaz

    Lovely interview – I couldn’t agree more about the curiosity + determination thing. The best character traits a writer can I have, I think πŸ˜‰ And I don’t think enough people talk about the importance of reading craft books. Talent is all well and good, but skill is something that always, always needs to be developed.

    Because I am a terrible person, I have not yet read the Lunar Chronicles. (Despite 2307802384 bloggers having shoved them in my face for I don’t even know HOW long. ;)) But I will do it one day, I promise – I actually have CINDER sitting on my nightstand right now, and I can’t wait to start reading!

    1. brooke Post author

      Thanks so much! I loved Marissa Meyer’s advice, especially about reading craft books. I’ve always loved reading them, but backed off a good bit when I heard people say it might ruin my creativity, just like Marissa mentioned. So I’m glad she’s restored my faith in craft books again, because you’re totally right about the necessity of developing skill. You haven’t read Cinder *gasp*! I will unite with those 2307802384 bloggers and shove it in your face as well πŸ™‚ Such a great series. Thanks for commenting, Topaz!


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