Another year, another installment of the fabulous Lunar Chronicles series! This time around, we get to learn all about the quiet-but-kickass Scarlet Benoit. Scarlet’s grandmother is missing, and as Scarlet embarks on a journey to find her, she runs into the mysterious Wolf. A continent away, Cinder grapples with the truth of her identity and with the ragtag humour of Captain Carswell Thorne, a fellow escapee from prison. And will Prince Kai give in to Queen Levana’s demands?
Today, Marissa Meyer herself stops by on the blog to answer some questions about the series and its amazing cast of characters. Enjoy!
Angel: What do you think is the most fascinating aspect of the Red Riding Hood story? Did it influence the plot/characterization in Scarlet in any way?
Marissa Meyer: As with most fairy tales, I’m always fascinated by the dark, creepy, violent aspects of the stories—those parts that don’t pop up in Disney movies. Some older versions of Little Red Riding Hood include sexual innuendos, cannibalism, bowel movements, and even a striptease between Little Red and the wolf. Not to mention that in more than one version, Little Red and her grandmother aren’t rescued by a convenient woodsman—they just get gobbled up, the end.
Although most of these elements didn’t make it into my retelling, I tried to keep the same sort of dark edge. Dark things happen in this book, and just like in the tale, it’s not always clear who can be trusted. I don’t want readers to feel like I’m pulling any punches.
Angel: Who was the most challenging character to write this time around?
Marissa: Villains are always my trouble characters, and this book is no different. In Scarlet my biggest challenge was Ran—a guy from Wolf’s past who keeps getting in the way. The trouble is that I don’t want to make villains who are pure evil. There has to be a reason for the way they behave, and Ran ended up being ruthless and cruel, but also desperate and borderline pathetic. I honestly feel bad for the guy! So finding a way to balance my own sympathy with the whole “he’s a jerk and I hate him” thing, and hoping that readers get both emotions too, was difficult.
Angel: Scarlet makes some interesting choices in her quest to find her grandmother, including trusting Wolf. Were there any decisions that came as a surprise to you?
Marissa: I was surprised at how hard Scarlet fell for Wolf once she did fall. They have a pretty rocky beginning, but once they move past that their relationship develops pretty fast, and I knew that was going to happen going into the story. But while I knew those romantic feelings would be there, I don’t think I grasped just how passionate and fiercely Scarlet was going to become by the end of the book. Of course, she’s a passionate and fiercely loyal girl to begin with, so I think it makes sense for her.
Angel: Thorne is already a fan favourite among early readers–what was your favourite scene with him and are there any scenes that you look forward to writing with him?
Marissa: I love writing Thorne! He’s one of those characters—like Iko—that practically writes himself. I just have to put him into a high-stakes situation, hand him a mic, and let him go. Easily one of my favorite scenes in the whole book is the first scene in which we meet Thorne, perhaps because it’s told from his point of view. This is one of the only chapters that remains almost word-for-word from the original draft. As for future scenes… honestly, I look forward to writing every chapter with Thorne in it. Luckily, he has a really big role in Book 3!
Angel: Cinder and Kai’s story ends on a pretty sad note in Cinder, and Kai makes a devastating decision in Scarlet. What was it like plotting out their storyline, and have you made any drastic changes since writing Cinder’s first draft?
Marissa: Cinder and Kai’s storyline has stayed pretty close to the original trajectory that I envisioned for them when I was first plotting out this series. I always knew things were going to be tough for them, and just keep getting tougher. What I think (hope!) works is that as the story goes on they’re each forced to grow as individuals. They’re becoming stronger and more self-assured characters with every decision they make and obstacle they face. Of course, it remains to be seen how they’ll react to each other when they’re finally face to face again.
Angel: How was writing Scarlet different from Cinder, and have you learned anything new this time around about your writing style/process?
Marissa: Every book definitely comes with its own challenges. With Cinder there was so much world-building and set-up to think about, and I didn’t have to worry about those things quite as much while I was writing Scarlet. On the other hand, Scarlet has the added complication of two separate storylines—three if you count Kai’s—and trying to keep them balanced and interesting and tie the stories together in a way that feels both surprising and inevitable. Scarlet taught me a lot about pacing and character arcs… but then, I had to re-learn all those things with Cress too! That seems to be how it goes.
Thanks so much for the interview, Angel, and for being a part of the Scarlet blog tour!
And thank you Marissa for stopping by! Third time’s the charm, eh?
Want more Scarlet? Comment below or on my review of the book with your email address and/or Twitter handle to win a paperback of Cinder or a finished copy of Scarlet! I’ll be picking winners at the end of the tour. (US/Canada only)
January 21: 7 Big Bad Wolf-y Facts @ Alexa Loves Books
January 22: Alice Marvels
January 24: Into the Hall of Books
January 25: Supernatural Snark
January 26: Anna Reads
January 27: A Backwards Story
January 28: Bewitched Bookworms
January 29: The Book Rat
January 30: Makeshift Bookmark
January 31: Book Sake
February 1: Making the Grade
February 2: Birth of a New Witch
February 3: Two Chicks on Books
Watch the beautiful trailer:
–and find out more about Ms. Meyer in my interview with her.
Pre-Order Scarlet and send in your receipt! The first 1,000 people who do will get a Scarlet-branded lip gloss! US only! More details if you clicky click~
Marissa is also heading out on tour, and you can find out all the dates here~
Want to find out more about the Cinder universe? Check out Glitches for only 99 cents, and the newest short story The Queen’s Army for only 99 cents. You can also download the first five chapters of Cinder and Scarlet for free! And don’t forget to become a fan of The Lunar Chronicles on Facebook where you can stay up-to-date on all things Lunar!
Marissa Meyer lives near Seattle with her husband and their three cats. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, color-coordinating her bookshelf…) and will take any excuse to put on a costume. She may or may not be a cyborg.