As some of you may already know, my passion for writing can be traced back to an electrifying jumpstart from the Sailormoon fandom. I rediscovered it in 2006 and through fanfiction and LiveJournal chats, I befriended an amazing group of girls over at Usako_Mamoru. One of them was Marissa Meyer, also known as Alicia Blade, one of the most prolific and consistently amazing fanfiction writers in the fandom.
Five years after getting to know Marissa, I’m now eagerly awaiting her debut novel, CINDER, due to come out on January 3, 2012. What better way to kill the time than an interview with the lovely author herself?
Marissa: I’d written a short story for a writing contest that was a futuristic retelling of Puss in Boots—Puss was a talking robotic cat. It was so much fun to write and gave me the idea to write an entire series of futuristic fairy tales. That’s when CINDER and the rest of the series started to take shape.
Angel: Who is your favourite character that you’ve written?
Marissa: Oh gosh. I think this changes about four times a day depending on what scene I’ve just written! I’m working on Book Two: SCARLET right now and am crazy about Carswell Thorne, a wanted convict that Cinder teams up with. As for the characters you meet in CINDER, I loved writing Iko, Cinder’s android friend, because she’s so kooky and blunt.
Angel: Did you write a lot of backstory for CINDER? If so, which character ended up with the most backstory?
Marissa: I didn’t write much backstory, but I do have plenty of it planned out, including a timeline that goes back about sixty years before the start of the book. The villain, Queen Levana, probably has the most complex history—it’s rife with lust and betrayal and envy and wickedness. I really hope to write her story someday, perhaps as a supplement to the series.
Angel: What has been the best part of the publication process so far?
Marissa: EVERYTHING. It’s been a dream come true and every day just brings more surprises. Mostly I’ve been really floored with how awesome the reception for CINDER has been, from my agent, publisher, friends and family—I’m lucky to have an amazing group of advocates for these books.
Marissa: If you mean among my four heroines, then probably Cress, who is my Rapunzel character. She’s an avid daydreamer and tends to live in her own head sometimes, just like me. (That said, after my mom finished reading CINDER, her first comment to me was: “Well, I see where she gets her sarcasm from.” So Cinder and I have that in common at least.)
Angel: Which literary heroines would you most want to meet?
Marissa: Not sure if she counts as a “heroine,” but I have dreams about meeting Lydia Bennett from Pride and Prejudice and trying to talk some sense into her.
Angel: What are you reading right now?
Marissa: Possession by Elana Johnson.
Angel: Where is your favorite place to read?
Marissa: On the sofa in the evenings while my fiancé watches the baseball game.
Angel: What are the top 5 books in your TBR (To Be Read) pile? (You can divide this into books you already have and books you want, so ten books total.)
Marissa: Oh good, because keeping it to five was going to be hard!
TBR (books I own):
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
TBR (books I want):
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Angel: You’ve spent many years as a fanfiction writer–what has that experience taught you about writing?
Marissa: Now I want a T-shirt: “Everything I know I learned from Sailor Moon fanfiction.” Seriously, writing fanfic was like a big primer for this whole publishing thing. It taught me how to pace a story, when to “kill my darlings,” and how to take criticism. Most writers have a drawer full of forgotten novels—I have a fanfiction.net page.
Marissa: Excellent question. I’m not sure it makes it easier or harder. Some characters in fanfic feel like old friends and are really easy to write, while others always eluded me. Same with my original characters: some just popped fully-formed into my head and I never had any problems with them, while others require a lot of time and effort to figure them out.
Angel: Do you trust inspiration or hard work more when it comes to writing?
Marissa: Definitely hard work. I tend to start with inspiration (I write fast first drafts), then use hard work to clean up the mess I’ve just made.
Angel: What are you most grateful for, as an author?
Marissa: The fact that I had a dream and went for it and am now doing exactly what I love. Too many people go through their lives without ever knowing what they really want to do. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was little, and I feel like every decision I’ve ever made has brought me to this point.
Bonus: What’s the one thing you’d like your readers to know about you and about CINDER?
I’ve had so much fun with this story and these characters, who I admire and adore so much. I hope this comes through in the book and that readers will enjoy their time with this series as much as I’m enjoying writing it!
Thanks so much for the interview, Angel!
I highly encourage you to get to know Marissa and her work.