Marissa Meyer’s debut YA novel, Cinder, came out on January 3, 2012 and is the first in her “The Lunar Chronicles,” a four-book series with future volumes focusing on Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel.
Born and raised in Tacoma, WA, she Meyer was initially inspired to write Cinder after participating in a 2008 writing contest where she wrote a story focusing on a futuristic Puss in Boots.
Meyers attended Pacific Lutheran University, where she received a degree in creative writing. Before writing Cinder, she worked as a book editor for five years and would write Sailor Moon fanfics under the pen name of Alicia Blade.
Meyer is a is a guest speaker at SLJ‘s August 9 online event, SummerTeen: A Celebration of Young Adult Books. If you’ve signed up for SummerTeen, make sure to gather your teens to hear Meyer speak on the “Classic Twist” panel from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration is still open.
How did you end up writing fantasy novels?
MM: I started writing my first novel when I was 16—a fantasy novel about a 16-year-old princess (of course!). That novel was never finished, and I would attempt many more ideas and stories throughout college and into adulthood. I grew up, but my characters never did. When I started seriously looking into publication, I realized that I’d been writing YA all this time.
What do you like best about writing for teens?
MM: There’s a certain freedom that comes with writing YA. Teens are so experimental with their reading—they haven’t yet gotten locked into any specific genre, and when I ask a teen what their favorite books are, they often mention dystopians, paranormals, contemporaries, horrors, and more—all in one breath. This openness also allows for a lot of genre mashing and bending, which gives us writers permission to let our imaginations run wild.
What’s one of the most moving things someone has said about your books?
MM: I received an email from a teen reader who was about to go in for surgery to have metal splints put into her leg. She said that reading about Cinder with her cyborgness had made her feel not so scared and alone, and even made her feel pretty cool. I’m so honored to think my book could have that sort of impact, and I was of course quick to tell her that she is cool. A real-life cyborg!
How valuable are librarians at getting the word out about your work?
MM: There will never be a replacement for a good librarian. They know their genre and they know their readers—they’re in a perfect spot to connect people with the book they’re looking for and didn’t even know about. When a librarian succeeds at getting the right book into the right hands, it can open up a whole new relationship with books for that reader. That’s so special, and as a writer I appreciate what a difference a hand-picked recommendation of my book can make.
Do you ever worry about your books being censored or challenged?
MM: There isn’t much in the “Lunar Chronicles” that I worry about, but I sense some of the stories I have in mind for future projects could have touchier subjects. I like to think that I would have the confidence to write the story that I feel needs to be told, regardless of how it might be received.
Tell us about what you’re working on now?
MM: I’m currently knee-deep in revisions for Cress: Book Three of the Lunar Chronicles.
Other SLJ SummerTeen Interviews: