Recently, I was able to interview the fantastic Marissa Meyer author of Cinder: the first book in The Lunar Chronicles. Set in Dystopia Berlin in a retelling of Cinderella, Cinder is enchanting and unique. In this interview Marissa discuses her inspirations for The Lunar Chronicles along with giving her own advice to aspiring writers and how it felt to become a New York Times bestseller!
I started writing stories when I was a little kid - even before I knew the alphabet I used to tell stories to my mom so she could type them up for me, and when I was in elementary school I was constantly writing short poems and plays that my cousin and I would later act out for our parents. But I started writing seriously when I was a teenager and was first introduced to fanfiction, which I wrote for close to ten years. When I was 16 or so I started trying to write novels.
Was there a certain time when you realised that you knew you wanted to become an author?
There's not a specific moment. It feels like I always wanted to be an author, since I first realized that it was a real occupation. I get to work in my PJs and daydream and make up stories for a living! It's what I've always wanted to do.
Who or what inspired you to write? Do they still inspire you now?
My biggest influences were those that swept me and my imagination away when I was growing up. The Hobbit made me dream of sorcerery and epic quests, The Little House on the Prairie made me dream of "simpler" times (that weren't really so simple), Saior Moon made me dream about being a superhero. And I'm still inspired by any stories that re-confirm my belief in true love and happily ever afters.
Was anything or anyone in Cinder based on events or people in your life?
Not really. My husband is great with cars, so I was able to use his knowledge for some of Cinder's mechanic skills, but that's about it. Everything else just emerged out of my imagination.
Cinder was released earlier this year, can you tell us a bit about what it is about?
The first in a four-book series, Cinder is a futuristic retelling of Cinderella, in which Cinder is a sixteen-year-old girl who is part human and part machine, or a cyborg. She lives in a society in which cyborgs are considered second-class citizens, though, which creates some problems when she begins to fall in love with the handsome prince who is, himself, attempting to avoid a marriage alliance with a cruel and powerful queen.
It's now becoming a series called the Lunar Chronicles, was this always planned? If not, what made you change your mind?
Oh yes, I've known since before I wrote the first page of Cinder that it would be a four-book series. I had all four books sketched out and outlined really early on, so I know just where the books and Cinder's story is heading. Each book continues Cinder's story, while also introducing new fairy-tale inspired characters: Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. It's been a lot of fun to write all the different characters.
What gave you the inspiration for this story?
The concept began with a short story that I wrote years ago. It was called "Luna v. 4.2" and was a science-fiction retelling of the fairy tale "Puss in Boots," but with talking robotic cats and a kingdom on the moon that was on the verge of war with Earth. It was so much fun that I decided to try and turn it into a series of futuristic fairy tales. Although the Puss in Boots storyline eventually got cut out, a lot of those original inspirations hung on.
Congratulations on becoming a New York Times Bestseller, how does it feel when you see the success and love for Cinder?
It feels... surreal. I guess I felt like it would start feeling normal after awhile and I could just be like, "Oh yeah, that's my big, I'm kind of a big deal." But it's not to that point yet. I still feel like I'm in a dream.
Could you give any advice for aspiring authors?
The advice that everyone gives is still the best advice out there: Write a lot and Read a lot. Those are the only things you can do to make yourself a better writer. I also like to tell aspiring writers to enjoy the process and never forget that you're doing this because you love it. Writing begins as a passion, otherwise why would we do it?
A huge thank you to Marissa Meyer for answering my questions! It's a honour to have had the chance to interview you.