I’m thrilled to welcome Marissa Meyer, author of the fantastic Cinder and Scarlet of The Lunar Chronicles, to the blog today to answer a few questions as part of my long-abandoned Featured on Friday (which I hope to resurrect once uni is all done) to celebrate her first UK signing this month.
1. You’re obviously a big fan of fairytales – which is your favourite? Why?
It’s impossible for me to choose just one favourite, although it tends to be drawn to those fairy tales that everyone thinks they know, but there are little known creepier elements of them that have gotten largely lost with time. I’m fascinated by Cinderella’s stepsisters chopping off their toes and heel to fit the slipper, and how Sleeping Beauty’s prince essentially raped her and she didn’t wake up until after she gave birth. It’s so disturbing, but so interesting, and I’m intrigued by how the stories have changed and become so Disney-ized in the past few generations.
2. Why did you choose to make cyborgs at the bottom of society when it would be so easy for them to have the power?
I wanted Cinder’s role in society to mimic her servant status in the Cinderella tale. I love romance stories in which people have to cross societal divides to reach each other, and the Cinderella tale encompasses that idea so well. Once I decided that cyborgs were second-class citizens, though, I had to give a lot of thought to why and how they ended up this way, because as you say, with all their strengths and talents it would be easy for them to be the rulers. I drew on a lot of history of oppression and prejudice to try and create their history, which will be more fully explained in Book 3.
3. I love that both Cinder and Scarlet are strong, independent heroines. Do you have a favourite fictional heroine?
Oh gosh—so many! But I’m obviously drawn to the strong-willed types, although there are different ways that a girl can be strong and independent. I adore Elizabeth Bennet, who had the courage to be independent in a time when that was very unusual for women, and Katsa from Graceling, who never loses sight of her goals and desires.
4. Cinder and Scarlet are closely linked but also follow different threads. Did it get confusing when you blended the characters and timelines in Scarlet?
I don’t know that it was confusing, but it was definitely a challenge! I had written out the characters’ histories and had a really good sense of how the stories were going to intertwine as the book went on, but it was still difficult to make sure things were revealed in a way that readers would find intriguing and inevitable, while still keeping up plenty of suspense in both storylines. I hope I succeeded!
5. Do you have a favourite fairytale retelling? Author of retellings?
I LOVE Gail Carson Levine, who is of course most known for Ella Enchanted. Ella definitely ranks high on my list of fave retellings, although I adore pretty much everything Levine did. She has a way of keeping the whimsical fairy-tale vibe in her stories, while also making them entirely her own, which I admire.
Thank you so much for some great answers, Marissa! Don’t forget to bookmark March 26th for Marissa’s first UK signing at Waterstone’s Bromley at 6:30pm. I’m definitely going to try and make it!