Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop, Featuring Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder and International Giveaway

This hop is in conjunction with the 3rd annual Fairy Tale Fortnight.  
Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop
Hosted by
March 26th to April 2nd

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)I am so incredibly excited to invite Marissa Meyer, the best selling author of Cinder, to my blog! As you recall, Lauren Oliver, author of the Delirium series, said in her interview with me that this was her favorite read of the year. In addition to that, all of you voted on a poll that this was my next favorite read... and it was!

Goodreads Book Description: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Author Blurb: Marissa Meyer is the New York Times-bestselling author of the Lunar Chronicles. She's a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that encourages costumes), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a kid. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Author Interview

1. I love hearing stories about how people became authors. Can you tell us a little about your journey?
I’m one of those writers who grew up knowing this is what I wanted to do. I think since I figured out that you could potentially make money telling stories and working in your pajamas all day, I knew that was the job for me. So I spent a lot of time daydreaming and writing poems and plays and short stories when I was growing up, then I had a long, long stint as a fanfiction writer for Sailor Moon when I was a teenager. I tried my hand at a handful of novels when I was in high school and college, but none of them ever took off. It wasn’t until I had the idea for Cinder that I knew I absolutely had to try and finish it and get it published—and I’m so thrilled that it’s become my first novel!

2. You answered the question in your FAQ on your blog how you came up with the idea for Cinder when thinking about ideas for a writing contest. But then you say you did a huge brainstorming session after the initial idea came into your head. Can you tell us a little about what process you go through?
Usually I get a small spark of an idea—for The Lunar Chronicles, it was “combining fairy tales with science fiction”—and then I spend quite a lot of time mulling the idea over and letting it expand in my head until a story starts to develop. The idea might give way to a character, like it did with Cinder when I first envisioned Cinderella as a cyborg, or the idea might begin to evolve into a world, or I might start to come up with plot points and potential conflicts and then have to insert characters that fit them. It seems to be different for every project. But eventually I have enough pieces to the puzzle that I can start writing them down and sculpting them into a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Of course, that’s still only the beginning—though I’m an outline writer, my novels tend to go through multiple big revision rounds before they truly take shape.

3. I love the cover for this book. Can you tell us about how it was chosen and why you decided on a red shoe instead of a "glass slipper?"
Thank you, I love it too! I had very little say in the cover design, as it is with most authors, and I was surprised when my publisher first showed me the concept with the red shoe (especially as there are no red shoes in the book!). But they convinced me that it was a smart marketing tactic and the red would pop off of bookshelves, and they were absolutely right. On top of that, I now see that they envisioned each cover in the series having a red focus, which I think is brilliant. I can’t wait to see them altogether.
(On a separate note, my publisher for Catalan Spain used the same cover image, but changed the shoe to the more typical glass slipper. It can be seen here:

4. The setting for this novel is very unique-- futuristic China. What was hard about setting it there and what was the most fun about setting it there?
Definitely the most difficult, and nerve-wracking, part of this decision was not being able to travel there and do my research in-person. Though I visited China once when I was a teenager, I don’t know how helpful that experience was when it came to creating my own futuristic version of the country, and so I had to rely mostly on secondary resources for my research. I spent lots of time going through travel guides and looking up traditions and holidays and cultural symbols and what they stand for, trying to capture both the feel of old-world traditions and the very modern, high-tech society that much of China is today and no doubt will be when it becomes the Eastern Commonwealth. I do enjoy researching though, and I love reading about traditions, arts, and holidays that are different from our own.

5. You talk about how important beta readers are-- I totally agree with this, and actually beta read for a couple of St. Louis YA authors. Can you tell us what are the most important characteristics of a beta reader and an example of how they changed your book?
Ohmygosh, I really don’t know what I would do without my betas! Mine have made such a big impact on this series, both in how they’ve encouraged me over the years and how they challenge me to be a better writer. So many times I’ve thought that something was “good enough,” only to be told by one of my betas that they knew I could do better… and of course, they’re always right. They don’t let me take the easy way out and force me to really think about who the characters are, what is motivating them, and if my plot twists are as strong and daring as I can make them. I would say that a good beta reader is one part cheerleader (I live for the comments that say I’ve made them laugh out loud or swoon during a kiss or yell at the villain); one part editor (they always find inconsistencies and errors that I missed); and one part writing coach (their thoughtful critiques and feedback always help me take the story to a brand new level). A good beta reader also knows when to offer suggestions of their own and when to simply say “this isn’t working” and let the writer figure out the solution for themselves.

6. Lauren Oliver told me in an interview that Cinder was her favorite YA read of the year. It's time to pay it forward :-) What was your favorite YA year over the past year and why?
Wow, thanks Lauren!! I’m so flattered. Gosh, it’s so hard to choose a favorite… a lot of amazing books came out last year. But I’m going to have to go with Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Everything from the writing to the world-building to the characters is completely captivating. The story—about a sickly mapmaker who discovers she alone might have a magic power strong enough to destroy the dark and dangerous Shadowfold that’s torn her country apart—has everything I love in a book: political intrigue, horrible villains, swoony romances… oh, I just love this series.

7. Tell us about your cats.
Ha! Well, we have three. The two girls, Calexandria Josephine and Blackland Rockwell III, were found as kittens a day apart from each other: one was under my brother’s house and one was under my father-in-law’s. The third, Stormus Enormous, came to us as a scrawny, dirty stray. He’s since plumped up quite nicely. He’s actually the third stray we’ve taken in over the years. I’m pretty sure there’s a big arrow over our house, visible only to felines, indicating that there’s Free Food Here.

8. Do you go anywhere or listen to music or do anything else to get inspiration?
Depending on my mood, I might take a nice long bubble bath, or I might go to the gym and run on the treadmill, or I might lay on living room floor and stare at the ceiling and wait for my imagination to start turning. I do have a playlist for each book that I’ll listen to when I’m driving, and after awhile I’ll find that certain songs become the theme songs for a certain character or chapter from the book, and then listening to them can pull up those same emotions when I need them. I don’t listen to music when I write though—I find it too distracting.

9. You write about terrific locations but mentioned on your blog that you either were there as a young child or have never explored the area. What is your dream getaway and why?
There are a gazillion places I’d like to visit someday, but mostly I would love, love, love to go to Germany—the home of the Grimm Brothers! I want to visit Castle Neuschwanstein, the ultimate “fairy tale castle.” And I also want to travel the “Fairy Tale Road,” which supposedly stops at the places where the Grimm brothers lived and worked, and also in certain towns that may have inspired different fairy tales, such as Bremen which has a sculpture of the Bremen Town Musicians. Plus, I just hear that Germany is really beautiful.

10. Tell us a little about what books you are working on now. Specifically, can you tell us a bit about what we can look forward to from your characters in Cinder and Scarlet?
I’m just about finished with Book 3: CRESS, which is my Rapunzel story. Instead of being stuck in a tower, Cress is stuck in a satellite orbiting Earth and being forced to work as a cyber-spy for Queen Levana. All our favorite characters from Cinder and Scarlet will be returning, and Kai fans will be happy to know that he has a much bigger role in this book than he did in Scarlet! The series will then wrap up with Book 4: WINTER, which is based on Snow White, in which our heroes must make their final stand against the evil queen.

Wow, what a terrific interview! Thanks so much to Marissa for agreeing to answer my questions, and please sign up to win her wonderful books!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wow! Awesome interview. I loved learning about how Marissa came up with the idea of the story, her research process, and the cover. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway! I LOVE Cinder and Scartlet! I love hearing how other authors work their magic. :)

  3. Great interview! It's awesome to learn how a writer as yourself can image about to write. I really love reading about yourself, I see talent for a long time to come. I usually don't read this kind of books, but yours caught my interest and can't wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win this brilliant book.
    Donna Harris

  4. What a fantastic interview! Marissa Meyer is probably the author whose interviews I will always read. And each one is so different. You asked some great questions, and as usual, she told us some great stories. :)