Writing is a passion. Publishing is a business.


Interview with MARISSA MEYER

One of my first spoken words was “story” (right along with “bath” and “cookie”), my favorite toy as an infant was a soft squishable book, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I first realized such a job existed. When I was fourteen my best friend introduced me to anime and fanfiction—over the years I would complete over forty Sailor Moon fanfics under the penname Alicia Blade. I attended Pacific Lutheran University where I sorted mail that came to the dorm, carted tables and chairs around campus, and took writing classes, eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. Knowing I wanted a career in books, I would also go on to receive a Master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University. After graduation, I worked as an editor in Seattle for a while before becoming a freelance typesetter and proofreader. Then, day of days, someone thought it would be a good idea to give me a book deal, so I became a full-time writer. CINDER is my first novel, though I have an adorable collection of unfinished ones lying around too. I now live with my husband and our three cats (Calexandria Josephine, Stormus Enormous, and Blackland Rockwell III), who go in and out, in and out, about eight hundred times a day. My favorite non-bookish things include Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, re-watching episodes of Firefly, and playing all manners of dress-up.

What first sparked your interest in writing?
I was an avid reader as a kid, and I think as soon as I realized that making up stories was a job people actually got paid to do, I knew that's what I wanted. I had this overactive imagination and I was constantly daydreaming, so to think that I could turn that into a career was always a fantasy. I'd been working toward that dream ever since.

What do you love the most about writing? The least?
Getting to work in my pajamas! Ha! That's a big job perk. I also love to know that getting lost in a daydream is now considered "working" - how great is that?

As far as my least favorite part of writing, there is that point with every writing project where I'm convinced that it's horrible. It's usually somewhere around 2/3 of the way through the second draft, and I just know that I'm wasting my time and this story will never be what I want it to be and everyone who reads it will realize I'm a talentless hack. It's a tough period. Luckily, I've found that every writer experiences this at some point, and that if you can keep pushing through you'll eventually reach a place where you love the book again.

What inspires you?

Oh, all sorts of things! You never know where inspiration will come from. I've been inspired by books, movies, music, magazine articles, overheard conversations, random signs on the side of the street, watching parades and musicals, traveling to new destinations. I think it's important for writers to get out there and experience as much life as they can, and to be constantly filling themselves up with new ideas, because you never know what will turn into your next story.

Why speculative fiction?

I always loved fantasy - from fairy tales to sword and sorcery fiction and everything in between. When I was a kid I was *convinced* that I had secret magic powers, and it was only a matter of time before they revealed themselves. (Okay, I might still think my time is coming.) It's a wonderful fantasy to think that there is more to this world than meets the eye, and as a writer, I can make those fantasies a reality. Maybe that's my magic power.

Why young adult?

I like that teenage protagonists can be free to be optimistic. They believe in love at first sight. They believe that they're brave and heroic. They believe that they can change the world. It's great to write about a time of life in which characters aren't yet bogged down with cynicism; they're not jaded. They're looking forward, anticipating what they're lives will become, and I love watching my characters grow and change over the course of their stories. I like watching them become heroes.