Marissa Meyer is the New York Times bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles, which began with CINDER, the tale of a teenage cyborg destined to save the world. 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 lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and three cats. She may or may not be a cyborg herself. For more info, visit her website.
If you were a cartoon, who would you be?
Sailor Moon!!! Super powers. Tuxedo Mask. A talking pet cat. Discovering that you’re reincarnated royalty. That’s some good vicarious daydreaming.
What’s your motto in life?
“Work plagues the diligent” – that was my dad’s motto and it’s stuck with me. Also: “Know what’s important to you, and do that the best you can.” It’s too easy to forget your priorities and waste your energy on things that don’t really matter.
If you were to attend a costume party, who would you be?
Someday I really want to be Glinda the Good Witch. I also fantasize about Cinderella’s ball gown, because what girl didn’t dream about that? Maybe minus the shoes, though.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
Getting stung by a bee when I was three. My big brother came over and chased it away, but I was a mess.
What food item would you remove from the market altogether?
What is the most vivid or realistic dream you’ve ever had?
About 10 years ago I had a dream that I gave birth to an acorn. Like, an actual acorn. I really, really loved it, though, and I felt bad that it didn’t have a bed, so I made a little cushioned shoe box that it could roll around in. Then I couldn’t figure out what to name it and I felt guilty about that too (seriously, what kind of acorn-mother was I?!). In the end I named it Samalynn, which combines my grandmother’s name with my middle name. To this day I kind of feel like, if I ever have a daughter, I should probably name her Samalynn.
If you could make something in life go away, what would it be?
Spiders. Except that would totally ruin all sorts of important eco systems, so never mind, that’s a horrible answer.
What’s your favorite zoo animal?
The arctic fox – at our local zoo he’s always curled up and snoozing on top of this log. It’s adorable!
Have you been told you look like someone famous?
Some people say I look like Nicole Kidman? Which is the best compliment ever, but I don’t see it.
If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be?
I actually have a tattoo! On my upper back I have a stack of five books that I got to commemorate Cinder’s publication. Four of the books are for the Lunar Chronicles – the fifth represents all the books still to come.
What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in writing?
Be patient! It’s not a race. Take the time to learn the craft, study your genre, and write the best book you can. Yes, it often takes years. Be prepared to put in the time.
Who do you consider a literary genius?
J.K. Rowling. Her world-building. Oh! Her world-building.
Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If so, in what ways?
I like to think my work has gotten less angsty, melodramatic, and cheesy from the stuff I was writing when I was a teenager… or even, like, five years ago. But honestly? I don’t know if that’s true or not. As a reader and writer, I think I still have a soft spot for those stories!
When do you feel the most energized?
After a good writing day, when I had a break-through with the plot or the characters were full of brilliant surprises. It makes me excited to jump back in tomorrow.
How do you know when a book is finished?
Usually my beta readers clue me in. When they stop having suggestions, I know it’s time to let it go.
When did you know for certain that you wanted to pursue a career in writing? Have you ever questioned that decision?
I’ve known it, and questioned it, since I first learned that writing was an actual occupation people get paid for. There are still days when I question it! But I also feel like this is what I was meant to do.
Do you ever feel that you have to censor your creativity because you don’t want to offend anyone?
I don’t think of it as censoring. I know my audience, and I write for that audience, and there are things that wouldn’t be appropriate. If I wanted to write something offensive or violent or full of sexy times, then I would still write it, I would just write it for a different audience.