Hi Marissa! ”Cinder” is your debut novel and three more books are planned in the series. ”Cinder” has just been published here in Sweden and I wonder how you got the idea for the book?
– Thank you so much for having me on your blog! The idea for the Lunar Chronicles started with a writing contest that I entered a few years ago. For the contest, I wrote a short story that gave a science-fiction twist to the Grimm fairy tale “Puss in Boots”. I had so much fun writing it that I thought I would attempt a whole series of futuristic fairy tales. I spent a couple months with that idea in the back of my head, brainstorming different ways I could intertwine these classic stories with my favorite science-fiction tropes, and then as I was falling asleep one night I had a vision of Cinderella as a cyborg mechanic. The idea stuck, and the rest of the plot and series started to fall into place from there.
When did you decide that it would be a series?
– Very early on, although in the beginning I’d planned to write each book as a loosely-connected stand-alone. I figured each story would take place in the same futuristic world, perhaps with a few overlapping characters, but that each one would tell its own story. However, the more I planned out the series, the more the characters and plotlines started to intertwine, and the villain (the wicked Lunar queen) was soon terrorizing all my fairy tale heroes. It became clear that the four books would be one continuous story, with Cinderella being at the center of this conflict between good and evil.
What kind of response did you get after ”Cinder” was released? How did it feel?
– It’s been absolutely amazing. The reaction to Cinder has been so positive and complimentary, and the readers and blogging community have been incredible. It’s still a strange feeling to think how many people in the world have read my book and enjoyed it – to the extent that there have been fans making Cinder costumes, fanart, fanfiction, book trailers, and more. I feel very honored that fans have connected with the book so much, and I hope that will continue throughout the series.
If the books ever is turned into movies. Who do you think should play the leading role?
– We are, in fact, in negotiations with a movie studio right now over the film rights (with fingers crossed that it will get made!). But I’m afraid I don’t really have any preconceptions over actors, perhaps because the characters are such unique people in my own head. The only one I can really think of is perhaps Ian McKellen for Dr. Erland?
As an author – what is the most difficult?
– I find that I struggle with creating villains. It’s so tempting to make a villain 100% evil and unredeemable, but that’s not realistic. You have to consider how and why this villain became the way they are, and what they are trying to accomplish. You want to make them as three-dimensional and interesting as your hero. I’ve written pages and pages of backstory for Queen Levana and her thaumaturges (sorcerer-like minions), some of which readers will get to see in the next books.
What advice would you like to give young people who dreams of becoming a writer?
– I think it’s important to remind aspiring writers to have fun with it. If you want to be a writer, it’s likely because you enjoy the act of storytelling. You have characters in your head that you want to spend time with, you have adventures tugging at your imagination that you want to share with readers. Don’t forget that. Don’t get so swept up in the desire to get published or the pressures that go along with it that you lose sight of the reason you’re writing in the first place. Do it because you love it.