During the rush and hubbub of this year’s San Diego Comic Con International, we at FanBolt had the opportunity to sit down for an exclusive interview with Marissa Meyer, author of the popular Lunar Chronicles series. The Lunar Chronicles is an imaginative set of fairytale retellings set in a futuristic, sci-fi version of China (and France, and the moon, but we’ll get into that later). Meyer weaves elements of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White in order to create a vibrant universe full of intrigue, romance, and fast-paced action.
Between book-signings and panels, Meyer gave us an inside view of The Lunar Chronicles, her upcoming books – Fairest and Winter, and what’s on the horizon once this series is finished.
What inspired you to write fairytale retellings?
Well, I’ve pretty much been in love with fairytales since I was a kid. I love Disney movies. Really early on, I was given a book of fairytales and just fell in love with them and thought “these are nothing like the Disney movies!” So I’ve kind of always been interested in them, always reading the old version. And I’ve always loved retellings. But at the same time, there are so many retellings out there that I’ve always felt like if I ever were to write one I would really have to wait until I had an idea that feels really unique, that doesn’t feel like anything else out there. I honestly didn’t really think that I would ever have that, because it’s fairytales – there’s a billion of them! But when the idea of doing a science fiction retelling kind of came to me, I was like, “I love that idea,” and I couldn’t find that anyone had done it before, so I got really excited about it and thought, “This could be it. This is going to be my retelling.”
That I know of, you’re one of the few who has kept all of your fairytales tied together in the same universe. Tell me about that.
When I first had the idea to write a series of sci-fi based fairytales, I planned on them being in the same universe, but as separate, stand-alone stories. But as I started brainstorming and planning the world and the plot and how they were all going to tie into the sci-fi setting, the common denominator was this evil queen and her people that lived on the moon and the evil queen started tormenting all of the characters. She was originally the queen of Snow White, but all of a sudden, she had connections to Cinderella and she had connections to Rapunzel. As that developed more and it became clear that these were not going to be standalone books and that they were all going to tie together and interlock.
How long do you see The Lunar Chronicles going on?
Early early early on, I planned on it being five books, and the fifth one was going to be Puss in Boots. That very early on was not working, so it’s been four books since pretty much the beginning. With the exception of Fairest, the prequel, which was a surprise to everybody, myself included.
Is there any moment or scene in your upcoming books that you just can’t wait for your fans to read?
There’s a scene in Winter that is one of those scenes that I’ve had in my head since the beginning. I’ve always visualized it very clearly. A lot of writers [say that writing] is like watching a movie and you write what you see. This is one of those scenes that’s just very, very clear and vibrant to me. It’s probably about halfway through Winter, and it’s a Cinder-focused scene in which she pretty much hits this point where she’s not taking any crap from anybody. She’s just like “I’m going to become badass and everyone else is going to just deal with it!” She kind of does some really awesome things, and I just love it. I can’t wait for you guys to read it.
We’ve seen a lot of fan fiction adapted into standalone novels now. What’s your take on that?
I think it’s awesome. I am totally an advocate for fan fiction. I love it. I think it’s one of those things that benefits not only the fan fiction writers because they’re getting their feet wet, they’re learning storytelling, they’re learning how much confidence it takes to put your work out there and receive feedback on that. But it also benefits the community. It gives readers something to entertain themselves with between books, because we can only write so quickly, and I think it benefits the original creator too, y’know? It’s fans being out there, being so excited about your work, and those are the people who are going to spread the word of mouth and the people that are going to turn the fandom into something that hangs around for a while. So I love fan fiction, I think it’s awesome and I think that if someone can take an idea, something that started out as fan fiction, and then turn it around into something that’s uniquely their own and able to become published, I think that’s fantastic!
Do you read Lunar Chronicles fanfiction?
I do not. I love that it’s out there, I love that it exists, but I don’t want it to inadvertently affect what I’m planning for the series.
Do you have any plans to branch out from The Lunar Chronicles? Do you have any other series in the works?
Yes! So after The Lunar Chronicles, my first book will be out early 2016 and it’s a standalone that will be called Heartless. It is a prequel to Alice in Wonderland focusing on the Queen of Hearts. I’m very excited about that one, having lots of fun writing it. After that I will probably start a new trilogy, and that one is going to be based on superheroes and supervillains. Looking forward to getting started on that one, because it’s kind of been rolling around [in my head] for probably two years or so now.
Meyer’s next book, Fairest, hits the shelves on January 27th, 2015, followed by the final book in the series, Winter, in November of 2015.