“The Marissa Meyer talk is part of a larger author talk series funded by a grant called the Pacific Library Partnership (PLP),” says Paul Sims, assistant city librarian. “The goal is to bring best-selling authors to small or medium sized libraries that would normally be out of reach because of cost, travel and time challenges. Melissa Meyer’s novel ‘Cinder’ was incredibly well received, as was her Lunar Chronicle series.”
“The Lunar Chronicles are retellings of fairytales,” says Hongla Phan, a chat attendee. “I like ‘Cinder’s’ first person view, which tells a Cinderella story with a post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk feel to it.”
Teen moderators Ishita Dubey, 17, and Shubhra Dubey, 13, asked Meyer a few questions, such as why Meyer set “Cinder” in New Beijing.
“Many scholars believe that the earliest recorded version of the Cinderella story comes to us from ninth century China. That story was written 700 years before the Brothers Grimm on the other side of the planet,” Meyer says. “So knowing the history of the story, I wanted to set ‘Cinder’ in China to have what I thought would be a cool cyclical feel. You have this very old story of Cinderella set in China and now you have this far [in the] future story set in China.”
Meyer also explained that her books feature international locations because her story revolves around a worldwide plague.
Scanning fan questions, librarian Kelly Quinn Chiu asked Meyer how she wrote about settings for places she had never been to.
“Travel guides do a really good job of highlighting sensory details; they go into the food of a place and the flora and the fauna and the overall atmosphere,” Meyer says. “For Paris, when [a character named] Scarlet is walking from the train station to the theater, I went on Google Maps and figuratively walked that street.”
Toward the end of the chat, Chiu asked Meyer to offer advice for writers.
“The number one thing is always going to be: to write, and to write a lot,” Meyer says. “I like to particularly tell aspiring writers when you’re first starting out, not to worry too much about publication, or the market, or the audience that you’re writing for. But rather, just to focus on you, your writing and what is the story that you want to tell. Develop your craft. Develop your voice…”