Marissa Meyer doesn’t just write about fairytales — she’s living one. Scarlet, the second installment in the Lunar Chronicles following 2012’s Cinder, was published last week and it’s already hit #4 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Even more exciting, a movie could be on the horizon — Meyer says they’re “just wrapping up negotiations” with a studio. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” Meyer told us over the phone. If you’re as obsessed with the cyborg mechanic as we are, then this news is cause for its own royal ball. Check out more from our interview with the author after the jump, including her thoughts on her new fiery-haried protagonist and her favorite scene from Scarlet.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve published your second book! How does it feel compared to the first?
MARISSA MEYER: Pretty much all the same feelings are still there. I kind of expected that by this point I’d be used to it, but that’s not the case at all. Every time I hear that it’s gotten a good review or get fan mail from people who are excited about [Scarlet], it feels new all over again. It’s still kind of a scary, exciting feeling. It is so hard for me to imagine that I’m at this point and I’ve written two whole books!
Cinder is such a mix of genres — a sci-fi fairytale — were you ever worried that it might be too much for people?
Oh yes. Definitely. Especially before I had the book deal or before I had an agent, and I was just working on this book. I, of course, loved it. But there would be times when I was thinking, oh nobody’s going to buy this, nobody’s going to accept that there’s these crazy people on the moon and there’s cyborgs… I was definitely worried that it was going to be too much for readers to take in. But it’s done so well and I’m so excited that readers are responding to it the way they are.
On to Scarlet — was it hard to create a new protagonist? Cinder’s still a part of the story obviously, but a lot of the book focuses on a whole new character.
You know, introducing Scarlet wasn’t that hard, largely because that’s how I envisioned the series from the beginning. I’d written Cinder with the intention that at the beginning of Book 2, we’re going to have these dual plot lines happening. But what was difficult that now I had two very different stories happening at the same time. Trying to balance them in a way that readers were captivated by both stories, intrigued by both stories, and not bored with one and just waiting to get back to the other… It was really about trying to find a way to keep them both going simultaneously.
There are a lot characters in this series. I imagine that some are more difficult to write than others. So who’s been the easiest and who’s been the toughest thus far?
The easiest are the funny ones. I love all the characters who have really great senses of humor. So Iko, Cinder’s sidekick, is always so much fun to write. She’s one of those characters where I can just throw her into a scene and let her start talking. I never know what she’s going to say, but it’s always perfect. Captain Carswell Thorne [from Scarlet] is another one for the same reasons — he just comes up these completely off-the-wall things to say that I’m not always expecting. As for the more difficult characters, Scarlet was actually a little tough for me to figure out, largely because at the beginning of the book she’s going through a pretty tough time, and so in the early drafts, she was very whiny and mopey, which wasn’t very much fun to write about or to read about. So it took me a while to figure out that she really wants to be this feisty, go-get-’em type of heroine. I had to let go of my own preconceptions and just let her be what she wanted to be.
On that note, I read a post on your blog where you described all the changes to Scarlet from the initial draft. And there were some big ones — like how part of the story used to take place in America, whereas now it only takes place in France. Was it daunting to make those kinds of huge changes?
It was daunting! Usually I can recognize when something is going to be better. I can kind of envision, oh if I make a change, yes it’s going to be a lot of work, but the book is going to be a lot better for it. And usually at that point I start to get excited for the plot all over again. That just makes me want to get back into it and not totally freak out about the amount of works that awaits me.
Do you have a favorite scene in Scarlet?
I do. It’s a spoiler, so I [don’t want to reveal too much], but it’s definitely the scene aboard the maglev train.
Scarlet is available now.