Friday, August 1, 2014

Reposts: Meg Cabot Interviews

In honor of  the Summer of Authors Feature I have running this summer, where I've been posting author interviews/ guest posts I've decided to re-share both interviews with Meg Cabot that we've posted during past Meg-a-Readers events.

Originally Posted July 20, 2012

Mandy’s Questions for Meg

1. What kind of music do you listen to as you write?  Do you have a current favorite song?
Good question!  I usually make playlists for every book I write, with a song specific to each particular character. Dorky, I know, but I can’t help it!  It just happens.
For Underworld, I listened to these songs every time I wanted to slip into John’s mindset about Pierce:
The Black Keys “Howlin’ For You”
Jared Evan’s “I’m in Love With You”, and 
Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything”
(Although she’s actually much nicer than the girls depicted in those songs! Especially the one in “Anything, Anything.”  Yes, John’s desperately lonely and will do anything to get Pierce to join him in the Underworld, even give her “diamonds, pills, and hundred dollar bills.” But unlike Persephone in the myth of Hades, Pierce is already intrigued by John.  He doesn’t really have to give her jewels, drugs, and money!)
For Pierce, I listened to:
Little Boot’s “New in Town” (though the lyrics of that song are better suited to Pierce’s friend Kayla.  However, the tone of it suits Pierce, and she IS “New in Town”) and
“Everything I Own” from the movie Bandslam
Gah, I never thought I’d admit that in public! My secret shame, unveiled!
Another embarrassing confession (I’d only do this for you, Mandy):
When I’m writing I actually like to listen to hip-hop and rap, the naughtier the lyrics, the better, since it keeps me energized and awake!  Pitbull is my current favorite artist.  I love him!  So that’s what I listened to while writing the latest Heather Wells.

2. What is your writing process like?

My writing process is called “5 by 5 or $5.”  See below for an explanation!
I come up with an idea for a book and usually jot it down and let it gel for a few years (for real!) before I discuss it with anyone.  I have found that if I talk about a book idea too soon, it can “crawl back up” (like when someone says “God bless you” before you actually sneeze.  Have you ever noticed when this happens, you never sneeze?  This happens to me with book ideas if I talk about them before I write them down). 
I try to write every day from 10AM until 5PM.  I start by rereading what I wrote the day before, then deleting most, but not all, of it (sad but true).
In this way, very slowly, a book eventually evolves.  Then I turn it in, it gets edited and sent back to me, I revise it, and then I start all over again. 
But I can’t always write every day, because things happen.  The week I got this email, for instance, a friend’s husband died, so I had to travel to see her.  Or I’ll have a book tour. Or family will come to visit. Or I’ll have groceries to shop for and then something will go wrong with the car. Or I’ll get so many wonderful messages on Facebook and Twitter from readers, of course I’ll want to read them all, or I’ll have interviews like this one to complete, or my 20 year old cat will get sick.  Basically, Life intervenes!
This is why fellow author Rachel Vail and I invented “5 by 5 or $5.” Rachel and I decided that if, by 5PM we have not written 5 pages, we have to donate $5 to a certain politician we both hate very much (I will not name the politician, as that would not be very princessy.  Just know that he/she is someone so despicable that we are always VERY careful to finish our 5 pages by 5 o’clock in order not to have to donate $5).
We let each other off the hook for emergencies only.  Also, deleting 5 pages counts, because deleting is just as painful (and creatively important) as writing 5 pages.

3. Any completely new ideas running through your head that you think will make it on book store shelves?  And could you give us a teaser? :)

Sadly, as stated earlier, I can’t tell you about new ideas until they’re already written, or they will crawl back up (this is also a Breakfast Club reference.  Points to anyone who can name which character said it and what he was referring to.  Yes, it’s gross).
But I CAN tell you that I’m playing around with some ideas for a 7th book in the Mediator series, and that I just completed the 4th book in the Heather Wells mystery series, Size 12 and Ready to Rock, which will be out July 10! 
And of course, there’s Awaken, the sequel to Underworld, which will be out next spring, along with Size 12 is the New Black, the next Heather Wells mystery.  As readers of Big Boned, the last Heather Wells mystery, know, Cooper’s finally
(do not read further if you do no want a spoiler:)
proposed, so there are wedding bells in the air … but considering it’s Heather, those bells could actually be bullets! 
Spoiler over!

4. Where do you think you got your amazing humor from?
Aw, thanks!  But I do not think my humor is amazing.  If you couldn’t make everyone laugh at the dinner table at my house, no one noticed you. So I sort of learned it just to get attention. 
I also had great, funny teachers, from elementary school all the way through college, and I owe a lot to them.  My teachers were all the best!
Growing up, I also always looked for books that had a humorous element to them in order to escape whatever traumatic thing was going on in my life, and was always very grateful to authors who could make me laugh when I was feeling my lowest (and I mean authors from every genre, from romance to mysteries to sci-fi). 
So I feel very fortunate that I’m in a position now to be able to return the favor to readers like myself. 

5. What was the first thing you ever wrote about?  And how old were you?
My first book was called Benny the Puppy. It was about a puppy named Benny whose life trajectory was quite tragic (entire family perished in a freak prairie tornado) until he found happiness in the form of adoption by a kindly local Navajo tribe.  I wrote it when I was seven years old. 

The film rights are still available, Disney!
(That is a joke.)

6. What actress could you see play Pierce, if Abandon were to be made into a movie?

I never answer this question on the grounds that some of my books have been made into movies and television shows, and many more of my works (including Abandon) are currently optioned for film and television.  What if whoever gets cast as Pierce Googles this question someday, then finds this blog and sees that I was asked this question and I didn’t mention her name?  She might think I don’t like her!
So, actress-who-has-been-cast-as-Pierce-who-is-reading-this-in-the-future, whoever you are, I love you, you’re perfect!  We ALL love you, don’t we, readers?

7. What actress could you see as Heather, if Size 12 is Not Fat were to be turned into a TV show (which is what I am hoping for!!) or a movie?
Same answer! 
But I will add that I’d love to see Heather on film, especially since she ALMOST made it as a TV series (on ABC Family). So you never know!
Of course, actress-from-the future-who-is-reading-this, it would be great if you could be a size 12 (or larger) actress, since there aren’t a lot of roles (or role models) out there for women who are larger than a size 2, and there is a lot of pressure to be thin in Hollywood (and everywhere else!).
But none of us will hold it against you if you are not a size 12.  We understand the pressure you’re under, and would just like you to be happy and healthy!  But if you are not a size 12, please don’t say no to the chocolate mousse tonight at dinner, since none of us will be doing so.  Thanks!

8. Random Questions: Hugh Jackman or Johnny Depp?
I love Hugh, but there is also a certain charm in Captain Jack Sparrow! However, may I have Pitbull instead?

9.  Favorite movie of all time?

Wow, another tough one!  Of course Star Wars (A New Hope) is my favorite movie of all time.  I know it seems cheesy now, but I saw it when it was originally in theaters in the 70s (yes, I am old) with my whole family, and it was the last time I remember them all being together and happy, so it’s more the memory of that, maybe, than the movie itself.
But it’s also a great story with a strong female character who endures something horrible (torture on the Death Star) for a great cause (to save the galaxy) and then helps defeat the Evil Empire with her bravery, AND gets the funny guy (well, after Return of the Jedi) in the end (we’ll ignore the part where she makes out with her brother).

10.  And lastly, any advice for aspiring writers?

My advice is always the same:

Write about the things you love.

Write the kind of stories you’d want to read.

Words can hurt.  A wise writer uses them kindly.

Originally Posted September 28, 2013
Fan Asked Questions:
You asked, we selected then delivered and Meg answered! Here are the responses to the questions you summited for Meg last month.

Hi, thanks so much for having me here! I’m excited to “cyber-see” you all again!

I've noticed that you almost have done all book genres, from supernatural to royal to everyday like. What other genres are you planning to write on, something that you have never done before?
- Tara Millena

I've never written a book told completely from a guy's point of view (unless you count the short story “The Protectionist” that I wrote for the anthology to raise funds for Darfur, “What You Wish For,” which was written from the point-of-view of a twelve year old boy. I’ve definitely written scenes from the points of male characters in my adult fiction, as recently as Insatiable and Overbite, and as far back as my books written as Patricia Cabot. I wouldn’t rule out writing a new from a male character’s point-of-view. You never know!

What's different about writing young adult fiction and adult fiction? Is there one that you enjoy more than the other?
- tiffany khyla

I don’t really enjoy one more than the other, but for me the biggest challenge in writing for teens versus adults is that I’m not allowed use curse words in my teen/kids fiction (well, not very much), especially the F word, but in real life, I curse all the time! I realize this is not very classy, but it’s been scientifically proven to be a stress reliever! When I go to book signings and events, I have to sit in the car before hand and say the F word in the backseat for about ten minutes to get it out of my system to make sure I don’t say it in front of the kids. Then I’m ready to go inside and act like a good role model … but sometimes (for instance in Long Island last night when I dropped my camera) I let an F bomb fly anyway. Dang it! So not classy.

I love all your female protagonists but I also fell in love with all your male ones, especially Michael Moscovitz. Do you believe that there are real guys out there who resemble your male characters?
- Joana Razon

Absolutely! There's someone out there for everyone. Just be yourself, and someday a guy will come along wholoves you just the way you are. But remember – YOU may have to reach out to HIM! Sometimes guys are shy.

Do you get to pick out all of your book covers? I know some authors say they don't have any input on it.
- Rachel

Usually the publisher chooses several ideas for a cover, and we vote (my editor, myself, my agent, and the art dept). Almost always we completely agree. But sometimes (like with a guy) you might have to take the initiative (in a gentle, non-threatening way) if no one can come to an agreement. I wasn’t loving any of the ideas for the cover for The Bride Wore Size 12, so I found the photo of the cake topper online, photoshopped the gun to the bride’s leg, and sent the image to my publisher. They loved the idea, and that became the cover. If you have a great idea, everyone will always be open to it, but it really does need to be great, and you need to be able to argue for WHY it’s great.

If you were to be stranded on a desert island with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

Obviously John Hayden from Awaken because he’s a ship builder and ship captain, so he could build us a boat and sail us back to shore!

I just wanted to ask Meg whether she plans the plot of the whole series right at the beginning or is it the other way around?
- Poorvi Shetty

I have some idea of where things are headed in each series before I write it. I definitely plot out each book in advance(in my head). I’m not a huge outliner, and don't believe you have to know all the details in order to write a great book, but I do believe you have to know where you're going and have some idea of how you're going to get therein order not to run into writer’s block. But even if you do, it’s still fixable. Just make a plan and figure it out!

Which age genre is easiest to write? YA, NA, Adult, Middle Grade, etc?

I don’t have any favorites. I feel lucky that I get to write for all ages! Of course, when I write for adults, I get to include more swear words (and murder and steamy scenes). But I love writing for younger readers who are at a time in their lives when they're just discovering who they are and what they want to be, especially when their biggest problem might be a bully, or someone they do NOT want to kiss.

Princess Mia once made a reference to Jess and Samantha from two of your other books, do you ever make any other less-noticeable tie-ins in other books?
- Diana

Astute fans, while reading The Bride Wore Size 12 might notice something!

Any upcoming projects that we should know about?

As I type this, I’ve just started my fall book tour. I hope you will all stop by to visit me if you can. You can find the complete schedule of all my stops at When I get back, there’s a good chance I'll be working on some new installments to some old favorites, which haven’t had new stories in a few years. I don’t want to give away anything away, however! You’ll just have to stay tuned to (and my twitter and Facebook page) for updates.

Thanks for reading, and as always, be happy, be healthy, and be yourself!
Love, Meg


  1. Oh good times, good times! :)

    I loved Meg's 5 for 5 $5 answer! That is a great idea!

    1. Yeah that's a pretty cool rule.

      I love reading about her "upcoming projects" since we know what they are now.