If you’ve been to a library or bookstore in the past few years you may have heard of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicle Series, starting with 2012’s Cinder. In the first installment, Meyer’s heroine, Cinder, must race against the clock to save Prince Kaito, heir to the Eastern Commonwealth that serves as a futuristic Asia, from the clutches of Queen Levana, the wicked Queen of the Lunars, who are the witch-like colonists of the moon. Phew, what a mouthful!
In order to save the world, Cinder must find Princess Selene, the lost daughter of Levana’s dead sister, Channary, who is the rightful heir to the throne. Of course, early on, Cinder turns out to be the princess all along, but she hasn’t escaped her wicked aunt just yet. Aided by her friends, Scarlet, a French farm-girl, who turns out to have Lunar ancestry, and Cress, a computer hacker who used to work for Queen Levana, Cinder must also ally herself with Winter, Levana’s stepdaughter, in the upcoming fourth and final book, Winter, coming out this November.
If you were a fan of Sailor Moon, which was a large inspiration for the series or, as one fan pointed out, if you ever wanted to see how Star Wars would have played out if Disney Princesses took over then you’ll probably want to read it.
To celebrate the end of such a beloved series, we caught up with Marissa Meyer herself and asked her about her series, what-could-have-been’s, future plans and more!
What inspired you to become a writer and what advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I wanted to be a writer since I was very young. I always loved books, and as soon as I made the connection between books and the people who created them and realized that creating stories was a job some people got paid to do – I knew that’s what I wanted to do myself. I have early memories of staring at all the beloved books on my bookshelf and imagining my own name on the spines. Becoming a published writer has very much been a dream come true for me.
For aspiring writers, I think it’s so important to build a foundation of love and passion for writing before anything else. For years and years I wrote fanfiction – because I thought it was fun – without any attempts to be published. It’s easy to get swept up in the idea of publication and to put all the value on whether or not you can hold a physical book in your hands, but if you begin with pure enjoyment over storytelling, then you’ll always have that to go back to, regardless of your publication journey.
In previous interviews you seem to allude to Cinder’s friends, Cress or Scarlet, each having once been Princess Selene rather than Cinder. Was Selene originally a separate character?
From my early planning of the series I knew that there was a lost princess – Princess Selene – who many believed was dead, while others believed or hoped had survived. I knew that one of my main characters was going to be the lost Princess Selene, but it took me a while to figure out which one it was. I had reasons for each of them, and a vague backstory for how the princess could have turned into each of those characters. But by the time I was done writing the first draft of Cinder I knew for sure which protagonist was truly the princess in disguise, and I ran with it.
A cute, talking cat character – a la Puss in Boots- has also been thrown around. Any stories with that?
The concept for The Lunar Chronicles actually started with “Puss in Boots.” Years ago I wrote a sci-fi adaption of that fairy tale for a writing contest. It was my first time combining sci-fi and fairy tales, and it was so much fun that I decided I would write a whole series of futuristic retellings. At first I’d hoped that I could expand my contest entry to be one of the novels, but it became very clear very fast that it didn’t fit with where the rest of the series was heading.
Some characters have reports of their deaths exaggerated throughout the story, most notably Princess Selene herself, will we see anyone returning in Winter?
There are certainly a few characters whose fates are still up in the air to readers, and some characters that have been hinted at in previous books who will make an appearance in this series conclusion. But beyond that… I’m afraid I can’t give anything away! I hope readers will get a few surprises in Winter, and also have some expectations met satisfactorily.
Many of your fans have reimagined your heroines in different settings, such as a traditional fairy tale AU, high school AU, or even a western AU! If you could do a spin-off, what alternate reality would you place your characters? (Note: AU refers to alternate universe, that fans develop in fan-art and fan-fiction.)
I had no idea about the Western! I love that. It goes right back to my love for Firefly, a TV show which is often referred to as a western in space. I can totally see it! As for myself, I have a thing for “Mission Impossible” type movies, so I would think it would be a ton of fun to write these characters into one epic heist with an Oceans-11-esque plot.
Are there currently any plans to adapt the books into a film series? How about an animated series, given the show’s aforementioned Sailor Moon influence?
I would absolutely love to see either or both of these ideas become reality! In fact, one of my early fantasies was for an adaptation by anime superstar Hayao Miyazaki. That would be amazing.
As it is, the rights have sold to a Hollywood studio, though I’m not allowed to say which one. Now I’m waiting along with all the fans to see if they’ll do anything with them. My fingers are crossed!
Here’s a question especially for the readers, and I am sure they’re just dying to know. Will Thorne ever get to help Cinder pick out her tiara?
You’ll have to read Winter and see. *wink*
Any possible cross-overs with Heartless, your upcoming take on Alice in Wonderland?
I would love to see the fandom take the two stories and mesh them together, but as for me, the two are completely separate. Heartless is a prequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice and I’ve done my best to do justice to his nonsensical world, quirky characters, and the Victorian time period. It’s of no relation to the Lunar Chronicles.
You’re known for your love of your fan-base, notably holding contests for them when a new book comes out. Is there any message you would like to give to them?
I hope by now the fandom knows how much I adore and appreciate them! I came from a tight-knit fandom myself when I wrote Sailor Moon fan-fiction for years, and I credit the support and encouragement I received so much for really pushing me to follow my dream of being a writer, and for embracing the Lunar Chronicles. I know how powerful it can be to bond with people over a shared love. It has truly been an honor for me to watch the Lunar Chronicles fandom grow and play my part in encouraging their enthusiasm and creativity.
Where can we stay up to date with all your latest work?
Thank you so much for the interview!
The final book is set to be released November 10, 2015. Massive thanks to Marissa for taking the time to chat with us and if you haven’t read any of her work we highly suggest you do so! Winter is coming, folks, and it’s the perfect time to pick up a good book.