We talk with Lunar Chronicles author Marissa Meyer about her new book, Heartless, and her upcoming graphic novel, Wires and Nerve.
We spent some time with author Marissa Meyer at San Diego Comic-Con last July to talk to her about her new book Heartless, which comes out this Tuesday, that is based on the Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass novels by Lewis Carroll.
This talented writer has graced us with her reimagining of fairy tale characters with The Lunar Chronicles, and thus we also wanted to know more about her plan for the next chapter in that series.
On the coolest cosplay she’s seen based on her books:
One of my favorites was, I believe it was in Salt Lake City, and these three beautiful women came as three of the animals from the Lunar menagerie. So, they were wearing beautiful white ballgowns. One of them was the stag, it had antlers. One of them was the peacock with white feathers. It was very classy and elegant. So clever! So genius!
It is a prequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland about the Queen of Hearts, telling her untold story. It’s about a girl named Catherine Pinkerton who was the daughter of a marquess and has been raised in the Courts of Hearts to be a lady, and her parents hope that she’ll marry well. Her parents are thrilled when it turns out the King himself has his eye on Catherine. Catherine, however, has no interest in being the Queen, no interest in marrying the King. She wants to start a bakery. She has this dream of being an entrepreneur and starting this business with her best friend. So, she’s already feeling pulled in two different directions. Then at one of the King’s balls, she meets the new court jester, who’s a very magical, mysterious guy, very handsome, who very quickly starts to sweep Catherine off her feet. And they kind of enter into this secret courtship.
On the challenge of writing Heartless:
One of the big challenges for me was that I wanted to do my best to stay true to Lewis Carroll’s word as much as possible. So I didn’t want to put anything into Heartless that would directly contradict what Lewis Carroll gave us. I tried hard to put lost of insider tidbits and little foreshadowing things that people who’ve read Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass would see, ‘Oh, that eventually turns into this later.’ And kind of making these little parallel storylines. However, Lewis Carroll gives us very little information about the world of Wonderland. He focuses so wonderfully on these amazing characters, but they have virtually no backstory hinted at all in Alice’s story. And the world of Wonderland is very out in the Aether, so we really don’t have much concrete information. So, trying to pull it into something that was going to work with my story for Catherine while also feeling like it tied into Carroll’s work was a constant balancing act.
On balancing writing and raising children:
My babies! Is that what we do? Do we balance? I’m not entirely sure. I have 18 month old twins. Well, I guess they’re 20 months at this point, I don’t know. It happened so fast. They’re beautifully wonderful and just the joy of my life. But it has definitely complicated things. For years, being a full-time writer since Cinder came out, I was the type of person that would write for a few hours on the weekend and a few hours in the evening and maybe this morning I’d wake up and ‘I’m going to do some writing.’ I never really had a structured writing schedule, but now with the girls, we have a nanny that comes four days a week and so when she shows up, okay, it’s time to go sit down in my office cause I know that’s the only time I’m gonna get, so it’s really forced me to have a more concrete schedule, which has been good, I think. It makes me feel more like a professional.
On Iko’s thoughts on the following topics:
The Presidential Election: (Big laugh) I think her first reaction would be, ‘Who is dressing Hillary Clinton?’ We have thoughts on the whole business suit thing. I think we can do better, Hillary.
Comic-Con: Oh, she would love it here! She’s so fashion-oriented, but she would love seeing all of the nerdy, adorable dresses with the robot prints. Her Universe is a brand of clothing- it’s all Star Wars oriented for girls, and I love their story, that they were nerdy girls, but they couldn’t find any cute clothes to express their nerdy-ness, and I really love that we have turned an angle in the nerd fandom now that people are realizing that girls want to nerdy, too! And now there’s so much wonderful fashion now for girls wanting to express their love of science fiction and anime and all these wonderful things, so Iko would be all on board with that.
On Iko’s Graphic Novel, Wires and Nerve:
Well, I love graphic novels, and it’s really been one of my dreams since I was a teenager to someday write a graphic novel. With the Lunar Chronicles, it felt like a natural way to continue the story, but I didn’t want to do a direct adaptation. I really wanted to give it a separate spin from the books. So I started thinking what that new story might be, and I always felt like Iko was deserving of her own story, and that there was going to be more to tell, both past Winter, what happens next, but also there’s a lot that we never really find out about Iko and how she came to be. So this was my opportunity to be able to give a little bit more of her backstory and why she is the way that she is. And let her be the hero for once, but she thinks that she is the hero so it worked out very well.
On adapting the novels into graphic novels:
I would definitely consider it. I loved writing [Iko’s graphic novel]. It was one of the most fun things I’d ever written. I haven’t really spoken to my publisher. If they would be interested in doing direct adaptations, but I would certainly consider it. Or just continuing to do other graphic novels for the future, because it turned out to be one of my favorite ways to write. Who knew!
Watch the video below for the complete interview:
Heartless arrives on store shelves this Tuesday, November 8th!