I love Meg Cabot. She is easily one of my favorite authors and is definitely the author that got me so into and supportive and passionate about young adult literature. I eagerly wait each and every book that she puts out. This summer she is putting out the third installment of her YA paranormal romance Abandon trilogy, Awaken, and the fifth book in her Heather Wells series (adult romance contemporary), The Bride Wore Size 12.
She had a live chat tonight on Facebook with This is Teen and she answered a TON of questions. I know that not everyone gets to be a part of these so I wrote out the entire conversation so everyone could see the questions that she answered!
Check it out!
Moderator: We had some great questions from Twitter, here’s one: “Do you ever experiene writer’s block and how do you deal with it?
Meg: Of course! I take a break and do something else, like take a walk or ride my bike. Or even watch TV. But the best thing to do is just put the project on the back burner for a while and do something else. It will come to you!
Fan: Ms. Cabot, I love your work. How did you get started in the industry?
Meg Cabot: Hi Wendy! I actually got my start writing historical romances under another name. It took many years and rejection before I got published. But I just kept trying! Don’t ever let rejection keep you from doing the things you love.
Fan: What was the inspiration for your book “Abandon”?
Meg: I love the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades. I love the idea of there being a place and a person for everyone even if it’s the Underworld and the hope of spring time.
Moderator: Let’s get another Twitter question! Jennifer writes “What are you working on next. Any new upcoming YA series?”
Meg: “Awaken” will be out in July and then there will be a new Heather Wells book, “The Bride Wore Size 12” on September 10th. After that, stay tuned.
Fan: The Abandon series is based on the myth of Persephone. Is it easier or harder to write a series based on existing material?
Meg: That’s a good question! In some ways it’s easier because the characters and storyline are somewhat established. But you also want to make it your own. So in that way, its more of a challenge.
Fan: What are you reading now?
Meg: I read Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick and really enjoyed it! I’ve been reading the new John Le Carre. Good stuff!
Fan: Ms Cabot. Do you get nervous when you publish a book?
Meg: Well, I’ve been doing it for a long time but, yes, I still get nervous and I hope people like it!
Fan: Who is your favorite love interest out of all the books you’ve written?
Meg: Its hard to pick! I really like the ones I’ve just written about. So, right now, I really like John Hayden from “Awaken”. He looks so good on the cover. One of the best days was when I got to pick the model to play him!
Fan: When you come up with a new idea, how do you begin to craft it into a story? Do you outline, or just jump in?
Meg: When I get an idea for a book, I usually do write up a brief story synopsis. Then I start to write. For inspiration, I make up a music playlist.
Fan: My daughter and I love your Ally Finkle series! Any plans for another book in the series?
Meg: Thank you! Allie Finkle was inspired by my experience in 4th and 5th grade and all my real life friends. We’ll have to see if there will be more adventures. I sure hope so!
Fan: What is your favorite part about writing the Abandon Trilogy?
Meg: I love writing about Pierce and John and the growth of their relationship. I also enjoyed writing the dramatic setting of the tropical island versus the Underworld!
Fan: Do you have plans do visit Brazil one more time? We miss you!
Meg: Obrigada! I love Brazil! I look forward to my new novella, “The Model and the Monster” in the Princess anthology that will be coming out in the end of June for Brazilian readers only! And hopefully I will be visiting there soon!
Fan: Could you give advice for the teens out there since we think you’re the writer who understands girl’s hearts?
Meg: Awww, thanks Claire! I think its important to remember that you are very special and never let anyone treat you any other way. Always have pride in yourself and remember that everything is going to be all right!
Fan: How long does it usually take for you to write a book? Have some of your books been easier to write than others?
Meg: It can take as long as a year or two or as short as a few months. It depends on the book and sometimes there are many revisions that have to be done. But revisions are very important as you want the book to be the best it can be for your readers!
Fan: If you could put one of your characters from one book into another book (like putting Em Watts in Abandon or Allie Finkle in Princess Diaries or Mia in Airheads), who would it be and why would they be there?
Meg: That’s a great question! There may be a crossover in a future book that’s coming out soon…you have to wait and see!
Fan: Hello Meg! So happy to be chatting with you! My daughter loves your books and is an aspiring writing. She is in the 6th grade. What advice would you give a young writer.
Meg: Great chatting with you, too! I think an aspiring writer should read every day; write a little something every day even if it’s just an email. Write what you love to read and don’t let rejection get you down! It took me years to get published but it was worth the wait.
Fan: It seems like you had to spend a lot of time in the Underworld writing the Abandon books, did that change how you see OUR world?
Meg: LOL! Yes! In the Underworld, the Fates serve meals magically to the permanent inhabitants and I kept wishing someone would do that for me during the writing process…although I have to say my husband is a very good chef!
Fan: How’s the new book from the Mediator series coming? Also I love your books.
Meg: Thank you! It is coming along nicely. I definitely appreciate all of the support from the readers and having the series be optioned by FremantleMedia has helped with the inspiration as well.
(There is going to be a new Mediator book! OH my god, I didn’t know this but its my FAVORITE series by her so I am so excited!)
Fan: What is your favorite love story?
Meg: That’s a hard one! I have to say I love Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy! And Ron and Hermione, of course! They are so cute. I do love them!
(Two of my favorites as well!)
Fan: What is your inspiration for The Princess Diaries?
Meg: The inspiration for The Princess Diaries came from my mom dating one of my teachers. It was so gross! But now they have been together a long time and I’m very happy for them. But I did write about it in my diary. And that story became the inspiration for The Princess Diaries. This is why I encourage everyone to keep a diary. You never know what can happen!
Fan: How many hours a day/days per week do you write?
Meg: I try to keep a regular schedule, like a 9-5 job. But it never works. It’s usually more like 11-11, right before the book is due :)
Fan: Talking about food, whats your favorite thing to eat? What are you good at cooking?
Meg: I’m good at making popcorn! My husband is a very good chef. He went to cooking school. Thank goodness! I love pizza but I have to be gluten-free because I have Celiac disease.
(Is it just me or is everyone getting this disease nowadays…I swear, everyone is gluten-free…)
Moderator: Here’s another question from Twitter, Tema asks “Which book are you the most proud of so far?”
Meg: Like a good mom, I love all my children the same :) But I always am especially proud of the newborns, like “Awaken”!
Fan: What is the most strange gift that you have ever received?
Meg: I received a life-size papier mache Fat Louie. That was quite odd. But I loved it and still have it!
Fan: Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?
Meg: I love Big Bird, of course!
Fan: Did you ever have a mentor or an idol that inspired you?
Meg: Yes! I had so many great teachers who were so encouraging of my writing, especially my 4th and 5th grade teachers, Mrs. Hunter who is featured in the Allie Finkle books. I didn’t even change her name! I also had a great school librarian who encouraged me to branch out in my reading.
Fan: Did you ever get to meet an author you admire?
Meg: Of course! I got to meet many authors that I love but I was always too shy to go up and talk to them. Even now, I get very tongue-tied around authors I admire. Don’t be like me! If you meet an author you love, tell him or her how much you like his or her books!
Sara (ME!): Meg! I ask all the authors I meet/talk to: Who is your favorite fictional crush?
Meg: Spenser, as in the detective by Robert B. Parker. I love him! I want him to be my boyfriend but he’s taken. But so am I :)
Fan: You mentioned a playlist before. What kind of music do you like? Who are your favorite bands or singers?
Meg: The problem with playlists inspired by books is that the book chooses the playlist. I like all kinds of music. When I wrote “Awaken”, I listened to the Black Keys, The New Radicals, Owl City, and much much more.
Fan: If there was ever a Princess Diaries TV show, who would be your ideal Mia?
Meg: I will never pick actors for a show or movie because if someone else gets cast later, their feelings might be hurt :( That’s actually happened. So I like to keep my opinion to myself so no one will feel that they were ever a second choice!
Fan: Love, love, love so many of your books. Thank you for becoming a writer :D What do you do when your procrastinate (instead of writing)?
Meg: Thank you so much! I love to swim, lay on the beach, read mysteries, watch TV, go to the movies, eat–all the regular stuff that a lot of people like to do :)
Fan: I love how you write some of your books in the non-traditional format of diaries/emails/etc. They’re so much fun to read! What gave you that idea? Do you feel like it fits better with certain characters/stories?
Meg: Thank you! I love epistolary novels. I especially loved the book “Up the Down Staircase” and I wanted to try writing something like that using modern technology. I would love to try to do some more but it does depend on the story. Hopefully I’ll do another one someday.
Fan: You have written a lot of stories for short story collections. Are they just as hard to write as a whole novel or are they easier because they’re shorter?
Meg: Short stories are even harder to write for me than the novels. You have to be so concise and you have such a short page count. It’s very hard for me but I love the challenge! And usually the proceeds go to charity so it’s totally worthwhile!
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They also released the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS of the last book in the Abandon Trilogy, Awaken, which is out July 2nd!
You can check those out here.
Thanks Meg for chatting with all your fans, and answering our questions. I can’t wait to read Awaken and The Bride Wore Size 12 this summer!