Q and A with Meg Cabot

June 2nd, 2011

Hi, everybody! I’m home from my events in New York! They were tons of fun. Such great turn outs! Thanks to everyone who attended, and don’t forget there’ll be even MORE events the week after next in California, Illinois, and Massachusetts (check out the exact dates and times here).

After my New York signings I took the train down to Maryland to visit my mom and her boyfriend (you might remember him as the teacher from The Princess Diaries. Yes, my mom and my teacher are now living together! How fun for meeeee)!

I used my time on the train (and the plane ride home) to never stop stabbing my eyes out answer some of the questions those of you who haven’t had a chance to attend any of the This is Teen signings yet have been Tweeting and Facebooking me! So, look for yours below (not all questions asked guaranteed answered. More to come):

Dear Meg: I kissed a boy in school, and now he is ignoring me. Also, he blocked me on MSN. What do I do?

Kisser

Dear Kisser,

Remember the nursery rhyme that goes, “Little Bo Beep lost her sheep and didn’t know where to find them”?

The advice given to Ms. Beep was, “Leave them alone, and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them.”

This advice also applies to boys you’ve kissed who are acting like buttholes.

Ignore him, and he will come home, wagging his tail behind him.

(But by that time you won’t want him anymore because you’ll have moved on to a new boy. But it’s good advice to keep in mind.)

Dear Meg: I don’t have time to read. Instead, I listen to books-on-tape in my car as I drive to and from my job. So, when will Abandon be available on audio tape?

Dear Audio Book Fan:

It’s out now!

“[The] strong, amusing voice, the plot twists, and the possibility of romance will draw mystery and chick-lit readers alike.”—Booklist on Abandon

You can buy or rent it here (along with tons of other of my books on tape)! Also available on iTunes (put Meg Cabot in Search).

Dear Meg: I got into the college of my dreams, but my parents say they won’t pay for it unless I major in something “practical” such as accounting. I want to be a writer like you. But my parents say if I want to major in creative writing, I can pay for college myself. I can’t afford to have $200,000 worth of loans to pay back when I graduate! My parents are crushing my dreams. What should I do?

Wants To Be A Writer

Dear Writer:

You’re lucky to have parents who love you so much that they want to make sure you learn a skill on which you’ll always be able to fall back to support yourself (in the extremely unlikely event the writing thing doesn’t take off right away).

So what if you’ll have to take some really boring classes? Guess what you get to do in the meantime? Work on your novel in the creative writing workshop you’ll be taking as an extracurricular!

You’ll already have an advantage over the kids majoring in creative writing, because you’ll have more hardship and adversity to write about (plus, you’ll know how to do your own taxes).

Be happy that you’re getting a free college education! Most people don’t have it nearly as good as you do.

Dear Meg, I love your new book covers! Do you get any input on their design?

Cover Fan

Dear Fan,

I’m very lucky because while I’ve always gotten input on the design of my covers, all the covers to my books have been super beautiful.

Like with my newest book, Abandon (for instance) since I was kind of obsessed with the myth of Hades and Persephone as a teen (Persephone was queen of the Underworld half the year, and goddess of Springtime the other half), I drew pictures from this myth constantly in my Algebra notebook. These later became the inspiration for a novel about a girl who dies, then comes back to life and has to start all over in a modern high school.

Of course when this book was about to be published, I emailed those drawings to my publisher and was all, “Make the cover look like this!!!”

WakingupinHades5

When Scholastic was doing the cover shoot with the gorgeous model (yes: they did send me headshots, and yes, she is the girl I picked out), they sent me photos:

photo
Abandon model shoot.

I totally couldn’t picture how the cover was going to look from that photo!

But when I saw the final cover design (which is so incredibly gorgeous) I was blown away:

Abandon JKT peach[2]

For the cover of the new paperback of Insatiable (out June 7), it wasn’t so easy. I had NO idea at all for the cover. We went back and forth for ages!

I loved the cover for the hardback of Insatiable but when my mom saw it she asked, “What is it that she’s holding? What kind of books are you writing, now, anyway?”

I said, “OMG, that is a stake, Mother. People use them to kill vampires. What do you THINK it is?”

She said, “Well, I didn’t know. How am I supposed to know what people use to kill vampires?”

So that’s when I realized maybe we needed to go a different direction for the paperback.

Fortunately I had been sent tons of foreign editions of the book. Overseas publishers like to go with different looks for their covers, not necessarily what worked in the US. The cover for Size 14 Is Not Fat Either, Japanese edition, for instance, looks like this:

size14isnotfat
Well, hello, Heather Wells! Don’t you look fancy?*

*Two more Heather Wells books are coming next year!

Here’s Forever Princess (Princess Diaries 10), in Jakarta:

Foreverprincess
So cute!

Here’s the Brazilian version of a short story anthology I originally did in England (all the proceeds go to charity) with Louise Rennison and Cathy Clark:

Rainhas
So adorable!

And finally, a very scary (maybe TOO scary?) version of Insatiable!

Scanned Image 4

This version of Insatiable from Italy is the one that really caught my eye, though:

She looks so beautiful, and yet so strong . . . like Little Red Riding Hood lost in the big city, but a Red Riding Hood who is carrying pepper spray. That’s kind of what I love about it!

When it came time to do the paperback version of Insatiable in the US, with a little revamping (ha, get it?), Italian Insatiable became US Insatiable, at my urging:

9780061735080
New Insatiable trade paperback cover

And the art department used their amazing powers to make the new Insatiable the basis for the cover of Overbite . . . .

Gorgeous, right?

Most importantly, Mom approves!

One last email (for now . . . He Who Shall Not Be Named in this Blog has dinner ready!):

Dear Meg: When will an ARC (advanced reader copy) of your July release Overbite be available? I can’t stand the wait!

Insatiable Fan

Dear Insatiable:

Sorry, there won’t be ARCs of Overbite! The contents of this book have been deemed TOP SECRET (by order of the Palatine Guard), and will only be unveiled on the release day . . . July 5 (although attendees of the literacy signing on June 28 at RWA in New York City might get copies earlier. But I don’t know for sure)! So everyone will find out on the SAME DAY what lies in store for Meena and her friends . . . and foes.

But . . . . here’s a little sneek peek of the summary of the new book! Enjoy!

Hungry for more?

Meena Harper has a special gift, but it’s only now that anyone’s ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard — a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican — has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena’s ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.

Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena’s sworn off vampires for good . . . at least until she can prove her theory that just because they’ve lost their souls doesn’t mean demons have lost the ability to love.

Meena knows convincing her co-workers — including her partner, über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf — that vampires can be redeemed won’t be easy. . . especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just lives of the Palatine, but Meena’s friends and family as well.

But Meena isn’t the Palatine’s only hope. Father Henrique—aka Padre Caliente— New York City’s youngest, most charming priest, has also on been assigned to the case.

So why doesn’t Meena — or Alaric — trust him?

As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare . . . and temptations she never even imagined existed, but finds impossible to resist.

This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew.

More later.

Much love,

Meg