Cover Story

May 29th, 2012

Questions! Have I read Shades of Grey? How do my book covers get chosen? Will there be a spanking robot in the next Underworld book? When’s my next book tour? How’s Henrietta? Etc.

I wasn’t able to get to all of your questions during my live video chat on Goodreads (but thanks to all of you who came! I hope you got to see Henrietta—her visit might have gotten cut off at the end due to her dislike of human contact), so I thought I’d try to answer some of the rest of them here. So here goes:

Q: Have you read the new Twilight fan-fiction re-styled into the mega bestseller Shades of Grey?

A: No, I have not, but thanks for asking! Right now I’m still hooked on reading British country manor house murder mysteries (I’m also hooked on the Sherlock re-tellings on Masterpiece Mystery. OMG SHERLOCK!!!!! Even HWSNBNITB watches it without falling asleep. Now that’s masterful storytelling).

But I’m always happy when any book by a woman is topping the charts, especially when it’s a story about two people who find love (aka a romance), so kudos to EL James and happy reading to her fans.

It does cheese me off a bit that her fans have been getting some flak in the press (“Mommy Porn?” Gross. What is that? And is “Daddy Porn” Cinemax After Dark? I guess so).

No one should get made fun of for their reading choices. I used to read nothing but romance novels in college (in preparation for writing my own, now out of print but you can still find them occasionally in used book stores. Read about them here) and people used to make fun of me for it …until the day I found the book that featured the hot space mercenary who was hired by the intergalactic council to save their princess from the cruel emperor who had hooked her up to…

…a spanking robot.

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Hi I’m here to rescue you…hey, what’s that robot doing? I WILL DESTROY IT after first using it on myself.

As soon as I told people the plot of this book, EVERYONE in my dorm wanted to borrow it (sorry, one of the borrowers stole it so I no longer remember what it was called or who wrote it but it was AMAZING). Soon a huge romance reading craze was started (which included lesbian and gay romance), which obviously blossomed into a drinking game (hey, it was college), the particulars of which I will not get into on this site, but think the New Girl True American drinking game and you will have the gist. You can pretty much start a drinking game based on anything.

Hopefully by now everyone has seen the New York Times article on the neuroscience of “Your Brain on Fiction,” explaining that research shows:

“Stories stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life. Individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective. This relationship persisted even after the researchers accounted for the possibility that more empathetic individuals might prefer reading novels.”

If you need recs of good spanking robot books, or maybe something like 50 Shades, or even a good country manor house mystery, visit the Smart Bitches, the ladies at Dear Author, Forever YA, or the Book Lover, and they will set you on the right path.

Happy reading!

Q: When will the sequel to Underworld, Awaken, come out?

A: Depending on your country, it will be out around this time next year. Sorry it can’t be sooner, but I’m still working on it!

The good thing about this is that if there’s something you’d really, really like to see happen in the book (should Kayla and Frank get together? Should Pierce and John be released from the curse and go their separate ways?), you can go over to the Message Boards and suggest it. Who knows, maybe your wish will come true! (Or maybe not, if it’s something that doesn’t work in the overall plot arc, such as a spanking robot. Sorry.)

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Q: What’s going to happen in Size 12 and Ready to Rock (coming out on July 10)?

A: You can read all about it on the new Size 12 and Ready to Rock webpage right here! Get ready for a new installment that Publishers Weekly has already deemed “a good read,” filled with “the cute and amusing wit that Cabot instills in all her female protagonists. Readers . . . will recognize Heather, with her hilarious pop culture references and dry humor.

Q: Will you come to a signing at my bookstore?

A: I’d love to!

Check out my upcoming supersize summer book signing tour! Click here to see if I’ll be stopping by a bookstore or library near you.

If I’m not coming to a place near you this summer, you can always send away for autographed bookplates by following the directions here.

Q: How do book covers get made? How are the models picked? Etc.

A: I don’t know how other authors’ book covers get made, but I can tell you how mine get made (at least lately).

Mine start as a discussion between myself and the editor—what is the book’s main underlying theme?

For Underworld, which is out now, the theme is a very common one (although in this book, it’s taken to an extreme): A girl is torn between two worlds…that of her family and that of the boy she loves.

In an ideal situation, these two worlds can co-exist, but in this story, they can’t, because the boy lives in the realm of the dead (also known as the Underworld) and the girl lives in the realm of the living. This is a modern re-telling of the myth of Persephone, after all.

I wanted the cover of Underworld to reflect Pierce’s anguish. She loves her family (well, those members of it who aren’t trying to kill her) and her old world, but she loves John, too. She yearns to be with both. How is she supposed to choose? Both are calling to her.

When I explained how I wanted the cover of Underworld to reflect this, everyone agreed (I also said that blue is my all time favorite cover and that I’d never had a dark blue book cover. NEVER! Except for the original Boy Next Door cover).

So they set up a shoot with the same gorgeous model from the first shoot for Abandon (I chose her from a bunch of headshots, based on Pierce’s description as having dark hair and eyes and being half-Latino, although she does not self-identify that way as she didn’t grow up with that side of the family).

Here’s a blurry photo of what the photo shoot of Underworld looked like (this was before the model who played John got there. He was running late so the good natured art director filled in):

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It was important that we showed Pierce not just feeling caught between her two worlds, but literally caught between them both, because this is what happens to Persephone in the original myth.

They tried hundreds of poses to get one that really reflected the conflict Pierce was feeling (that if she does leave, she’ll break not only her own heart, but the boy’s).

It was so. Hard. To. Choose. Which. One. Was. Best. Because I loved them all.

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But in the end we decided on this one because she’s looking down at John with love in her eyes, and it’s clear that her love for him is winning over her longing to go home (which it does in the book, too, so it’s the most accurate reflection of the plot).

(This is desktop wallpaper, I lost my copy of the actual photo. You can download the wallpaper here.)

Here’s what the photoshot looked like after John (or the model who played him that day) arrived:

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CULOTTES! HE’S WEARING CULOTTES! NO, John does not wear culottes in the book. But the model showed up wearing them, which I think is hilarious. Maybe John will wear culottes in Book 3, Awaken.

I’m kidding! John will NOT WEAR CULOTTES IN BOOK 3!!!

He will actually look like this:

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Ha, no he won’t. Well, he might.

Now some people might be going, be serious! Why don’t you answer all of our other questions?

I have! Many more questions got answered in this very cute interview here, especially the latest 411 about Lady Fussypants (aka Henrietta), whom I accidentally overtranquilized recently (oh the shame!).

Meanwhile, there’s a very fun thing going on called the Meg-a-Readers Blog Hop.

Since I’m supposed to be finishing a book, I’m not allowed to spend time online (but who can resist doing this? I’m really, really trying though, for the sake of my deadline).

So noted expert demonologist Dr. Ann from the Insatiable Facebook page went online for me and picked out a few of her favorite links and quotes from the Blog Hop (which I’m allowed to visit after the book is turned in):

Ann’s Comment Corner:

Hi, I’m Ann! Some of my favorite posts from the Blog Hop are the ones where the blogger tells a story about how she became a reader – and a Meg Cabot reader specifically! These are just two of sweetest ones, though there are MANY more:

From wickedlysweetbooks: “Mia’s story is my own story in a way. I don’t have to be a princess to have a happy ending! That’s what Mia taught me! :)”

From jowritestheblog
“I knew that somehow, some way, Mia was me in some alternate universe, and the author had reached into my soul and found a way to reach out to me in manuscript form.”

And caribellacreations’s review of Overbite is just so hilarious: “Is it good clean fun? No. But, it is fun. 🙂 I put most of my books into two categories – books I recommend to my mom and grandmother OR books I recommend to my friends. What is the difference, you ask? To put it bluntly, sex.”
I think it’s clear which category she puts Overbite goes into! Great post.

This is a great post about the Mediator Series from kats-victorian-wonderland: “Meg Cabot helped me become less scared of everything and interested in ghost stories. I can definitely say that these books have changed my life.”
Awww!

This list of Top 5 favorite Meg Cabot Characters from animegirlsbookshelf is a hoot to read!

And there’s a fun summer read-a-long happening here at Book Club Girl!

They’re reading Boy Next Door right now, and will move on to Queen of Babble June 12, Size 12 is Not Fat July 3, and Size 12 and Ready to Rock on July 31st!

I love this quote from bookingmama about Boy Next Door:
“THE BOY NEXT DOOR was a treat. It was highly entertaining and a great way to escape from life’s little problems for a few hours… There were a few scenes that were hilarious, but I also appreciated the more subtle humor that took place in the characters’ day-to-day lives.”

This is pretty much the highest praise you can get from a busy stay-at-home mom!

And finally, Underworld continues to get great reviews all around the blogosphere! Teenbookguru says: “In Underworld, Meg Cabot re-imagines and modernizes the dark myth of Persephone and fills it with charm, wit, and humor, alongside a hot lord of the Underworld and a kick-ass heroine.”

Everyone is asking how Meg will resolve all of the issues facing John and Pierce in Awaken. Enquiring minds want to know, Meg! Stay off the Internet so you can finish the book and we can find out!

Love,
Ann

Thanks, Dr. Ann, for keeping me posted (and keeping me off the Web, even though I’m not happy about it)! And thanks to all the participants of the Meg-a-Reader Blog Hop! Be sure to click on the links above (and any Meg-A-Reader Blog Hop link you might see), because you might win prizes! But for sure you’ll be touched and make a friend, because all the participants are the most amazing people in the whole world, being, of course, Meg-A-Readers.

As for how I will resolve all the issues John and Pierce are facing in Awaken, it’s called a SPANKING ROBOT. (Ha, no, I have an outline. Much more boring, I know. But all this robot talk does remind me of a great song about being in love with a robot. Servo Manual Chapter 1 by Beautiful Small Machines!)

Okay, one last question:

Q: Of the shows that are returning for the summer, which one is most going distract you from working?

A: This is an excellent question! I’m so bummed for the shows that will be ending soon, like Game of Thrones and Girls (which I didn’t think I’d grow to love so much) but I’m so excited for The Closer (how can such a great show be ending? How will I live without it?) Necessary Roughness, Royal Pains? Weeds, Episodes, Rizzoli and Isles, and probably some show I cannot think of right now but I’m sure you’ll all remind me of on Facebook! Whatever, I can’t wait!

Well, I guess that’s enough Q and A for today because I have to get back to work. As always, feel free to discuss on Facebook and the Message Boards! And remember, READ WHAT YOU WANT, be safe, be happy, but most of all, be YOURSELF!

More later.

Much love,

Meg