I don’t often chat about fiction novels on the blog. It’s generally reserved for non-fiction travel stories. Every once in a while a book comes along that makes world travel not only fun, but brings it to life in a whole new way. It also doesn’t hurt when the author is your friend.
Last winter Cinder: Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles took off hitting the New York Times Top Seller List. In this debut novel by Marissa Meyer our heroine Cinder follows the path of the beloved fairy tale Cinderella, but with a modern, steampunk twist. Cinder is a cyborg. She also happens to live in a new conglomeration of Asia.
This year author Marissa Meyer hopes to capture readers attention with book two in the series, Scarlet, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood like you have never seen it before. It takes place mostly in what used to be France, as most dystopian societies often resemble places you and I might have been (of course Babylon Five and Star Ship Troopers might have killed that theory).
When not writing about fairy tale heroines living in an alternated reality, Meyer is traveling the world to promote her books. Last year it brought her across the USA, into Canada, and even to Bologna, Italy. The travel bug has latched on and it seems to be there to stay. With two more books in the series and a head full of ideas I have a feeling Meyer will be traveling the world for more than a few years.
As always I wanted to dive in more to this fictional wonderland, where a plague is ravaging the world, the people of the moon are trying to take over, and a cast of characters is slowly coming together to save the realm. Being a travel site, I asked Marissa to dig into her favorite parts of traveling as an author, as well as a bit of what wanderlusting readers can expect in Scarlet.
Enjoy! And then enter the giveaway at the end of the post for your chance to get your very own audiobook copy of Scarlet: Book Two of the Lunar Chronicles.
Q & A with YA Author Marissa Meyer
What has been your favorite destination while touring?
Ooh, start out with a tough one! One thing I’ve learned while on book tour is that every city has something fantastic and memorable about it. But two that have really stood out to me were Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Waupaca, Wisconsin. They both have this wonderful quaint-town feel to them, while also harboring amazing literary communities and fantastic independent bookstores. Plus, the areas were just really, really beautiful. My husband and I have even talked about getting a vacation home in one of those towns someday!
Cinder took place in New Beijing, in a country called the Eastern Commonwealth that was heavily based on several Asian countries. Where will Scarlet be set? What made you decide on that location?
Scarlet will be set in France, which has become a state of the enormous conglomerated country of the European Federation. (In my futuristic world, all of Earth has been fused into only six countries.) The book begins in a town called Rieux, which is based on a real town in southern France called Rieux-volvestre, and the characters eventually end up in Paris – but it’s a Paris that was harshly damaged in the Fourth World War.
I chose France for the setting because Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that contains genetically-enhanced “werewolves,” and I wanted a setting that already had some sort of history or legend tying it to werewolves. When I was planning out the series I watched a documentary on “The Beast of Gévaudan,” which was a string of killings in 18th-century France that the townsfolk believed were the result of a real werewolf. So I thought, that’s where it shall be!
What French icons are mentioned in the book? Any particular significance to them that you can divulge without giving away the story?
Most of the icons are seen once our characters get to Paris later in the book. There’s a scene that takes place near the Louvre which sparks a childhood memory in Scarlet, the protagonist – her father had taken her to see it when she was young. Unfortunately, far from the majestic art museum we know it as, the Louvre has become a ruined victim of bombs and pillaging. (And yes, I had some guilt destroying it!)
Many important scenes in the book also take place in and around the Palais Garnier – the Paris opera house. Because I couldn’t travel to it myself, I was lucky to find a virtual tour you can take of the building’s interior online, which helped immensely with descriptions and details.
If you could go anywhere in Europe, where would it be and why?
I’m dying to go to Germany! The home of the Grimm Brothers, I’m told there’s a “fairy tale road” that crosses through many landmarks that were important to the brothers or influenced some of the tales they recorded. It also has Neuschwanstein Castle. I fantasize about a writing retreat there someday. *swoons*
Are you intrigued? Eager to read more? Enter the contest below for your chance to win a copy of the audiobook version of Scarlet. This is open to fans not only in the USA, but also across the globe. If you are in the USA you will get a hard copy of the audio files, but if you are international the MP3 files will be zipped over to you electronically, literally letting you dive into the story within a matter of minutes. Of course if USA residents just can’t wait for the postman to deliver their copy, they can opt to have the MP3 files sent to them instead. What are you waiting for? It’s so easy.
walking on travels: keep traveling, keep moving forward;
take your kids walking on life’s path to adventure
Special thanks to MacMillan Audio for providing a giveaway copy of Scarlet for my readers. I was not compensated in any way for this post. When I am you will be the first to know. I just love the series, and love watching a friend succeed at something she has worked so hard on.