Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on young adult fantasy and science fiction author Marissa Meyer. My first question to you, Marissa, is for readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Gilded? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I mostly write young adult fantasy and science fiction, with plenty of romance, lush worldbuilding, and deeper themes of belonging and acceptance. My newest novel, Gilded, is a return to fairy tale retellings for me. It is a reimagining of “Rumpelstiltskin,” in which the miller’s daughter has been cursed by a god of lies, resulting in an affinity for storytelling. This gets her in trouble when she meets the wicked Erlking, leader of the Wild Hunt, and tells him that she is capable of spinning straw into gold… which she definitely can’t. Soon she is whisked away to the Erlking’s haunted castle, where she faces monsters and ghosts and meets a handsome poltergeist who is willing to help her – for a price.
I think the ongoing love of fairy tale retellings is the same for both readers and writers. They allow us to play with universal themes and symbols, while putting an entirely new twist to the story. There are countless things that can be done to these old tales, and I love that they can be simultaneously familiar and yet, somehow, entirely new.
What was the inspiration for Gilded? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
Even though Rumpelstiltskin has long been one of my favorite fairy tales, I’ve always felt that it left me with too many unanswered questions. Why did the miller lie to the king about his daughter being able to spin straw into gold? What happened when the king (inevitably) found out that the girl couldn’t do it? What did Rumpelstiltskin want with the baby? These questions were tugging at my subconscious for decades, and then last year I was really struggling with a different novel, and then, overnight, this idea for a Rumpelstiltskin retelling popped into my head. I knew from the start that the king would be my villain and Rumpelstiltskin would be the love interest. I started researching the fairy tale and Germanic mythology and developing the story from there.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I have many more books planned and in the works! Up next is Serendipity, a collection of contemporary stories inspired by classic romantic tropes comes out in January, and then the sequel to Gilded, coming out next November, followed by a companion novel to Instant Karma. I also have ideas for more fairy tale retellings, more graphic novels, a possible sequel to the Renegades Trilogy, and so much more!
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
I’ve come to expect that every book will be its own roller coaster ride. I know that I will start writing full of inspiration and eagerness, and about 30K words into the first draft I will begin to doubt everything I’ve done and feel like this is the worst book ever, and I’ll wonder why I ever thought I should write this thing. But if I push through, I’ll eventually hit my stride as the story builds up to the climax and it will be fun and exciting again. I know that there will be times during revisions when I’m hitting my head against the wall trying to fill plot holes or smooth out character arcs, and I know that eventually I’ll hit the place during edits when it starts to feel like a real book that I can proudly send out into the world. Knowing that all these moments will happen, and that I’ll make my way to the end regardless, is really reassuring, and gives me a lot more confidence in the process than when I first started writing.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
These days a lot of my time is spent homeschooling my twin daughters (which may not sound like a hobby, but I love coming up with fun lesson plans, science experiments, and craft projects). I’m also currently training to run my first half-marathon and learning to play the ukulele. I also love to cook and travel. As far as making time—I guess I feel like it’s easier to make time to do things that you legitimately enjoy doing, and I try to fill my days with things that bring me a lot of joy and satisfaction. Which isn’t to say it’s easy… I’ve had to become a master at time management since becoming a mom!—but it’s worth it. I schedule most days by the hour, and spend some time every morning figuring out when I’m going to squeeze in writing and book promotion between my other obligations. I attempt to leave evenings and weekends for family time and relaxation. It doesn’t always happen, but I try!
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
They should absolutely check Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester first! Otherwise, my books should be available from your favorite indie bookseller, Bookshop.org, or wherever you like to get your books.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I’m mostly on Instagram at @marissameyerauthor. You can also follow me on Facebook (@marissameyerauthor) and Twitter (@marissa_meyer), or sign up for my newsletter at marissameyer.com
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Marissa!