Marissa Meyer on the Lunar Chronicles, NaNoWriMo, and Why She Loves YA Books

For author Marissa Meyer, it all started with Sailor Moon. Through that lunar soldier, she found a spark within herself that eventually ignited into a passion for writing young-adult fiction, fantasy, and science fiction.

With the release of Fairest: Levana's Story, her newest installment in the New York Times bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Meyer returns to Changing Hands on Monday, February 2, for a Lunar Ball complete with costumes, dancing, and of course a talk and book signing with Meyer.

See also: Tempe Author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo on Why Young-Adult Books Are for Everyone

Before she had written a wildly popular sci-fi/fantasy series, Meyer was writing fan fiction online as a teenager. She laments that the Sailor Moon romance site where she used to post has since been taken down, but is thankful for the platform it gave her to explore her own writing.

To her surprise, Meyer garnered a fan base online and says that at points those fans believed in her and her writing more than she did.

"It took a few years for me to feel confident in my writing, but my readers thought I was good before me," Meyer says. "It took me a few years to catch up with them."

But it wasn't until Meyer saw the success and following that JK Rowling gained that she realized that her writing could become a career.

So she boldly set the goal for herself to be published by the end of high school. When that didn't happen, Meyer says she was disheartened, but looking back she sees it was a blessing in disguise of sorts. With the help of that self-declared goal, she had continued writing and making progress.

Now, she advises aspiring writers to have patience and stresses the importance of learning how to write and learning the process of writing.

But Meyer's first book, Cinder, was hardly a patient process at all, at least in the publishing world.

She wrote the entire book and then some, a total of about 150,000 words, during November 2008 as part of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month during which authors are encouraged to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

After revising that draft for about two years, Meyer went from querying agents to having two publishing houses auctioning for her book in just three months, eventually accepting Macmillan's Feiwel and Friends' offer in November 2010.

It doesn't seem like Meyer's pace of writing has slowed down since then.

She's had three books published in the Lunar Chronicles since January 2013, with Fairest, which delves into the past of the villain of the Lunar Chronicles, Levana, being released on January 27.

Meyer hopes that Fairest will help readers understand Levana better, even if that doesn't make her a more likable character.

"I just hope [readers] find the window into her past interesting," Meyer says.

On top of the books being released this year, Meyer says she has a prequel to Alice in Wonderland that focuses on the Queen of Hearts called Heartless coming in February 2016 and a superhero trilogy on deck for the fall of 2016 as well.

Not surprisingly, Meyer says she has no plans at the moment to leave the sci-fi, fantasy, and young-adult genres and discounts any claim that young-adult fiction is just for teenagers.

"YA is pushing the boundaries," Meyer says. "Many studies have shown that a majority of young-adult readers are adults, so I think the numbers speak for themselves... Give it a shot."

Meyer says she may have to rethink her loaded schedule as she and her husband welcome two foster babies into their home. But it seems that Meyer is still as passionate about writing as she was back in her fan fiction days.

"I still escape into the fantasy world, and I feel so lucky that I get to call that my job," she says.

Escape into the Lunar Chronicles world with Marissa Meyer during the Lunar Ball, Monday, February 2, at 6 p.m. at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. Tickets are $25 each, which includes admission to the Lunar Ball and a copy of Fairest: Levana's Story, and can be purchased at

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Evie Carpenter is a visual journalist. Using photography, videography, design, and sometimes words, she tells stories she hopes make a bit of difference in the world, even if those stories are in list form and include GIFs.
Contact: Evie Carpenter