Marie Lu was always a sure thing. As soon as I got my work schedule taken care of, it was added to the calendar and I started hoarding books to take with me.
We got up to MGRB early because it was raining. I spent some time raiding the back room [thank you, LeAnna] and catching up with Carlos, who we haven’t seen in a while. [And technically, he’s the one who let me in the super secret back room, so thank you!]
The chairs filled up quicker than I’ve ever seen. Before 1:30 came around, the chairs in the event area were already full and there were loads of people standing around.
Marie came out right at 2:30. She said she would only talk for a few minutes and then open it up to questions. She asked that there not be any questions with spoilers. She talked about being a pantser. Legend was based on Les Miserables.
June started out as a boy in the very first draft. Some characters were only supposed to be cameos, like Thomas. He was only supposed to give June a ride, but he never went away. Pitched as a trilogy, the first book was finished and then a one page synopsis of each book had to be written and submitted. She just recently read them over and they’re entirely different.
Figured if she could get through book 2 then book 3 would be smooth sailing. Couldn’t have been more wrong, book 3 nearly killed her. There was a lot of crying and eating chocolate in the middle of the night. Finishing a trilogy is what it must feel like when parents send their kids to college.
From Carlos: What’s the ending of the book?
Everyone dies. It’s a massacre.
As a pantser did you ever get to a point where you had to fix threads that didn’t work?
Yes. I did that a lot with Legend. I had to replace the entire second half. After talking with friends, it seems like the first drafts are the outline for pantsers. I’m working on a new series and I’m on draft 34 because it’s just the way I do it.
When did you know how Champion would end?
I didn’t know until I got to the very very end of Prodigy. It was the only plotter type thing I’ve ever done. I wrote ending paragraph options A-E and shared with my fiancé. Even as I wrote the first draft of the last book, I wasn’t sure.
How did Day get his name?
Day is his street name. He’s been in my head since high school. It’s a reflection of his optimism even though he lives in such a dark world. Daniel, his real name, this is part of the pantsing part. I wanted something that was close to Day. One day, there was an interview with Daniel Radcliffe and I thought that Daniel sounded like Day. I guess you could say he was named after Daniel Radcliffe.
Does Primo read your drafts?
I spoil him for everything. He gets to hear all of the draft info. Even if he doesn’t want to.
Any updates on a possible film and how involved will you be?
The last that I’ve heard is that the screenplay is done and they’re looking for a director. The producers are working on TFiOS. A lot of authors don’t get to be involved and I’ve been lucky. They’ve asked me about details on the screenplay to make sure the world building is okay.
Are they talking to you about how visual the book will be?
It’s so early on, but I’ve read the screenplay and it sounds awesome. I’ve talked with them and as soon as Blade Runner was mentioned, I knew it was okay.
Do you think June would have done what Thomas did to Matias?
I don’t know if she would have made the same decision because she’s not that trusting of people. If she wouldn’t have stepped out of the Republic’s circle, she probably would have done terrible things.
Can you talk about the new project?
It’s currently called The New Elites. It’s a cross between X-Men and Assassin’s Creed. It’s about young people who survived a plague and came out with powers. The MC is a girl who is sort of Darth Vader. The first book is her spiral into darkness.
When do you know when a draft is finished? Do you self edit?
For the first drafts, with Legend, I gave it to my editor. I’m usually too close to the story to be able to fix it and I didn’t have any critique partners at the time. With the second book, I would write until I couldn’t do anything with it and then give it to my writer friends. When they give it back, I’ll go through a major set of revisions.
Who was easier to you write?
That answer changes with each book. For the first book, Day was easier because he’d been in my head since high school and that makes me sound crazy. June was difficult because she’s smarter than me. There’s so much research that I would have to do for her to have two lines of dialogue. As the books progressed, I found that I was putting bits of my personality into her. We deal with some things the same way, so it became easier.
The signing started just after 3pm.
We were first and Marie thanked us for coming. She was waiting for a pen to write with, so I pulled out a black sharpee from my purse and handed it to her.
Apparently, there’s a new rule that says you can only take 3 books at a time. So I took 3, Hubs took 3 and then we headed to the back of the line [I had 12 total]. Thankfully, Kelly was in line and between her and her friends, they offered to take the rest of my books.
While we waited for them to go through the line, I went to work handing out post it’s for personalization. And I ran into Amy Tintera in line and fangirled all over her, making a damn fool of myself.
We left right after 3:30 or so and the crowd wasn’t even close to thinning. As always, Marie was adorable and the staff at MGRB is one of the best. I can’t say enough nice things about either.