Saturday, April 9, 2011

Interview: Marie Lu

I'm very excited about today's guest, for a number of reasons. I first discovered Marie Lu as an amazing artist on DeviantART - her illustrations and animations are very appealing. And then of course finding out that she was an aspiring writer made her that much more awesome. Admiration continued to grow upon realizing how skilled she was at writing. The fact that she writes dystopian stories (what I predominantly read nowadays) was simply icing on the cake!

In any case, it came as no surprise when Marie signed with agent extraordinaire Kristin Nelson. From there, things progressed amazingly - book deals, movie rights... Her debut, Legend, is due to be release November 29th of this year from Penguin. In any case, be sure to check out the Legend page on her site for a cool trailer and badass synopsis!

Presenting... Marie Lu:

Summarize LEGEND in twenty words while tossing in as many alliterations as you can.
Teen troublemaking criminal takes on teen detective prodigy in a
totalitarian United States. Gah--this one's hard. I fail!

Not a fail - that's pretty good! Words of wisdom - what do you do when the muse has gone on vacation?
I'll usually go off and re-read one of my favorite books, which
usually helps to stimulate my muse. Watership Down, Harry Potter, and The Giver, to name a few. Also, whenever I have writer's block, I tend to draw a lot. It helps me take a break from writing but still stay in the world of my manuscript. I also eat copious amounts of food, which are not really words of wisdom. You can always tell when I'm stuck on writing because I start gaining weight.

Food's always good, though ;) If you lived in LEGEND's world, would you be a citizen of the Republicor the Colonies? Which sector?
Since the Colonies aren't described until Legend 2, I'd have to say I would be a citizen of the Republic. Ruby sector sounds pretty good, because at least it's a wealthy sector and I could live lavishly, like June (my girl protagonist). Then again, if I lived in the slums with Day (my boy protagonist), I'd probably have more adventures.

How do you think the visual artist aspect of your creative psyche affects your writing, if at all?
I think drawing helps my writing tremendously. When I start a new story idea, I almost always sketch my characters before I do any actual writing. Visualizing them on paper helps me get a better idea of who they are.

That sounds awesome, having a visual representation of your characters! If you had to pick a dystopian world to live in (from any medium released thus far, be it movies, books, etc.), which would you choose?
Good question! Hmm....I'd probably pick the dystopian world in Ally Condie's MATCHED. I mean, it's still oppressive, but at least the streets are clean and you get daily hot meals. Aside from the whole "no free thinking" part, it's not too bad a dystopia to get stuck in, right? The Hunger Games' world is probably the one I'd least want to live in--knowing my luck, I'd definitely "win" the Reaping and have toenter the Games. And I'd be one of the first to die!

Mm, participating in the Hunger Games would be horrific indeed. Recently, LEGEND's film rights have been sold in a pre-empt - is there a dream cast that you envision playing your characters?
I'm so excited about CBS Films and Temple Hill working on LEGEND! For a few characters, I do have actors in mind who at least closely resemble those characters. For example, I wrote June's older brother Metias with Ben Barnes already in mind. Hailee Steinfeld looks really good for June--she has an international type of look, and she's athletic, sharp, and pretty. I haven't seen an actor that looks like Day, though, since he's a Mongolian/Russian mix. The closest would be
a young Leonardo DiCaprio (from his Romeo + Juliet days), with maybe some more Asian features thrown in. Of course, none of this is up to me. :)

Haha, it'll still be interesting to see how their choices compare though. Are there any interesting stories to share about your writing/publishing journey thus far? (ie in terms of The Call, finding out about movie rights, etc.)
Yes! The day of The Call (or series of calls), when my agent Kristin and I accepted Penguin's offer, was probably the happiest day of my life. It's probably too long to tell here in its entirety, but I did blog about that day: .
Also, when we publicly announced LEGEND's film rights being sold to CBS Films/Temple Hill, Wyck Godfrey (producer on the Twilight Saga) called me with a very kind, personal congratulations. He said, "I'm taking a break on the set of Breaking Dawn right now." He couldn't see me over the phone, but I literally fell backward into bed from shock. Isaac Klausner, another Twilight producer, also called me that day. I was so starstruck.

That must've been such a surreal moment. Draw a quick sketch of a scene from LEGEND?
Probably the closest to a LEGEND scene I've sketched so far:

Nicely done! Do you have any specific writing rituals/particular quirks?
I'm not a very quirky writer, but I do have to write in the morning. I'm such a morning person. If I don't get my daily writing done before noon, I probably won't have the motivation to do it at all.

Music or silence?
Music! Specifically, epic soundtracks. More specifically, soundtracks from the studio Two Steps From Hell.

Writing in public places or in serene solitude?
Serene solitude, like the good hermit I am.

Any literary crushes?
Dorian Gray. (This might be because Ben Barnes played him in the film.) Jem (The Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare), Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities), Peter Pan, and Alcuin (Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey).

Worthy choices. Can you share any tidbits about future projects / current WIPs?
I can't share too much yet, but I do have another YA series in mind after the Legend trilogy is done. It might also involve vigilante boys, and may or may not involve magic. That was specific, wasn't it?

Haha, not particularly specific, but it sounds intriguing nonetheless! Thank you so much for dropping by, Marie!

Let's have a huge round of [virtual] applause for her, and be sure to drop by! :)


Anonymous said...

Is that the final cover for Legend?

mjhearle said...

Great interview!
I look forward to reading this book once it's published in Australia.

Anonymous said...

Work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind.

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