Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Author Interview- Meg Cabot

This post is the kick-off post for the awesome two month long Meg-A-Readers event, run by The Romance Bookie and Little Miss Drama Queen, which also involves a big giveaway that can be found here (scroll down to the end of the post). I'll be doing two more posts as part of it- one in June and one in July. Anyway, here's my interview with Meg!:

1) Underworld is the second book in your Abandon trilogy, which is a retelling of the Persephone myth. While reading both books, but especially Underworld, I noticed that this is much darker than your previous YAs. Was it difficult to get into that mindset at all?

It was pretty easy, actually. Dark is my natural tendency, but I've learned over the years it's better only to let it out when appropriate, like in my therapist's office or around select friends. A good example of this is when we'd go on field trips as kids and the bus would pass an abandoned bag on the side of the road, the other kids would beg the driver to pull over because they were sure the bag was probably stuffed with money from a bank heist.

I, on the other hand, was always sure the bag had been left there by some psychopathic serial killer, and was filled with severed limbs.

Announcing things like that didn't make me particularly popular, which is why I learned to put my thoughts on paper instead of mentioning them out loud.

But you can see how easy it was for me to come up with the concept of an underworld existing beneath a cemetery, and a local girl disappearing and ending up getting taken there by a teen death lord!

2) There's finally a new Heather Wells book on the horizon! What can you tell us about Size 12 and Ready to Rock? And is there truth that a fifth book will be released too?

I can tell you plenty!

Just because the students at New York College have gone home for the summer doesn’t mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells gets to relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever “Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp,” hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather’s ex, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead… and it’s clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and highest earning performer) alive. So he hires his blacksheep other son, private investigator Cooper Cartwright— who just happens to be Heather’s new fiancĂ©. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm-full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can’t help but get involved, especially after Tania lets slip her shocking secret, and Heather realizes her reality is far more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

And yes, there IS a fifth book. It's called Size 12 is the New Black and will be out next summer.

3) So the Avalon High movie came out a bit ago (and I loved it!), and I've been hearing rumblings of other books of yours being optioned for the big and small screens. Can you reveal anything about any of your optioned books/series?

Yikes! I know other authors post frequent updates on their books' movie options, but given the amount of time I've spent in this business, how many of my books are under option, and how often I've seen these deals fall apart at the last minute, I no longer believe it's worth announcing them until the cameras are actually rolling!

All I'll say right now is that the level of interest in the Mediator as both a feature film and a television series is freaking me out, because I know how devoted the fans are, and if we don't get the casting right, there's going to be a huge backlash! (Just thinking about it is making feel a little bit like throwing up.)

But I know we've got a great script, and we'll get great actors ... and that goes for ALL my optioned books and series, including Underworld!

4) Kathy Griffin's new talk show debuted last month. What do you think about it? Is it appointment television for you?

I adore Kathy. I haven't seen the new show yet, but I have it on auto-record on my DVR, as well as all her latest stand up, and it freaks me out that she and I watch all the same shows. "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant"? I can't believe she watches it too! If she reveals she watches "My 600 Pound Life" and "Dr. G, Medical Examiner", I will know we're sisters-from-another-mother.

(I also love how Kathy worries that the average American watches 6 hours of TV a day but she watches something like 20. I am not unfamiliar with this concern.)

5) OK, so I've asked about your favorite Jelly Belly flavor and favorite snack while writing, so this time, the food question is: I know your husband is a fantastic cook (just from reading your blog; I have yet to actually sample anything), so what's your favorite dish that he makes?

Of course you're invited over any time you find yourself in Key West (and I'm not on a deadline). My favorite meal that my husband makes is: Grilled chicken with lemon and rosemary, a simple side salad (just Boston lettuce) with a homemade vinaigrette, and crisp salted roasted new potatoes on the side.

This is also the favorite meal of Jeffrey Weingarten, the husband of the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network (at least, she's said so on her show), so I think maybe BECAUSE it's so simple, it's difficult to make well. Every time I try to make it myself, I screw it up (chicken comes out dry, potatoes burn, etc).

6) Aside from the final Abandon book, Awaken, and the Heather Wells books, what else are you working on?

I do have other projects in the works, but none that I can discuss at this time. I can, however, mention that I'm working on a 7th Mediator book. It will include all the major characters from the series but will take place several years after the 6th book ended. I think it might be nice to get to the sex already, and we all know Jesse won't even consider that until he's married!

7) I know you keep us posted on your cats through your blog usually, but is there anything that's happened recently with them that's cute or crazy or whatever that you haven't shared?

Interesting that you would ask this TODAY of all days. I don't like to share the sad news but the truth is, Henrietta, our primary cat (who was found as a tiny stray kitten in Brooklyn), is getting on in years (she's 20!) and recently began showing signs of diabetes. The vet said she'd have to take some blood to be sure, but Henrietta projectile vomits (and worse) in the car, AND at the vet's office. I didn't want to make the cat more stressed than she was, so the vet said she'd be happy to make a housecall.

I was still worried...Henrietta hates EVERYONE, and always puts up an enormous fuss and tries to attack anyone who touches her. I didn't want her attacking the nice vet who was making a housecall.

So I got a brilliant idea. I'd make life easier for everyone and give H. half of one of the tranquilizers our old vet gave us for when we take the cats on airplanes. Then maybe Henrietta would act normal for the vet's visit, or possibly sleep through it and not even feel the pinch when her blood was taken.

A little while before the vet arrived, however, I noticed Henrietta wasn't sleeping. She was sitting very alertly by her water bowl, staring at the wall as if she'd found something crawling on it, but when I looked, there was nothing there. Not only that, but Henrietta was lifting her paw very slowly and waving it around over the water bowl like she was stirring soup--only she had no spoon--never actually letting her paw touch the water. When she saw me looking at her, she let out a highly self-satisfied "Meeeee-yow" of hello, that actually sounded like she was saying, "How YOU doing?" like Joey on "Friends." Then she turned back to staring with great fascination at the wall and stirring the water with her pretend spoon.

That's when I realized that instead of knocking her out, the tranquilizer had only made her very, very high. My cat was completely HIGH and loving every minute of it!

Of course I was too embarrassed to tell the vet what I'd done (what kind of cat owner gets her pet high? I don't know what I was thinking). But she noticed. When the vet got there, Henrietta looked up at her and went, "Meeee-yow," and waved her paw over the water and stared at the wall, and the vet remarked about what a sweet cat Henrietta was (she has never in her life received this compliment before) and how different she behaved at home than in the office.

Unfortunately the tranquilizer wore off shortly after this and then Henrietta hissed at all of us and retired to her cat bed. And the vet just called to say it wasn't diabetes at all, it was a side effect of some steroids she was taking after she had an allergic reaction to her dry food (honestly, what next?). So it looks like H. will be with us for quite some time to come.

I did save some of the tranquilizers to give her in the future, however, in case of emergencies.


  1. LOVE THIS!!! Thanks James again! Your help has been greatly appreciated! :) Can't wait to read your future posts! :)

  2. Great interview.

    I love Meg Cabot, I feel like I grew up with her books, I've been reading them for nearly a decade. I think about references to her book all the time.

    I always enjoyed the Mediator series (the covers were so cool) and remember going to the library and hoping they had the next one I needed. They'd make a great film or tv show.

  3. Great interview James, wow you and Meg are like BFF's! I still havn't checked out Abandon and I really should. Glad her cats still doing well after the diabetes scare.

  4. Wait did Meg imply that Underworld was optioned for a movie? I would love to see that.
    AND a 7th Mediator book! That's both good and distressing news, distressing because well now I need to know more.

    Great interview, glad you're joining us in this event!

    Diana @ Little Miss Drama Queen

  5. Mediator Fans Unite!!
    Okay sorry, I had to get that out.
    It was a wonderful interview, James! :D

  6. Great interview, James! I adore, Meg. I started writing YA because of her. So excited about the new Mediator book.

  7. Haha, hilarious as always :) and I find her answer to the first question very interesting!

  8. OMG! You are hilarious ... as always. And Henrietta too! One of my first cats started out feral and acted like a puppy (seriously!) with me, but turned into a wild animal when we went to the vet. Reading your story about over tranquilizing H, I was laughing so hard I was crying. and I'm at work! The computer engineers in the cubes next to mine already think I'm weird (being a writer and all) so spontaneous laughing to the point of tears is not big deal. Really. Thanks for the laughs. :-D

  9. It's great to hear some awesome updates from Meg! So psyched about The Mediator, although the 6th book ending was so peeerrrfect! But I am perfectly happy to be reacquainted with my all-time favorite fictional male lead, Jesse De Silva. Swoon! It's going to be an exciting couple of years for all the Cabot fans!