Thursday, January 8, 2009

Meg Cabot, Princess of YA literature: Day 2

For nine books, Princess Mia Thermopolis has made us laugh, cry, and think that there's a princess somewhere in all of us. We've watched her grow from awkward alternachick to the mostly graceful, passionate monarch of Genovia. She's fallen in and out of love (will it be Michael or J.P.?) and moved from one circle of friends to another. But how long can she keep all her secrets from the people closest to her...including the one where she's written a 400-page romance novel for her senior project? (It's called
Ransom My Heart, and you can buy it!) Now, the series ends with Forever Princess.

Librarian by Day is Librarilly Blonde's partner in book reviewing crime for 2009, and thanks to Meg Cabot and her publicist, Rachel Breinin, you can read a review of Forever Princess and get a link to read the first 80 pages of the book.

But if there's no review here, what's this entry for?

When I told Rachel I wouldn't be able to review Forever Princess, I asked if Meg would be willing to do a short email interview talking about the book. She was kind enough to say yes! Here are her answers to my burning questions:

Carlie Webber: Who's your favorite fairy-tale princess? How about real-life?

Meg Cabot: Princess Leia is really the first princess I loved as a kid, because she wore a long dress AND she had a laser gun, but I also like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, because she had such a thing for books.

In real life, I adored Princess Diana. I freaked out when she died. Now I have a soft spot for Princess Masako of Japan, who isn't handling the stress of being a royal all that well. And who can blame her?

CW: When you started the Princess Diaries series, did you have the whole thing planned out or did you let it take its own shape as you wrote them?

MC: I definitely had a few main points that I wanted to cover. And I did get them all in! The books really are based on things that happened to me growing up--not the princess bits, obviously--but all the romance and friendship stuff. I just wanted girls who might be going through the same kind of things today to know they're not alone. And apparently it's worked because I can't tell you how many emails I get that say, "Mia's just like me! Except I'm not a princess, of course."

CW: Is there any chance of Mia coming back in another book, even though the series has officially ended?

MC: Initially I didn't think so, but having taken a year off from it (my first in more than a decade!), I realized how much I miss writing in Mia's voice. So maybe someday I'll do Princess Diaries: The College Years; The Princess Diaries: The Princess Diaries: The Royal Wedding, etc.

But I have a lot on my plate at the moment with the Allie Finkle series and finishing up the Airhead series and I'm contracted to write another teen series for Scholastic, too. Plus I have my adult books, and I believe I promised to executive produce a movie. So there's a lot going on at the moment.

CW: Which character in the Princess Diaries series was the most fun for you to write?

MC: Well, Mia, obviously. I get a huge kick out of her. Also Lilly, who really is one of those annoying best friends you love but who you sort of have to take in small doses. And I really like Lars, Mia's bodyguard. I hope he gets paid a lot based on what he has to put up with, listening to her and her friends. But I've always thought he kind of tunes it out, while remaining alert at all times for potential kidnapping threats.

CW: Question 5, asked of every author interviewed at Librarilly Blonde: What's one book written by someone else that you wish you had written?

MC: It wasn't really a book, it was a movie. When I saw "Enchanted" I wanted to blow my brains out. I was like, "This should have been mine! Why didn't I think of this?" Except the chipmunk coat hanger torture scenes, which I didn't like.

Oh, and when I read Susan Juby's book "Miss Smithers," with the purity bus and Alice pretending to be born again so she can date that hot Christian guy, I was like, "I'll get you for this, Juby." That was just brilliant. Don't even get me started on "Getting the Girl," which I adored.

CW: What are the proper accessories to wear with a tiara?

MC: Oh, gosh, tiaras go with anything, really. This past summer I drove by an entire bachelorette party who'd been pulled over by some cops and they were all sitting there on the sidewalk sulking in miniskirts and pink lace camisoles with their wrists cuffed behind their backs, and on top of their heads were these sparkly little tiaras. I wish I had had a camera.

Meg, thank you so much for taking the time from your insane schedule to answer these questions.

Tiara Day at the library. I think it has to happen. Who's with me?

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