Marissa: Oh yes, I've wanted to be a writer since I first learned that such a job existed. I've always had an overactive imagination and I started writing poems and short stories when I was a little kid, and have harbored dreams of writing professionally since I was a teenager. The success that Cinder has been met with so far is definitely a dream come true.
What's been the most rewarding moment for you as an author?
Marissa: I've received a handful of emails from readers who say they don't like to read, but that they loved Cinder and are now looking for more books like it. That's such an enormous honor, as it breaks my heart to think there are people out there who don't understand the joy that books can bring. I firmly believe that there's a book out there for every reader, and I love that Cinder could be opening doors for people.
What do you do when you get stuck writing?
Marissa: Normally I just try to power through it, often leaving stupid notes in the chapter, like "insert fight scene here" or "and then something cool happens" - anything to keep the book moving along. I know I can always come back and fill it in later. If I'm really, truly stuck, then I'll go turn on my playlist and lay down on my living room floor and try to daydream my way through it.
Unless you're a sci-fi/science genius (which you may well be!), it seems like an incredible amount of research went into the mechanics of Cinder's world. How much time do you spend researching?
Marissa: I am not in any way a sci-fi genius! I spent quite a bit of time reading Scientific American and researching cyborgs and spaceships and conceptual moon colonies. I also watched and re-watched my Firefly DVDs about 50 billion times, hoping to capture a similar feel for my world.
Last one! I believe (at the time this was written) you're working on a draft of Winter (book 4)! Is it easier or harder writing sequels? Do deadlines change the process?
Marissa: Actually, my draft of Book 4: Winter is done (I wrote it last year!), and now I'm working on my revisions of Book 3: Cress. I feel like the difficulty level changes on a book-by-book basis. Book 2: Scarlet came together relatively easily, but I'm struggling a bit with Book 3 right now. There are pros and cons. On one hand, I've established so much of my world-building and characterization that I have less leg-work to do in these later books, but on the other hand, knowing that there are readers awaiting these books with expectations of their own does create some added pressure. I try not to think about that, though, and just tell the story I want to tell and hope that readers will enjoy it.