Readergirlz & YALSA Chat With Meg Cabot!

October 1st, 2007 Chat Transcript

readergirlz wrote:

WELCOME TO 31 FLAVORITE AUTHORS FOR TEENS!

Readergirlz and YALSA couldn't be more thrilled to kick off 31 Flavorite Authors for Teens with one of the most beloved and preeminent authors for young adults today: the one and only supersensational Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries). Thanks to Meg and everyone for joining us tonight!

**Remember** if you'd like to reply to someone's statement or question, hit the Quote Button in their text box. Use the Refresh Button on your tool bar to see the latest additions to the chat. If it seems as if no one is talking, you probably need to hit Refresh!

The 31st post in our chat tonight will receive a free copy of one of the 31 Flavorite Authors books! Will it be you?

So here we go with a question to get Meg started:

So, Meg, what's your flavorite ice cream?

 

Meg Cabot:

Hi, thanks so much for having me here! This is my first time doing a Myspace chat (believe it or not) so forgive me if I make any mistakes!

My favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate, of course!

Hope this goes through! Here goes....

?!Taylor! ?Get Ready-Get Set-Don't Go! wrote:

lol okay we both love her!

meg cabot, what is your inspiration that made you get into writing books?

id love to know!

Meg Cabot:

Thanks, Taylor! I guess I just love writing. I've always written stories for fun, since I could hold a pen. I tried to get published for years, and when I was 30, it finally happened (with a smutty romance I wrote under another name so my Grandma wouldn't find out). The Princess Diaries was my first story published under my real name.

Thanks for reading!

Justina Chen Headley wrote:

Meg, you've been an amazing mentor to me, launching me on my writing career. Who do you count as your mentors?

Meg Cabot:

Wow, thanks, Justina! I'm probably one of your biggest fans, too, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH AND A FEW WHITE LIES is one of my favorite books we did at the Meg Cabot Book Club.

As for mentors, I had some great English teachers who really encouraged me to write, and my mom was always hugely encouraging (while also super practical, making me take typing in high school and always telling me how hard it is to make a living from writing alone--so true)! I would probably have to say my mom--she won the Seventeen fiction writing contest when she was 19 and that always was a huge inspiration to me. I never won, but this year, I'm one of the judges!

Ruby wrote:

I'm a strawberry ice cream girl myself, but I won't hold that against you. ;)

Meg Cabot:

I like strawberry too, Ruby. If it has chocolate chunks in it!

secretaries do it better ?wrote:

I love how the chat isn't supposed to start for another ten minutes and already there are a bunch of people here :) It makes me feel late!

Anyway, I have a question as well: do you ever feel as though you've written something awesome and then during those dreadful revisions all you want to do is just rewrite the book over again??

Meg Cabot:

Um, every single time. But by that point it always feels like there's no time. So I have to think of a way to do it that changes the whole story in as short a time as possible. In fact, I just did that last month. Twice. It was AWFUL. But both my editors loved the results. I'm exhausted.

Also, hi, and thanks for coming!

Justina Chen Headley wrote:

My kids want to know...

1. When is your middle grade series for kids 8-12ish going to come out?

and

2. How on earth did you get your idea for The Princess Diaries?

(And me? I'm a cookie dough ice cream kind of girl. YUM.)

Meg Cabot:

Cookie dough is good too! But I always pick out the cookie dough part and leave the ice cream!

My first book in the middle grade series will be out in March (end of February)! The website will be going up in JANUARY! I can't wait!

Thanks for asking (I swear I didn't ask her to ask that either....)

Justina Chen Headley wrote:

Jackie, I *love* the Mediator series. LOVE it. Ghost Whisperer, what a rip off!

So, Meg, please tell me that the Mediator has been optioned as a movie, yes?

Meg Cabot:

Yes, it has--well, movie or TV series!

Lorie Ann Grover wrote:

She's here, she's here! Again, welcome MEG!

How did your TODAY show interview go? I'm sorry I missed it! Did you go with the sleeveless shirt after all?

Meg Cabot:

I did! You can see it online! I'll post the link if I can find it! Thanks!

Miss Erin wrote:

Which of your characters can you relate to most, and why?

Meg Cabot:

Well, Miss Erin, I love and relate to all my characters the same, since they're all pretty much a part of me (all the girl characters, anyway--the nice ones, I mean).

Thanks for asking!

Ruby wrote:

So, what is your favorite part of the writing process, Meg?

Meg Cabot:

My favorite part of the writing process is the first draft, which is the fun, creative part, when you are just discovering your characters and your story. My least favorite is revisions! YUCK!

Maddie wrote:

I'm nervous..

Meg, how often do you think about new ideas for books? Do they randomly come? Or do you have to really put thought into the process?

Meg Cabot:

Hi, Maddie! I think ideas randomly come to me. I can never get them to come by brainstorming or anything like that, much as I wish I could. They just...show up! Usually when I least expect them!

?!Taylor! ?Get Ready-Get Set-Don't Go! wrote:

i love the movie..princess diaries, mia is soo awesome. it must have been awesome to have your book made into a movie, am i right?

Meg Cabot:

Yeah, it was great--but really weird to see my own characters walking around! They looked nothing like I imagined them (but then, I never really imagined their faces)!

Carlye [Parlez-vous français?] wrote:

Hi Meg! I really love all of your books and was wondering, What is your favorite show on TV in the new fall lineup?

Meg Cabot:

I don't know yet! I haven't been able to watch them because they're still stuck on my DVR! But so far I really like LIFE, the cop drama!

secretaries do it better ?wrote:

Hey, Meg, because you're so into pop culture and television and movies and stuff, do you feel like others misjudge your intelligence or label you as a Hollywood follower rather than an intelligent author?

Meg Cabot:

Um, not if they know how much I'm getting paid. I mean, not to be mean or anything, but it's true :-)

Traci wrote:

Hello!

Meg, it is really cool that you are here! ;)

I don't have a favorite ice cream, but my top two are cookies and cream and cookie dough.

My question:

*If you could meet any person in the world, who would it be?*

Meg Cabot:

HARPER LEE!!!! (author of To Kill A Mockingbird)

Alex the MQ wrote:

heh..mediatior series..yeah..the first time I read it, I accidently started on the 5th book, Haunted. I still loved it though.

Meg: How did you get published?

Meg Cabot:

I sent a letter to every agent in New York City, begging them to look at my book, and they all said no for three years. And then finally, one said yes! And she is still my agent today, and she finally get my book published!

£Iz wrote:

Hi Meg!! :) How did you feel when your books (Princess Diaries and 1-800 Where R You series) got changed into a T.V. show and movies? Did it feel really weird knowing that some of the stuff got changed? Were you upset, or did you feel the changes were necessary?

Luv Liz and Lin

Meg Cabot:

Well, they kind of had to change some stuff because of the length of the movie (90 minutes) as opposed to the book (almost 300 pages) and the G rating and to "raise the stakes" in the first movie. The 2nd movie, they totally went a different direction than the books, and I didn't even watch it, but I didn't care, because they still paid me. Same thing with the TV show. You sort of just have to separate yourself and know that you're just getting paid and they are two spearate entities. If you can't stand to see your project changed, you just shouldn't sell it, really. Unfortunately, that's how it goes! And at that time, I really needed the money! And hey, it helped sell the books! So it's all good!

Alex the MQ wrote:

wee!

This is making my year :D

Anyways, Meg, is there going to be a sequal to "How to be popular" and why did you choose to have the sequel for "Avalon High" as a manga?

Meg Cabot:

No sequel to Popular (but there might be a TV show--MTV optioned it) and I couldn't think of a long enough sequel for a book for Avalon High, but they approached me about doing a manga, and I COULD think of a manga length story. So there'll be a three part manga. That's all!

Janet wrote:

How do you deal with your *bad* girl characters or difficult ones anyway like Jinx's nasty cousin, Tory? Based on girls who were nasty to you once upon a time??

Meg Cabot:

Oh, yeah, absolutely, Tory is actually related on a bunch of different girls I knew. Nasty!

Miss Erin wrote:

If you could meet one of your characters, which one would it be and why?

Meg Cabot:

Oh my God, that would be SO FREAKY!!! I think if I met any one of my characters in real life, I would punch them in the face.

I'm totally serious.

silence is golden, but duck tape is silver... wrote:

WoW... its hectic here, poor Cabot how does she manage it?

Umm... I have several questions so I'll fire em off...

How did the inspiration for Jean come out of your head?

Or where it came from sounds better...

And how does your ideas for stories work, do you just like come up with the basics of the idea and then string along from there or does it come out all at once?

Or do you get like big pieces then add the fillers or what?

Meg Cabot:

Jinx is a little bit of me, of course, but I'm not a preacher's daughter, so she's also a little bit of a girl I know who IS. I like to take bits and pieces of real life and stuff I make up and hear about from other people I know and fit them together like a puzzle and see how it turns out. To me, writing a book is like making a necklace...all the bits and pieces fit together like beads in a necklace, and the final book is like a really pretty necklace. Whether or not it looks good when you wear it is like whether or not the book sells. Does that make sense????

Ally wrote:

I love that your mom was your mentor!

I know you're hugely prolific, I'm wondering what advice you'd give, other than working on the next project, to those of us in the waiting stages of the process (ie. hearing back on agented subs)?

Also, I'm guessing you have different editors for different series, who's been your favorite to work with, and why?

Meg Cabot:

Ugh, the waiting part! I hate that.

Obviously my favorite agents are the ones I have now, Abby McAden at Scholastic and Amanda Maciel at Harper Children's and Carrie Feron at HarperMorrow Adult.

As for what to do while you're waiting, if you can't work on a new project, that's always a great time to see what you're competition is up to! That's right--READ! See what's new and what other people are working on! That's what I would do. Or read something totally different in a totally new genre for inspiration...or take some seminars at the New School, the Learning Annex, or the 92nd Street Y on how to get published to make some contacts...I also hang out at book signings...you never know!

Chicklish wrote:

Hi, I'm writing from a teen book review site in the UK. Have you done any book tours in England or are you planning any?

And just for fun, for our site... What's your favourite colour?!! ;)

Luisa

from Chicklish

Meg Cabot:

Yes, I have, I love touring in the UK, everyone is so nice!

And I love the color light blue!

MYBKCLUB wrote:

Hey Meg, first off I am such a huge fan of yours. And I have really enjoyed reviewing your books. So, here's my questions for you, how does it feel to be writing one of the last books of the Princess Diaries series?

Meg Cabot:

Actually, good to be winding up parts of the story! But other parts will keep going on, of course, and I keep thinking of what's going to happen next--and remind myself we're not going there! So...maybe we are after all! ACK!

Sonya Sones wrote:

Hi Meg, dahlink!

Sonya Sones here. Just stopped by to say "hi." Geez. You would think I could think of something more clever to say...

Anyhow, happy chatting!

Meg Cabot:

Oh, hi! So nice to hear from you! I read that book about your sister and it was SO GOOD!!! You rock!

Maddie wrote:

What's the best book you've read lately? Do you get a lot of time for reading? Or is there too much writing to be done?

Meg Cabot:

Sadly, too much writing. Also, there is always the danger if something is really good that you might subconsciously begin to echo that author's voice. I read a lot of magazines though!

?!Taylor! ?Get Ready-Get Set-Don't Go! wrote:

hey meg, do you like writing or reading more? or both?

Meg Cabot:

WRITING!

Charlye [Parlez-vous français?] wrote:

Hey Meg, my question is:

In your blog you said that you would never write a story about vampires. But you did make a contribution to "Prom Nights From Hell", which had the heroine as a vampire hunter. Does that mean that the only vampire story you write will be about killing them?

Meg Cabot:

So far. That could change, but I haven't met any vampires that haven't been blood sucking fiends (in real life).

Foothills Teen Librarians wrote:

Hi everyone!

I have a quick question for Meg, you write for different ages--teens, adults, and now tweens. Which audience do you like to write for best?

Kristin (a teen librarian originally from IU too)

Meg Cabot:

Hi Hoosier Kristin! I like switching back and forth between ages because it keeps things fresh. I could never choose which one I like best. They're all great, in their own way. I could never do just one, though!

silence is golden, but duck tape is silver... wrote:


But isn't cruel because in a way they're desicrating your hard work and your characters?

Meg Cabot:

Well, you could look at it that way. Or you could look at it in the way that I got a kickass two bedroom apartment in New York City that no way I could afford otherwise, my books went to number one on the bestseller list and there is no way they would have done that otherwise, and every day I get like 200 emails from little girls who are like, "I never read a book before, but I saw this movie and my mom said it was based on a book and I loved the movie so much I bought the book and now I can't stop reading." And frankly, all of that pretty much makes up for the "desecration" of any characters.

Plus, Anne Hathaway read the books on tape of my first three books and she kicked ass as Mia.

Justina Chen Headley wrote:

Taylor's right: Meg, you've got a heart o' gold. But that's not the only reason why I respect you.

My question is this: how the heck do you juggle so many projects across so many genres? You clearly have many many more brain cells that I do.

Meg Cabot:

No way! For one thing, I don't have any kids. And for another, I just do them one at a time. I don't look at the forest. I just look at the trees.

MYBKCLUB wrote:

Wow, it sounds horrible and exciting at the same time.

Okay, so while we are talking about the PD series, lets talk about the latest book. Or some of your latest books. As I said, I am such a big fan of yours, and when reading some of your latest books(not Pants on Fire and Jinx though), I ahve noticed that you have circled around a certain theme, Sex. Is there a reason for that?

Meg Cabot:

Yes. I am freaked out by the fact that, in Florida, at least, none of my high school teacher friends are allowed to mention that condoms work to prevent pregnancy and STDs in their sex ed classes. They are only allowed to tell their students not to have sex. What's up with that???? Plus, on a shelf next to my books in a Barnes and Noble, I saw a book about Your Precious Gift. And it was a book about your virginity. It totally freaked me out. Now I am scarred for life. And so is Mia.

Miss Erin wrote:

Yeah, do you like have old journals you look at and stuff? Or do you rely on memories? Or do you just DO IT somehow, lol?!

Meg Cabot:

Yes, Miss Erin, I DO have old journals I read from. My OWN journals. I rely them A LOT.

Also my memories and old notes I used to pass in class.

Miss Erin wrote:

I just read this quote: "Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen." - Willa Cather

And it made me wonder: did you write stories and such when you were young, too?

Meg Cabot:

Yes, I did, I've been writing stories since I was 7. I still have them all, too! They're pretty embarrassing!

readergirlz wrote:

One of the missions of readergirlz is to tie Community Service into every book we feature. For instance, with September's pick, the National Book Award finalist, SOLD, by Patricia McCormick, we featured this great project LOOSE CHANGE to stop child slavery.

Meg, what do you think is the BEST thing your millions of readers could do to help the world to honor the spirit of your books?

Meg Cabot:

Wow! That's fantastic! One of the projects we've been working on over at my website is getting girls involved in projects they can do around their own communities to make small changes locally that have a global impact on the environment, such as donating used sneakers to kids that don't have easy access to them (such as in Africa), recycling, etc. Some of the charities I endorse are listed on my website at http://www.megcabot.com/activist/, but I'd love to hear from my readers about what kind of campaigns THEY are doing to help their communities. Saving the world for our children is the most important thing we can be doing right now, so there IS a world for them!

Jackie wrote:

I'm still curious about why you published under so many names early on.

Thanks!

Meg Cabot:

Oh, because I had 3 different publishers and I had signed a non-competing work clause with each of them!

Traci wrote:

How does the Princess Diaries Series differ from other literature for teens?

Meg Cabot:

Is this a school question??? I don't know that it does...Except that it's AWESOME!

£Iz wrote:

Hey again:) We have so many questions because we're so excited!! Um, we're a bit confused, do you mostly live in New York, or Florida? Also, do you come to Canada often for book tours?

Thank you!!

Luv Liz and Lin<3

Meg Cabot:

I mostly live in Florida. I am in New York right now for work. I DO come to Canada for book tours when they invite me, which has been twice so far, to Toronto once and once to Vancouver. It was great!

silence is golden, but duck tape is silver... wrote:

Did you get in leagal issues eventually when they found out it was you?

Meg Cabot:

Ha! No, not at all. But when the books under my real name, Meg Cabot, got to be quite popular, the people who published the Patricia Cabot and Jenny Carroll books wanted to republish them all under my real name. As you know, I let them republish the Jenny Carroll ones under Meg Cabot. But the Patricia Cabot ones are going to stay under that name! My grandma is still alive! She'd have a heart attack!

Maddie wrote:

Just thought of another one...

Has Lyme disease changed your outlook on life? Has it ever affected how or what you write?

(I ask because I was diagnosed with Lyme 2-3 years ago and it really affected me, and not just because I practically missed 2 years of school...)

Meg Cabot:

Oh my goodness! Two years of school! That's awful! Well, I suppose I feel so much better now I hardly ever think about it, but it does make me go to the doctor more often now. I mean, if I feel the slightest twinge, I'm off. And of course I never trust the slightest thing they say and I rush off to get third and fourth opionions...

MYBKCLUB wrote:

Hey meg, does that mean that you are going to be having any book signings in Florida anytime soon??? I have been dying to go to one lately.

Meg Cabot:

Well, my tour schedule is a little up in the air because I just switched publishers, but I'll let everyone know via my website as soon as I know. I won't be doing any touring again until March, though.

?!Taylor! ?Get Ready-Get Set-Don't Go! wrote:

whats your real name?

lols sorry im confuzzled!

Meg Cabot:

Ha, it's Meg Cabot (Meggin Cabot).

Dia Calhoun wrote:

Meg--I'd love to know how many hours a day or a week you spend writing.

Meg Cabot:

Well, on the days that I work, just like any working person, 10-5/6--with an hour for lunch! And I usually work 5-6 days a week when I have a book due. But that's ONLY when I have a book due!

Ruby wrote:

Hopefully she's not on here... you never know. She could have any kind of pen name... you could be confessing to your grandma right now. (ominous)dum dum dah!

Meg Cabot:

Oh my God, if my Grandma has mastered Myspace live chat when this is only MY first time, I will kill myself.

£Iz wrote:

Hi again, Meg :)

That's so cool how you liked Vancouver and Toronto:):) How do we invite you to Canada again? (Ex. Toronto)

From Liz and Lin :)

Meg Cabot:

You know what, it was that book chain who invited me--Indigo--What are they called?? Anyway, don't worry, they'll invite me again, and I'll let you know via my website!

?!Taylor! ?Get Ready-Get Set-Don't Go! wrote:

id like to know too!

my fav authors are Dia! You, meg! and of course Sarah dessen!

justina, janet and lorie, im dying to read yalls books too, and so yall are my fav authors too but much more...my soul sistas! lol

have any of you met sarah dessen?

Meg Cabot:

I have! She's so nice!!!!

silence is golden, but duck tape is silver... wrote:

Why did you switch publishers?

Meg Cabot:

Because Scholastic (Harry Potter's publisher) lured away my YA editor, so I followed her because I'm so used to working with her.

A Thousand Sweet Kisses wrote:

my favorite books of yours is Nicola and the Viscount and Victoria and the Rogue.

Where did you get the idea to write these two books?

Meg Cabot:

Actually my editor kind of assigned those books to me (the titles, not the plots) but I got the plot ideas based on the titles. I really wanted to do some books about bossy girls who like to tidy things up because my favorite book is about a character like that (COLD COMFORT FARM by Stella Gibbon, although it is a comedy not a romance). So I did!

MYBKCLUB wrote:

Now, do you set aside certain times during the day to write your books? I know with other authors, they only work when they have inspiration.

Meg Cabot:

If I did that, I'd never work AT ALL!!!!!

readergirlz wrote:

Well, everyone, according to our clock, it's 6:00 p.m. PDT, which means...our chat with Meg is officially over. *weeping hysterically*

We know that we could continue chatting with Meg for another 10 hours straight, but we need her to finish her upcoming book...and her fingers are probably about to fall off from answering all of our questions so generously.

So...THANK YOU, Meg, for kicking off 31 Flavorite Authors for Teens.

For the entire line-up of this month's authors--31 authors in 31 nights--check out the readergirlz website at www.readergirlz.com or our profile page at www.myspace.com/readergirlz

G'night, all!

Meg Cabot:

Thank you so much for having me, Readergirlz! You guys completely rocked! I had such a good time, and you asked SUCH great questions!

Good luck with all your future chats, and keep up the great reading (and chatting, and writing, and working, and playing, and volunteering, and everything else you do)! You guys are the best!

Mwah! XXXOOO

Meg

readergirlz