Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
You can read about why I think Marissa is a creative force to be reckoned with here. Below you will find Marissa’s guest post on writing THE QUEEN’S ARMY, a prequel to the Lunar Chronicles series:
By Marissa Meyer
I suspect most novelists have vast amounts of back story living in their heads, or in random files on their computer, or jotted on scraps of paper in their story binders. We fall so in love with our worlds and characters that it’s sometimes hard to be selective over the things we include in the novel, versus those secretive tidbits that we think are fascinating, but don’t quite fit into the story. All we can do is hint at them and hope that an opportunity presents itself, someday, to share them with our readers.
Which is why I’ve loved writing the two Lunar Chronicles prequel stories for my publisher and Tor.com:
“Glitches,” which released in 2011, presents an eleven-year-old, newly-mechanized Cinder first coming to live with Adri and her family.
And my most recent short, “The Queen’s Army,” gives insight into the army of werewolf-like soldiers Queen Levana is creating in order to wage war on Earth. It focuses on one soldier in particular—young Ze’ev Kesley, or Z, who is determined to not let himself become a monster.
With writing a short story, not unlike writing a novel, the first step is to pinpoint the focus of the story. Hoping that the trend begun with CINDER and “Glitches” would continue with SCARLET, I’d already set aside some potential story ideas when the request came in. But when I sent all those ideas to my editor, “The Queen’s Army” was a clear winner. In part because it was the story I had the most fodder for, but also because it would allow readers a glimpse into a world they may not otherwise get to see (the underground army barracks on Luna and the genetic mutations that soldiers are subjected to).
With the topic decided, the second step was to go through SCARLET and note any points of reference that would relate to Z’s story and the werewolf army, to ensure the prequel was consistent with the novel.
This also helped me choose which elements of Z’s story to focus on. Novels naturally bring up a lot of questions that never get fully answered: Why do these characters hate each other so much? Where did that scar come from? What created this fear of needles or snakes or public speaking or whatever it is they’re afraid of? I chose the questions I wanted to answer and started piecing together the events of Z’s past that would answer them. I soon realized that my short story was turning into a novella (that’s a bad habit of mine), and had to cut out a few scenes to keep to the requested story length. This forced me to really focus on the important elements of Z’s story and the world-building I wanted readers to understand.
Also, like with a novel, a short story needs to have a beginning-middle-end structure that resolves at least one of the story’s main issues—for good or for bad. So that was a big focus when I was writing my outline—figuring out Z’s major character arc and how he would change over the course of the story.
Once I had my outline, the actual writing of “The Queen’s Army” was relatively easy. That’s one of the great things about prequel stories—there’s usually so much of them that I’ve already figured out in my head (setting details and character quirks, etc.) that it isn’t like being back at square one as it would be with starting a new novel. It’s also a lot of fun for me to have the opportunity to delve into these back stories, because no matter how much I thought I knew about a character or their world, I always end up learning so much more.
I hope that readers will be intrigued by Z and his choices in “The Queen’s Army,” as well as the results of those choices that begin to play out, years later, in the world of SCARLET.
Scarlet Blog Tour Schedule
Monday 1/21 Alexa Loves Books
Tuesday 1/22 Alice Marvels
Wednesday 1/23 Mermaid Vision Books
Thursday 1/24 Into the Hall of Books
Friday 1/25 Supernatural Snark
Saturday 1/26 Anna Reads
Sunday 1/27 A Backwards Story
Monday 1/28 Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday 1/29 The Book Rat
Wednesday 1/30 Makeshift Bookmark
Thursday 1/31 Book Sake
Friday 2/1 Making the Grade
Saturday 2/2 Birth of a New Witch
Sunday 2/3 Two Chicks on Books
Enter to win a paperback copy of CINDER
*and* a hardback copy of SCARLET!
Open to US/Canada only and ends Wednesday, January 20, 2013 at midnight.