This past weekend I got to do something really cool. Like, really, really, really cool. I was invited by Penguin Teen, along with the lovely Gillian of Writer of Wrongs, to have lunch with Marie Lu before her signing at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. The Legend Trilogy is one of my favorite YA series from the past few years, so I was really excited, but also kind of nervous and intimidated.
We braved the freezing weather (55 degrees) and perilous driving conditions (some rain) to meet up in Redondo Beach and chat over catfish and shrimp. I was, as I said, nervous, so I arrived over half an hour early (if I hadn’t spilled coffee on myself I’d have been even earlier) and sat in my car texting my sisters. Gillian was there early, too, so we were standing together talking about how freakishly cold our hands were when Marie strolled up, looking like a badass schoolgirl/assassin/supermodel/soldier.
We started by dishing about musicals, which we all adore. Marie just saw Phantom of the Opera in London, and she got the idea for Legend after seeing Les Miserables—June and Day are teenage versions of Javert and Jean Valjean, and the character of June (Les Mis is about the June Rebellion in France) was originally male! She also told us that she started the series without knowing how it was going to end—she figured out how Champion would end when she was nearly finished writing Prodigy. It’s a true testament to the effectiveness of her crazy process that Champion is such a fantastic third book. I’m bummed to report, however, that she says she has no plans to return to the world of Legend any time soon.
In happier news, she gave us a little information about her upcoming series, which is tentatively titled The Young Elites. It’s a YA trilogy—think X-Men meets Assassin’s Creed 2—about magic societies in Renaissance Italy. She said that after her first draft she changed everything and centered the story around a completely different protagonist from what she’d originally conceived. The new main character is a really dark, Darth Vader-ish teenage girl with an eye patch. AWESOME.
Marie travels a lot, and one of my favorite things about her writing is that it has a depth and texture that I think must come from her personal experience with a lot of different cultures. She told us a story about a trip she took to Tibet with her mother on which she got really bad altitude sickness and—I’m not kidding—threw up on the floor of a Buddhist Temple.
After our lunch, I headed over to Marie’s signing at Mysterious Galaxy (it’s a pretty awesome book store; check it out if you’re ever in Redondo–you may remember it from the Barry Lyga signing we attended). It was packed, you guys, and I was excited to see a pretty high percentage of teenage boys and young men in the audience.
I had an absolutely perfect day. Thanks to Marie Lu for being so lovely and sweet about sharing her time with us, and to Gillian for being the perfect partner—both during lunch and in our post-meal coffee date. It’s always fun to meet a fellow blogger.
I got a copy of Champion signed for one lucky winner!
All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us your favorite thing about the Legend series and fill out the Rafflecopter form. Don’t forget you can earn additional entries by tweeting about the contest daily, or sharing on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and up, or 13 and up with parental permission. See entry form for complete details. Good luck!