Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The One Where I Have Lunch with Marie Lu and Celebrate With a Giveaway!


Sometimes, being a book blogger can have serious added benefits. I mean, mostly we stay at home and read a lot and stress a lot and panic about never-ending TBR lists a lot, but sometimes? Sometimes, amazingly awesome things can happen. This past weekend, one of those things happened. I was invited by Penguin Teen to have lunch with the one and only Marie Lu, author of the amazing, brilliant, and heartbreaking Legend trilogy, along with the fabulous Kate from The Midnight Garden. Marie was in town for a signing at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore--the last stop on her Champion tour, I believe-- so Kate and I met her for lunch a couple hours before.

Considering this is one of the coolest things I've ever been invited to do, it was not without its difficulties. The first question, of course, is how do I behave like a normal human person? That particular ability is dramatically outside of my range of talents. Whenever I meet authors, I tend to stammer. "How you books I like thank you yes" is how it tends to go. There were also some planning... inconsistencies, which I won't get into. Also, the weather. You hardened folks may scoff, but by Southern California standards, Saturday was FREEZING. And there was actual moisture falling from the sky, which usually causes me to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West (Coast). My car battery also died the moment it deposited me safely at the agreed-upon lunch location, which... at least it waited until I got off the 405, right?

So ends the complaining portion of this write-up. Marie Lu is awesome with an extra side of awesomeness. Kate and I were standing all cold and awkward outside the restaurant when Marie comes striding up in what Kate described in her post as "a badass schoolgirl/assassin/supermodel/soldier". Seriously. Her outfit was incredible. She was wearing EPAULETS, for crying out loud!

That's my face. Sharing space with Marie Lu's face. We have shared facespace.

We sat down, ordered food, and got chatting about all kinds of things. We talked about the Legend trilogy a bit, and she told us the inspiration for it came from the Valjean/Javert relationship in Les Miserables! She also admitted she's a serious pantser, which means she didn't know how Champion was going to end until she got to the end of Prodigy. That got us talking about crippling endings to series, and whether or not she was afraid of how fans would react to hers. Apparently the enormous fallout from Allegiant (which released precisely two weeks before Champion) totally terrified her, but it a way, it would take the heat and focus of her (not so cruel but still painful) ending.

Kate and I also asked about her new and upcoming series, The Young Elites. Marie confided that the inspiration for it is far less distinct than the one for Legend, but that it's set in a Renaissance-esque world where magic is new, and that she's billing it as X-Men meets Assassin's Creed, which... well, Kate and I were basically drooling. Also, it went through tons of revisions (she started off with the WRONG MAIN CHARACTER!) and almost never made it past her editor, who was not a fan of it in its earliest incarnation. (Marie: "She actually told me, 'Maybe you're not meant to write fantasy.'")

We also chatted about fun things (what we're reading, the fact that there should TOTALLY be a contemporary romance novel based on The Sound of Music, shipping). Travel, too. Marie had just been in London, and was telling us about all the amazing things she did there despite the COLD. We all commiserated on the fact that we are biologically unable to handle cold. Then we traded travel stories, with Marie telling us about her trip to Tibet, which was very transformative and spiritual, up until she got altitude sickness and vomited on the floor of a holy temple. And then I told the story about the time I got altitude sickness in the Himalayas, and the other time I got food poisoning and vomited in the check-in area of the massive and crowded Bangkok airport.

Vomiting in exotic Asian locales is what all the cool kids are doing these days. You are jealous.

After lunch, Marie headed off to her signing, and I wished her luck and everlasting hand-strength so she didn't hurt herself scribbling on all those books. Kate headed over there, too, while I pondered what to do with the heap of scrap metal formerly known as my car. When Kate returned, we got coffee and talked about all sorts of life- and blog-related things, warming our frozen icicle hands with gigantic cups of coffee. Then Kate and I parted, I called AAA, read a good chunk of Into the Still Blue while hiding from the cold inside my car. Half an hour later, an obliging old Russian man, who told me I looked like his daughter, came to fix my car and dispense some unnecessary but still appreciated wisdom ("Never let your tank get lower than quarter full! Reading is good for your brain!" Thanks, Mikhail).

Saturday was a truly amazing day, and I'm so thankful to have been able to meet an author whose work I love so much (not to mention one of my favorite online blogger buddies). And not only that, but for it to be just the three of us, chatting away about books and life and cool stuff? Pretty darn incredible.

To celebrate, I'm giving away one book of your choice from the trilogy: Legend, Prodigy, or Champion. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have heard so much praise for this series! Being an Asian, I feel honoured xD

    That is such a cool opportunity for you! You must have gone crazy at the news! :D

  2. Oh, the planning inconsistencies!

    I had such fun with you--we'll have to go to more bookish stuff together in the future. Maybe something where we can drink our coffee INSIDE?

    Kate @ The Midnight Garden

  3. Awhhh, sounds like you had a wonderful day! Talking about books with two awesome other people is the best thing ever!

  4. Despite the car issues, this sounds like an awesome day. Yet another series of books I need to read. Thanks, Cyber Monday!

  5. What an awesome day(sans the car battery issue)! I love getting to see readers/authors connecting, so cool! And epaulets- that is badass, lol!

  6. Aw, yay! It sounds like you had such an amazing time. <3 BEYOND jealous. Marie seems like such a sweet person :) And I do adore her books. <3 Sigh. So happy for you :)

  7. I would have lost my shit if I was asked to lunch with an awesome author like that. lol That's such an awesome opportunity though and it sounds like you guys had a ton of fun. :)
    I have NOT read this series and after all the gushing I heard with the last installment and how well wrapped up it was, well, I clearly need to remedy this.

  8. Sounds like you had an amazing time so YAY! I really need to start this series. It's on my never ending list.

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  10. Wow, what a failure that first comment was. Hello, I'm commenting on Gillian's blog on the job. Anyway. Sounds like a star-studded Saturday, and I still have no idea how having gas in your tank relates to the vitality of your car battery.

  11. It's so awesome that you had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Marie! She seems like such a cool person, and I remember her being incredibly nice when I met her waaaay back in 2011. Glad you had a good time, in spite of all the craziness!

  12. Oh, her new series sounds amazeballs!

  13. Ahhhh, jelly! I had to look up epaulets but it totally sounded cool. :3


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