Thursday, February 7, 2013

Author alum celebrates release of second novel

by Rachel Diebel, A&E reporter

            Marissa Meyer never thought she would return to Pacific Lutheran University as anything but a proud alumnae.  On Tuesday, however, she returned as a celebrity.
            Meyer graduated from PLU with a degree in creative writing, but went on to study publishing at Pace University.  After a short time as an editor, Meyer became a freelance writer and eventually wrote the first book in what would become the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, “Cinder.”
Readers attend an event at Garfield Book Company in honor of PLU alum Marissa Meyer's new novel, "Scarlet." Photo by Camille Adams.
            Of the series, Meyer said she doesn’t “even know what happened! Last year was a blur, and now I’m standing here!”
            “Cinder” is a “futuristic retelling of Cinderella,” according to Meyer.  She was inspired to write about fairy tales because of a deep love for the genre, but also an interest in the dark side of the stories. Meyer was interested in “what Disney isn’t telling us.”
The sequel to “Cinder,” “Scarlet” celebrated its premiere at Garfield Bookstore on Feb. 5.  “Scarlet” continues the story of Cinder, but also brings in elements of Little Red Riding Hood via a street fighter named Wolf, who, as Meyer said, “we all know is totally trustworthy, right?”
A crowd of more than a hundred students and community members attended the event, most dressed in red and sporting red scarves, the trademark of “Cinder’s” lead character.  The event included a talk and readings by Meyer as well as a book signing and a question and answer session.  A few attendees came in costume, sporting mechanical body parts, as the title character of “Cinder” is a cyborg.  
The event also included a raffle for “Scarlet”themed baskets, with all proceeds going to Wolfhaven International, an organization based in Tenino that seeks to educate people about endangered wolves.  Meyer visited Wolfhaven while doing research for “Scarlet” and will personally match every dollar that the raffle earns.
The event was a family affair for Meyer.  Before she spoke, Meyer greeted old friends and family who were in attendance, including her mother, father and grandmother.  
“It’s really cool to have someone from our school to have successfully written a book,” senior Myia Johnson said.  Johnson said she discovered “Cinder” when Meyer came to one of her classes during fall semester to promote her books and talk about writing.  Johnson “thought the book sounded really interesting, so I read it and I loved it.”
Meyer ended the speaking portion of the evening by holding hardback copies of her two novels and saying in disbelief, “I wrote two books!”  Meyer serves as an inspiration for PLU students like Johnson, who said she now sees writing her own novel as an “attainable” goal.