Marissa Meyer is the author of The Lunar Chronicles, a young adult sci-fi quartet beginning with Cinder and continuing with Scarlet, which will hit bookstores in February. Marissa lives in Washington with her husband and three cats, and enjoys Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and wearing awesome costumes.

Could you tell us five random facts about yourself?

1. The first book I can remember having read to me was Black Beauty.

2. I won a state speaking competition in fifth grade; my speech was on illiteracy.

3. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer, a Broadway actress, and a fashion designer.

4. I come from a family of costumers. When I was growing up, I remember my dad winning multiple costume competitions as Marvin the Martian.

5. The first movie I remember seeing in the theater was The Little Mermaid. And the obsession with fairy tales began. :)

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer.

I began writing “seriously” when I was introduced to fanfiction when I was fourteen years old. I wrote close to 50 fanfics for an anime called Sailor Moon all through high school and college — it not only helped me develop my voice and learn about the craft of writing, but the online community was so supportive and encouraging that it gave me the confidence to pursue publication. Cinder was the first original novel I ever finished (though I have multiple unfinished novels lying around). It took me about two years to write, from conception through seven or eight drafts and polishing rounds.

Once I thought the book was ready to be sent into the world, though, the journey started moving along much faster! I was on the agent hunt for two months and signed with the first agent I’d queried. Two weeks later she took Cinder and The Lunar Chronicles on submission. That was a Friday, we had our first offer the following Monday. After feeling like the writing process took forever, that all happened dizzyingly fast!

What has surprised you about writing and publishing?

I’d worked in a small publishing house for five years, and I also have a Master’s degree in publishing, so I haven’t been surprised by too much in the publishing business. What has surprised me, though, is how often I find out things through Twitter or Facebook — say, that my book’s on a best of the year list, or that it’s available for pre-order, or whatever. I always thought these things would come lickety-split from my publisher, but the Internet is so on top of things it seems they’re always the first to let me know!

Why do you feel drawn to the stories you write?

I’ve always loved fairy tales and the idea of “happily ever afters,” but I get bored with stories about simpering princesses who are waiting to be rescued. That’s part of what I loved so much about Sailor Moon — the main characters are teenage girls, and they’re also superheroes. What teen girl wouldn’t love that? So that’s inspired me a lot — I’m drawn to protagonists (both the girls and the boys) who are strong and courageous and capable, but still flawed.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

For a long time I was a café writer, but just in the past month we’ve bought all new living room furniture, including a super comfy chair and ottoman. I’ve been spending a lot of time there recently!

What is one thing you wish you’d known when you sat down to write your novel?

That it would get published and there would be readers who love it. It’s so tough when you’re writing something and you don’t know if anyone will ever read it, or if you’re just wasting your time. I had my share of doubts and fears. Of course, I guess that’s the testament to writing the story that you love — you write it whether you know it will succeed or not.

How do you approach writing villains or antagonists?

These are my problem characters, for sure. It’s so tempting for me to make a villain that is 100% evil — but that’s very unrealistic. Most people who do horrible, cruel things have reasons for doing them. They may not be good reasons, but they’re there. So I have to spend a lot of time considering my villain’s backgrounds, desires, and motivations in order to figure out how they became this horrible person, and then try to make sure that comes out in the subtext of the story, even if it’s never fully explained.

Which is easier to write: The first line or the last line?

The first line, for sure! Although my first sentences and paragraphs do often change during revisions, it’s usually because I have lots of options for what I think would make a good opener. On the other hand, I’ve been known to stare at that last page for hours and hours trying to think up a suitable last line. It’s painful. People think the first page is the most important, but I’m not sure. The last page brings it all together. The last page should have that resonance that feels inevitable and solid and perfect. That’s not an easy thing to pull off.

What is your favorite chapter or scene you’ve written recently?

I spent November and December working on a new project that I can’t offer too much information about right now, but my favorite chapter from it includes a rose tree, a ball gown, and a raven.

Do you have things you need in order to write (i.e. coffee, cupcakes, music)?

Socks. Only socks. There are things I like to have — a latte, a scented candle, chocolate, the scene already playing out in my head. But the only necessary thing is socks. I can’t focus if I have cold feet.

Bonus Question! Would you rather be a book or a computer?

Good heavens — a book, I suppose. Computers know too much. I think I would always get distracted and frenzied. But a good book lives one good, solid story. That sounds like a pretty decent life.

About ‘Cinder’ and ‘The Lunar Chronicles’:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

For more about Marissa Meyer:

You can follow Marissa on Twitter at @Marissa_Meyer and keep in touch with her on Facebook. You can find more about Marissa and contact her through her website, MarissaMeyer.com. Cinder is available for purchase from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and other booksellers. Scarlet will be released on Feb 15.

Here’s how Netflix’s ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ should split the books up

We still know next to nothing about Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ adaption, but we can dream.

8:45 pm EDT, May 2, 2016

There are few things in this world I am more excited about than the Netflix adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The casting so far is perfect. Neil Patrick Harris looks like a better Count Olaf than Jim Carrey did, and the kids selected to play Klaus and Violet look like they jumped right out of the book. Plus, Netflix is keeping Daniel Handler, the author, close at hand as a producer so they adapt the books accurately.

Impatient fans with nothing better to do, like myself, have to wonder, how will the books be broken up across a Netflix series? How do you transition 13 short children’s books into a format broken up by episodes and seasons?

The Game of Thrones option is out, because the ASOUE books are far too short to do a book a season. And also, 13 seasons just won’t happen. So what do you do? You do what the movie did and group them together. With that strategy in mind, here’s how I think A Series of Unfortunate Events will play out on Netflix, and what ground each season will cover:

Season 1: ‘The Bad Beginning,’ ‘The Reptile Room,’ ‘The Wide Window’

series-unfortunate-events-first-three-books

The Baudelaires have never experienced tragedy before. When they learn of their parents’ death in a fire that destroyed their home, they simply don’t react. They don’t know how to. Before they can process any of their grief, they’re dragged into the custody of Count Olaf, a character who earns the title of the series’ antagonist. Count Olaf is after the Baudelaire fortune, an immense sum of money the children’s parents left behind for them to inherit when Violet, the oldest, turns 18. Through the entire series, Count Olaf deceives, kidnaps, steals, and kills to get what he wants. Every time, the Baudelaires narrowly evade his grasp. During the first three books the orphans visit the Count’s sinister, disgusting home, a room filled with fascinating reptiles, and a house dangling over a lake infested with flesh-eating leeches. This is just the start of the orphan’s troubles.

Season 2: ‘The Miserable Mill,’ ‘The Austere Academy,’ ‘The Ersatz Elevator’

series-unfortunate-events-middle-three-books

Through the next three books, the Baudelaires come to expect Count Olaf everywhere they go, and they’re right to do so. While meeting even more unpleasant characters, they also meet some who come to be their closest friends. The Quagmire children still consider themselves triplets, even though one of them died in a fire. The Quagmire triplets also have a large fortune waiting for them when they turn 18. The other triplets are also exceedingly smart, just like the Baudelaires. Count Olaf kidnaps the Quagmires, but before he can do so, Duncan Quagmire gives the reader, and the Baudelaires, the first glimpse into the mystery behind these unfortunate events, “V.F.D!” The mystery only grows larger when the orphans find a secret passage from one of their new guardian’s homes, to their old mansion, which is now reduced to ashes.

Season 3: ‘The Vile Village,’ ‘The Hostile Hospital,’ ‘The Carnivorous Carnival’

series-unfortunate-events-next-three-books

The children no longer fall from guardian to guardian and are more or less on their own. They go to a village where they discover the Quagmire triplets are being held somewhere secret. By the time the Baudelaires figure out the location of the Quagmires, they are also running for their lives, as Count Olaf has managed to frame them for murder. The orphans are no longer safe anywhere. Meanwhile, the acronym V.F.D appears everywhere they go. The children come to find that V.F.D is a secret organization — an organization that their parents, Count Olaf, and many other characters they have met along the way are members of. This season will be fraught with violence, as it includes a harpooning, a surgery, and man-eating lions.

Season 4: ‘The Slippery Slope,’ ‘The Grim Grotto’

series-unfortunate-events-grim-grotto

The orphans begin to discover more and more about this secret organization, its history, and what it had to do with their parents. Eventually, they find the headquarters of the organization, but of course, it’s burnt down. They learn about a mysterious sugar bowl, and something that was contained inside which that caused the falling out of the entire organization, the organization splitting into two sides with two very different goals. At this point in the series, mystery will now be dominating.

Season 5: ‘The Penultimate Peril,’ ‘The End’

series-unfortunate-events-last-book

In the last book, which I’m sure will take up most of the last season, we find the Baudelaire orphans on a remote island. One last time, Count Olaf finds them and has a final standoff with the children. The series comes together incredibly, with things from 10 books ago now once again coming into play, and mystery after mystery being solved. Ultimately, however, more questions are asked than answered. Thus the whole series heeds the advice of a submarine captain we met in book 11:

“Some things are better left unknown.”

All we know right now is that season 1 will be eight episodes long. Netflix is free to decide how many episodes each season will include, so the following seasons could potentially get longer as the story progresses.

These books are perfect for a TV series adaption. It was never meant to be a movie. In A Series of Unfortunate Events, characters die off constantly. Every book is filled with insane twists that will make House of Cards look like Sesame Street. Not only that, but the books are stuffed with colorful, imaginative locations, and addictive, outrageous characters begging to be brought to life in your web browser or on your Apple TV.

We still don’t have a release date, trailer, or anything really. All we can do
for now is watch this Very Fake Depiction of what a teaser trailer might look like:

How do you think Netflix will tell the Baudelaire Orphans’ story? Comment below!

‘Space Jam 2’ starring LeBron James finds director as script enters development

Welcome back to the Space Jam.

2:14 pm EDT, May 2, 2016

Rumor no more! LeBron James and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin are currently at work on a Space Jam sequel that will find the big (both literally and figuratively) basketball player in the leading role.

The Hollywood Reporter says that a Space Jam 2 script is currently being penned by Lin and writer Andrew Dodge. Very little else is known about the movie, but it’s safe to say it’s going to get a lot of attention as it makes its way through development. The original Space Jam starring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, and the rest of the Looney Toons became an instant classic thanks to the basketball theme and the fact that the animated characters were interacting with real actors.

Adding to its quirkiness, WB has kept the original Space Jam website online over all these years. Visit it. It’s amazing.

Space Jam hit theaters in 1996 and co-starred Larry Bird, Bill Murray, Thom Barry, Charles Barkley, Wayne Knight, and Theresa Randle. And the Looney Toons, of course.

LeBron James appeared in last year’s Trainwreck opposite Amy Schumer. We’re sure he’ll invite a few of his basketball friends to make appearances in Space Jam 2 like Jordan did in the original. While LeBron James’ interest in a Space Jam sequel has long been rumored, today’s report is the first time we’re hearing that the film has found a director, and that the script is now being worked on.

Lin is also known for directing Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6.

Are you ready for another ‘Space Jam’?

While we wait (it’s probably going to be a while), watch the original trailer for Space Jam below. Damn, we miss the ’90s.

15 Broadway songs you must listen to

1:00 pm EDT, May 2, 2016

Looking to discover some new Broadway show tunes? You’ve come to the right place. Don’t like Broadway show tunes? Wander over here, lets see if we can change your mind.

You have the Hamilton soundtrack memorized, you’ve seen more stagings of Rent than there have been years since it debuted on Broadway (20!). You’re looking for some more Broadway music to tap your toes to. Well, welcome, you are among friends in this article.

Chances are, you’ve heard of some of the songs on this playlist, if not on the theater stage, then in the pop lexicon (looking at you, Green Day, Carole King and Jersey Boys). These tunes are showstoppers, the reason the Great White Way has, and continues to, thrive.

We’ve compiled 15 songs — one hour, four minutes of music — that you may not have heard of before from shows you may have never seen. They’re a capsule look into the energy of the genre, and showcase the best Broadway has to offer — that is, the variety, the vitality and the vicious harmonies that thousands of performers crush night after night. The playlist was curated by various members of the Hypable team, so there’s a little bit of everything. Broadway shows, like all of entertainment, range in genre and can be divisive. One person’s Hamilton is another person’s Anything Goes. But, like all of entertainment, that’s the beauty in creating playlists like these. We can share and hopefully you can discover new music you might not have heard before.

The shows these songs originate from are cemented in history, they are part of the Old Guard, and they represent the transition into a modern-day Broadway, catering to audiences of all walks of life. This isn’t the typical list, no “Seasons of Love” or “Defying Gravity,” nor are there any particularly ‘deep cuts,’ all songs come from shows that should have familiar names. Some come from revival shows, some are brand-spankin’-new off original albums.

Take a listen and let us know what you think! They’ve been compiled into one handy dandy Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure, below.

Listen on Spotify:

This article is a part of Hypable’s inaugural Broadway Week in celebration of the 2016 Tony nominations.