If you see a 30-year-old woman in a Parkland café typing on a computer with fingerless gloves, give her some space. She’s on deadline, writing about cyborgs, princesses and an evil lunar queen living in a distant future.
Marissa Meyer is the author of what will be a five-part series of young adult novels that puts a futuristic spin on characters from classic fairytales: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.
Before the final book in the “Lunar Chronicles” publishes later this year, Meyer is bringing out a prequel to the series. On Tuesday, she will hold a book release party at Tacoma Public Library’s main branch downtown for “Fairest: Levana’s Story.”
The first book in Meyer’s series, “Cinder,” shot up The New York Times best-sellers list when it was released in 2012. Since then, she’s released “Scarlet” and “Cress.” The final book, “Winter,” will come out Nov. 10.
Meyer, a Pacific Lutheran University alumna, likes to write at 208 Garfield, the cafe next door to the university’s bookstore. She deploys the fingerless gloves in winter months.
Though she also writes at home, the café setting allows her to escape distractions. “There’s dishes in the sink and laundry piling up. You just need to get out and focus,” Meyer said.
It was there she wrote “Fairest,” which tells the back story of the villain in the series: Levana the lunar queen, who uses telepathic abilities to control people. The prequel explains how the woman became the ruthless ruler readers know her as.
“Fairest,” Meyer said, was born out of necessity.
“I knew early on that Snow White (“Winter”) was the last book and that the evil queen was going to be the villain of the whole series,” Meyer said. “I’ve had Levana’s story in my head the whole time — since when I started planning out the series.”
But it was while working on “Winter” that she started hitting roadblocks. “There are elements of ‘Winter’ that rely very heavily on Levana’s past.”
She stopped writing “Winter” to work on “Fairest.”
“I had to figure out what I was missing, what I wasn’t getting about her character,” Meyer said.
She wrote the story in two weeks. “It was the fastest thing I ever wrote. I figured out all those things that were giving me trouble in ‘Winter.’ ”
Unlike “Fairest,” “Winter” has been a two-year project for Meyer. While working on the second to last draft of “Winter,” Meyer realized she was nearing completion of her series. The moment of exhilaration was short lived.
“At the same moment there’s that, ‘Aw. I’m almost done. I’m going to be saying goodbye to these characters. It’s going to be bittersweet.’ ”
Meyer has 1.1 million books in print and has been published in 25 languages. She has substantial fan bases in the Philippines, Italy and India.
On occasion she gets messages intended for a woman with a very similar name: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. “I get a lot of emails and Tweets yelling at me when Yahoo email goes down. I usually respond, ‘I’m really sorry about that, but here’s some good reading material.”
Despite all the writing she does, Meyer still finds time to read. In 2014, she started a book club. “Unbroken,” the story of World War II prisoner of war and Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, is Meyer’s most recent read.
After the Lunar Chronicles is finished, Meyer will continue to write young adult fiction. Her next novel will be based on “Alice in Wonderland.” That will be followed by a series revolving around super heroes.
Meyer lives near PLU with her husband, Jesse Taylor. They recently became foster parents to two infants.
Tuesday’s “Fairest” event at the library will be more than just a book signing and reading. “I really try to make these launch parties a real party.” There will be associated props from the stories, fan art, a Q and A, and activities.