January 15th, 2009 13:30 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Meg Cabot, Author of the Princess Diaries
Meg Cabot was born on February 1, 1967, during the Chinese astrological year of the Fire Horse, a notoriously unlucky sign. Fortunately she grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, where few people were aware of the stigma of being a fire horse -- at least until Meg became a teenager, when she flunked freshman Algebra twice, then decided to cut her own bangs. After six years as an undergrad at Indiana University, Meg moved to New York City (in the middle of a sanitation worker strike) to pursue a career as an illustrator, at which she failed miserably, forcing her to turn to her favorite hobby--writing novels--for emotional succor. She worked various jobs to pay the rent, including a decade-long stint as the assistant manager of a 700 bed freshmen dormitory at NYU, a position she still occasionally misses.
She is now the author of nearly fifty books for both adults and teens, selling fifteen million copies worldwide, many of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers, most notably The Princess Diaries series, which is currently being published in over 38 countries, and was made into two hit movies by Disney. In addition, Meg wrote the Mediator and 1-800-Where-R-You? series (on which the television series, Missing, was based), two All-American Girl books, Teen Idol, Avalon High, How to Be Popular, Pants on Fire, Jinx, a series of novels written entirely in email format (Boy Next Door, Boy Meets Girl, and Every Boy`s Got One), a mystery series (Size 12 Is Not Fat/ Size 14 Is Not Fat Either/Big Boned), and a chick-lit series called Queen of Babble.
Meg is now writing a new middle grade series called Allie Finkle`s Rules for Girls, as well as an edgy new YA series, Airhead, both of which debut in Spring of 2008. Her new paranormal series, Abandon, debuts in Summer of 2009.
Meg currently divides her time between Key West, Indiana, and New York City with a primary cat (one-eyed Henrietta), various back-up cats, and her husband, who doesn`t know he married a fire horse. Please don`t tell him.
About The Princess Diaries Series
I got the idea for The Princess Diaries when my mother, after my father`s death in 1994, started dating one of my college professors. I began writing a book about a girl who is upset about her mother dating her Algebra teacher. I made the girl in the book a princess because my mom used to joke that when I was little, I thought my "real parents" were a king and queen who were going to come and take me away to live in a castle. I`m still waiting..
I originally intended the Princess Diaries series to be a 16 book series, following all four years of a reluctant princess`s American high school education, with four books in each school year.
However, I had a very hard time getting the first book published, let alone convincing a publisher to buy a 16 book series! The Princess Diaries was rejected by almost every publishing house in America. I finally sold the first book to my American publisher, but they were only interested in ONE stand alone book. Fortunately my UK publisher was interested in more-but still, only three books in a series that was supposed to be 16 books!
That`s why at the end of the third book, it seems like it really is THE END. It sort of was.because I thought there`d be no more books, because my publishers wouldn`t buy any more from me! I was soooo sad. I had so many more plans for Mia.. but I couldn`t get anybody to buy them!
Happily, when Disney bought the film rights and the movie was "greenlighted," both publishers realized there might be demand for more books, and went ahead and said they`d buy the proposals I`d submitted for books 4-6.and then my proposals for the ½ books and the "Lessons" and "Perfect Princess" and "Holiday" books.then my proposals for books 7-9.then finally my proposal for book 10 (the UK has also published many "annuals" in addition to the books in the US).
So I ended up getting my 16 books published after all--just not quite in the way I`d hoped.but that`s fine, because Mia`s story is told!
Will there be more than 16 books? Will we still hear from Mia after Princess Diaries 10, Forever Princess? I`m not sure right now. I know she needs a rest, and so do I. But you`ll be the first to know if and when I do decide to write a new book.
I hope you`ll enjoy The Princess Diaries series. I had a blast writing them, and love Princess Mia and all her friends as if they were real people (to me, they sort of are).
Read Dream Reachers Featuring Judyth Piazza