She wrote "The Princess Diaries" and "Queen of Babble", and then she charmed the world: Now, she revealed what is love for her and how to find a perfect person for you
"It’s important to be realistic about your expectations. Everyone needs to remember that there is no such thing as perfection - just someone who is perfect for you"
Everybody will say that anyone in this world can write a few sentences about some event, however, it takes an artist to explain and create someone's life story on paper, the main and side heroes, and to show true love.
Only a real writer and a person with a soul can do that, who has been through a lot in life and who can appreciate real things, people around them and the situations they are offered.
Writer Meg Cabot is that kind of a writer, whose books find their way to a wide number of readers, children and adults. She was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and she used to do various jobs before her successful career that inspired her to write successful novels.
She worked hard so she could do what she loves and enjoys. She respects and loves her readers and she wants to give them books laughter and love, which will help them forget and overcome the bad things they face in real life.
Meg spoke to Telegraf.rs about her job and private life, about her writing and inspiration, and she revealed what is the true love for her.
- Where do you find inspiration for your novels and are some of them inspired by true events?
Inspiration can come from so many different places! Most of my ideas do come from things that happen to me in daily life. For instance, I was inspired to write the first Princess Diaries book when my mom started dating one of my former teachers, which is what happens to Mia Thermopolis. I made the character turn out to be a princess because of course I’d always wished that was something that would happen to me!
- You are known as a writer for children and adults. How do you manage to separate those two roles? Is it difficult to write for such a wide audience?
When a story pops into my head, it is the plot first. Then I try to decide what age the narrator should be. So it’s not difficult for me to switch back and forth between writing for children and writing for adults, because for me it’s all about the story. In fact, I feel very grateful that I have the kind of literary career where I’m able to write for people of all ages. I have readers from age 8-88!
- The themes of your stories for adults are always love, comedy and the girl who is seeking for that right guy. Do you see your books as modern fairy tales because the leading heroes always get their happy ending?
To me, my books are about characters who are struggling to discover who they really are and what they’re true calling is on Earth. Finding love only happens after they’ve discovered those things (or sometimes at the same time).
I think the point of reading a book is to escape reality for a little while. I grew up with an alcoholic father, and all of the horrible things that go along with that kind of upbringing, so I started inventing stories at a very early age to forget the things I was experiencing around me. I’ve never understood why I would want to read something where the characters don’t end up in a better place at the end, or where justice isn’t served.
I would never do that to a reader, because I know what it’s like to feel like things are never going to get better.
- How would you describe love in your own words and what's the craziest thing you've ever done for love?
To me real love has nothing to do with sexual desire (although that’s an added bonus when you find it). It’s a connection you share with someone with whom you can be completely open and yourself, not having to worry about how you look or act (within reason! You should always try to treat everyone with kindness and respect).
Even on your off days, you know you’ll always be accepted and forgiven, cherished for exactly who you are. That’s love, and I feel lucky to have a lot of it in my life!
The craziest thing I’ve done for love is break up with my fiance (with whom I’d been for ten years!) for his best friend! Everyone said I was nuts and that it would never last, but we’ve been married 25 years! Sometimes you have to follow your heart, and not your brain.
- Do we as a society miss romance nowadays? Many ladies complain that men don't know how to seduce them.
I’ve heard this a few times - although I have to say the majority of my readers have had no problem finding love! I get invited to a ton of weddings! (I have too many deadlines to go to them all though.)
But here are some important things to remember for those of you who have not yet found lasting love (if that’s what you’re looking for): Men, most real-life women aren’t the sex-crazed maniacs they are portrayed to be in porn videos.
And women, most real-life men don’t have perfect bodies, nor do they sit around all day thinking only about their love for you the way men are often portrayed doing in romance novels.
It’s important to be realistic about your expectations. My husband, for instance, thinks only about college basketball 85% of the time, while I think only about the books I am writing. Neither of us have ever had perfect bodies. But we make each other laugh. So it’s OK! Everyone needs to remember that there is no such thing as perfection - just someone who is (mostly) perfect for you.
- Your female characters are always funny and they are getting into various situations. They also have a lot of charm, they are very independent and female readers can relate to them. How much is that pattern important in your writing?
Oh thank you! I actually got my start writing books/characters that don’t fit that pattern, but they weren’t very popular.
The first series of books I wrote were about a depressed high school teacher who slept around with the single mothers of his students (and also solved murders in his small town).
But to this day no one wants to publish those books! So I guess I changed my style until I found one that people actually liked.
I feel that both those books and the ones I write now are still “me” - I enjoy all story-telling equally! It’s just that sometimes, as writers, we have to hunt a little for the stories readers want to hear.
- In addition to love and romance, there is also a lot of comedy in you books. Is the blend of a good love story and comedy a real recipe for success because it keeps the reader's attention from beginning till the end? Or you can see yourself in another genre?
I love all kinds of different stories and could never choose a favorite. It’s possible that the reason I’m successful at writing romantic comedies is that when I was young, those were the books I read. They saved me from being incredibly depressed about the stresses of my home life.
And now that I'm a writer, I honestly can’t imagine writing (or reading) a book that didn't have at least some kind of romantic element in it. Romances and romantic suspense helped me escape when my life was the worst it ever was, and it makes me so happy that now I’m able to give readers like me a fun escape from whatever awful thing they might be going through!
- Have you always wanted to become a writer? How does your writing process look like?
I loved writing stories from an early age and was lucky enough to have a lot of great teachers who encouraged this love.
But I never dreamed I could be a writer because I knew how hard it is to get published, and not many writers in America make enough money to live on.
So I didn’t study writing in college, but something I thought was more practical, illustration (which ended up being a terrible idea, since illustrators also make hardly any money. But it’s not all about money, it’s about doing what you love).
But I never gave up writing stories in my spare time, and I took writing workshops at my college and then later at NYU to learn to make deadlines.
Finally, after my father died suddenly, I decided that life is short, so I stopped feeling shy about my work and started sending those stories out to publishers.
They all got rejected! But I kept trying, because I had nothing to lose. And finally I got an agent (who is still my agent today), and then got published. My first published books were historical romance novels that I wrote under another name so my grandmother wouldn’t know I was writing sexy books. But she found out anyway, and thought it was great!
My writing process is simply that I write every week day for a few hours, usually about five pages a day. A writer friend and I have a policy that we have to write five pages a day by five o’clock, or we have to donate five dollars to a politician we hate.
Once we finish a book, we each buy one another something nice as a reward, usually cocktails and dinners.
- Have you always believed in yourself or there was time that you were thinking of giving up your writing?
Of course there was a time that I wanted to give up! When my writing was being rejected every day for four years (when I was writing about the male depressed high school teacher), it was very hard to keep going, and I did think of quitting.
But why would you quit doing something you love just because a few people don’t think you’re good at it? If you love it, keep doing it! Who cares what other people think.
And it’s a good thing I didn’t quit, because if I had, I wouldn’t be published in Serbia (and 38 other countries) today!
- You are very popular in Serbia. Do you plan to come to our country and to hang out with your readers?
Oh, thank you so much! That’s fantastic to hear. I would LOVE to come to Serbia. I’m just waiting to be invited (and of course get the time between deadlines to go)!
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