Q&A with Marie Lu

Posted by Goodreads on September 11, 2017
A little competition is a good thing. Too much of it can be hazardous to your health. This month Marie Lu, author of Legend and The Young Elites, introduces readers to a new type of tournament, a virtual reality wonderland filled with sensational marvels, daring adventures…and bone-chilling danger.

A high-tech twist on The Hunger Games with shades of Ready Player One and Snow Crash, Lu's Warcross is an exuberant sci-fi thriller grounded by its tough, whip-smart heroine, Emika Chen. Emika is no ordinary competitor. A hacker and a bounty hunter, she enters the world-famous Warcross tournament as a spy. Fame and fortune await the winner—but devastating betrayal and ruin lurk at every turn.

Lu, who worked in the video game industry before becoming a bestselling author, answers your questions about embracing her inner Emika, hanging with her fellow Slytherins (in her wildest Hogwarts dreams), and finding inspiration in her occasionally "dark, depressing" writing cave.

Kim: I know that music is a huge part of your writing process. What music did you listen to while you wrote Warcross?

Marie Lu: The TRON soundtrack, the Stranger Things soundtrack, and a ton of video game soundtracks—everything from Sonic the Hedgehog to Final Fantasy to indie games like Sword & Sworcery. I restrict my playlists mostly to lyric-free music when I'm drafting, so the words don't distract me.

Vicky: What is one of your favorite quotes from Warcross that you think really embodies the novel?

ML: "Everything is science fiction until someone makes it science fact."

Mia: I'm obsessed with your world-building powers, and I wish I could visit all of the lands you describe (some of them for longer than others). If you could transport yourself to any book world for a day, what would you choose?

ML: Thank you for such kind words! OK, I would love to be at Hogwarts for a day—but wouldn't we all! Team Slytherpuff for the win. I'd also love to explore the world of Brian Jacques' Redwall series. Those books were the first fantasy novels I ever read, and I was obsessed with them.

Sidney: What have you found is the most rewarding part of being a writer?

ML: Hearing from and connecting with readers after a book goes out into the world. When I'm alone in the (dark, depressing, frustrating, raaargh) writing cave, it's easy for me to forget that I'm creating something I'm going to share with an audience. So when I realize that someone has read it and maybe even enjoyed it…there's no better feeling.

Matthew: In the acknowledgements of Midnight Star you mentioned that Adelina was somewhat based on yourself—the parts of you when you fight, get upset, feel betrayed, etc. Is Warcross' Emika Chen based on your past as a video game designer, or is she based on other parts of your life?

ML: Emika Chen is both my self-insert and wish-fulfillment character. Her story does indeed contain some anecdotes from my game industry past. I gave her many of my passions (e.g., art, technology, games) and my flaws (like my tendency to say exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time and my fear of opening up to others). I'm no computer whiz, though; nor do I have anywhere near her level of courage or tenacity. Those traits were taken from my mother!

Nima: How many unpublished or half-finished books do you have lying around at home?

ML: I have five finished, unpublished manuscripts. As for half-finished stories…I can't even count them. Dozens, probably!

Adrianna: What's your favorite power in the world of The Young Elites?

ML: I really enjoyed writing about Raffaele's power—the ability to sense others' strengths, weaknesses, and emotions. For myself, though, I'd love to have Lucent's power of wind, if only because it would mean I could fly!

Jennifer: When you get stuck on a plotline and don't know where to take the story, what do you do to help you find inspiration again?

ML: When I get stuck on plot, it usually means my creative well is running dry, so I'll step away from writing altogether and instead immerse myself in other people's creations—books, video games, movies, music—to refill that well. I almost always come away from a session like that with new ideas.

Sasha: Do you still get nervous before one of your books is published? I hope you know how much we fans love and appreciate your work!

ML: You are so kind. Thank you! I'm absolutely a ball of nerves right before every book is published, especially if the book is the first in a new series. Right now, in the weeks leading up to Warcross' release, I'm having trouble sleeping through the night and concentrating on important tasks. I'll have weird dreams and forget things frequently. But all of the pre-release anxiety, every last bit, is worth it if you're enjoying the story. Thank you for giving me the privilege of writing for you all!

Maryanne: Which one of your book characters do you wish you were more like?

ML: Some combination of June and Emika, I think. Both girls have a tendency to do the right thing even when it's difficult, and they shift their thinking when they realize that they've been wrong about something. It's much easier for me to write these traits than to practice them, though! I've been trying to push back against the "agreeable" side of myself lately because we just can't afford to be passive in today's climate. Neither June nor Emika tolerate injustice, even when standing against it isn't in their best interests. They take action, and I admire that about both of them.

Read more of our exclusive author interviews on our Voice page.

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by J.T. (new)

J.T. SHEA Want to Read? Definitely now!

message 2: by Leanne (new)

Leanne I can't wait to read another book by Marie Lu!

message 3: by Protar (new)

Protar Great interview, interesting read it was.

message 4: by Protar (new)

Protar Wow, interesting and indeed a nice one.
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message 5: by Bookworm (new)

Bookworm I have read and loved every book Marie Lu has written

message 6: by Malik (last edited Jul 05, 2019 04:08AM) (new)

Malik Shahid Wow, great interview, interesting and indeed a great one.
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message 7: by Malik (last edited Aug 08, 2020 11:37AM) (new)

Malik Shahid Find you current town with what town am i in tool.

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