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Meg Cabot
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Meg Cabot   Meg Cabot is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Princess Diaries (which was made into two Walt Disney movies, published in over 40 countries and voted as one of England's 100 best-loved novels), the Airhead trilogy, The Mediator Series, 1-800-WHERE-R-U series (which was the basis for a TV series called Missing), and Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls. She's sold over 15 million books worldwide and has received the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award and the American Library Association's Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. Meg donated all of her proceeds from the Princess Diaries companion novel, Ransom My Heart, to Greenpeace.

Buy Meg Cabot's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 10/22/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Meg Cabot

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

Matthew Peterson: I’m going to ask you two bonus questions.

Meg Cabot: Oh! Thanks!

Matthew Peterson: Here’s one of your bonus questions: You did write a companion novel to the Princess Diaries called Ransom My Heart. And I understand that all the proceeds from the book, or least from you will go to Green Peace?

Meg Cabot: Yeah, they’ve all been going to Green Peace and that includes all the author proceeds from foreign editions as well.

Matthew Peterson: So, what made you decide to have it all go to Green Peace?

Meg Cabot: Well, Mia Thermopolis, Princess Mia, is a big fan of Green Peace and has been since the first book. So, when I decided in Princess Diaries 10, Forever Princess, that she was going to write a book and get it published. It didn’t make sense that a book that she wrote, she would, you know, make royalties from, because, she’s a princess.

Matthew Peterson: Right.

Meg Cabot: So, when my publisher said, “Well, why don’t we really publish her book?” Which I wasn’t planning on doing. I was just going to have her book be online for free. They said, “No, let’s really publish it.” I didn’t really feel right getting money from it. So, I said, well, obviously Princess Mia’s going to have to give all her money from it to the charity. Which my husband was thrilled about, by the way. Let me just tell you. He was like, “What! We’re doing what?”

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Yeah. How long did you spend on that one?

Meg Cabot: I didn’t tell him about that until the money came. I was like, “Oh, by the way, we have to give this to Green Peace.” He was like, “Wait! We still have to pay taxes on it!” So, that was a big surprise. So, yeah, so all the money’s gone to Green Peace, who have been very sweet, obviously, about it, and gave Princess Mia her own page on the Green Peace website, which was fantastic. She’s up there with the whales and the baby seals and stuff. [laughs] So, it’s been great. Yeah, Mia’s been a big Green Peace proponent, now I am too! I always was, so that’s been fantastic.

Matthew Peterson: Well, that’s good. Well, let me ask you another question, and this one’s about your cat.

Meg Cabot: Okay [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Well, I know you have a one-eyed cat, named Henrietta. Is there anything funny that she’s done lately that you could . . . I know you write about her sometimes. What’s a funny experience that you’ve had with her?

Meg Cabot: Well, actually, funny you should ask. Henrietta is 16 years old.

Matthew Peterson: Oh.

Meg Cabot: And she’s an indoor cat and she’s very queenly. And she has just decided in her old age that she is just not going to wash herself anymore. She’s just done with that. I don’t know why. And so, today she had to have a bath [laughs]. So, I had to take her and put her in the bathtub. So, actually if you go to my website today, you can see pictures of her in the bathtub clawing for life to get out of the bathtub. It’s just sad when your cat decides that she’s not going to bath any more. So, you have to give her a bath. And I have to brush her and she looks lovely now, but it was pretty sad. So, you know, it’s ok, because she’s an indoor cat and she doesn’t really get that messy, but she does have a little bit of a dandruff problem [laughs]. Which is sad, you don’t want to admit it about your cat, but she’s, you know, she’s got a little bit of . . . and you don’t want to use Head and Shoulders or any kind of dandruff product on her, just in case she does decide to start licking herself someday.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah [laughs]

Meg Cabot: And then as soon as I put her down, after drying her off, she started licking herself. So, I guess when motivated she will do it, but she’s very lazy. It’s very sad.

Matthew Peterson: That’s funny! [laughs] Well, thank you. I appreciate speaking with you Meg.

Meg Cabot: Oh thank you, it’s been lovely.

Matthew Peterson: Well, you have a great day.

Meg Cabot: Thank you, you too. It was fun talking to you. Say hi to your boys.

Matthew Peterson: I will.

Meg Cabot: Not that they’ll care, ‘cause, you know . . .

Matthew Peterson: Well, they’re 9, they’re turning 10 this month. And I tried to get them . . . you know, my wife, she has, like The Babysitter’s Club, and all these books of when she was a little girl.

Meg Cabot: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: They’re like, “We’re not reading those.”

Meg Cabot: They don’t care! I don’t know, maybe the Hardy Boys, maybe they would like.

Matthew Peterson: Yep.

Meg Cabot: Alright. Talk to you later. Thanks a lot.

Matthew Peterson: Bye bye.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Radio Show Because of Time Constraints

Meg Cabot: I actually googled brain transplants and they can do them! They’ve started experimenting with them on monkeys. And they’ve actually had monkeys live through them.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, you’re kidding!

Meg Cabot: So, I think this is a new technology that will start being conducted. It’s something that may start happening in our world soon.

* * * * * * * * * *

Meg Cabot: . . . then kind of make it more science-fiction-y, dark mystery. You know because a lot of times, stuff that’s aimed for adults, it’s not as fun [laughs] as it could be, I think. Like, ok, just a little more teenage, give it a little teenage twist.

. . . The whole Princess Diaries idea, I thought, would be more fun if it were for teens. And I wrote a book called The All American Girl, which is about a girl who saves the president from being assassinated. I saw Protocol, with Goldie Hawn, and I thought, “You know, this would be more fun if it were for teenagers.” If it had a teenage girl who saves the president from being assassinated and suddenly she’s an international hero, and you know, she has to go to diplomatic dinners and stuff. And so that was kind of like Protocol with a teenage twist.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: Stage Fright just came out.

Meg Cabot: Yes.

Matthew Peterson: And you have another one, Glitter Girls and the Great Fake Out, that’s coming out. So, you’re going to have lots of books in this series, right?

Meg Cabot: Yeah. It just goes on and on, because, you know, there’s so much to draw upon. There’s just so much drama in that age group. And 4th and 5th grade, you know, you love your teacher, but if your teacher doesn’t give you the lead in the school play, which is what happens in Stage Fright. Allie’s like, “Oh my gosh, does she not like me?” Why would she actually give Allie the roll of the evil queen? And so then Allie starts thinking, “Oh my gosh, does my teacher think I’m evil? What’s going on?” And there’s the birthday parties, why did I get invited to this girl’s party and not to the other girl’s party? And you feel left out. There’s just so much.

* * * * * * * * * *

Meg Cabot: [regarding Princess Diaries] I was actually writing it at work! I worked at a 700 bed freshmen dorm at New York University and you know, I would write it when my boss wasn’t around. And really, wasn’t taking it very seriously, but I thought, well, I was writing romance novels, actually, under another name at the time. And I gave it to my agent and I was like, “What do you think about this?” And she was like, “Well I think it’s really good, but I think you know, it’s actually for teenagers.” ‘Cause I was writing it for adults.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, ok, yeah, 14 year old. [referring to the age of Mia in the first book]

Meg Cabot: A girl in her teens, and I’m going to see if I can sell it.

I mean it was at a time when children’s books, I think it was around the same time as Harry Potter, nobody really thought . . . at that time it was very difficult to get something that didn’t have a stern moral lesson . . . and Princess Diaries was more written for entertainment. I mean, I felt like it had a little bit of a lesson in it, which was like, be true to yourself, but it really had a lot of pop culture references in it.

And at that time that really wasn’t something that was getting published. People really didn’t do that. And then I actually got rejection letters that said, “This has too many pop culture references in it.”

Matthew Peterson: Pop culture, yeah.

Meg Cabot: And now, of course, everybody’s doing that, but at that time, nobody was. So, it was a really difficult thing to get published.

. . . lighting a lot of candles at church and [laughs] I didn’t even believe in it, but I was like, “Wow, I’m going to do everything I can.” Four leaf clovers.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: They’ve been great [regarding the movies]. And so it could have been just the opposite.

Meg Cabot: Yeah, everyone loves them and I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and are like, “Because I saw these movies, I picked up these books, and I never read a book before.” Which I think is extraordinary! That a movie made somebody actually read a book, and they’ve never even read a book before, is incredible. So, that’s fantastic.

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