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Melissa Marr
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Melissa Marr   Melissa Marr is the New York Times best-selling author of Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity, an edgy teenage series about invisible and sometimes terrifying faeries who wonder the earth unbeknownst to human beings. Her books have made it onto the BookSense Children's Pick List, International Reading Association Notable Books list for Young Adult fiction, New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, and's Best Book of the Year list for teens, where it hit number 2. Universal Pictures has acquired the screen rights to Wicked Lovely.

Buy Melissa Marr's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 10/29/2009 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 Melissa Marr

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

Matthew Peterson: Let me ask you a couple bonus questions. Iíll ask kind of a fun one and then a little bit more serious one.

Melissa Marr: Okay.

Matthew Peterson: I understand you do have a lot of tatoos. Whatís your favorite one and where is it located on your body? [laughs]

Melissa Marr: I have, technically, I only have three tatoos.

Matthew Peterson: Okay.

Melissa Marr: But the first one starts at my heart and curls down my sternum and around my rib cage and across my back and up my side, and so itís one tatoo, but itís kind of lengthy. And it is my favorite. It is an ivy vine, which is the tatoo I gave the Summer Girls in Wicked Lovely. And I got it because Iíd been in and out of the hospital a lot and was having surgery. And I wanted to put a mark on my body that I chose and so Iíd been in a Victorian class and they talked about how the ivy was the symbol of women and women were held up by the oak, the male. And as a feminist I realized that what holds me up is me. Iím fortunate that later in life I found a wonderful partner. And we both hold each other up, but at the time it was very clear that a woman is strong enough to hold herself up. So, I got my ivy.

Matthew Peterson: Ah. Interesting. Let me ask you one more question. We have a lot of budding authors who are listening to the show. What advice would you give someone who is looking for a literary agent?

Melissa Marr: Wow! The biggest advice that I like to remind people is that you donít need to know anyone. You donít need to network, you donít need to have connections, you donít need to go to conferences in order to meet someone to introduce you. What you need to do is, you write a book, you write a good query letter and you research. You pay attention to what agents are selling what. You can read Publishersí Weekly, thereís Publishersí Marketplace and when you do your research, you write your letters and you send them out. And if it doesnít work, you repeat it again. Itís really that simple. There are no tricks. There are no secrets. You write, you query, when it doesnít take, you repeat. I didnít know anyone and it has not been a detriment to me at all. But it is really, really important as youíre doing that, to research, because thereís scammers out there too, and make sure youíre getting one of the legit ones. And thereís some great online resources, thereís Verla Kayís Blueboard, thereís Absolute Write, and there are places like that, that you can go and check out agents. You can also use So there are lots of resources to make sure that you are able to keep yourself safe.

Matthew Peterson: Good. And Iíll add my two bits. Get an agent. [laughs] From experience, get an agent BEFORE you sell the book to a publisher.

Melissa Marr: Definitely. I am a die hard fan. I love my agent.

Matthew Peterson: Oh good. Well, thank you so much Melissa, itís been a pleasure speaking with you.

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

Melissa Marr: I mean theyíre not me, Iím not them, theyíre not based on real people, but what ends up happening is I can see these characters over here and acting their narrative, their drama. And to the side, other characters that havenít yet been on the screen are doing their things. And so I believe that in some way, for me, the writing process is that their lives continue to develop beyond the moment when Iím writing their tale, which makes it easier to go back and pluck a story out.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: Do you think youíll have any interaction with the movie? Any input?

Melissa Marr: Yeah, well I have, I mean, I went out and we did a meeting, I sat down with all my producers. We talked about all these different considerations and, you know, everything from the process of how it was going to work to different world questions. And Iíve had a couple conference calls (because, unfortunately, Iím not in southern California anymore) and then email with them and a conference call with Caroline, and weíve swapped cell phone numbers and emails and weíve contacted each other. You know, sheís asked for folklore and so I went and I got a bunch of references from my books and scanned all those and sent them to her. Weíve been in really good contact.

Matthew Peterson: Thatís good.

Melissa Marr: Itís been kind of awesome.

Matthew Peterson: Thatís really good. I know a lot of times authors will sell their rights, or theyíll start making a movie and the last thing they want is the author to even be near, be accessible. So, thatís great that theyíre . . .

Melissa Marr: Well, itís funny because that was what I expected because, you know, thatís what my friends tell me was going to happen, and thatís one of the reasons I was really hesitant about selling rights and there were people I didnít even want to talk to because I looked at what theyíd done and I was a little nervous. But these guys, Iíve sold to them, because when we had our initial conversation, they totally got the book. They understand the folklore, they understand the feminism and I trust them. And so I figured, okay, look, my partís done and I told them I was cool with that and appreciated it and you know give me updates when they felt like it. And they were like, ďNo, youíre a part of this.Ē And I was like, ďUm, K.Ē

Matthew Peterson: Thatís great!

Melissa Marr: So, yeah, itís been unexpected and Iím happy to be as much of a part as they want me, but when theyíre done with wanting me to, Iím happy to step away too.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: So tell us a little bit about the Manga thatís coming out.

Melissa Marr: The Manga is a series thatís in the same world, and this one actually is a side book. You can completely skip it and still be okay with the world. I didnít want to have to force anyone that was not a Manga reader to go read it. Itís a three volume series about Rika, who is one of the former Winter Girls, and her life as a solitary faery in the Mohave Desert. And the second volume is coming out at the same time as Radiant Shadows, which is next April.

Matthew Peterson: Well good. I read my first Manga last week. [Note: first manga I read cover-to-cover]

Melissa Marr: Did you? What did you read?

Matthew Peterson: I read The Looking Glass Wars, Ďcause Iím interviewing him, so I thought, ďI should probably read his Manga that he sent me.Ē

Melissa Marr: Very cool.

Matthew Peterson: Very interesting.

Melissa Marr: Itís an interesting experience getting used to reading it.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, because you know, thereís only a few words on each page, Iím not used to that.

Melissa Marr: You werenít a comic reader either?

Matthew Peterson: I wasnít, I was really big into like watching cartoons and stuff. You know, like X-men and all those.

Melissa Marr: The Mangaís really interesting. Weíre running into a tendency where weíre creating, like mine is actually, itís an American Manga. I mean, thereís a lot of issue within the community as to whether or not Manga is even legitimate, written here. You know because Manga is very much a Korean art form. And so the term Amerimanga has come into being to describe those of us that are Americans doing it.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Melissa Marr: And so mineís really weird because my artist is actually Spanish.

Matthew Peterson: Oh!

Melissa Marr: So, itís an American Manga story, written here and designed by a woman in Madrid and published internationally now. So, itís a very weird kind of . . . as opposed to a lot of the traditional Manga which we import from Asia.

Matthew Peterson: I was actually one of the guest celebrities at a comic book convention in Florida.

Melissa Marr: Mm hmm.

Matthew Peterson: And Iíd never read a single comic book in my life and Iím like, ďYou know, I donít actually do comic books, I donít do graphic novels.Ē And theyíre like, ďOh thatís fine, you have an audio book and thatís close enough.Ē And Iím like, ďOkay.Ē [laughs]

Melissa Marr: Yeah. The comic book experience is really expanding. I was a guest at New York ComiCon last year. And so I was on a panel there. Itís such an interesting expansion of the world that theyíre really starting to include like television, film and novel. I had a Manga, so I mean, I was on a Manga panel and I had a Manga, but my audience was obviously a novel audience, not a Manga audience. So, there were these people who had been putting comics together in their basement and stapling them. And they had these huge crash of crowds and I had one Manga and to them was nobody. It was a really interesting kind of . . . you know. These are the people that came up through the trenches and itís a totally interesting mind set.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Well, Iíll be looking out for it. When does that one come out, by the way?

Melissa Marr: The first one came out last April.

Matthew Peterson: Oh last April, okay.

Melissa Marr: And the second one comes out this coming April. And then the third one and I guess the group set comes out after that.

Matthew Peterson: Iíll keep my eyes open for them.

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