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Mittwoch, 24. Oktober 2012

Eine Begegung der besonderen Art - Marie Lu im Interview (FBM 2012, englisches Original)

© Paul Gregory
Frankfurter Buchmesse 2012 - ein Ort für Bücher, viele Menschen und Begegnungen.

Eine nette Begegnung der besonderen Art hatten Anka von Ankas Geblubber und ich, tief im Inneren des wunderschönen Messestands des Loewe Verlags. Um den Wortwitz noch mal aufzugreifen, eine LEGENDÄRE Begegnung mit der Debütautorin Marie Lu. Marie - das schreibt man nicht nur so wie unsere deutsche Version, man spricht es auch so aus (mit einem englischen "r").

Die sympathische "Legend"-Autorin stand uns Rede und Antwort, sehr lustig, sehr souverän und sehr ernsthaft. Eine tiny little Autorin ganz groß! ("Klein" ist hier natürlich nur in Bezug auf die Körpergröße zu sehen.)
Anka & Damaris
D+A: Hi Marie, thanks for joining us for a German interview. We're sure every German YA reader knows who you are. Would you please give us a short introduction of yourself, though?
Marie: Oh, sure! My Name is Marie Lu and I am the author of "Legend", which is the first book in a science fiction/dystopian YA trilogy. It's my debut novel. I've written many scripts before but they didn't sell. This is the first one that sold.
D+A: On Facebook you asked the fans which are their favorite "Legend" characters. Can you tell us which is yours? (And Marie, no spoilers, please ;-))
Marie: That's so difficult. They are all like my children, I love them all! But Day is very close to my heart, just because he is a character that's been in my head since I was in highschool, actually. I was always searching for the right story for him. It wasn't until I wrote "Legend" that I found the right story for him to be in. And because he's been in my head for so long and he sort of feels like an old friend, I'm quite close to Day as a character.
And otherwise I'm actually very fond of Kaede, the girl that June duels in the street fights. She ends up playing a role in the second book as well and she was very fun to write about.
D+A: How did you find the names for your characters Day and June? Both names are not that usual. Did you want to express anything with the choice of the names?
Marie: Definitely with Day I did. His real name is Daniel, but he chose his street name to be Day. I thought this would represent his optimism in life, his view that every day is a new 24-hours-chance, everything is possible again. So that's why he has his street name. And it also sort of represents his philosophy of walking in the light, which in the book basically means to seek out the truth in a world full of lies and to do the right thing, even if he lives in a very dark world. That's sort of the symbolism behind his name.
And for June I always thought that her personality kind of matched the Gemini zodiac, so I matched it up with the month of June. Ironically, her birthday is actually in July because I wanted to give her my birthday.
D+A: You wrote "Legend" alternately from the view of Day and June. Was this your plan from the beginning and which of both characters caused more troubles in your head to write?
Marie: Yes, it was definitely a conscious decision for me to write it in the alternate first person points of view. When I was writing in highschool I actually wrote an early fantasy story that had Day as a character as well. And it was written in the same form, and though with different characters and a different world. So I always pictured his story to be in that kind of setup with two alternate first person viewpoints. I feel more comfortable writing in fist person, because it's easier for me to get into their heads and express their emotions. But I also wanted to show the opposite sides of the society. So that's why I thought it would be fun to do two of them with first person.
June was definitely more difficult for me to write. She is not easy. With Day it was much easier for me, because I was so used to him and his voice in my head (which makes me sound crazy *laughs*). June is very unlike me. She's probably the one character in "Legend" I have nothing in common with. So, I find it difficult sometimes to get into her head and to be able to think in that logical and political way she does. I'm not like that at all. She's very practical and athletic – and I'm not! She is very different from me and sometimes I have to stop and do a lot of research to write a few paragraphs that will come very naturally to her. June takes much longer time for me to write.
D+A: Why did you choose such a young age for your both main characters? Day and June are pretty young with an age of 15, aren't they? And they seem really mature, though.
Marie: I know that usually it seems in YA novels the protagonists are around 17 or 18 and I wanted to make them a little bit younger, because I wanted to show their child prodigy side. Both are a little bit unusual and I wanted them to size down a little bit so I pulled their ages back. Also I think, because of the nature of the world of "Legend", people grow up a lot faster. This kind of world is so dark and especially Day is living on the streets. I think in his neighborhood most kids are probably grown up by the time of 12 or 13. For him, especially since he's been alone on the streets for the last few years, he's pretty much become an adult. That's why he may seem a little bit more adult like the average 15-year-old today.
And June, since her mind is such a strange place to be, she also acts a bit out of character for a typical 15-year-old. It also makes a difference that she doesn't have parents. She's kind of grown up just with her brother as her guardian and that may have changed the way she acts, as well.
D+A: In many scenes of your novel we can see people becoming numb beasts without any feelings or emotions. They execute commands without thinking about them or their consequences. Do you see any similarities to people today? And how was it for you to write these scenes about torture and murder?
Marie: It can be a little disturbing to write about and to get into the mindset of a soldier who really, truly believes that obedience is the absolute pinnacle of what he's supposed to do. I drew a bit of inspiration from my childhood in China. When I was 5 years old it was the year 1989 in Beijing, that's where I was living, and we lived a few blocks away from Tiananmen Square (weitere Infos zum Tjan'anmen Massaker 1989 HIER). I remember we were out in the square the day that the shootings happened, and knowing the history of what happened on that day, it was a fascinating thing to think about for me, because I tried to put myself in the position of those soldiers and what they where thinking. That even if the government tells them you have to open fire on this unarmed people, what would possess them to go ahead with that command. Basically, I was thinking you just have to shut down your human side and just become a machine. When I was writing about some of the characters in the book this was definitely something that I pulled on. And also the North Korea regime was another inspiration because I see a little bit of that in the research that I've done.
D+A: The story of "Legend" shows obvious violence. This is always a major point of discussion about a YA book, particularly after books like "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" also "Ashes" and the second part "Shadows". What is your point of view about that? Can we expect young readers to put up with describing violence in YA books?
Marie: I think if it's done in a way that doesn't make the violence seem picturesque and something that fits and is necessary for the story. So if it's violence that really brings to light the personalities of the characters and shows the struggles that the characters have to go through, I think it is something that younger readers can and should be able to handle. Especially since a lot of youngsters do live in pretty dark worlds, as well. I'm sure some of them have experience with violence in their own lives. I don't really think it's helpful to sugar-coat a lot of that. But I don't also believe in picturesque violence, violence just for the sake of entertainment in books. That was something that I enjoyed about "The Hunger Games". I think she (Suzanne Collins) was using violence to make a point. To tell them it's a little twisted to see it as entertainment. I think younger readers will be able to handle this, if there is a reason for the violence.
D+A: If you could meet one of your characters in real life – who would you choose and what would you do?
Marie: I would, … well, the characters I wanna meet would probably not want to meet me, because I'm pretty sure they would be very upset with me for what I've done to them *laughs*. But, I would like to meet … Day! Just because he's been in my head for so long, and I would like to sit down with him and just to pick his brain and see the way that he thinks. But in terms of this having a nice day, I would like to be with Tess. She seems like a nice, sweet girl to go around with. And I would like to feed her, take care of her, give her some toys ...
D+A: The German translation of "Legend: Fallender Himmel" is perfect! We think that the translators S. Knuffinke and J. Komina are one of the best translators in Germany. Are you sometimes concerned about the fact, that translating the original language could eventually mitigate the native feeling of the story?
Marie: It is not something that I've been concerned about too much. I've always had a lot of faith in the translators and I've heard the "Legend" translation is amazing. I'm really glad to hear that. And I've read several books that have been translated from other languages into English and the translations also seemed to be quite good. So I haven't been worried, my publishers are wonderful and I've gotten really great feedback from readers overseas. I suppose there is always a little bit of fear that some of the points you want to carry across might not come across, but I have a lot of faith in the publishers and I think they're doing a good job with that.
D+A: Are you self-critical? Have you ever wished to change the story, a character or maybe just a little detail in your book when it had already been published?
Marie: Yes! I'm in a constant state of editing and my editor in America usually has to pry the book out of my head, because I always wanna change a little phrase or like a word better. And my editor has to say "No! We have to go!" So, yes! I mean, I read back over "Legend" and there are definitely little paragraphs and sentences that I would like to change. I'm in a constant state of revision with my work and I usually have to force myself to stop.
D+A: The second "Legend" novel "Prodigy" will come out in the US approximately Jan. or Feb. 2013? Have you already started to write the third book? And is there defined a name for it? (You don't have to tell us, if it's top secret).
Marie: "Prodigy" will come out January 24th. They (the publisher) have a couple of titles for the third book that they're throwing around, but nothing is solid, yet. I'm finished with the first draft of the third book, but we're on the first run of revisions now. So it's in a very rough state. Hopefully nobody will see this released.
D+A: Do you have any plans for further projects after the "Legend" chapter? Or are you still highly engrossed in the "Legend" universe?
Marie: I've started tinkering with a few other story ideas when I'm done with "Legend". So whenever I'm a little bit exhausted from working on book three I've started working on something else. I think I go back to the fantasy genre, since that was my childhood love with the fantasy books. So, I think my next book would be set in a high-fantasy world.
Reader Questions
Nanni: On LOEWES's Homepage we can read that you love happy people. Why did you write a dystopian novel, then? Could you imagine writing a chick-lit-novel?
Marie: It's true, in reality I do like happy people. But in fiction I've always written pretty dark stories ever since I was a kid. I'm not sure why. I think those stories just to me have such deep conflicts and this is very, very interesting for me to write about and to read about. I read a lot of dystopian fiction. And it's not so much that I suppose I enjoy darkness, but I think it's more that I find it fascinating to explore this sort of dark places. And "Legend" in particular It was interesting, because a lot of the dark elements in it are pulled straight from reality. My past in China and the North Korea regime. Dystopia and sci-fi and its darkness are also very relative, depending on where you live in the world. Something that might seem strange and twisted to us might be completely normal for other people.
Emma: Have you ever dreamed about your characters?
Marie: You know, it's funny. I don't think I've ever dreamed about my characters, even if sometimes I want to. Because I feel like a lot of writers get great ideas from their dreams. So I tried to force myself to dream about them. I actually don't think I've ever dreamed about my characters. No, never! Which is actually quite strange.
Diana: Where would you find yourself in the world of "Legend"? Would you be a rebel like Day, a clever and strong girl like June or someone else?
Marie: I'm very unlike June, but I have to say, it would be more comfortable to live on the republic side, so I don't have to be on the streets. So, I suppose, I would prefer to live in June's world and be maybe a rebel spy, who enjoys the luxury of the republic and works undercover for the sake of the rebels. Maybe a little bit like Junes brother, something like that, but he ended up dying. Not the best way to go, but probably better than living on the streets.
Reni: Almost every reader knows that the movie rights for "Legend" have been sold. What do you think about the "Legend" movie realization? Do you have a voice in this chapter? And is there only pure happiness seeing your characters on the big screen, soon? Or do you have some little doubts?
Marie: It's very exciting. Definitely a little bit nerve-racking to think about other people taking your world and putting what's in my head into a public format? It's a huge honor, incredibly exciting. For the movie they finished the screenplay now. And I had a chance to look at this screenplay recently, and I think it's very good. They've been very good about keeping me updated, asking me questions about the world making sure that the characters are intact.
Robert: Would you prefer a more independent movie production, or big budget for the adaptation of "Legend"?
Marie: I guess I would prefer anything that works best for the film. Whatever the movie studio thinks what is required would be the best.
Josi: If you could choose the actors for your main characters Day & June, who would you prefer? Have you already thought about this?
Marie: I think about it a little bit, it's a little difficult for me to cast Day, just because he's half Asian and half Russian, a very unusual mix for the most actors. If I had to pick somebody, he's too old to play Day now, but I picture Leonardo DiCaprio during his "Romeo and Julia" days, when he was young. I could see him as Day he's got a little bit of this eastern European look. And for June maybe someone like Hailee Steinfeld. Maybe not her in particular, but I think her look is quite apposite.
Kerstin: Where would be the perfect place or what would be the perfect time for you to write? Imagine you have a time machine and can go everywhere. Where would you stop by?
Marie: I love to write in the mornings. I'm very much a morning person, so I try to get all my writing done before 1 pm. And I would love to write … hm … I love to write when it's raining. So if I was able to sit in a very cozy café or on a cozy balcony somewhere, with soft rain outside, that would be the perfect writing atmosphere for me.
Finish the following sentences
"Legend" is … a science fiction thriller with child prodigies.
The best thing about being a writer is … wearing pajamas at home.
My perfect day starts with … candy … continues with … something delicious for lunch … and ends with … chocolates.
I knew that I wanted to become an author when … I was in highschool and I saw a newspaper article about a young girl, who is 15, who had become published - that's when I knew!
A special experience I made / moment I had in my life as an author … Getting to meet all of my readers. It's always amazing to meet readers in person. That's when it sort of hits me that other people are reading my book. So it's very exciting.
My next project … is a high-fantasy story, set in a fantasy reversion of Renaissance Italy.
My book recommendation … "Code Name Verity" by Elisabeth Wein, it's amazing! That's the recent book I read and I thought it was just gorgeous!
Damaris - Marie Lu - Anka, © Anka
Ankas Interview-Veröffentlichung könnt ihr HIER finden. Für alle, die das Interview gerne auf Deutsch lesen würden, arbeiten wir zur Zeit an der deutschen Übersetzung. Coming soon ...
Marie Lu
Marie Lu wurde 1984 in Shanghai geboren und lebte für einige Zeit in Texas, bevor sie an der University of South California studierte. Das kalifornische Wetter hat sie überzeugt dortzubleiben und nun wohnt Marie Lu mit ihrem Freund und drei Hunden in Pasadena, einem Vorort von Los Angeles. Vor ihrem Erfolg als Autorin arbeitete sie als künstlerische Leiterin bei einem Unternehmen, das Videospiele produziert. Marie Lu mag Cupcakes, fröhliche Menschen, Kampfjets, Regen und natürlich Bücher.
Hier geht es zur englischsprachigen Website von Marie Lu, und meine Rezension zu Marie Lus Debüt "Legend: Fallender Himmel" gibt es HIER.
© Kurzbiografie, Cover und Autorenfoto - Loewe Verlag