Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to her adult contemporary fiction, she is the author of the bestselling young adult fiction series, The Princess Diaries. Over 25 million copies of her novels for children and adults have sold worldwide. Meg lives in Key West, FL, with her husband. Visit her at www.megcabot.com/ or on Instagram @OfficialMegCabot
Girly Book Club: How did you get into writing and what inspired you to write your first book?
Meg Cabot: I got into writing when, in the 2nd grade, a fellow classmate of mine named Vicky G got her story put up on the wall by our teacher, Mrs. Fry, because it was so good. Mine wasn’t. I vowed then and there to write a better story than Vicky’s so mine would be put up on the wall. I’ve been trying ever since. I wrote my first book, Benny the Puppy, about a month later. I can’t remember what inspired my first published book, Where Roses Grow Wild, a historical romance that came out when I was 30, but it was probably Vicky. I owe her a lot. I hope she’s doing well.
GBC: What makes a book great, in your opinion? What elements does a great story possess? What elements does a great book possess?
MC: To me, a great book has relatable characters and a compelling story – usually a mystery to solve or an injustice to right. I like it when there’s a romance between two or more characters, and the icing on the cake is when there is a dash of humor and a happy ending.
GBC: When you start writing a new book, what is your goal? What do you aim to invoke in your readers?
MC: My goal in writing a book is to transport the reader into a different world so that they can escape their own problems for a while. That’s all I want from the books I read, so I hope I can deliver that in the books I write.
GBC: What can you tell our members about your upcoming release, No Offense?
MC: No Offense is about Molly, the new children’s librarian who finds a baby seemingly abandoned in the restroom of the children’s section of the Little Bridge Island Public Library. Sparks fly when Molly calls 911 and meets the island’s new sheriff. They can’t agree on anything-except their mutual attraction for one another.
GBC: Where did the inspiration for No Offense come from?
MC: The inspiration for No Offense came when I heard a rumor that one of our local librarians right here in Key West (where I live full time) was married to one of our sheriff’s deputies. Allison (the real life librarian) was kind enough to allow me to interview her (over pizza!) so I’d get the facts straight, but this book is completely fictional.
GBC: Do you ever base your characters off individuals from your life or include snippets of your personal life into your novels?
MC: I would never!
GBC: What does your writing process look like? Do you map each story out from start to finish or do you begin with an idea and see where it takes you?
MC: I consider writing a book like planning a trip. I like to know where I’m going to end up before I head out the door, but I don’t need to know every stop along the way. That spoils the fun! This usually works out fine, but not always. Every writer I know has a different process, and we all think each other’s process is nuts. That’s okay.
GBC: Any advice you can share with the aspiring writers within our community?
MC: Being a writer is not an easy way to make money, so if there is any other job you can possibly do and still enjoy life, do it. If you absolutely have to be a writer, then develop a good sense of humor and supportive friends – and remember that some of your family might never understand because they only want what’s best for you. It might be easier just lie to them. That’s why I wrote under different names for years. Some of them still don’t know.
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