“I saw six men kicking and punching the mother-in-law. My neighbor said, ‘Are you going to help?’ I said, ‘No, Six should be enough.’” – Les Dawson
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” – Elie Wiesel
“A man only becomes wise when he begins to calculate the approximate depth of his ignorance.” - Gian Carlo Menotti
“If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.” – George Carlin
“All generalizations are false, including this one.” – Mark Twain
“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams
“Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.” – John N. Mitchell
“What you perceive, your observations, feelings, interpretations, are all your truth. Your truth is important. Yet it is not The Truth.” – Linda Ellinor
“The unreal is more powerful than the real, because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on.” – Chuck
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”― Franz Kafka
The flooded coast of former Los Angeles. Two warring nations of North
America—the Republic and the Colonies.
Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles.
Born into the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother is murdered. And Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival while June tries desperately to avenge her brother’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together and the sinister lengths their country will go to in order to keep its secrets.”
(Synopsis from LegendTheSeries.com)
Lu has been recognized over the past year as having the potential to become the next Rowling or Meyer, even before the release of her first novel. Legend‘s potential has been recognized with other “YA Novel Giant” contenders, such as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, whose movie trailer was recently released. And now with the support of movie producer Wyck Godfrey (who also produced the Twilight movies), Lu’s first book may also be a box office hit in the future.
But it’s not the potential celebrity status that Legend may bring that makes Lu so special; her approachability and kindness has not wavered since first stepping in the spotlight, and her artistic eagerness is an entirely relatable trait for other beginning writers. She has shared her publishing journey with her fans, freely giving advice and how-to’s for aspiring authors. But most importantly, she has shown as much dedication to the happiness of her fans as she has her work–and that is a rare and admirable quality not often seen attached to noteworthy names.
My time talking to Lu has been a complete and utter pleasure, and I hope the Unwound community appreciates and enjoys the following interview as much as I we did. Marie’s book is available now online or at a major bookstore near you!
UM: Thank you and welcome, Marie! First, tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing.
ML: I remember stapling together my very first “book” when I was five, and getting serious about novel writing when I was fourteen. It’s something I’ve always done, long before I even realized that a person could actually get published. I think the longest I’ve ever gone without writing any kind of fiction is four months.
UM: What kinds of things influence your writing? From what kind of resources do you pull?
ML: Everything influences me–life, traveling, people, movies, art, etc. For Legend in particular, I was inspired one afternoon while watching the movie version of Les Miserables, and then by a map I saw online of what the world would look like if the oceans rose 100 meters. I think inspiration just sort of hits you whenever you least expect it, and it can come from anywhere.
UM: What makes Legend a different kind of story from other books of its kind? How does the YA community (and/or the dystopian novel community) seem to be reacting to its impending arrival?
ML: I hope that Legend is a book that encourages readers to open their eyes to the society around them, to not take everything at face value, and to seek out the truth in their lives. That’s a big theme running through the novel, even though I hadn’t put it in there intentionally. As for the YA community–it is by far one of the best communities I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone is extremely encouraging toward one another, and I’ve gotten nothing but support.
UM: The book’s early concepts seem vastly different from its final product, first appearing to be more fantasy than dystopian, but Day’s character remained a driving force. What influenced you along the way to change, and what made you keep other elements?
ML: When I was in high school, I wrote a fantasy novel called The Glass Sonata that starred a young boy criminal named Day. That novel actually did get an agent and went on submission to publishers, but ultimately didn’t sell. That was probably for the best, because in looking back, it could have used some work! However, I still loved that main character. I really wanted a chance to put Day back into a novel, and find the right story for him. When I thought of the concept for Legend, I knew that this sci-fi world was a perfect fit for him. And that’s how he managed to make his way into Legend!
UM: So what about Day’s character inspired you to find that “perfect fit” for him? Why is his character so important to you to hold onto him through different stories?
ML: I’m not sure why Day stuck so much in my head. I think I’ve always been really attracted to fictional characters who are roguish and mischievous, characters that stay optimistic in spite of all the darkness in their lives.
UM: If you could go back to the beginning and write Legend all over again, what would you change?
ML: If it were up to me, I could probably edit my books until the end of time and still not be absolutely satisfied with them! But I do think that Legend is as good as I could have made it at the time I wrote it, and now I’m putting all my energy into making Legend 2 as good as I can. Hopefully I’m improving along the way!
UM: This being your first published novel, how would you describe your experience so far? How are you handling all of the attention from the media?
ML: The experience so far has been absolutely surreal! I still can’t quite believe that it’s all happening, and sometimes I have to pinch myself to remember that this is actually real. The media has been amazing. I’m by nature a rather shy person, but this experience is really training me to come out of my shell.
UM: Your book is being printed in other languages, too. How does it feel knowing that the international community will be reading your work?
ML: I remember squealing when we got our first international deal. It’s just amazing to know that so many people in the world will get to have access to Legend.
UM: Though it’s true that those living outside of the U.S. are fairly familiar with our country’s politics and history, do you think that they will have trouble visualizing Legend’s future America?
ML: The America in Legend is drastically different from modern-day America, and hopefully this means that Legend‘s America will feel every bit as strange to international readers as it will to U.S. readers.
UM: Do you think there are any tough politics or ideas in this new idea of America that you think can be applied to today’s world? What do you think will be your audience’s response to your vision of a possible future?
ML: Oh yes–I do think people will see some parallels between Legend‘s world and the state of our current United States, as well as the world at large. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, the middle class is dying out. Europe’s debt crisis, the U.S.’s troubled economy, the uprisings in the Arab nations….these are all examples of real-world turmoil that is very familiar in the Legend universe.
UM: Many sources have listed you in the running for being the next big YA author now that Harry Potter and Twilight are wrapping up. What are your thoughts on that?
ML: My reaction is always stunned amazement that I even get to be mentioned in the same sentence. I’m completely honored and very scared by it, because I’m not sure anyone can really fill the shoes of Harry Potter or Twilight or The Hunger Games. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that readers will enjoy Legend when it finally comes out!
UM: Here’s a big step in the future for Legend: it’s the M-word—movie! You’ve got a movie deal! That’s amazing news, and you found out a while before Legend was even released. You must have been very excited!
ML: Thank you so much! I didn’t even know to dream about a movie deal because it seemed so impossible, and I still can’t quite believe it.
UM: Got a dream cast in mind?
ML: I’m not sure who I would cast as the characters, but CBS Films and Temple Hill are so passionate about the book and I have absolute faith that whoever they ultimately cast in the roles will be the right fit.
UM: After Legend hits the shelves, what’s next? What can we expect for you as an author in the next year?
ML: Legend is a trilogy and one book will be released every year, so Book 2 will come out in 2012 and Book 3 will be out in 2013. After that, I’m not sure yet! I do have a new idea that I fiddle with when I’m not working on Legend‘s sequels, but that one is still in very early stages of development.
UM: Do we get any hints on what this new idea is all about?
ML: Haha–sorry, I can’t say much about the new ideas I’m working on after Legend, but I’m definitely excited about them and hopefully readers will be too!
UM: Oh well, at least we tried! Anyway, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. It’s truly an honor. We’re very excited for you and your book, and I can’t wait to see how it’s received by your readers!
ML: Thank you so much! It was such a pleasure!
We hope you enjoyed this special interview! Don’t forget: pick up your order of Legend online or at any major bookstore today, and you can also find out more about Marie Lu and Legend at marielu.org and legendtheseries.com.
Who: Glenn Beck
What: In-store book signing
When: Thursday, December 1st, 4:30PM.
Where: Barnes & Noble: 58 South 32nd Street, Camp Hill, PA 17011
Why: Glenn Beck is a radio host, entrepreneur, political commentator, former television host, and author. His most recent book, Being George Washington, is available for purchase in bookstores everywhere. He will be signing copies beginning at 4:30PM on Thursday.
It’s now Day 20 of NaNoWriMo, and The Black Rogue is very far behind. At Day 20, the average word count is around 30,000 to 40,000. There’s only 10 days left in this writing frenzy, but The Black Rogue is just under 17,000 words. At the current point of the novel, Tryniti is finally home with her sister and brother, awaiting her fate of marrying the Marquis of Winchester. She only agreed after her grandfather, Napoleon, told her a very dark secret about her grandmother who passed away years before. But Tryniti has a secret plan up her sleeve; after the honeymoon she plans to leave her husband in England while she goes back to pirating on the high seas.
Sadly getting to the juicy erotica part of the story is far to come, for Tryniti has to meet her future husband before it takes place. The Marquis of Winchester, Sean Reilly, is dreading to meet his bride. He doesn’t want the label of Prince, nor have this woman curb his persona of sailing the seas. but he does not yet know his bride is the dreaded and feared Black Rogue. Will Tryniti leave and sail back to the Caribbean before her marriage, or stay and force herself to walk down the altar?
The worst part of writing is actually getting to this particular part. Writing 50,000 words require a lot of detail, instead of getting straight to the point you have to draw it out. Sadly, if you have a full-time job and other obligations, NaNoWriMo may not be your strong suit. It requires much of your time, and to finish on time you practically have to give up your life in order to finish. It’s been a very long journey that’s about to come to a difficult end. NaNoWriMo shows writers how hard it really is to crank out a novel in one month’s time. My suggestion to others: don’t slack off, just write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t try to make it perfect and edit, for it will only make it harder to finish.
I’m giving serious thought to circulating a list of off-limits presents to my friends and family.
(1) Don’t buy me clothes. Unless you’ve snuck brazenly into my room at night with a tape measure, you don’t know my size. And you don’t know that I swore off novelty t-shirts years ago.
(2) Don’t buy me anything that requires framing. It’s a bigger expense than you realize. One of the coolest birthday presents I ever got was a poster signed by all four members of the progressive metal band Tool. It remains one of my prized possessions. But I realized soon after I received it that I’d have to frame it, lest it get damaged. So I had to choose between spending $100 on a professional frame job or $10 on a crappy frame from Walmart. I chose the latter – obviously less than what the gift deserved – and have felt guilty about it ever since.
(3) Don’t buy me books I haven’t asked for, unless you know me very, very well. Giving somebody a book is not so much a favor as an imposition. It amounts to telling them: you’re going to spend dozens of hours with this thing, or you’re going to feel terrible in a couple of months when I ask you how the book was.
(4) Don’t buy me something the household has run out of, or has broken, or has needed for quite some time anyway. It’s patently obvious when a gift is something you, yourself, wanted to have for your own personal use.
Please understand that this list is far from comprehensive, and that there are always exceptions. There’s also a good chance I’ll end up hurting some feelings with some of these. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Philip Roth, it’s that a writer is a bigger disappointment to his family when he’s not offending them. And it’s understood between us, I hope, that the thought is what counts. This is what has always held more weight.
With Christmas upon us again, my thoughts (like those of every awful, awful child out there anticipating Christmas with all the intensity and desperation of a heroin addict) are turning to the time-honored tradition of gift-giving. And the one word that keeps cropping up is: why? Honestly, the best-case-scenario for any of us is that we’ve managed to break even over all these years of swapping gifts. The math is pretty easy, actually, when I consider the understanding I had with my brother for most of the first half of our lives. I have a summer birthday; he has a winter one. And at each birthday, we’d exchange twenty dollars, tucked into birthday cards that oscillated between home-made and store-bought. We may as well have traded the very same bill back and forth, for all the sense it made.
We’ve grown older, obviously, and our gifts have gradually become more thoughtful. Of course, this doesn’t mean that choosing gifts for each other has gotten any easier. The best we can hope for, as is the case with anyone fretting about gift-giving, is that we happen upon something the other party didn’t know they wanted. It’s often a matter of luck, these days, rather than anything strategic.
But that’s birthdays. The ugliest capitalistic orgy during the calendar year is, of course, the “holiday season.” It grinds into motion this week with Black Friday, which appears in the Oxford American Dictionary under “self-fulfilling prophesy.” And as if that weren’t enough, we’ve also got Cyber Monday, Living-Beyond-My-Means Tuesday, Oh-God-Why Wednesday, and Kill-Me-Now Thursday. It’s the most wonderful time of year!
In the interest of full-disclosure, I have never celebrated Christmas. That’s right – at all. Before you ask: I’m not Jewish. My family has always been vaguely and non-denominationally Christian, and I grew up attending a church that celebrated Christ’s birth in September. My brother and I would receive presents from our parents, but it wasn’t the sort of laborious, ulcer-inducing compulsion that Americans have made Christmas of late. And it remained within our nuclear family only. This alternative timeframe, I’m meant to understand, is generally accepted by certain historians and the always-reliable Yahoo Answers. As I’ve heard it, December 25th was a deliberate decision by the Christian church to compete with the much more fun pagan holidays that fell during the same month.
I didn’t grow up with what I’d call a hatred of Christmas, but I learned to stand back and look on it with more objectivity than anyone else I know. I witness the annual fetishization of gift-giving to the point that it borders on sickening. Black Friday is a particularly loathsome invention, what with the gridlock and stampeding and inevitable deaths. People literally kill each other for halfway-decent deals. If I didn’t have a thankless job in retail, I wouldn’t even leave my house on Black Friday. But for the first time in my life, I’ll be thrust into the middle of the nightmare to witness the true depths of human depravity from the front row.
It’s a cliché by now to ask what’s become of Jesus in all of this. I’m not religious enough to proselytize to you, so I’ll remain simply mystified that we’ve turned this holiday into an excuse to empty our pockets and bank accounts in honor of Him. Families across the country, in fact, save money throughout the year so as to prepare themselves for the Christmas season.
Maybe I’m just a romantic or an outsider, but I grew up expecting nothing at all to come my way on Christmas day except for fellowship and a great dinner at Grandmama’s house. I’d sometimes receive unsolicited gifts anyway, and came away feeling guilty, despite myself, that I hadn’t reciprocated. Love needn’t be gift-wrapped and hand-delivered at an appointed hour; it’s valid year-round.
You’re a Scrooge and you’re missing the point, some of you are probably saying. And maybe that’s so. Maybe I’m a bastard for wanting to live in a world where I expect nothing and nothing is expected of me. The funny part is that I can’t tell whether this is more or less selfish than the alternative.
Before you head out into the mayhem and madness that is Black Friday, consider skipping it all and waiting until Small Business Saturday to kick off your holiday shopping season. On Saturday, November 26th (and throughout the holiday season), we are asking you to “shop small” and patronize your locally, independently-owned, home-grown, “brick-and-mortar” businesses. The second annual Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday dedicated to supporting small businesses, created by American Express as a counterpart to Black Friday (which traditionally features deals–and herds of sheeple–at “big box” retail stores).
Why shop locally? Not only are our favorite, most unique shops in the area locally owned and operated, they also employ a wide array of supporting local services from architects, sign makers, contractors, accountants, and insurance brokers to garbage companies, attorneys, and advertising agencies. Local businesses are more likely to use other local businesses, donate more money to non-profit organizations, create more local jobs, preserve economic diversity, and be more present and accountable to the community.
Big-box retail stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target may employ local people to work behind the counters, but these franchises and chains are all clones whose presence in the community does little to help out the local economy and a lot to clog traffic and hinder the success of smaller businesses. These stores enjoy national or international branding power and major economies of scale. They eliminate the need for local planning and require little in local services like advertising and banking, and the profits earned at large retail chains are not disbursed in our community–they are exported to places like Wall Street.
In the last decade, tens of thousands of our locally owned businesses have closed due to unprecedented competition from those larger chains and franchises. Numerous studies show that if just 10% of retail shopping dollars were shifted to locally-owned, independent businesses, millions of dollars in new economic activity and thousands of new jobs could be created. As our national economy continues to plummet and our citizens continue to protest, something as small as heading to a locally owned and operated supermarket like Shurfine (or a local farmer’s market), supporting non-profits and charity shops in your town, and choosing neighborhoods and artisan events over malls, shopping centers, and Wal-Mart can make a huge difference.
For more information on “going local” movements, check out these sites: http://smallbusinesssaturday.com, www.amiba.net, shiftyourshopping.org, susquehannasbn.org, www.buylocalpa.org/york, www.buylocalcoalition.com, and www.codoyork.com/lifestyle. Stay tuned to Unwound Magazine throughout the holiday season as we profile local businesses and shops to help you in your quest for finding the perfect (home-grown) gift for all the special people in your lives. And remember, don’t go to the mall–SHOP SMALL!
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