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Size 12 is Not Fat

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 12:26 PM

megcabot Welcome to the February chat on my new book, Size 12 is not Fat! Sorry for the little delay there...anyway, let's get chatting! And thanks for coming!
megcabot I forgot to say--thanks to everyone for helping Size 12 reach 100,000 copies sold already, which I think is a record for my adult books! It's already gone back for a 6th printing, which warms my heart!
pagesong Hi meg what's this book about?
megcabot Size 12 is not Fat is about a young woman who gets a job in the dorm of a large urban university. When girls in the dorm start dying mysteriously, Heather, the heroine, begins to investigate.
janey If you haven't read the book, you might want to leave the chat, there will be spoilers.
Sarah When does the next book in the Princess Diaries series come out?
janey Bookmark this page for a list of what books are coming out, and when.
Sarah Meg, it's very inspiring that you write stories about young females accepting themselves the way they are! As a plus size women, I thank you in advance!
megcabot Well, thank you! I hate that so often women who aren't a size 8 (or less) are portrayed as sexless or whatever. It's time real-sized women took back the narrative!
SugarFairy How was it different writing a mystery than your usual stories?
megcabot I actually got my start writing mysteries (although this is the first one of them to get published). So it was pretty much like coming home after a long day--great!
pagesong when did you start writing this book?
megcabot Hee, I started writing it ten years ago, when I was still working as an assistant manager of a dorm at NYU!
Sarah What inspired you to write this book?
megcabot I really wanted to write a mystery, and I wanted to write about a dorm, because I worked in one for 10 years, and it was so fun. So I combined the two!
Sarah Any advice to young women who are struggling to like themselves and have self-esteem?
megcabot Read more books by Meg Cabot! No, seriously, we all struggle with this, even not so old women like me. I wish I had an easy answer, but I don't. Everybody just needs to be healthy, number one, and take it one day at a time, number two. Number three should be number one--HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR!
HRH_Ft_Louie Meg, you said that Heather was originally a Model, why did you change it to a pop singer? and did you husband have fun writing those songs?
megcabot I changed it to a pop singer because the model thing just didn't fit the character, it was kind of too passive a career for her. And my husband and his friend Michael wrote all the songs one night in a country house we rented. It was hilarious, they took it very seriously.
pagesong ah...that's interesting. is this book for adults?
janey Yes, its an adult book.
Bri I loved the way there was so many references to food in this book, eg. Sugar Rush, Elizabeth Kellogg etc. I was wondering if there were any extra that were cut out.
megcabot My editor got kind of squeamish when I compared some blood to Jell-O and Heather was all, "Mmmm, Jell-O." My editor was like, "Um, no." So I had to take that out.
Sarah As an inspiring writer, I always look to my life for inspiration! Would you say you feel the same way?
megcabot Well, you do sort of have to write what you know for it to be believable, to a certain extent. So yes.
Boothy Meg- Why did you decide to put song lyrics at the beginning of each chapter? I really loved that idea!
megcabot Thanks! I just thought it would be fun to show the progression from her original songs to the ones she's writing for herself. In Book 2, the songs get even weirder.
Bri Was elevator surfing a major problem in the residence halls you worked in?
megcabot We never once had an incident of it! Originally, the girls in this book were dying due to being pushed from windows. But after the recent real life spate of suicides at NYU, all of whom were jumpers, my editor felt we should change it, so I chose elevator surfing, which is actually more of a problem in apartment buildings in NYC.
PurrfectPrincess When the website says 50 users at a time are allowed in the chat, does that include you and janey?
janey It includes Meg, but not me.
PurrfectPrincess What was your favorite part of Size 12?
megcabot Hmmm, I like the scene where Heather is being chased on the penthouse roof.
Drama_Queen Before you began writing this book, did you have the whole plot thought out or did some of it develop as you wrote it?
megcabot I plotted out the basic points. The other stuff I filled in as I went along. For a mystery, you have to know who did it and how your detective is going to prove it before you start the book.
gossip_gurl Is there going to be a sequel?
janey Meg is already working on a sequel called Phat Chick
pagesong is there going to be a chat on the princess diaries?
janey There will be a chat for PD when the new PD books come out.
kashka besides size 12 do you have any new books coming out or you are working on which will be series
megcabot I just finished PHAT CHICK, the sequel to SIZE 12. In May, a new book called QUEEN OF BABBLE will be coming out that is the first book in another adult series. I do have some new teen series I'm working on at the moment, but as I haven't sold them yet, I don't want to jinx them by talking about them! They aren't ready to show anyone yet.
Karma Meg, have you ever met someone like Rachel?
megcabot Oh my gosh, New York City is riddled with them.
VIP I was wondering whether being a Private Investigator is a secret ambition or yours, Meg. Is it? ;).
megcabot I actually would have loved it until I worked for a real life PI (on whom Cooper is semi-based). It is actually way more boring than on TV.
Karma as an assistant manager in a dorm at NYU, did you ever wonder if anything like that would happen there?
megcabot Oh, all the time, there were tons of mysteries. No one ever got murdered though.
PurrfectPrincess Is anything about Heather's experience at the dorm similar to yours? Other than the whole pop star thing and the murders
megcabot Almost everything in the book really happened (except the elevator surfing. Instead, we had jumpers). Some of the stuff was so crazy, you wouldn't believe it...like the time I found a brain on the elevator (note: it wasn't human).
Karma Have you ever had to go into an elevator shaft?
megcabot Yes, one time the elevator crashed (like in the book) and I had to go in to try to help get the housekeepers out. They were fine.
VIP Do you have enough ideas to write more than three books in this series (if your publisher lets you...which they should :))?
megcabot Oh, I have sooooo many stories about the dorm!
Sarah How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
megcabot It depends. Size 12 took a long time and went through a lot of revisions. It was really a decade in the making, from start to finish. Then other books, like NICOLA AND THE VISCOUNT, for example, only take a couple of weeks.
VIP What do you think makes Heather such a great heroine?
megcabot Well, I don't know if she's a great heroine, but I hope she is. I think she's a lot like all of us...kind of bemused by life and just trying to get along.
pagesong So, i was wondering, how do you come up with all the names?
megcabot Most of the names are from rosters of residents while I was working at the dorm, kind of jumbled around.
catlester Hi Meg, is it true that a Teen Idol movie is being made?
megcabot It's true there is a great script and the producers are looking for a studio. I will keep you posted!
Karma Meg- was there a deadline to this book, or did you just write it for fun?
megcabot No, I wrote this for fun about ten years ago, then took it out, completely revised it, and turned it in a year ago.
Sarah My grandmother enjoys your books. How does it feel to have such a diverse audience?
megcabot Great! My grandmother enjoys my books, too (but then, she HAS to say that)!
Sirius_Black_Rocks Did you purposely make Heather's songs way better than the recording company's?
megcabot Ha, thanks for noticing! I tried. The songs for the recording company are ones I told my husband to write "stupid." And the ones for Heather, I was like, "Can you make them NOT stupid?"
Sarah What audience do you enjoy writing for the most: young adults or adults?
megcabot Oh, I like all writing the same. Although you can swear in adult books, and I love swearing.
gossip_gurl do stores really have vanity sizing?
megcabot Oh my gosh, yes. When I weighed the same amount I do now in 1990, I was a size 8 at the Gap. Now, according to the Gap, I'm a 4. I haven't shrunk...the sizes have.
SwimDolphins09 I can never think of anything to write about, i used to be able to write all the time, how do you get inspiration?
megcabot I wish I knew! You just have to wait until it strikes. Good stories are hard to find.
PurrfectPrincess which of Heather's songs, both the ones she wrote and the ones she preformed, was your favorite?
megcabot I like the one about coming home, one of the last ones. My husband wrote it, and I thought it was so sad! But in a nice way.
HRH_Ft_Louie Meg, are the summaries for the next two size 12 books staying the same or are could they change?
megcabot So far Book 2 is staying the same, but it hasn't been edited yet, so who knows. I'm not sure about Book 3, that one could change.
kashka was it exciting working as an assistant manager? what were some of the high lights and lows?
megcabot I did really enjoy walking in to work in the morning never knowing what was going to happen. I could end up at the hospital, or I could end up playing Solitaire all day. I really, really loved working there, because it was always an adventure, every day.
Sarah What age group would you recommend this story for?
megcabot Probably 14 and up.
starprincess98 In what ways are you like Heather?
megcabot Well, we both have weight issues, for one thing, and I think we're both sort of sarcastic in the same way. I am horribly afraid of heights though, so I would not have lasted a minute in the elevator shaft, and I HATED the penthouse.
pagesong when you write books, do you handwrite them, or use the computer?
megcabot I use a Mac PowerBook G4. I have terrible handwriting.
Karma Did you have any say in the decisions over which cover to use?
megcabot We went through FOUR covers for this book! And I had strong opinions on all of them. I wasn't actually wild about the red dress, at first, but it grew on me.
VIP You're life seems to have been filled with interesting experiences. Do you think everyone has the potential to write stories based on their life experiences, or have you been especially lucky with events in your life?
megcabot Oh, I think anyone can make anything seem interesting if they're a good enough story teller.
Karma Does it really take 5 hours to get the statue of liberty air-brushed onto your nails?
megcabot Ha! I don't know. But it takes a long time, I know that.
pixie Meg, do you still draw in your free time?
megcabot Oh, gosh, no. I am way out of practice.
SwimDolphins09 when writing these books did you have as much fun as writing Princess Diaries?
megcabot Absolutely.
Alethea About the swearing, I noticed that you haven't used it much in your YA books. Was that your choice or your editors? I really miss it.
megcabot Ha, me too. No, my editor deletes the swear words.
pagesong do you get to make/design the covers and stuff?
megcabot No, I don't, and that's probably a good thing. The talented art department does that.
Raman how did you get the idea for the title of the book?
megcabot The title is actually a line from the book. The original title was SUGAR RUSH, but my editor liked the line Size 12 is not fat better, so she suggested using that. I thought she was nuts, but I was like, "If you want to, go ahead." So she did, and she was 100% right.
VIP I love the fact that as an older reader (only 19, :) ) i can still enjoy your books. Why is it that your UK site aims everything at 12-16 year olds? I ask because i would have loved to apply to be one of your ambassadors in the UK.
megcabot I honestly don't know. That is something you might want to email them about. I know they welcome input and provide an email link for it. They are very open to comments and suggestions.
Karma You did that really great song mix for The Princess Diaries, will there be any more for your other books?
megcabot Thanks! And yes, I will post iMixes as I create them for each book.
Raman Do you enjoy writing mysteries? And also, do you write mysteries not knowing what's going to happen, or do you know from the beginning who's going to be the culprit?
megcabot I do love to write mysteries, even though they are quite hard, because you DO have to know who did it and how your detective is going to prove it--you have to submit that as part of your proposal to your editor before they buy the book, and often before you've written it. So yes, you do have to know from the beginning. Although you can change it if you want.
Sirius_Black_Rocks Do you like writing better than drawing?
megcabot Yes. My drawings never turn out the way I want them to, but my books always seem to. It's weird.
sporkprincess405 When you first started writing, did you have any idea how big your fanbase would grow to be?
megcabot Oh, no, I had no idea! I still feel lucky if ANYONE at all reads one of my books.
luvmegbooks how come your ambassadors can only be in the UK
janey Its a UK program, sorry.
Kgurl How many books do you plan to have in this series?
megcabot So far I have only sold three books in the series. There may be more, depending on the popularity of the next books.
_hehe_ are the songs you pick for the imix songs that you like, or you think your character would like?
megcabot They are songs that remind me of the characters. For instance, whenever I hear I Don't Wanna Behave, I think of Mia.
pagesong when did you first start writing?
megcabot I wrote my first "book" when I was seven. I kept writing books for fun until I was 25 or so. Then I started trying to find a publisher. My first book got published when I was 30.
VIP You mentioned that for 'The Mediator' to be optioned for a screen adaptation, you'd have to be more involved in its production. Are you interested in film/TV production at all?
megcabot No, not really. But I would like to have some creative control over what they do to my characters/storylines, etc.
Karma_people On MCBC in the freebies section, there's a Queen of Babble wallpaper, will that be the cover of the book?
janey so far, yes
luvmegbooks how come your not allowed to swear in YA books, but you can have sexual content
megcabot Probably for the same reason you can show boobs in films that are rated PG, but you can't have someone say the F word.
Alexandra if this is your most popular adult book, what is your most popular YA book?
megcabot Wow, that's a good question. Saleswise, it is probably a tie between the Princess Diaries series and All American Girl series.
Bri I know that this isn't a question, but in response to VIP's question about the UK site, i emailed them and they are adding the adult books soon.
janey Thanks for that info.
kashka what is the best way to sell a book?
megcabot Get a good agent. To get an agent, you need to write to a lot of them and ask them if they'd be interested in selling your book. Agents don't cost anything--they take 15% of whatever your book sells for. You can find an agent by using one of the many guides to literary agents available in bookstores or libraries.
PurrfectPrincess You said that you are posting an illustration in PD7. Will you illustrate any more of your books because i saw your drawings on your blog and they are great!
megcabot Thank you! But I don't want to get your hopes up for the illustration in PD7. It's actually very silly. And I don't think there'll be any more in future books.
Anne Hi ya Meg!! You know how there are competitions on your bookclub website to win copies of your books and things. Well can you enter even if you live in Australia?
janey on the bookclub, yes. you can enter from anywhere -- although shipping can be dodgy. We try our best.
Sirius_Black_Rocks How come you didn't major in creative writing? Not that you needed to, you're a great author
megcabot Well, thanks. I didn't major in creative writing because a very wise person who DID major in creative writing told me that doing so would suck any love I ever had for writing right out of me. About ten years later, I married him, by the way.
pagesong where's your blog?
janey www.megcabot.com click on Meg's Diary
starprincess98 Is there a special place where libraries can contact you to see if you'll make an appearance at their library?
janey Libraries and bookstores can contact the publisher .
starprincess98 Meg, what are you working on right now, you finished PD8 right?
megcabot Right now I am working on the revisions for PD8--and you can be the first to know, PD8 will be called PRINCESS ON THE BRINK. Then I am going to work on a new book called TOMMY SULLIVAN IS A FREAK.
pagesong where do you get an agent?
janey There are books about this in the library. Basically, you write a pitch letter and if they are interested, they will contact you.
catlester In relation to your answer to VIP's question about the Mediator, what do you think about the storylines of the PD movies being changed so much?
megcabot Well, I would not have made the same choices personally, but as long as people know what REALLY happens is in the books, I don't mind. Also, Disney paid me a lot.
Karma_people Do you ever wish that there was something you could take back in your books?
megcabot No, because I try not to reread my books very often, so I don't actually remember too well what's in them.
Sirius_Black_Rocks Will you write any more AAG books?
megcabot I'm not sure. Right now, no. But that could change later.
pagesong I was wondering, can you make more videos? like your daily schedules.
megcabot Aw, thanks! Right now we're working on doing some podcasts, but I may do more videos someday too!
SwimDolphins09 How many books have you written that HAVE NOT been published?
megcabot Probably as many as HAVE been published. So 40 or 50.
VIP Will the Princess Diaries probably be the only series that you'll tour the UK for?
megcabot Probably not, since that series will be ending in about four more books.
kissangel which is your favorite book? Your favorite story you wrote, I mean
janey Meg never answers these types of questions, she always says she likes all her books/characters the same.
Anne Hi Meg, I was wondering have you ever been in a situation where you liked two brothers at the same time. Like Heather does?
megcabot Good question! And yes. But in my case, NEITHER brother liked me back.
Anne Hi ya Meg, I was wondering were you ever picked on in highschool?
megcabot I was never picked on in high school, but my friends were sometimes. So I got into fights over that.
PurrfectPrincess Have you started writing the third book in the Size 12 series? i think you said in your blog you finished Phat Chick
megcabot Yes, I've finished Book2, but Book 3 isn't due for a year or so.
kashka in every boys got one there were some illustrations did you do them?
megcabot No, they were done by a professional illustrator.
Kgurl In Phat Chick, how will the main character continue her detective sleuthing? Will there be another crime in the dorm- I mean, residence hall?
megcabot Yes, there will be some more tragic loss of life.
VIP You seem to have so many ideas for different books in your head all the time. Do you ever find yourself confusing storylines, character etc?
megcabot Just like you don't get your friends and family confused (at least, I hope not!) I don't get my stories/characters confused. They're my friends and family!
sporkprincess405 Was it exciting that Anne Hathaway, who more or less got her big start in the PD movies, went on to be in such a big movie as Brokeback Mountain?
megcabot Well, I'm excited for her! Although I probably won't ever see Brokeback, because I don't like sad movies.
janey Meg will you tour for this book? Of not, what is the next book you will tour for?
megcabot I will be going on tour for my next adult book, QUEEN OF BABBLE, in the beginning of June. I'll be hitting parts of Florida, the Midwest, and Texas, and some points in between! Then in July, I'll be in Atlanta, and I'll hit the rest of the country in September for HOW TO BE POPULAR.
pagesong do you think there will be a third princess diaries movie/
janey I am pretty sure there will not be one. At least not with Anne Hathaway.
SwimDolphins09 Will you write a book about Mia  in college, or even Mia being married??
megcabot Who knows? Maybe!
Drama_Queen Where the characters who worked with Heather at the residence hall based on people you worked with there?
megcabot Every last one of them, to some degree (I tried to disguise them so they wouldn't recognize themselves, but many of my former co-workers have already figured it out).
Kgurl Do you plan on writing any books in the point of view rather than a girls?
megcabot Yes, a book with some shifting Point of Views (some male, some female) is in the works. It's quite hard though, so it's taking a long time.
pagesong i want to see the real princess diaries movies, like the ones you wrote! do you think there will be some?
janey No, Disney purchased the movie rights, so they own them. No one else can make a PD movie unless Disney lets them
catlester Why are the names of some of your books changed in the UK? (it doesn't seem to make sense)
megcabot Oh, I don't know. The UK has a different market and the publisher feels they would sell better if they were called something else.
HRH_Ft_Louie Meg, will we ever get any more information about "Jinx" besides it being about a teen witch and it was inspired by your mom?
megcabot Oh, yes, you will, closer to it coming out.
Karma_people In NYU, did you have to call the dorm residence hall?
megcabot Yes! We got in big trouble if we didn't!
Karma_people Will you be touring out of the USA?
megcabot As a matter of fact, I just found out I've been invited to tour in Berlin, Munich, and Leipzig (spelling?) next March (2007) as well as Paris and other parts of France. So...yes.
quartz13 Did you need permission to use New York University in your book?
megcabot The school in my book is called New York College. It's a made up school, not NYU!
Katherine Meg, I contacted several book sellers here in Maryland, and many have said that I would have to get you to show interest in touring over there. However, it's been said previously that they have to show interest in inviting you to their bookstores. I'm a bit confused. Could you tell me how you could visit a book store near me?
janey They have to show interest meaning that they have to say that they will sell X number of books. All bookstores know how to do this.
pixie Meg, have you always been writing books in your funny style?
megcabot I used to write very serious books, but no publisher would buy them. With good reason.
Boothy This doesn't really have anything to do with Size 12, but what book are you reading right now? I just finished Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe and loved it! Now, I need to pick out one of the many books in my to-read pile to start next, hehe.
megcabot This is an excellent question, especially because you've just read what I've just read--the MARCH PICK OF THE MONTH!
megcabot We have to wrap things up now, folks, but thanks SO MUCH for coming to today's chat! It was LOVELY to talk to you all. See you next month for our next book club pick--BAD KITTY by Michele Jaffe! I think you guys are going to love BAD KITTY, it's hysterically funny, and a mystery, like Size 12. So see you then! Thanks again!

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