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Posted 26 September 2009 - 12:28 PM

megcabot Welcome to today's chat about AVALON HIGH! I'm so glad so many of you were able to come! Let's get started....
moulinrouge1792 What is it about?
admin-janey Avalon High is a modern retelling of the King Arthur tales. If you haven't read the books I STRONGLY recommend that you leave the chat. It will spoil the book for you.
Alexandra Why did you decide to write a modern retelling of the Camelot legend?
megcabot I guess because I have never really found the original all that satisfying. I was inspired by Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series. And it sort of snowballed from there.
blusugie Hi Meg will there be a movie about Avalon High?
megcabot The book has been optioned for a television series (wouldn't that be cool? Teen King Arthur in a modern high school) but we have yet to find a studio.
Sirius_Black_Rocks Why did you decide not to include Morgan le Fay?
megcabot I actually did a ton of research for this book, and I only included characters for whom there was actual historical evidence, and I didn't find any on her.
Padme Meg, how did you come up with the character's names for the book?
megcabot Well, obviously, they are modern derivations of the historical figures on which character was based.
alybookworm How long did it take you to write Avalon High?
megcabot I started it at the beginning of a summer several years ago. The first draft took me the whole summer. Then there was a rewrite that took another month.
Sirius_Black_Rocks Do you believe in reincarnation? Because you mention it in some of your other books
megcabot Well, I am pretty much open to most spiritual ideas.
blusugie Will there be a sequel? I love Ellie!
megcabot Aw, thanks! I don't know if there will be a sequel. I'm brainstorming one, but it's not gelling quite yet.
marie_gal Do u love wading/swimming as much as Ellie?
megcabot You mean floating? Yes.
catlester Is King Arthur a good story? Because I tried to watch the movie and got bored half way through, but after reading Avalon High I'm thinking of watching it again.
megcabot Well, I have yet to see a good movie based on the legend, but there are lots of great books, including EB White's Once and Future King (I think that's the author/title) and I already mentioned The Dark is Rising series.
_mia_is_my_cat_ What was the hardest part about writing Avalon High?
megcabot Definitely the research. I had to read a lot of really boring books to get the information I needed.
Sirius_Black_Rocks Where did you get the idea for Ellie's parents? They're cool!
megcabot Thanks! My dad was a college professor, and so were most of my friends' parents growing up. So they are based on them
Princeton_Girl Meg, What,in your opinion, made the young readers like this book?
megcabot Hmmm, I don't know. I think because like most of my books, the characters are believable.
Audrey123 Hi Meg! I loved Avalon High... I was just wondering if you would ever base any of your other books on a myth or legend?! New books I mean...
megcabot Thanks! And in answer to you question, yes, I'm working on another one based on a myth now. Only I think it will be a three book series.
manteli_ Were you always into Arthurian legend, or is it a more recent love?
megcabot No, I have always and still do hate it do to the sad ending.
HM101__Hannah_ Did you model any of the characters in Avalon High after anyone you know? Their personalities, ect.
megcabot Well, all of my characters are modeled after people I know or have known, a little bit.
Vookie Did you watch any of the King Arthur movies to inspire you?
megcabot No. As I said, I strongly dislike sad endings, so I am not about to watch anything to do with King Arthur, unless it's MY version!
manteli_ You said that the order of the bear is an actual group. Have you every really met somebody who was in the "order of the bear?" If not, would you want to? Have you considered joining yourself? Kidding with that last one.
megcabot Did I say that? I think I might have kidding you. I am pretty sure I made it up. Although to tell you the truth, I wrote this book 3 years ago, and I can't entirely remember.
starprincess98 Meg will you ever/ have you ever come to Massachusetts? I am DYING to meet you!
megcabot Aw, thanks! I will be touring in June and September of this year, and very possibly will be going to Massachusetts. It all depends on whether any bookstores/libraries there invite me!
Sara Is this book out in Australlia?
admin-janey Yes. I made an Australia info page here.
catlester I always fall instantly in love with your male characters, but I can never find any guys like that in real life? Are they based on real people? (please say yes)
megcabot Thanks! And yes, they are. As I keep telling you girls, though, you have to be willing to look past the surface to find guys with hearts of gold like my characters.
manteli_ You've said that all of your books have some sort of personal connection. What was it for this book?
megcabot I actually saw a group of teens at the bottom of this ravine when I was running in the arboretum in Annapolis one day. I made up this story about them. I was really mad that I never saw them again. I still have no idea what they were doing down there.
_Karma_ Have you ever been the new girl at school like Ellie?
megcabot My father went on sabbatical every seven years, like Ellie's parents, so yes, every seven years I had to relocate to an all new school. I HATED it.
PennyLane Where did Ellie's friend get her ideas on love from?
megcabot No doubt the same place from which Tina Hakim Baba gets hers: romance novels.
starprincess98 Do you answer your fan email/mail personally? Or do you send out the same letter to everyone who writes?
megcabot No, it's not possible for me to answer my reader mail personally, due to the volume. I have an assistant who helps, although I tell her what to say.
Kimi Why did you choose Annapolis for the setting?
megcabot Because that is where I happened to be living when I saw the kids who inspired the story.
starprincess98 Do you read while you're tanning like Ellie?
megcabot Oh yes.
xOPrincessOx I loved Avalon High...but can you tell us what will be coming in PD 7?!?!?! Please :)
admin-janey Sorry no spoilers!
starprincess98 Meg, right now where are you? Like in Key West, in your hosue, in New York?
admin-janey Meg is in Key West.
hpinthebath Do you do as much research for every book you write?
megcabot I do, but not the same kind. I look up tons of stuff for most of the books I write, but for AVALON HIGH, I actually had to read people's dissertations on line, and order books from the library, since I needed more in depth scholarly information that is available on things like Google and Wikipedia.
MyNameisFransisco What music did you listen to while you wrote AH?
megcabot Good question! I can't remember. I have a feeling it was Rooney though.
manteli_ This book was written as a stand alone (for the time being), unlike most of your more recent books. what are the benefits and drawbacks of having stand alone books?
megcabot Well, sometimes a story pops into my head and it's just a one off. Sometimes the story lends itself more to a series. Avalon High popped into my head as just a one time story, so that's why I'm having trouble thinking of a sequel.
Drama_Queen Hi Meg. When I was reading the book I kept feeling certain that one of the characters was going to die by the end of the book, did you ever consider an alternate ending?
megcabot Wow, you're good. Yes, in the original version someone did die. But I changed it in the revision because I thought, well, I MIGHT want to do a sequel someday....
Audrey123 if there's a sequel would it be based on something else to do with King Arthur?! even though i'm from England i'm afraid to admit that i don't really know the whole of the legend..
megcabot Yes, of course it would be based on another Arthurian legend.
desigerl122 what is an aboretum exactly.....its basically a forest right? Because you mentioned it a lot in your book.
admin-janey Its kind of a botanical garden -- for trees.
hpinthebath How come, if you wrote the book 3 years ago, it is only just out?
megcabot Because this was the earliest my publisher could schedule it, given all the other books I had coming out. This was a book I wrote for fun and handed to them completed. I didn't TELL them I was going to write it. I just did. So there wasn't a place for it in the schedule.
YinYang What tips would you give to young teen girls attempting to write short stories?
megcabot I think short stories are the hardest thing in the world to write. I much prefer writing novels. So I don't know if I'm qualified to give any more tips beyond what I've already posted in the Writing Forum of this site.
n_ni__ Meg, where can i get the book in Brazil?
admin-janey I made a Brazil page here.
Alexandra Why did you decide to have your character modeled after King Arthur go by Will (though his first name was Arthur)?
megcabot Because I haven't heard of any kid in the year 2006 named Arthur and have to assume if there are any, they'd go by their middle name instead.
hpinthebath Will you be touring for a specific book?
megcabot I will be on tour in June for QUEEN OF BABBLE and in September for HOW TO BE POPULAR.
Vookie Did you come up with the name for the book, or did the publisher?
megcabot My original title was THE LAKE. This title was jettisoned due to my editor pointing out there was no lake in the story. So she and I and my agent batted around multiple titles until someone came up with AVALON HIGH.
_Karma_ Meg, in your blog you said: Please stop by if you get a chance! I might even give out a spoiler or two about Princess Diaries 7.
megcabot Yes. I did say that.
all_american_girl_fan Like Will, have you or do you listen to any sorts of these medieval musicals?
megcabot No. But my mom does.
_Karma_ Hi Meg, I loaned my friend Avalon High, what would you say would be the best book for her to read next?
megcabot Well, if she liked it, possibly the Mediator series or 1800 Where R You
emm-is-da-bomb Will you ever come to England?
megcabot I was in England last September, so I don't think I'll be invited back for at least another year.
JannyC You write a lot of books! Are there times you are working on more than one at a time?
megcabot No, I only work on one at a time, although I sometimes have to stop working on one to rewrite another when revision letters come in from my editor.
dancergrrrl are you planning on doing any book tours for Avalon High?
megcabot No, I am getting the winter off from touring.
desigerl122 What is the difference between the UK and the US versions of Avalon High?
megcabot In the UK version, they spell color as "colour." That is the only difference that I know of.
_Karma_ How does it feel to have your first gold-foil book?
megcabot VERY GOOD!!! Thanks for asking. I feel like Danielle Steel.
Maya What will you be doing for Valentine's Day, Meg?
megcabot BOYCOTTING IT!
emm-is-da-bomb Do you feel it helps you to write a book if you listen to music while you write it?
megcabot Yes, I think writing is a lot like doing cardio...it always helps to have loud, pounding music in the background.
YinYang Which is your favorite book that you have written?
admin-janey Sorry, Meg never answers questions such as which is your favorite book, or favorite character, or who is most like you. She always says she likes all her characters/books the same. :)
Princeton_Girl Do you believe in fairy tales?
megcabot Do you mean do I believe they actually happened to someone once? No, not really. But I think they're fun.
Anne Hey Meg is there going to be any merchandise for Avalon High?
admin-janey You mean in the Cafe Press Shop? There is some already.
dancergrrrl how do you think of all these ideas for books? i always have trouble just thinking up one idea for a book
megcabot I don't know. I have always enjoyed making things up. It comes from being such a big liar, I guess.
Vookie Do you ever get ideas for stories right in the middle of doing everyday things like making dinner?
megcabot All the time! It's a pain when you have to stop what you're doing to go write it down.
_Karma_ Do you have all the copies of the books you've had published?
megcabot You mean the actual books themselves, the manuscripts, or the electronic versions?
emm-is-da-bomb How long on average doe sit take you to write a book?
megcabot It depends on the book, but the shortest time it ever took me to write a book was 10 days (Nicola and the Viscount). The longest was one year (PRINCESS DIARIES 1). but that was because I only wrote it during slow times at work.
NODISCUSSIONS Why is the book so expensive. I can't part with $17 for a book. I can't get it from the library either, because my library never gets anything new.
admin-janey It's pretty much a standard price for a hard cover book. In one year, it will be out in paperback.
hpinthebath What loud pounding music do you like listening to at the moment? :)
megcabot Right now I am listening to Fallout Boy.
sweetpie_x3 Where does your sense of humor come from?
megcabot Ha! From my family. In my family, if you couldn't be funny, no one would listen to you. It was highly competitive, especially at the dinner table, to see who could be funniest. My dad usually won.
Padme Janey, do you get to preview Meg's books before they come out?
admin-janey Yes. I get ARCs of pretty much all the books.
dancergrrrl when you are writing a book do you sometimes come up with a soundtrack or cast list for it?
megcabot I generally make a playlist for each book. Sometimes several.
Alexandra are there any other books of yours that have been published that you just wrote for fun?
megcabot Most of them, actually! Princess Diaries, The Mediator, 1800 Where R You....
Vookie Out of all the ideas for stories you come up with, about how many of them actually turn into books?
megcabot Probably about half. I have a LOT of half-completely books that ended up going nowhere.
Sara do you have to buy your OWN books?
megcabot Ha. No the publisher sends authors 50 copies of their own book for free, which we are supposed to use for giveaways like the ones I have on this site. After that, we can buy our books at cost from the publisher if we need more.
IAmTheEggMan Did you write AH and Size 12 around the same time?
megcabot I actually wrote Size 12 when I still worked in the dormitory at NYU. So I wrote that one around the same time I wrote Princess Diaries 1. It's only just coming out now because it took that long for me to finish revising it. Originally it was a bit different than the finished product. Heather was a SUPERMODEL not a popstar.
Audrey123 how do you come up with all the embarrassing moments in books?! have they ever happened to you?! :-)
megcabot Of course! You can't write about something embarrassing unless it's happened to you.
Anne When is 1800 Where R u's final copy going to be released?
megcabot One year. So January 2007.
IAmTheEggMan Did you once mention there being a movie for Every Boy's Got One? I swear you did, but I couldn't find where on MCBC... I think my mind is playing tricks on me. Please verify so I don't go nuts!!!!
megcabot No, there is. It was optioned by the people who did BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE, who also have the option for TEEN IDOL. But again, it hasn't sold to a studio yet.
all_american_girl_fan Like your book about legends, movie stars, presidents, have you ever considered writing a romance book that has something to do with sports?
megcabot Hmmm good question. But I wouldn't dare, because I know nothing about sports. Although the sequel to SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT, called PHAT CHICK, has college basketball in it. A little.
Audrey123 i loved your art work in your blog... i was wondering if you plan to draw any little sketches or anything for any of your books?!
megcabot Awww, thanks! And yes, there will be a drawing by me in Princess Diaries 7. There! That is your PD7 spoiler! The drawing is SUPPOSED to be by Mia.
dancergrrrl do you get to help design the covers for your books
megcabot Yes, my input is asked for. I asked them to put a girl in a bikini floating on a raft of the cover of Avalon High, so you can see how highly my opinion is valued.
NODISCUSSIONS What is your response to fans saying they are getting a bit tired of mcbc and its rules?
megcabot They are welcome to leave at any time. It's not jail!
marie_gal Have u ever felt that Deja-vu moment with someone else just like Will and Ellie?
megcabot All the time! In fact, just the other day I called this woman by the wrong name because I was convinced her name was something else and I think the only reason could be because I knew her in another life as someone else! I'm only half kidding.
Sara does alot of the book come from personal experiences???
megcabot Well, I have been the new kid at a new school, and I like floating in pools, and my parents often embarrassed me as a child. The rest is made up (Oh...I've kissed boys before too)
alybookworm Could you please tell me what time and channel the 1800 Where R U comes on?
admin-janey This is different in every market so you have to look it up. Check out the site here.
IAmTheEggMan How come in some books the siblings have a large role, and in others, they don't? In the Mediator, they had a big role in the beginning and less of one later on... and in this book & Teen Idol there wasn't much interaction with the sibling(s). AAG did, however. What makes you decide this?
megcabot I think it's just a matter of where the story is going. In the case of the Mediator, after Suze started getting along with her brothers (as one does, as one ages), they weren't as integral to the story.
desigerl122 if i read p PD 6 a while ago...............do u think i still will be able to catch on to PD 7?
admin-janey You won't have trouble I am sure.
Audrey123 do you read other teenage/children's books to check out the competition?! lol if so what do you read?!
megcabot Sometimes. I am reading a new book that will be out by Rachel Vail in the Spring, and I just finished a great book called Shug and another about a "happa" girl...only I can't remember the title.
Padme Meg, why did you decide to create MCBC? I love it!!
megcabot I felt my readers needs a central place where they could come talk about my books without being scattered all over the Internet. Also I needed to make a site where I could (somewhat) manage all the rumors going around, like the new one about Drake Bell starring in All American Girl (He isn't. There IS no movie of All American Girl).
sweetpie_x3 I'm a big fan, and there's nothing i could want more than your autograph, how could one get your autograph?
admin-janey On MegCabot.com, there are instructions on how to get an autographed book plate. Its a signed sticker that Meg sends to you to put in your book.
lily_maiden Aside from the Princess Diaries, do you think that any other books of your's will become a movie?
megcabot You never know!
Padme Janey, are you and Meg in the same place right now?
admin-janey Nope. I am in NYC and Meg is in Florida
Sara do you become discouraged when people write mean things about you?
megcabot Of course! I'm human!
starprincess98 is the TV series 1800 Where R U like the books? Like is the character named Jessica?
admin-janey There is a character named Jess Mastriani.
HRH_Ft_Louie_aka_Lauren Meg, Will you write anymore books based in Maryland (We all know this state is the best) or are you going to mix it up some?
megcabot Ha! I have no plans for any more books set in Maryland or the DC area, but you never know!
starprincess98 Have you ever taken a part of a book ( for example PD1) that got rejected and put it in another PD book?
megcabot Oh my goodness, lots of times.
Vookie Do you have a special place where you keep all your published books?
megcabot Yes. My husband has a special shelf in our "library" where he puts them all, one copy of each book from every country it's come out in. It is already overflowing.
IAmTheEggMan I like your idea for the AH cover much better. How come all of your covers have cartoons on them?? Except the old Mediator & 1800 books- I REALLY liked those covers. Are your publishers trying to attract younger readers??-- or are they cheap and don't want to pay for a photographer?
admin-janey The UK books have illustrated covers. It looks like the use the same illustrator for most of the books. I don't think its a cost-saving reason. Illustrators need to get paid too!
_Karma_ have you ever written any books for charity?
megcabot Yes, all of my proceeds from PROJECT PRINCESS went (and continue to go) to the Lower East Side Girls Club in NYC.
megcabot I've also written short stories to raise money for War Child and cancer research, in Girl's Night In and various other books.
Padme Meg, did you hire Janey, or are you just friends?
admin-janey I am a hire. But Meg and I have become friends while working together.
catlester Will the 1800-Where-R-U? TV series come out in England?
admin-janey I don't think it will.
xOPrincessOx When your book doesn't get published/gets "rejected"...how do you feel?! Sad/Mad?! Or do you just start a new book?!
megcabot I try to listen to why it got rejected, put it away, work on other projects, then usually take the book out again later and see if there's a way I can rewrite it to make it more saleable. This happens a lot.
toiletpaper2 I saw that the cover of Avalon High changed from white and purple at first to gold and purple. Why did it change, and who decided it?
megcabot It was always gold. It's just hard to reproduce the look of gold online. Also, it was too expensive to do in the galleys. But the cover was always going to be gold.
PurpleGirl I know that a film of All-American girl is coming out sometime, but do you have any idea when, or anything?
megcabot No it is not. I currently own the film rights, and I am not selling them.
emm-is-da-bomb If I was to send off for an autographed picture from you what are th chances of me getting one?
admin-janey None. Meg doesn't have photographs for that purpose.
hpinthebath Ever considered writing something purely fantasy? For example with weird creatures in it that don't actually exist? A la Phillip Pullman..
megcabot Hmmm. I don't like to say never, but I think it highly unlikely. I actually prefer books that take place on planet earth in modern times. So while there may be paranormal/fantasy elements in future books, I don't think there will be, for instance, any elves or unicorns.
hpinthebath Did your dad go on a sabbatical too, then?
megcabot Yes, once to France when I was 7 and once to Carmel, CA when I was 13.
_Karma_ Janey: the tv series is a lot different to how i pictured the books, no Rob! and i'm pretty sure her name is Jess, i haven't watched it in a while.
admin-janey Thanks for that.
Padme Meg, do you think you'll ever stop writing books? I hope its not soon!!!
megcabot Thanks! And probably not, unless I get carpals or something.
sweetpie_x3 I'd really like to be an author one day, do you have any tips?
admin-janey Check out Meg's tips in the writing forum.
Drama_Queen Would you ever consider basing future books in England? I live in England and found it really interesting in the teen historical romance books reading about the country I live in. (Also, I was studying the railways in history and it helped me write about how people of the time felt about them-thanks!)
megcabot A large portion of QUEEN OF BABBLE, my book that is coming out this summer, is set in modern day England.
Sara does your family ever read your books?? do you ever feel embarrassed??
megcabot Some of them do. I'm not embarrassed by anything I write, really. I just get mad when they find mistakes and tell me about them. I'd rather not know if there are mistakes once the book is published and there's nothing I can do about it.
all_american_girl_fan Do you think you will ever write a book in a male�s point of view, and if you have already, can you tell me the title?
megcabot I don't think so. Men are an eternal mystery to me. For instance, right now, my husband is watching sports on television. Why? I will never understand it.
Anne Hiya Meg, i love all your books, even got a copy reserved of Avalon high hehe. I was wondering do you have a favourite author? And if so who?
megcabot I like a LOT of authors, some living, some dead. I can't really pick a favorite, but Stella Gibbons wrote my favorite book, COLD COMFORT FARM, so I guess it's her.
YinYang Do you have special rituals or good luck charms for while you are writing?
megcabot Hmm. I have to drink a cup of Earl Grey tea first thing every morning or I have a bad day. You mean like that?
catlester Do you like fantasy books such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, or do you tend to stick to books similar to your own?
megcabot No, I love to READ fantasy novels. I just don't think I could ever write one. Although I prefer Harry to LOTR, because I found the LOTR books somewhat lacking in female characters. I am not a fan of Narnia however. Talking animals creep me out.
manteli_ HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY MEG!!!
megcabot HEY!!! THANK YOU!!!!
Anne Hiya Meg! :> I was wondering how did you come up with the name Avalon High?
megcabot Well, I have to admit...I got it off the internet. There are several actual high schools called Avalon High.
megcabot Thank you so much for coming to my chat today! The FEBRUARY pick of the month is (big surprised) SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT!!! I hope you guys will come back next month to talk about it. Thanks for coming and now enjoy a bit of free chat! I have to get back to writing Princess Diaries 8 (it's due next week) so Bye!

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