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Posted 26 September 2009 - 12:19 PM

MegCabot Welcome to the August Pick of the Month chat! I'm so glad you're all here to talk about my new book, HOW TO BE POPULAR. Let's get chatting...
alliecat hey meg! i've read ALL your books (except this one lol) is it out in paperback yet?
admin-janey No sorry. They usually come out in paperback one year after the hard cover is released
lifehouse_girl Where did you get the idea for How To Be Popular?
megcabot I got the idea for HOW TO BE POPULAR from you guys, my readers. I get so much mail begging for books about "popular" girls, or asking me how readers can become popular. So then, when I was in a thrift shop and found an old book on popularity, the idea came to me in a big rush that I needed to write a book about a girl who wants to be popular and finds a book on popularity. Done!
itsbreezyinhere ummmmm will there be spoilers?
admin-janey Yes there will be spoilers, you might want to leave if you dont want the book to be spoiled
ElizabethsuzeroxTurner Hi Meg. Let me start by saying that I love your books. My question is: Was this book based on your real experiences?
megcabot Thanks! Some of the book was definitely based on real things that happened to me (such as...spying on the boys next door). I never had any desire to hang with the popular crowd in my school though. We didn't have any interests in common.
princess_taylor What is a Super Big Gulp? did you make that up?
admin-janey Its a really large beverage that you can get at a place called 7-11.
Boothy Why did you decide to write about a girl that actually does get popular? You write about a lot of female protagonists who want to be popular, but never get to be popular. Did you just decide to do it as a change of pace?
megcabot Well, that and also I should probably confess I DID hang out with some popular people in high school (Darlene is based on a real girl I knew) and they weren't all bad. So I thought I should cut them some slack.
Hobbitfeet14 Did you ever go on a quest/ know someone who went on a quest to be popular?
megcabot Oh, gosh, a lot of my friends tried to be popular. I wasn't that interested. I did go on a quest to try to get into a certain UNPOPULAR group (drama Goths). I was successful. It took a LOT of work.
PrincessNPink Meg, I felt so bad for Steph in this book, people had been saying 'Don't pull a Steph,' for like 5 years! Did anything like that ever happen to you?
megcabot Ha! No. I sort of based that on an article I read about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Apparently for years everyone in his town went around saying "Don't pull a Dahmer" when HE was in middle school and high school. And look what happened to him!
teenage_bookworm My favorite part of HTBP was when she is talking about her school's mascot and how it could be worse because they could have been named after the TYPE of fish that the weathervane was. I laughed out loud! Is that the actual name of a type of fish, or did you make it up?
megcabot That IS the name of an actual fish that comes from that part of Indiana (actually, I think it is found all over the US).
Lily Hi Meg! H2BP was great, and I was wondering - did you come up with those advice sections yourself on the spot, or were they things you'd learned from people over the years?
megcabot hanks! I did a LOT of research for the advice in the book. All of it came from other books, either on popularity or advancing in the workplace (the advice for how to be popuarl and how to be an effective CEO is surprisingly similar).
NY_is_LOVE_x3 Meg, are you planning on writing a sequel to HOW TO BE POPULR?
megcabot Not at the moment, but you never know!
lifehouse_girl You spied on boys next door? Why?
megcabot Duh. They were hot.
becky Um is my message being read?
admin-janey Yes I read all the messages and pass them onto Meg. We get a lot of the same quesions over and over, so please don't be offended if your question does not get answered.
KarateSoX Does your husband really call you crazytop?
megcabot

Sadly yes. I think it has something to do with how my hair looks when I wake up in the morning.

mia_fan hi Meg since I have not read this book yet could you please tell what it is mainly about
admin-janey Its about a girl who is really unpopular and she decides that she will follow the advice in an old book and try to make herself popular.
HRH_Ft_
Louie_aka_Lauren
Meg, are there any events from the year 1983 that happened to that are in H2BP? I know that in Pants On Fire you make ammends with everything but I just wondering if any of those things happened to you. PLus I love the peeping Tom. I call that now Pulling a steph landry (one of my friends suggested that we call it that)
megcabot Ha! No, everything I did in 1983 is in Pants on Fire. None of that is in H2BP. And I don't think spying on your neighbors is wrong if they are too lazy to pull down the shades.
SeussicalandCabotFan What book are you working on Now?
megcabot Queen of Babble 2!
itsbreezyinhere Meg, how come jason is SOOOOO SOO critical?? He is such a jerk to Steph. I know he likes her for who she is, but he didn't need to be such a jerk about it. Is there a reason why you made him have this personality quirk?
MegCabot Jason knows that for a good chunk of the book, Steph isn't being true to herself, and that annoys him, as it always annoyed me when MY friends went around trying to be popular. It's really irritating when someone you know doesn't act like herself. Don't you think?
PrincessNPink Do you think that popularity is overrated?
megcabot Totally. The point is to have GOOD friends, not necessarily popular ones.
iceskatingfool13 I loved the book it was amazing!! But i mean I think there was really no need for her to become popular because she already had great firends!!
megcabot THANK YOU! That was the point.
hare_krishna Is Jason based on anyone that you knew?
megcabot He's kind of a mix of a lot of people, mostly my husband.
missy r u doing a tour for HTBP?
megcabot I am! I'll be touring in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and California next month
HRH_Ft_
Louie_aka_Lauren
Have you ever pured sugar on someone's head from a story above or was that a stroke of pure genuis?
megcabot Thanks! No comment.
GizmoGirl Is it true that you're only planning to make PD go to 10 books? Will she still finish high school? I was soooo sad when I heard that!
megcabot Awww, sorry! Yes, it will end at Book 10, with Mia turning 18. I think we can all use a break now and then.
PrincessNPink Was your hometown growing up as small as Stephs?
megcabot Yes! Steph's hometown was modeled on mine.
alliecat when are you going to have another advice blog with dr. jaffe on your diary page?
megcabot Well, now that Dr. Jaffe has her OWN advice blog (www.michelejaffe.com) I didn't think there was any need.
tephster Meg, do you still have that pink streak in your hair?
megcabot I do!
lifehouse_girl What book are you going on tour for next?
megcabot How To Be Popular, next month.
teenage_bookworm Did you ever spend your weekends sitting on something similar to "the wall?"
megcabot Oooooh, yes.
Lily Everyone is secretly wondering about this, so I'll say it...naked pushups? Really? Has any guy ACTUALLY admitted to doing that, or was this something you may or may not have witnessed through a window?
megcabot Witnessed it. And more.
_Hell_ Hi meg! Can I ask you something that's not about H2BP? Why did you rename sequel of Size 12... into Size 14 is not fat either and change the cover? `
megcabot Because when my publisher presented it to marketing, they didn't like it. Size 14 Is Not Fat Either is actually the original title I chose for the book! So I'm happy about it.
JamJam_ Have you ever stood up to popular people like Steph did at the end?
megcabot Oh, sure. When they were being mean to someone.
AlexM I read a recent interview, in which you said that darlene is based on someone you knew, can you tell us about her? did the bees bum incident really happen?
megcabot Yes, and yes, and she was on the danceteam at my school, and in choir with me, and she was really funny and cool, even though a lot of people thought she was a slut and wouldn't talk to her. That was their loss, though.
mliss Hey Meg are you planning on coming to the UK any time soon? would love to see you! =)
megcabot Maybe, if my publisher there invites me again! I've already been twice for book tours.
admin-janey Meg, I actually thought alot of the old fashioned advice was good. Did the old book you find have the same advice?
MegCabot Yes, the advice was always the same. Although some of the advice in the old book --such as that popular girls never act conceited--wasn't exactly true!
HRH_Ft_
Louie_aka_Lauren
how do you feel about your clinique ads? I saw it in seventeen it was very spiff
megcabot Wow, thanks. I haven't seen it!
ElizabethsuzeroxTurner Was Kitty based on a Grandmother like figure or just someone you made up?
megcabot Kitty was based on someone, but not a grandmother.
lifehouse_girl Did your grandfather build an observatory?
megcabot I wish. No.
GizmoGirl My friends and I are all like, addicted to your books, reading them is like our cure for everything. (No, we're not stalkers, just geeks!) Anytime something is wrong, we go read some "good Meg Cabot" and instantly feel better. Thanks for inspriing us! Oh god, I sound like such a cheeseball..
megcabot Awwww, thanks! I don't think you sound like a cheeseball. Authors like hearing that stuff, because we work alone in tiny rooms, and we never really know if anybody ever even reads our stuff. So it's always good to hear someone is.
AlexM. do you like the new cherry-flavoured TAB energy drink ? do you prefer regular TAB?
megcabot Ick, no, I like the old fashioned TaB.
news_from_your_bed Meg did you ever have a friend like Becca?
megcabot I did! Poor thing.
teenage_bookworm How long do these chats usually last?
admin-janey 45 minutes with 15 minutes of free chat at the end.
PrincessNPink Do you have any advice for people like Steph who may like someone who they don't know very well and want to get to know them better?
megcabot Yes. Try to get to know the person by joining a club he or she belongs to, or hanging out in places where he or she hangs out. When I had a crush on a guy in high school, I joined the tech crew of the drama club, because he belonged to it. So we got to spend every Saturday morning together, building sets, and I was able to realize he wasn't the one for me...but I met a DIFFERENT guy who was!
missy do u ever do talks for schools?
admin-janey Meg has actually answered this in the past. She does not.
lifehouse_girl Do you believe you can find your true love in high school?
megcabot Hmmm...well, A true love. I believe people can have more than one.
babypbunny Did the "star gazing" incident actually happen to you before?
megcabot You mean have I ever made out with a boy under the stars? Yes.
slimy_octopus What kinds of music did you listen to while writing H2BP?
megcabot

Check out my playlist on iTunes...there's a link to it from my blog. You can download Jason's List yourself!

news_from_
your_bed
What are good ways not to get sucked into the popular way of dealing with things?
megcabot Well, for starters, by being yourself, and not trying to act like someone you're not.
itsbreezyinhere meg, did you have a best friend guy next door?
megcabot Alas, no. The boys next door wanted nothing to do with me. They were older than I was, though.
alliecat HOW innapropriate are your non- YA books?
admin-janey Its hard to say since each person judges these things differently. The non YA books are written for adults and contain language and sexual situations. Not knowing you personally, its hard to say if its appropriate for you or not.
tephster Meg, you said you were "Goth" when you were in school, what caused such a dramatic change from Goth to writer with pink covers?
megcabot I was shocked when I got my cover and it was pink. I wanted a big black Doc Marten on it. I was voted down...although if you look at the original Princess Diaries, you'll see they put a Doc Marten on the back. That was their concession to me.
irockout2raffi do you write freehand or type your books?
megcabot Type on a Powerbook G4 in Word.
mia_fan What do you do about peer presure? I mean I am homeschooled but I still deal with the everyday pressure of being overweight
megcabot Well, like everybody else who is constantly bombarded with impossible-to-attain images from the media, you just try to eat as healthy as you can, get some exercise, and ignore the rest.
Hobbitfeet14 You are such a great artisit! Do you think you will ever get to draw a picture for your books' covers?
megcabot Wow, thanks! I don't actually think that would be such a good idea. If I did that, it would take time away from writing, and I have too many books to finish!
Lily Did anything you thought was funny get cut out of HTBP during editing?
megcabot Actually...no. That book pretty much got accepted as is.
Penny hey meg! are you going to write another supernatural series like the mediator?
megcabot Absolutely. Several are in the works. And look for my next stand alone paranormal, JINX, in stores a year from now.
soccer_fanatic Meg, how many hours a day to you spend writing?
megcabot When I have a book due, about eight hours a day. If nothing's due, then about 0-8 hours, depending.
missy u were goth?! r u still?
megcabot Can you be Goth and have a designer bag? No? Then sadly, I'm not. I do still wear a lot of black though. And I have a pink streak in my hair!
slimy_octopus Did your high school ever have a talent auction, and if so, did you enter it?
megcabot No, the talent auction was something I found on the Internet. We had a talent SHOW, and I was in that, though. I sang a song with another girl. I believe it was western in theme.
ElizabethsuzeroxTurner How often do you get writers block?
megcabot Every minute of every day! You just have to power through it.
GizmoGirl How are the mangas for Avalon High coming along?
megcabot Great! I'll be posting some art from them next week on my blog!
HRH_Ft_
Louie_aka_Lauren
are we going to get any 1-800 #5 previews soon?
megcabot Yes...probably closer to the release date of Dec. 26 though.
AlexM. in ms word, generally how many words or pages do you have on average when you consider your book finished? do you measure if its done or not in if you got to the end of the plot, or in words?
megcabot Well, you want the wordcount total you're supposed to have and the end of the story to happen at the same time. Most YAs are 55,000 words. So by word 55,000, I hope the story is over. But sometimes I go over/under by a few thousand. It's something you learn to do with practice, by estimating how many scenes it will take to tell a story, and making each scene about ten pages long.
AlexM. Janey- what screening process do each of the questions go through before they reach meg?
admin-janey I forward everything unless its a repeat question, or not phrased as a question (ie its a comment). I also do not forward questions that I consider to be disrespectful in tone. If its off topic, I do not forward it generally.
ArianaDeSilva I'm confused about when 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU is coming into stores. Is it December or January?
admin-janey Its December (in the US)
hellothere Was it different for you to write about a small town in Indiana when most of your books are set in NYC?
admin-janey Actually Meg's books take place in many places and I am quite sure that the 1800 series takes place in Indiana.
teenage_bookworm What new books of yours are getting ready to be released soon?
megcabot Valentine Princess on December 12, Princess Diaries #8 on Dec. 26, Missing You on Dec. 26, and Size 14 is not Fat either in November!
Trinh Janey - are you a close friend of Meg's or a writer or... ?
admin-janey Nope. Meg hired my company to run her website. We have some mutual contacts.
GizmoGirl Janey, do you read Meg's books?
admin-janey Yes, all of them.
HRH_Ft_
Louie_aka_Lauren
Meg, are you going to be staying in key west for Hurricane Ernesto with the cats and gang?
megcabot Ha! Probably. I have no plans to evacuate at this time.
Trinh How many 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU books are written so far, and how many are there going to be?
admin-janey There are 4 so far. the 5th will be the last.
Trinh Is there a chapter except for HTBP on your website yet?
megcabot Absolutely. Click on the book cover...at least...I think there is. If not, there is a sneak peek on my blog. `
mia_fan Thanks for the advice and about writers block do you have any advice for curing it?
megcabot Usually writers block is caused by a problem in the narrative. Figure out what the problem is, and the block will go away. I figure that out by doing something else, like watching TV, and purposefully NOT thinking about the problem. Miraculously, I often figure out the solution this way.
hare_krishna Will you write anymore books containing teens having safe sex soon, like in Ready or not? I really appreciated those books!
megcabot Well, thanks! And yes, you can expect more. I just can't tell you when without giving out spoilers.
babypbunny Hey Meg, I was just wondering is Meg-A-Reader only avaliable to US residents??
megcabot At this time, it is only available through my US publishers. People who live in other countries should check with that country's publishers for similar programs.
GizmoGirl Do you work on one project at a time, or do you devote certain hours to certain projects during the day?
megcabot Nope, one at a time.
Bri__BuzyBee_ I read on the message boards that the books are going to start coming out in the same time in the UK as the US-is this true?
megcabot Yes!
applelvr How do you get a good ending for your novels, because I always love your endings. Does it just kind of come to you?
megcabot Well, thanks! I always get the idea for how the book is going to end before I even start it. It's important to know where you're going before start on any journey, and writing a book is no different.
slimy_octopus What activities do you like to do in your spare time, when you're not writing?
megcabot I like swimming, eating out, biking, and working on my tan (with 30 SPF sunscreen, of course).
irockout2raffi is the sequil to avalonhigh going to be easy for beginner manga readers?
megcabot Yes, because I am a beginner manga reader myself. I mean, there's going to be big words, because I always use big words. But the format should be easy to follow.
teenage_bookworm Did you make up the thing about "BMW Courtesy" in HTBP or have you heard it somewhere else? It was really funny.
megcabot Thanks! I have a friend to invented Volvo Courtesy...don't tell him I stole it!
babypbunny Meg, I know you and all of the fans are going to be sad when the PD series will be over... but will there be a brand new series similar to PD after??
megcabot Ooooh, yes.
Trinh I love your advice for aspiring writers. Does it make you happy knowing that there are so many people out there who want to become authors?
megcabot Well, I'm glad lots of people love to write as much as I do, but I hope SOME people are planning on becoming doctors and scientists, because while writing escape fiction is fun, curing cancer is a cooler career path, in my opinion.
mishi when you're starting the book, do you have the whole thing plotted out before you write it or just a good idea of it?
megcabot I usually just have a good idea of certain scenes I want to be in it--or that NEED to be in it to get to the ending I have planned.
AlexM Do companies send you free swag? If they do, what's the best thing you have recieved?
megcabot Ha! No. And if they did, it wouldn't be free--you have pay taxes on swag. I do get free books, however.
imdamoos Are you involved in the process of your books becoming books-on-tape? If so, how?
megcabot Yes, Random House's Listening Library, who do most of my books on tape, call me a few days before recording to check on pronunciations and things like that. I don't pick the actresses or get to read myself, though! It's a LOT of work--I was in the studio when Anne Hathaway was recording the Princess Diaries books 1-3, and I saw how hard she worked!
Hell Are you going to write about Mia even when the PD series ends? So we know what happens to Mia when she's older?
megcabot Maybe!
Trinh What's the hardest part to write when writing a book - the beginning, some scenes in the middles, or the end?
megcabot I have the hardest time with the middle. Starting and finishing are snaps compared to slogging through that 150 page
mark. mia_fan Who would I contact for publishing a book? My friend and I are writing one and we would like to get it published.
admin-janey Try looking at some books on literary agent listings and how to write a query letter.
babypbunny Meg, what made you or persuade you to make the sequel of Avalon high manga? I love manga by the way and I am thrilled that you are.
megcabot Thanks! I was interested in doing a manga series, and Avalon High was the book Tokyopop chose as the one they wanted to "manga-fy" first. Fortunately I had been toying with the idea of doing a sequel anyway, so I had a plot idea.
Meggie48 Will there be another sequel to Amercian Girl and Ready or Not?
megcabot Maybe. I don't really have an idea in mind right now though.
teenage_bookworm Meg, are any of your books currently being looked at for a possible movie?
megcabot YES!! There will be an announcement about that on the blog next week, too.
amee Is Size14 going to be in paperback like Size12 or is it going to hardback like QoB?
megcabot Paperback (or what they call "trade," because it's bigger than a mass market paperback).
ElizabethsuzeroxTurner How come some of the questions I asked 5 minutes ago are being answered even though they were asked by a different person?
admin-janey Because someone else asked the same question before you.
KarateSoX I'm a premedical student. You keep saying you want some of your readers to become doctors, did you want to be a doctor at some point?
megcabot I looooove doctors and epidemiologists and everyone who is out there working on the front lines to cure diseases. Because I had lyme disease, and it was AWFUL, and I am so greatful to the doctor who cured me (I went to 5 different ones before one finally figured out what I had). So I have total respect and worship for doctors, and I wish there were more of them, because there are a lot of sick people, like I was, who need cures!!!! So thanks for going to medical school!!!
Trinh How do you come up with your characters names, personalities, et cetera?
megcabot The names I ususally get from the phone book or baby name books. Their personalities usually come from people I know. Shhhh don't tell anyone!
AlexM Have any celebrities ever told you that they read your books?
megcabot No. But Chelsea Clinton bought one of Michele Jaffe's historical romance novels! The bookstore called to tell her!
tephster Meg, what's your take on getting tattoos with your soulmates name on your body?
megcabot Um...in the words of South Park, "Dum, da, dum, dum, dum.
tephster Meg, other than chick-lit and mystery, is there any other genre you want to...explore?
megcabot Hmmm...not that I can think of....
KarateSoX how many revisions of a book do you normally do before it's accepted?
megcabot Usually two...
megcabot Looks like that's all we have time for! Thanks so much for coming to the chat...stay tuned for next month's Pick of the Month...You, Maybe by Rachel Vail!!! For those of you who like drama in your books...you'll love You, Maybe!!! Thanks again for coming and hopefully I'll see you on my tour next month!

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