Girl-Gothic: Five Minutes with Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot is so very now. She’s an author in love with new media, and has absolutely no fears in seeing her literary works go techno. Witness, for instance, her YouTube channel, which features filmed trailers for her books, backstage clips and bloopers from the filming of those trailers, as well as interviews, readings, and updates about everything Meg.

So culturally up-to-the-minute, it’s no surprise Meg elected, this year, to write a book about vampires. Vampires, particularly of the romantic variety, are currently the single hottest go-to guys for fantastic fiction for young adults and adults alike. The teens are into Twilight and the Vampire Diaries, while the grown-ups get their fix with Sookie in True Blood. Enter any bookstore today and you’ll see shelves piled full of bloody, lusty, sharp-toothed tales. More than ever before. Vampire stories may have been around for centuries, but it’s undeniable that they’ve never been quite this popular.

Meg’s Insatiable, she says, is a vampire romance with a twist. Its heroine, Meena Harper (get it?), is sick to death of hearing about bloodsuckers. She doesn’t care for them, she doesn’t want them anywhere near the soap opera she writes for, and she certainly doesn’t believe they exist in her reality. Soon, though, she finds herself swept up in her own vampire saga, and falling fairly hard for her own creature of the night.

How much does it suck when your new boyfriend turns out not only to be a vampire, but possibly the Prince of Darkness himself?

Insatiable answers this question, while unraveling just what it is about vampires women find so darned irresistible. It also begs the question: why would one choose immortality? The book also takes some pot-shots at the craze that’s sweeping the book world (or re-sweeping it, as Meg suggests), and provides the kind of fun account of women finding their place in the big, wide, and sometimes uber-scary, world that Meg Cabot fans undeniably adore.

Why are we so into vampires right now?

Well, you know, vampires have always been around. There’s been evidence of vampire stories since the ancient Egyptians and the Hebrews. It’s something that people have always been warned about, that there are these blood sucking demons out there. I think authors throughout history have put their own spins on it. I think the rich, aristocratic vampire was invented by Lord Byron, who kind of was one. He had a lot of sexy times with girls who were trying to get him to prove that he was the father of their babies, but he wouldn’t do it. So, I think it’s really funny that people say that just now that this is all coming out. I say, no, they’ve always been around.

Right now people are all talking about Twilight and True Blood and all that, and I think it’s great. I love when people are excited about something. In the ‘90s people were all excited about Interview with the Vampire, so it’s not something that’s new. Maybe this incarnation is new but I think storytellers have always had something to say about vampires, and this book was what I had to say about it: that they’re evil, bloodsucking menaces. But not all of them! I think that’s some of them could be very nice. But maybe they need to be tamed a little bit.

You’re probably best known as a YA author, yet this book is not primarily for that age group.

No, Insatiable is definitely an adult book. It has a lot of sex scenes. But I think mature teens will be able to handle it. It’s definitely not something they won’t have seen before.

Is it easy to switch over to the adult voice for a book like Insatiable?

People ask me all the time, isn’t that hard to switch back and forth between teenagers and younger kids and being an adult? It’s really not because I’ve been all those things and I remember what it was like. I enjoy it so much. I’m happy I get to do that, to give a voice to all of these characters that are inside of me. I really enjoy it, and I’m so happy. I love hearing from readers of all of those ages and listening to what they have to say.

How has the response been to your book trailers? How did those come about?

The book trailers are super-popular with readers. I think the readers love the blending of film, and the concept of bringing your characters to life on film even though it’s not necessarily with actors. I love the idea of taking a book and giving it a different life than just on the page. I love electronic media and the idea of doing different things with books. I think that’s really something this generation is used to and I love that. I know there are authors out there who don’t like it and think it’s maybe a little bit sacrilegious. But I think it’s really fun, and I don’t think it detracts from the book in any way. I know some people do, but I don’t. I think it’s great.

You obviously enjoy making them. You look like you’re having a blast.

My book trailers are really fun. I work with a director named Brady Hall. We come up with concepts and we just kind of go with it. Actually, the one where I get killed by a vampire, which is one that’s very popular on my YouTube channel, I said, “Wouldn’t it be fun if we had a vampire pretend to bite me and we had blood spatter up on the camera lens?” And Brady said, “Yeah, that’s great.” But when I showed up to the studio, he had a stunt man there who tackled me and blood poured all over me from a tube in my leg, and I thought: This was not what I meant! But, it was really funny and fun. He always ends up going a little further than my concept, which is much less about me getting thrown onto a mat and wearing padding and stuff, [but] he’s really into film-making and horror. Usually, I say, “Let’s get Barbies and play with them!” And he’ll say, “OR! … we could have you attacked by a stunt man!”

What makes an attractive vampire for you?

I don’t know. I’m still exploring that. That’s kind of what Insatiableis about. I think right now is an interesting time for these new kinds of vampires that are coming around. Who are these rich guys who want to take care of you? I think as women in the workplace right now we have so much stress and the idea of a really rich guy coming in and taking care of us is really appealing. I mean, I wouldn’t mind, so where’s mine?

Final word on Insatiable?

It’s all about Girl-Gothic — strong female characters who love men but just want to stand on their own.