I hope readers will realize that they are not alone in feeling the way I did when I was in middle and high school-like a great big freak! Also that “normal” is not what you see on TV. Being true to yourself, and to your friends, is way more important than being part of the “in crowd.” I am living proof that it is possible to profit from being a middle and high school freak.
Recently she resumed writing for older readers again with "Insatiable," her contribution to the burgeoning vampire cult. It became a bestseller, and now Cabot has published the sequel, "Overbite."
A writer should write what they know, and Meg Cabot says she knows vampires, or at least wannabes. She's an enthusiastic person who talks a mile a minute.
One of Cabot's early jobs was working in a New York University dorm around the time that Anne Rice published her novel "Interview with the Vampire." Some of the students got a little too enthusiastic about the book, Cabot said.
"And they started biting each other," she said. "And my job back then was to take students to the hospital when the were sick and these students happened to give each other hepatitis from biting each other. So we actually had a hepatitis outbreak. That's when I first realized how popular vampires were. I had to talk to their parents and explain why they were being kicked out and that's when I started going 'hmmmmm.'"
Just the other day a foreign publisher emailed me to ask if it was OK if they could put WARNING: FOR ADULT READERS ONLY on one of my adult books because a parent had complained that she’d caught her teen daughter reading it. I just laughed and was like, “Really? So putting a warning on the book is the way this lady wants to solve the problem of the fact that she can’t communicate with her daughter?” Way to parent, lady.
My books have won numerous awards. Including being number one New York Times bestsellers, they are frequently chosen as New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, IRA/CBC Young Adults’ Choice, Book Sense Picks, and have also been on the Texas Lone Star Reading List. All American Girl won the Evergreen Young Adult Book Award (Washington), and The Princess Diaries won that one also, along with the TASL Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award. I was recently named the 2008 Distinguished Alumni of my college, Indiana University.
But how can Cabot, an adult, get into the mind of a high school girl to tell so many stories? For starters, Cabot kept diaries throughout middle school and high school, and she still has them. Now she reads them for inspiration. She also kept notes that friends gave her in school, and one particular set of notes about kissing shows up in Princess in Love. Cabot also worked in a college dormitory for almost a decade, listening to 17- and 18-year-old girls talking nonstop, which makes the teen dialogue flow naturally when she is writing.
Having determined that there were worse fates than being turned down by a publishing house, Cabot devoted herself to crafting and submitting romance novels. Although it took a few years to break into the business, her fears turned out to be unfounded. She won a contract with St. Martin’s Press and published several books before penning The Princess Diaries, her first young adult novel.
Cabot grew up in Bloomington and majored in fine art at IU. Although she always loved writing, she imagined that success as an author was beyond her grasp, so she focused instead on becoming an illustrator. She was prepared to shelve her literary career indefinitely until a family tragedy put her fear of rejection in perspective.
"Because" she explains on her Web site, "a random guy I met at a party I went to in high school told me not to study creative writing because in his opinion studying creative writing as a major sucks the love of writing out of you (he was a creative-writing major, so he said he would know). I did not want the love of writing sucked out of me, so I followed his advice. (However, I did take a few creative-writing workshops at IU, and I enjoyed them very much.) Instead, I had the love of art sucked out of me."
Author Meg Cabot is a one-woman marketing sensation. She is a publisher's dream because she is able to produce novels with amazing frequency. At one point, Cabot, who began publishing in 1998, was pumping out a novel almost every month; by early 2006 she had published forty-four works of fiction.