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suite scarlett
girl at sea
13 little blue envelopes
the bermudez triangle
the key to the golden firebird
vacations from hell
let it snow

Friday, October 05, 2007


I had lunch with my erstwhile agent, Daphne Unfeasible, today. It was a glorious summer-like day here in New York (thank you, global warming!). We sat at an outdoor café on Park Avenue behind a table full of priests.

I always feel kind of smugly content when I’m near a lot of priests, because I think, “Yeah, I was kind of Catholic once.” But, you know, not. I sort of want to talk to priests to see if I still have the magic. I was really good at pretending to be Catholic. It was my number one skill, well, right behind my excellent impression of a seagull.

Anyway, so we’re at lunch, and clearly, we were wearing the invisibility cloak, because our waitress forgot us many times over an hour. She forgot our drinks, and she forgot the sugar, and she forgot our silverware. We were just not the droids she was looking for. (Pow! Two nerdy references! I am en fuego!)

So, there we were, in the sun, eating and looking at priests and generally being ignored and talking Unfeasible Enterprises business. Plus, I was getting all kinds of exciting texts from Justine Larbalestier about the fabulous things that are happening on Scott’s Extras tour (Extras is also en fuego. I have not yet read Extras. I am saving it for a plane trip next week. Spoilers will be EXECUTED.)

Daphne turned to me with that beguiling, agenty smile of hers and said, “Rexroth sent you a present.”

A present? For me? From her finance, the dapper Rexroth Implausible, owner of Dizzy and Jake?

“You will like it,” she said. “In fact, you will become overstimulated.”

“Nonsense,” I said, waving my hand. “I am always the soul of composure. You must be mistaking me for someone else.”

She proceeded to pull from her bag THE SINGLE GREATEST THING I HAVE EVER GOTTEN.

It was a musical toothbrush that plays “We’re all in this together” from High School Musical. Here is the description, right from the package:

Rock your teeth clean – and encourage better brushing habits! – with this exciting toothbrush that lets you hear one of your favorite songs while you brush! Sound vibrations stream from the bristles through your teeth – so you can actually hear music inside your head!

Think about that! The sounds of High School Musical inside of your head, vibrating in your skull, using it as an echo chamber. If I use this thing twice a day, every day, I am pretty sure I can reorganize my DNA structure.

I have yet to open and experience the toothbrush, I am thinking that I will wait until tomorrow and maybe make a little movie about it. Would you watch such a film? Do you have any questions about the toothbrush?

Troy and Gabriella want to clean your teeth and haunt your dreams. Gotta get, get, get your head in the game!

Speaking of questions . . . I am still keeping up with ASK MJ month. So here we go.


I was just watching Meg Cabot on The Today Show recently and she mentioned that she uses gossip sites as a reward for writing (she also mentions TV shows, etc.) I was wondering if you have a "reward system" for sitting down and writing? If so, what types of things do you use for rewards when working on something?

It’s going to sound like I’m bragging, but we worked with Meg this week, and she was telling us about her appearance on the Today Show the day before. We were talking about this.

I do reward myself. The rewards vary in size and kind. To be honest, the final days of working on a book get so ridiculous, that the rewards kind of get to the, “If you finish this chapter, you can have a SHOWER” level. I only wish I was kidding. Some of the rewards I used the other week while finishing up chapters and sections of Suite Scarlett were:

- I was allowed to walk to the health food store for a carrot juice
- I was allowed to walk to the mailbox
- I could have toast
- I could do the dishes
- I could watch fifteen minutes of television
- I could Swifter the floor

Sadly, all of these are true. I also tend to get a lot of fun manicures when I’m on a big writing stint, because I get really sick of looking at my hands. So I get a really fun color. I also go to this crazy massage place that does this amazing, kind of agonizingly painful massage. It’s a brutal hour, but it completely fixes you up if your muscles are a mess from the sitting and typing.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever gotten myself a really BIG reward. If you have any suggestions for one that I could get when I finish Suite Scarlett completely and totally (the final edits start tomorrow), please leave them in the comments!

I ask again:

Thank you for asking. I have been meaning to explain his whereabouts for a while. As you may remember, Free Monkey was on a world tour to promote Girl At Sea, as well as peace and understanding. He got lost once, coming back from Bartlesville, Oklahoma. When he finally turned up a week later, I was falling over myself with relief. I took him to England and sent him to The Netherlands from there. And then, HE NEVER CAME BACK.

You can imagine my state. I was frantic with worry. Weeks went by. I had all but given up hope. And then one day, out of the blue, he turned up next to the front door of the London Office. We will be reunited in a few weeks time. Because of these traumas, I suspended the tour. Sending him out again is simply too risky. I hope you understand.


There has been a zombie invasion. Hordes of the undead roam the land in search of delicious brains. You have sought refuge on a small island, but the zombies could arrive at any moment, necessitating some major defensive action on your part. You can only have three of your characters by your side during this battle royale. Who would they be and why?

Now, this is the kind of question I fully approve of! Clearly, you are taking the prospect of the Coming Zombie Invasion seriously. I am ready with an answer. 1. Jane Jarvis, for reasons that are obvious to anyone who has read Devilish (experienced demon fighter). 2. Scarlett, from Suite Scarlett (for reasons that will become obvious when and if you read Suite Scarlett), and 3. Parker from The Bermudez Triangle (because he would be the first to run from zombies, and you know they go after whoever runs first).

So I want to know, do you have a zombie plan? 37 zombie plans? Will you share it with us? I'm still working on mine.

I have at least 37 zombie plans, but I cannot put them here. The zombies have been trolling the internet for some time, reading up on us and our preparations. Suffice it to say, I am ready. You are talking to a girl who spent most of her formative years lying in bed at night, devising escape strategies in her head for just such occasions.

You should be spending all of your free time working on yours. The day is coming.

As is my duty as the leader of the newly formed (think yesterday) Lobby For More Awesome YA Werewolf Novels, I ask you, would you ever be interested in writing a werewolf book?

It is not out of the question that such a thing might happen.


so do you have a time limit on all of your books? what if you can't finish one by a certain time and it comes out crap? (not that yours ever would..)

*just laughs nervously for about fifteen minutes while pointing to this post*


I was wondering when you write a book, do you - before you send it to your editor - rewrite it until you are satisfied with it? As a whole I mean, rather than rewriting each chapter everytime you write one (which I understand some writers do).

I do everything I can in the time I have. If I waited until I was satisfied, I wouldn’t have any books out at all. In fact, Suite Scarlett is the first time that Daphne hasn’t gotten a frantic, late-night phone call about a week before the deadline, in which I outline my plans to change my name, get a forged passport, and run away to Portugal to makes hats out of cork.

No one I know hasn’t had a screaming, insane run until the end of at least one book. Justine Larbalestier barricaded herself inside to finish Magic’s Child. Scott Westerfeld toughed out every last second until Extras was done with a chart of days and hours left hanging next to him at all times. I think Libba Bray was airlifted out of the ending of A Sweet, Far Thing.

Are you planning on writing other non Suite Scarlett books while working on the series or are you just going to focus on Scarlett for a while?

There are other things in the transom. Scarlett is the main focus right now. I’m well geared up to plunge into book two—and I will, just as soon as I finish the final, final, final edits of Suite Scarlett. But there will be other things! You can’t stop me! I have a musical toothbrush!

Have any of your books been optioned to be movies yet, or has there been any interest at all?

Every once in a while, someone writes to me and tells me that someone in Hollywood is kind of interested in my books, or that they are someone in Hollywood who is kind of interested. Only The Key to the Golden Firebird was optioned, and there was a script for it, but that was it. It could happen at any time. I will likely be the last to know.

The whole books-into-movies thing . . . it’s all a bit mysterious (unless you make movies, in which case, you probably understand the process quite well and are stumped by something else, like how cheese is made). As far as I can see, Hollywood is kind of like a cat. Sometimes it comes lurking around, cuddling up to you, purring at you—but it could just as easily ignore you or hide under the sofa. It may come, seeking your shiny thing, and it may leave you payment in return (a dead mouse, a check), and then it scoots off and carries out its private business, and you will never really know what it is doing.

Unlike cats, Hollywood does not eat yarn, scratch at posts, or chew its own feet. There may be other differences, but I am unaware of them.

I promise you this . . . if there is ever a movie in the works, I will personally come to all of your houses and tell you.

More questions? You know where to put them.

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Blogger laurellyon said...

Ah, there is more truth than you realise in your, at first glance, unwieldy comparison of hollywood and a cat - because cats perform contortions in order to lick their own backsides...

3:00 PM  
Blogger Miss Hannah said...

You asked about a REALLY BIG reward to get yourself at the end of Suite Scarlett. Well, here you go: http://search.ebay.com/pink-stun-gun_W0QQfkrZ1QQfromZR8
I took the liberty of searching ebay for pink stun guns for you. You'd be amazed at how many there are and how cheap you can get one (and how cute they can be - many of these look a bit like a pink Razr)! Perhaps you could also buy yourself a "Don't tase me, bro!" shirt to accessorize?

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maureen, I just finished 13 Little Blue Envelopes and it was amazing! However, the copy I got from my school library was damaged, and so I will never know what happened on pages 63 and 64. (this is distressing not only because I don't know what happened, but also because my school librarian is scary and I was the first person to check it out) Is there any chance you can tell me what I missed?

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not going to lie, at first I thought "Oh my god that toothbrush is the most amazing thing ever!" I was all ready to run out to my local...well I don't know really where I was going to go...who sells musical toothbrushes? Anyway, then I think all that Zombie talk got to me. Only you can hear the music from the toothbrush right? What if Disney is using it to send subliminal messages as well...like go buy HSM 2 on DVD or something slightly more diabolical?

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Meghan D said...

So, do you actually LIKE High School Musical? (please say no)

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Shloopy said...

Decribe your favorite pair of shoes. Where do you get your shoes? (This coming from a fellow flat-footed person.)

You know, that line in Devilish, about all the people that were in Hollywood without any talent? I think that applies to HSM. Yes, they all sold their souls.

Oh, and how DO you do an impression of a seagull? YouTube will be waiting.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous hillary! said...

I hope, if they ever really make one of your books into a movie, that you don't let the fame get to you. You don't want to feel like an extra.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous Katie said...

Hey Maureen!

So, I have a question, but I must begin with a long and probably boring story. Sorry.

I was playing softball, you see, when I slid into a base and jammed my foot back. It was quite painful and unpleasant to say the least, and when I went to the hospital I was informed that I had a fractured bone-thing in my foot. So they slapped on a cast, told me not to step on it for 2 - 3 weeks and sent me home. Now, obviously, I am BORED OUT OF MY MIND. I can't play softball (right when we made play-offs), and I get exactly walk around and go shopping on this glorious long weekend. (It's Thanksgiving in Canada).

So as someone whom, I'm guessing, spends a lot of time at her desk (no offence), I was wondering if you had any ideas about how to amuse myself? :(

Oh dear...how will I run from the zombies?

2:08 AM  
Blogger Rebekah Ruth said...

Oh, High School Musical, the movie we all so lovingly detest...

Congrats on getting a musical toothbrush. I think you two will be very happy together.

2:09 AM  
Anonymous Cei Cei said...

ARE YOU A MIND READER????? My friend Kahla and I have been talking about getting one for like a month!!!! lol. Hey Justine and Scott will be here in my town next friday!(hint,hint)

2:47 AM  
Anonymous Nuwon Wearspants said...

I have a question - you are friends with Libba Bray, Justine Larbaleister, Scott Westerfeld, John Green (nerdfighters!) and E. Lockhart.
How did you happen upon getting to know them? Are they some of your closer friends?

And, if you have time for this last add-on: Did anything awkward and embarrassing happen when you met them for the first time?

3:16 AM  
Anonymous nuwon wearspants said...

About rewarding yourself -

how about a trip to see John Green? If that counts as a reward?

On a less expensive note - how about Cheescake!

3:18 AM  
Anonymous tess said...

We're All In This Together, feh. Get a toothbrush that plays What I've Been Looking For, then I'll be impressed.

My question: A big huge asteroid that will destroy all life is coming towards Earth. Oh noez! Now, a wizard has brought all your book characters to life, and NASA says that because you are so awesome, they will build a home on the moon for you and four of your characters (the rest will live, but the ones you choose you get to live with). You get to choose two female and two male characters. Which ones do you choose? (Also, as a perk, your home on the moon is free from moon zombies.)

3:27 AM  
Anonymous jellybean said...

I demand video footage of the Musical Toothbrush Event! I don't think it would be exaggerating to say that my entire future happiness depends on it.

4:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay. I just wanted to make sure I'm not the only one who likes to type about anything and everything going on. Sometimes I think I don't make sense, but now I've got your blog to read and other people's comments to enjoy. Thanks. :)

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The world NEEDS a videp starring a musical toothbrush, (and you)!
I miss the use of pictures from old black-and-white movies in your posts. Can you start up using them again?

6:54 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

How bizarre. HSM + singing toothbrush?? I would love to see a video of that!

8:10 AM  
Blogger Isabella said...

Ahaa, a high school musical toothbrush! You should totally make a video of the breakthrough moment! That would be classic.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Nuwon Wearspants said...

By the way - I like High School Musical. It's cheesy, stereotypical and predictable, but I like it. = )

So, don't let anyone get ya' down for lovin' it. Because it's fun.

Nuwon Wearspants

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Kelly R said...

Oh my god, I want that toothbrush. I neeed it. It would probably scare me to death every time I used it, but...too bad. High School Musical is like a drug. You know it's horrible, but you can't help but watch it.

I would very much like to see that video!!


6:40 AM  
Anonymous jas said...

Yeah, my little sister was watching Disney and the commercial for that toothbrush came on. For a moment I just sat in stunned silence watching the horror of it. Then I ran screaming from the room.
I wish you luck, Maureen. God help you.
On a lighter note--I would be curious to see whether the claimes were actually true, so if you were really so inclined, you could put a video of it up. *nudge nudge, wink wink*

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Ally said...

Okay I was just on justine's site and they are talking about tying up t-shirts and foot-less tights and I was wondering what you think the biggest fashion-don't is.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're really mad at one of your characters. Let's fly into the world where they do exist. You were given the option to "punish them." How would you do so? Jars of mayonaisse, brushing repeatedly with magical musical toothbrushes, more mayo, rabies?

3:29 AM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

Now I don't feel as weird for wanting a toothbrush like that. Good luck.

Is the pink stun gun part of your plan for the zombie invasion? Will an overcharge of electricity circumvent their evil impulses?

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

re: Hollywood. I for one would love to make "Devilish" - just finished reading it last week - but that would mean I need to complete my grand and glorious debut (it's called "World Full of Nothing" - look it up on the IMDB!) which is currently in post. And I know a thing or two about making cheese... sometimes it happens all by itself if you leave milk in the fridge too long.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Krista said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I have to say, I think your next book should be a compilation of your blog posts, complete with the pictures and captions you use. I would totally buy that book, because, even though I could print these out on my computer and make a scrapbook, I'd rather pay you to be funny!

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmmm... now I know that my urge to buy a musical toothbrush isn't crazy or we just are both very crazy people
you like High School Musical? You know it could be possible they are sending subliminal messages through those toothbrushes right? The urge to buy a musical toothbrush is less strong now but I still want one.
Don't have an account but my name just happens to be Winnie (not Winifred, as many annoying people think, but just Winnie)

3:48 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

High School Musical is a great, great thing. At least the first one was! And dang, that toothbrush sounds pretty darn neat!

4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long did it take you to finish each of your books? (By the way I loved Bermudez and will be reading the rest of your ouevre--is that how you spell it?--shortly!)

8:04 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Lynn Barnes said...

“If you finish this chapter, you can have a SHOWER”

Is it sad if I've said this exact thing to myself while attempting to finish a book?

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

I would just like to add that today we discussed banned books in my contemporary american literature class, and I got to talk about you. I even got to pull up your blog on the big projector screen. everyone was very excited, especially my professor. I think I got extra credit for it.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous rose said...

Check out Justine's blog from today to see more Maureenish Awesomeness from the book tour.

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i finished "Devilish"!! yay!!! very good book! loved the ending, but what was up with the toes part?? that kinda creeped me out..
On to Burmudez Triangle!


10:48 PM  
Anonymous Reese said...

Oh my Carlisle!!!! I tried out for a part in the commercial for that toothbrush! They didn't call me back. I don't think acting is in the cards for my life.

When did you meet Scott Westerfeld?

Do you ever, as I do, have the sudden overwhelming urge for chocolate pudding?

What is your stance on vampires?

1:40 AM  
Blogger Isabella said...

Ooooooooh, i just finished reading 13 little blue envelopes last night, and it was amazing! luved it. especially how you left the thirteenth letter open and mysterious... I still kind of want to know what it said though. Richard's so sweet :)

11:25 PM  
Blogger Conrad said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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