The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer

Guest: Mary Weber

April 22, 2020 Marissa Meyer Season 2020 Episode 8
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Mary Weber
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Mary Weber
Apr 22, 2020 Season 2020 Episode 8
Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer:   0:06
there it does. And welcome to The Happy Writer, a podcast that aims to help readers find more books to enjoy and help authors find more joy in their writing. I am your host, Marissa Mayer. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you guys air continuing to stay healthy and safe and finding lots of ways to stay connected with the people you care about, even during your ongoing time in isolation. Ah, one thing that is making me happy today eyes that I just learned about an hour before starting this recording that y'all west. The Yell West Festival has rebranded themselves this year as the You'll Stay Home Festival, which I think is so cute and clever. Um, it is happening this weekend if you're not familiar. Yell West is a young adult in middle grade a book festival that happens in Santa Monica, California, every year. But of course, due to circumstances, they cannot go forward as they usually would. And so now they're doing an all virtual event. Um, and I love your West and I love the people who run it, Uh, and now you don't have to travel to California to be a part of it, which I think is, you know, really cool and making the best of a terrible situation. So definitely check them out. I am not one of the presenting authors this year, but there's a really great roster, and I'm super excited to see what they do with it. Um, so you can go on y'all west dot com to read all about the virtual panels and all of the cool online events that they're putting together and, you know, continue to support those authors and support book festivals, and we'll just be as supportive as we can. Um, yeah, so that is happening this weekend, April 25th and 26th. Okay, what else am I happy about today? Of course. Talking to today's guest, she is the author of the Storm Siren trilogy. The science fiction do ology, the Evaporation of Sophie Snow and reclaiming Shiloh Snow and her newest book, The Y, a fantasy stand Alone to Best the Boys. She has also devoted a lot of her career to helping other authors, which seems like a really great fit to have someone on this podcast. Plus, she's just a really lovely person, and I can't wait to talk to her. So please welcome Mary Webber. Uh, thank you. Okay, so the first thing I just have to get off my chest right off the bat is so I've been listening already. Hijacking my party. I have been listening to your podcast for a couple weeks now, and I'm loving it. But I listen to it on like like fast speed. So it's double time. And so every time I turn it on, I love

Mary Weber:   3:03
your podcast voice. It sounds like at that speed and your last, it sounds like bubbles from power puff girls. And

Marissa Meyer:   3:09
it's kind of my new favorite thing ever. So? So there are no Okay, You remember that show the old cartridge girls. So many. My

Mary Weber:   3:23
daughters were so into that for years. So that's what, like, also ill turn on. I'm automatically thinking like,

Marissa Meyer:   3:29
Oh, the happy writer bubbles. Yeah. Yeah, and your brain computes things at that speed. Yeah, you know what? For some reason, nor is it doesn't There's a few of them

Mary Weber:   3:40
or for yours. It does that. There's a few from where it doesn't. And I'm like, Whoa, I got to slow this way down. So I think your voice is very relaxing

Marissa Meyer:   3:48
or something. I don't know what it is. It's terrible. That works for you. Um, I remember I was on a book tour. Wild back with Jessica Brody, who also has been on this podcast, and she listens to audiobooks at twice the speed or 1.5 the speed or something. I don't know, Um and so and I when she told me that I thought, Well, that's so smart, because then you could listen to so many more of them. Um and of course, we're all trying to always trying to figure out how do I read more books on Make more time for that. And I tried it and was just like, No, Jessica, you're nuts. I get care. But it's just like little chipmunk speaking. My husband, my husband does that to with any kind of podcasts.

Mary Weber:   4:34
He listens to books on tape.

Marissa Meyer:   4:35
He listens to classics on tape, and part of me is like, Well, some of those

Mary Weber:   4:39
are a little slow. Maybe that does make millions, but, um but I can't for whatever I get asked that a lot. Like Do you listen to audio books, and so far I don't. And it's because my mind wanders on And I will find other things to fill up my, you know, like my brain with and then I'll really lies that I like him a chapter into the book and don't even remember it. So I for whatever reason, I have to read.

Marissa Meyer:   5:02
Yeah, when it comes to books. Yeah. No, it really depends on the book. There have definitely been some that I've that have no worked up. Well, um, depending on the book itself or the narrator, you know, the narrator makes a big difference as toe how how engaged they keep you. Well, I or I

Mary Weber:   5:24
heard on your podcast. You guys just had listened to the audiobook of devil in the White City. Yeah, and I was like, OK, that is one of my all time favorite books, and I actually thought I should try that because that would be like, I bet that was pretty fantastic. Listening to it being narrated because that felt like such a movie to me. I think I would really

Marissa Meyer:   5:42
enjoy it. Yeah, you know, it was, But it was, um that's one of those interesting books where you know the for people who haven't are not familiar with the devil in the White City. It's a nonfiction book about the Chicago World's Fair. About half of the book is talking about the actual building of the world's fair, and then the other half is talking about this serial killer that was people during the Chicago World's Fair. Um, I is a good match. Yeah, I know. It's a fascinating stuff, you know, so dark and creepy, Um, which is really interesting. But as far as the audiobook was concerned, the chapters about the steer eel killer lord like we couldn't could not turn off from. I mean, it was so interesting and we were just hooked on it. But then it would go into talking about, like, the construction of the Ferris wheel and the planning of the trees in the parks. And all of that was like, Okay, I'm bored with this. Oh, I don't know that. What? I don't know If that was just audiobook, though. No, I feel like

Mary Weber:   6:43
that. That was the experience reading it, and I think it was because I feel nuts, like, really fascinating. But at the same time you're throwing that in with serial killer. And so

Marissa Meyer:   6:53
I'm like, How can How can the poor,

Mary Weber:   6:54
you know, architectural chapters compete with, you know, the structural

Marissa Meyer:   6:59
inches? Like I told my husband, I said, It's like reading your you know, my husband's

Mary Weber:   7:03
a structural engineer, and it literally felt like I was reading one of his textbooks. And then I'd be reading an awesome novel and then a textbook and then awesome novel. And

Marissa Meyer:   7:10
I'm like, You just can't compete. Sorry. Yeah. No, that's true. It's not that those things weren't interesting, but they were not serial killer. Interesting? Yes, exactly. Do things are Let's be honest. True through I know it's the, you know, watching a car crash, you can't look away. That's no matter how awful it is. Um OK, yeah. So you in your books, you also write things I dio. Yes, I am. I am my

Mary Weber:   7:38
my son's 2nd 2nd favorite author. He informed me last year I handed him renegades on he, you know, cause he just been devouring everything. Who's 14 and, um, he read it and he came in. I think he read it in like a day and 1/2 in each human as I was making dinner, and he was like, Well, mom, I am sorry to tell you that you are no longer my favorite author. Marissa Mayer is, you know,

Marissa Meyer:   8:02
for right, just like you. And suddenly I

Mary Weber:   8:05
was cool because I

Marissa Meyer:   8:06
knew, you know, So he said, well, but you're my second favorite author, so that's pretty good, you know, like Thanks. So, yes, I'm glad that I could help with the coolness, but out, you know, bumping you down cannot wait. He cannot

Mary Weber:   8:22
wait for this fall's book. He is just of yours, you know, He's just like like,

Marissa Meyer:   8:27
Okay when one's gonna fall coming out this money. Well, thank you. Tell him I said hi. Does he read your books? He

Mary Weber:   8:34
does, Yes. Yeah, they're a little, you know, like the first series. He was pretty young, and he was like, me eating horses. This is amazing. And then the SciFi series was just, you know, he wasn't super interested in, and then to best, the boys, he was like, OK, you know, like he He's funny. He loves them, but it's like he wants to know about about before he goes into it. Like, what are the things that are gonna weird me out? What? What am I gonna like? He's, like, super thoughtful about them so he can tell me. It's like I was actually surprised I was on his list of favorite authors because he never seems super impressed. But apparently, you know, that's just his handling things, so

Marissa Meyer:   9:11
Yeah. Okay. Yeah, Well, that's good. I you know, my girls obviously way too young to read, um, my books yet, but I'm so curious to see when the time comes, if they will want to and if they like them or, you know, is it those Those are just moms books, like we're not interested in those. Um, yeah. So I I like hearing from other authors who have teenagers and hearing How is that working out for you? Yeah, I think that

Mary Weber:   9:38
that has been mainly my experience, which is like, I got my mom rights and then, you know, like, they'll be in school or something. And like, it's happening a couple times now where some of their friends are like, Oh, my gosh, I'm reading the best author right now. It's earnings. Mary Webber and this is her book on my daughters will be like, Oh, that's my mom. And they won't believe

Marissa Meyer:   9:54
you know my mom. And suddenly my daughters would be like, Hey, no, you are. You know, thanks for that. Yeah. So, to best the boys is your most recent novel. Uh, and I loved it. I thought it was so good. So in a very fast paced, you know, fantasy read The main character is so cool, but you tell us about it. You you give us your pitch. What is depends about Well, it is about a

Mary Weber:   10:27
girl who sheet rings brand, and she desperately wants to be a scientist in I

Marissa Meyer:   10:32
said it kind

Mary Weber:   10:33
of like a Victorian esque, um, you know, late 18 hundreds world where Mr Home is the, you know, kind of don't want to say mad scientist in it, but he is. I based him on Tesla, the inventor, and the idea that, you know, at that time, period, people so much of, um, like electricity and inventions, they would feel like magic to people. And so I, um, based it kind of with that kind of setting and mind, and so ah, at the same time. Also during that setting was in time frame. You know, women certainly weren't allowed to vote, let alone really obtained college educations and things like that. And so, um, I just I wanted Teoh to put it in that time frame, but addressed current issues that I see even today. And when I wrote it, you know, my daughter one of my daughters was encountering It was very shocking in some ways, just the level of shamanism she was encountering and some for college classes from her professors. And then my sister was in the process of just getting her a biochemistry degree and stuff. And so just seeing what they were running into. And so, you know, Rend the main girl in this story, she she wants to be a scientists in a world where women are, you know, trained to be housewives and stay at home moms. And, um, she, uh, you know, and men get to go to college, they get the educations. And so she, uh, decides that she wants to go to college. Of course, they're all male universities. And so she decides to do on this disguise and enter this all male competition Teoh, see if she can win the scholarship to attend an all night male university. And so Mr Home is the one who is the secretive, you know, kind of like the Willy Wonka of the story who puts on this elaborates competition every year and offers a scholarship every year to those who, too, to the person that winds. And so it's, you know, he uses some magic and he uses some of his inventions. And it's this, you know, just kind of as you read intricate Labyrinth where they have survived these different contests. So it was a lot of fun. I that was probably my favorite book to write. I wrote it and I think 3.5 months I was on a super tight deadline with it. And like from idea to finish, it was 3.5 months. I didn't have it. In fact, I'd been on the phone with my editors because I pitched the multiple ideas for the next book and that I was under contract for and and they kept saying, No, no, you know, that's not quite right. So when we when we came up with this idea, you know, and I will. You know, when I pitched from this idea, they went, Yes. So it was like, Ok, now,

Marissa Meyer:   13:03
after I have 3.5 months, right quick. So it was It was a lot of fun, but that's also part new heights. Past paste.

Mary Weber:   13:09
I would have loved to develop the world more. And you are like the queen of world building. And I just love your books for that. And so that was I would say, probably my one regret was I wanted to spend more time developing the world, but, um,

Marissa Meyer:   13:23
it's about interesting that you say that I felt like the world was really well developed. Um, but I guess I mean, from the readers perspective in the writer's perspective is always gonna be different. As the writer, you always know, You know where you could have pushed things where you were always a little more critical of our work. Yeah, I feel like I feel like

Mary Weber:   13:41
we could be the best one. Stars of our own work

Marissa Meyer:   13:44
ever were. Huge critics were terrible for our own work. Um, OK, so I have to ask cause one of the first things that you and I bonded over was our mutual love of David Bowie. Um, had a have to know. How much did Labyrinth the movie play into this desire to create a book surrounding elaborate huge. I can remember. I cash, I don't. I was

Mary Weber:   14:16
probably nine years old when I saw Labyrinth for the first time. And, um, I hear we're just I'm going to date myself real quickly, But it was e. I just remember it was like nothing I'd see.

Marissa Meyer:   14:27
You know, it was like, What? What is this? And of course I

Mary Weber:   14:30
fell in love with David Bowie and I, you know, like I'm like,

Marissa Meyer:   14:33
oh, trying to grow and heroes and space up again

Mary Weber:   14:36
and, um, I just So with that in mind going into it, I, um I referenced but back to that movie a lot and just just, you know, like, even just the I want to say the feeling that I walked away from that movie with, you know, I was like, I wanted to have that just that that's stealing, that you walk away from a really fun, crazy good movie or adventure or experience and you want to relive that and you want to pass that on to others. And so Absolutely Yes. Yeah.

Marissa Meyer:   15:08
I feel like I think of that a lot with my when I'm writing a like it's not necessarily your trying to recapture, um, you know, a previously told story or like I'm not trying toe necessarily. Write another goblin King steals a child story, but just that feeling like this, this left an impression

Mary Weber:   15:28
in my imagination that I want to carry forward. Um, yeah, I see it as a compliment. You know, it's like I don't want to recreate something, but I want to recreate that that feeling, you know, And I want to in doing so, give a compliment to a gift that they gave me, You know, at that time of nine years old and watching that it was a gift to be a part of that world. And so, of course I want to, you know, you and I both you know, writers. That's what we do. We want to pass that on to other people. Yeah, hugely. No. I think that's something that I think about a lot like what are

Marissa Meyer:   15:58
what are the other big emotions that I'm trying to draw forth from the readers here. Um, so one can't. Can't help but notice in this time of Corona virus, Uh, that there's, you know, a deadly

Mary Weber:   16:16
disease sweeping throughout this world into best the boys. And

Marissa Meyer:   16:21
you obviously wrote it years ago, long before any of this came about or was on the horizon. Um, or is that something that you find readers air talking about now, Like this fictional stories and these plagues.

Mary Weber:   16:35
But now we're seeing that in the real world. And, like, how are you feeling about all of that? You know, I do. I I have been surprised how much I've been tagged in posts or comments about that. Like,

Marissa Meyer:   16:46
Oh, this is sadly kind of like Mary Story. Come like I'm sorry. Don't let me for this, but yeah, you know, and I think some of

Mary Weber:   16:54
it is because when I was writing it, um, you know, my my daughter was taking her classes. That she was running into stuff with were, sadly, some of the health classes and creativity classes, and then my sister with her biochem degree. And so some of it was, um, just based upon, you know, not just on the I would say, um, women, power, women empowerment or not kind of side of things, but they were It was also based upon just the practicality of the way that you know, chemistry and diseases and things like that. You know, the science side of how things work and how things do take over and just some of it was influenced to, You know, that a few years before I wrote it, you know, we had walked through the journey of my mom having cancer and, um, you know, that whole process. And so with that in mind, you know, it was very much like, I think, just very fresh in my mind that how much we wrestle with in the world, how much we've conquered. But at the same time, how much we still have not conquered and how much we still, you know, is are these active illnesses or issues going on diseases? And, um, that, you know that they get loose or maybe they've already been loose. And we we have to deal with, um, you know what we're doing right now? Today, with a Corona virus, it's like they're scrambling to find a cure. They're scrambling to find the vaccine, you know, and they're scrambling to figure out how to keep it contained. And so, um, you know, that's sadly, it's the reality of it.

Marissa Meyer:   18:24
Yeah, And I think you know, reading books a lot of ways. Of course. Books, Aaron, escape. Um, but I know personally, I can also find a lot of comfort in seeing fictionalized versions of the truth. Um, and and seeing how you know, these other characters air able to tackle these situations. Ah, with bravery and with grace. Um, and and one thing that I love about two best the boys is that you do have this female character who I mean, she is such an underdog, um, in every way. But she is so motivated. Ah, in a lot of ways by this disease because she

Mary Weber:   19:05
wants to find a cure. She wants to find the solution. Eso She

Marissa Meyer:   19:08
was a really empowering character. My hope and

Mary Weber:   19:12
writing her was really you know, this is this book I specifically wrote for my daughters and for my mom. Um, but I think I also wrote it for you know who I was as a young girl. And the book that I would have been, you know, would have sparked and ignited something in me. And so, um, but yeah, it was, I think the idea of, you know, especially in our, you know, cultural environment today, while in some ways women are more empowered than they've been through history, I'm just certain extent at the same time, there's still a ways to go and, you know, even especially in the educational field. And, um, I just eso I wanted Teoh give my daughter something, you know, for them to go. Yeah, that that's me. I can I can connect with that. And not that I wouldn't say that they're, you know, underprivileged or things like that. But just in the sense of, um, you know, just just in knowing who they are and being true to who they are in pursuing things, whether they seem possible or not. Yeah,

Marissa Meyer:   20:10
yeah, I know some of my personal favorite reader

Mary Weber:   20:13
interactions over the years have been, you know, young girls who you know, Red Cinder and were inspired to go into mechanics or red crests and were inspired to go into you know, I t Fields, um, you know, and I've had girls

Marissa Meyer:   20:30
come up and tell me that they want to go into, you know, space exploration and bioengineering. And just like so many fascinating things on do that. You know something about my books and my characters influence that decision or inspired them to pursue it, which is really fulfilling thing for an author. Do you get readers coming to you and having that same sort of conversation? Well, first of all, I can totally see them doing that with your books because I sail the same. I'm like, I'm you know, I'm 42 years old and I want to join the space program after reading press. You know, I want to marry Aware Wolf after beating True, I get that to life

Mary Weber:   21:11
goals, but, um, yes, I dio, you know, and it's kind of run the gamut, um, with I think with the storm tiring trilogy, the majority of letters I got, you know, besides, just you know,

Marissa Meyer:   21:25
I loved your book. Thank you

Mary Weber:   21:26
so much I got for me. I was very surprised at the number of letters I got that specifically had to do with anxiety and self harm and things like that. And you know, when I wrote it, I was working with as a youth counselor, and so I for years. And so I had written it for many of the girls that I worked with who had, you know, struggled with self harm. And Aalto wrote it from the perspective of some with an anxiety disorder. And it's interesting because some of the reviews that I would get on it, people were probably didn't. The people who didn't have anxiety disorders would say, You know, I hate the fact that in the book she always is repetitive or she counts in her head, you know, on. And that didn't make sense to them. And yet it was amazing how many emails I would get from people that would say, Oh my gosh, that counting thing. I do that every single day, multiple times a day, Thank you for, you know, thank you for talking about some with an anxiety disorder because, you know, and having to overcome, not just, you know, not just the external issues going on around her to become, you know, a more powerful person in this series. But she had Teoh the biggest, as I think, in any good story and it is accurate for, you know, real life who we are as people is having to overcome. Um, you know those obstacles within ourselves to be brave enough to, you know, look inside ourselves and to become the people that I think, you know, we were made to be that we would that we want to be and and so, yeah, with that with, um, the SciFi Siri's that one was kind of interesting because the evaporation of Sophie Snow I You know, there's a subtle aspect in those books that has to do with human trafficking, and, um so oh, and I don't feel like it's, you know, traumatizing, really for the reader, I've never even heard that kind of feedback, but But it's just an undercurrent in there. The idea of you know, your captured by aliens and you're being used rather things. Obviously, that is a form of human trafficking. But it surprised me when I started getting emails from readers from men and women who said, You know, I was human, trafficked as a child, and I read your you know, or as a teen and I read the Siri's and I cried the whole way through and, you know, like you that that, to me was probably the most

Marissa Meyer:   23:39
complete thing I've realized in my writing.

Mary Weber:   23:41
Because it was like, I didn't even know what to do with that. You know, you just go. Oh, my gosh. Can I hold your hand? Yeah. Just that level of bravery is like nothing you could ever write in the book. And so that was I think it was more impacting to me than any anything. Just because that wasn't what I was expecting. It wasn't, you know, even remotely on the lines that I was expecting. And so that that was incredible on those people for even reaching out to talk about it were so brave. And so, um And then what's the best? The boys? Yes, I've gotten a lot. I especially get notes from girls who want to be scientists or who are already you know, they're biochemist. I get a lot from biochemists, and they're you know, they feel excited about that. I also or from, you know, get notes from people. The girl Rennes dyslexic in the book because my mom is dyslexic and some of my feet other family members are And so I get notes from people about that to just saying, you know, I love seeing what she could be. You know what I could be in the midst of, you know, having dyslexia from, So Yeah, sorry. That was, like, you know, the two hour answer for your question.

Marissa Meyer:   24:45
No, I love it, though. I mean, I know for me personally when I'm writing e can't think about what? Where this book is gonna go when it goes out into the world and who is going to read it. And what are the larger influences that are gonna happen from this story in these characters on? So it's it's a constantly a huge surprise, Teoh, Hear from readers who have these very deep emotional connections to the story and these stories that I never would have I thought, like, wow, my book really impacted this person or yeah. I mean, it is just a surprise. You just you can't imagine, you know, the effect that it's gonna have out in the world and and it's

Mary Weber:   25:28
so honoring. I mean, the fact that somebody at kickoff your book and read it, let alone then want to interact with you about it. And then on top of that, you know, share something that you know so intimate to them, whether it's used, you know, you've made my dreams bigger or, you know, or this has helped to make my dreams bigger. Or, you know, I got a email this week, and it was from a girl who just, you know, said like I hated it was a teenage girl, and she just dedicated reading. And I picked up storm siren, you know, which has been out since, what, 2014. But she said, and I just fell in love with looks, you know, And, um, you know, when you just kind of go like, you know, that that's an honor.

Marissa Meyer:   26:05
Yeah, I know it is on. Did it? Kind of is a reminder to you know why we're doing this and why we love why we loves telling these stories. I'm in part of what makes our work important and so fulfilling. I think it makes it. I think it makes

Mary Weber:   26:20
it helpful to because, you know, sometimes some of the art books can be dark, you know? I mean, I feel like that they're like you were talking about even like the, um, the disease aspect of two. Best. The boys in the Corona virus here. I mean, here's the reality is is that life? I always say life is a dark fairy tale, you know? It's the ultimately it is a fairy tale, and I believe that we do have happy endings. But it could be, you know, the Valley trying to get get to that heart, and we learn a lot along the way. But I think that, um, you know, they are that reflection of the hardships in life. Often, obviously, that's what we're writing out of sometimes even. And I think it's a gift, then to be able to, um, also in the midst of that, be able to write it with hope, though. And I think that when we get those responses back from readers, it makes it you know that much more like, Yeah, because some of that, you know, some of those some of those nights writing our stories. There's aspects of them that are hard and are are dark. And so it's It's so rewarding to go. Oh, you know, that meant some something to somebody the head every dark story also has beautiful things in it. And this is a huge The characters grow and the hero triumph in all of that. So it's almost like the dark aspects, um, make the bright aspects even brighter. Yeah, I totally agree. And I also loved and resent the authors that do that to me.

Marissa Meyer:   27:43
Oh, traumatized my world for, like, three days book hangover. But also, it's fine. Um, so since to best the boys came out, it's been couple of years. When did it come out? It came out

Mary Weber:   28:02
last march. So a about a year in a month,

Marissa Meyer:   28:05
if you like. Forever though, man, especially this Corona virus thing I'm like, how long have we sheltered at home? Yeah. No, I know. It does feel like time is just stretching on. I think I must have had an arc because I am pretty sure you did it. So you actually

Mary Weber:   28:20
probably did get it about Yeah. You

Marissa Meyer:   28:22
probably don't feel like I read it a long time ago. Your island? And since then, you've been on a bit of a sabbatical. Yeah, I took the last year off. Not on purpose, actually. Kind of forced. Um, you know the end. Um,

Mary Weber:   28:38
let's see November of 2018 when my oldest daughter got very, very severely ill and she was sick for about eight months and I mean her. She's pretty much recovered from it now, but we took a lot. It took about eight months to figure out what was actually wrong health wise with her. And so I had, you know, been working, writing full time and then you doing his counseling full time as well. And so I basically just stopped. Both of those immediately, and a Zoe were on the sturdy of trying to figure out just, you know, her her health crisis and, um so other than obviously doing book long, you know the stuff you have to dio book watching things like that. But I just stopped writing and everything. And so, um, and that was through about, I think, June And then when we finally started getting some answers on some stuff with her and then but it was, you know, constant doctor's appointments and things like that, and, um, she Andi she's doing much great now. But then right after that, once we were getting answers for her, all of a sudden my health crashed. And so and I know you and I. You had invited me to go on a on

Marissa Meyer:   29:51
a writer's retreat that August, I think, and I was so devastated because it was like I kept thinking my health

Mary Weber:   29:57
will get better my health and get better. And instead, it crashed so bad that I had to cancel Comic Con, which I was going to like, you know, Mary Pearson and A. G. Howard. And and I had to cancel that trip. And then I had to cancel my trip to come with you and Jessica Brody and bunch of other ladies. And so I was so devastated about that. But yeah, my health just It was like, um, we couldn't figure out was wrong with my health. And we, you know, I was did the whole process again. But it was me going to doctors for myself, and it was it was a really was the worst year of our lives. Honestly, it was awful. And, um, eventually they figured out that we had some specialist out to our house and they ransom specialist test on me, and they figured out that one of the things going on. Besides my body, crashing from the stress of worrying about our daughter was also that there was like toxic

Marissa Meyer:   30:47
mold in her house. Oh my gosh, Looks like the weirdest thing ever.

Mary Weber:   30:51
And so the minute that I moved out of there, we started all of us. We started seeing improvements. And so it was just like Who would have thought? That's why it took so long? Because not eventually, you know, when I talk to my daughter's doctor and simple, this is what's going on with me, and this is what they've you know, tested for. This is what they said. He looked at me and he goes, Oh, my gosh, I kept telling you were missing a piece. That is what we're missing with your daughter on. So So anyway, so it's been the journey now of just obviously recovering from that and so just weird, you know, But it's just life and, um, and so that it was a four sabbatical. But the silver lining of that has been is I didn't realize how bad I needed just to stop working two jobs full time on just to breathe and to reconnect. I think you know, re ground with myself and just life again, you know? And it was like, almost like I was too busy to, you know, be able tow popped my head up and really, truly look around. And so it's, you know, actually, weirdly, it's been a very massive blessing, And coming out of that, I feel like it's, you know, created all these different or ignited all these different ideas in me and a freshness and excitement for, you know, new projects and things like that s Oh,

Marissa Meyer:   32:07
so yes. Oh, Sambolin. Sorry that you and your family had to go through that, Um, but I I can't help but listening to your story and how well it parallels what we're just talking about about, you know, these dark, dark times and then this brightness at the end of the tunnel. So I'm glad that you're able to kind of see and experience the silver lining and the that the moving on part. Now, do you talk to me? Eight months ago, I might have been, like, you know, murdering at it. Yeah, I know when you're in the midst of something. No, Absolutely. And it just kind of take that. Hindsight is 2020 aspects. You know, you need to get to the other

Mary Weber:   32:48
side before you can really have clarity and be able to see all of the factors. Yeah, I think I think at one point someone said to me, It's

Marissa Meyer:   32:56
your kind of going through, Like, what? One of your book characters go. Of course, I'm like, that is not helpful. I killed them off the characters. So yes. Yeah, I think that's things really nicely into another thing that I wanted to talk to you about. Uh, you're and in a platform, I guess, for lack of a better word that sounds so corporate and gross. But, uh, your social media, your persona, what you're putting out in the world, you have this very definitive message of self care and kindness and, like embracing who you are and embracing, you know, joy, Which is, of course, something that I'm really trying to illuminate with this podcast as much as I can. So I just want to talk to you about that kind of how how that became something that you really care about and how how you take such a beautiful Instagram photos all the time. Yeah, I just kind of your perspective on you know what? What is your role As's faras helping other writers? You know, I feel like if

Mary Weber:   34:06
someone had asked me about your instagram and your

Marissa Meyer:   34:09
platform, I would have said the same thing. I would have said, Oh, my gosh, she loves helping other writers And she just is all about, you know, nurturing the life that you have. And I I would have said the same thing about you and happiness. So So that way it was like, This is why you're my friend. That David Bowie. Really? David Bowie. David Bowie, I Let's see. Yeah, well, that was kind of you to say. I, um I think I just I feel so passionate even more

Mary Weber:   34:43
so obviously now, after this past year that we've been through. But I think, um, working with teens for so long had a major impact with me with that of just, um you know that I think whether we're teens or whether we're writers and obviously then working with writers and in my own life, um, just saying that our society is very much built on, um, you know how much can we cram in tow one day? And how much the successful are the people that are always busy, you know? And if you're going to succeed, you know, you you know this This is the ladder you climb. I guess I would say, And even with teens, it's like, you know, this is the instagram ladder you climb or, you know, this is success. Looks like, you know, X y Z. And, of course, my daughters are both out of high school now, And, um, you know, and but I totally saw them experienced that in high school of of what? Can't just what our culture expects on. So I think for me, I just I've got more and more to a place of where I just refuse. I refuse to do drama, You know, I don't I feel like life has enough drama as it is. And, um, I don't I don't want to be a part of and and I'm not trying to insult anybody who, you know, by working hard to be successful, that that's drama. I don't mean it that way. I just mean that, um I think that working hard is important, and it's valuable. But I also think just as important, invaluable is making sure that we take care of ourselves. And I think that if it's a competition to me that, you know, I don't see a queen competition, I That's where I feel like the drama comes in is I just feel like we're all in this together. None of us gets out of this life without dying, right? Like we all die. We're all on this journey together. And so, really, the success, in my opinion, is being able to be the relationships that we bring with us. You know, the relationships we develop along the way and the people that we become along the way. And, um, sorry, this is probably, like a roundabout, very long answer. But I just I feel really strong about that. And, um, because I think I've seen people that end up writing is a lonely profession. You and I both know that, and it can be a very lonely profession. And I think that, you know, I know I've seen people where they're very successful, but they have barely any friends, you know, and, um and they're they're lonely. And I think how do you? Who can you enjoy that success with? If if you don't didn't have the time for for yourself and for relationships. And so I just Yeah, I still really strongly therefore about kindness and about self care. And I think a big aspect of self care is investing in ourselves and then investing in other people. He Justus much is making sure that, you know, you are taking care of yourself as far as your boundaries and your relationships and your creativity.

Marissa Meyer:   37:28
Yeah, yeah, I know. I definitely agree with everything you just said on something that I really care about as well. I think that I think that

Mary Weber:   37:36
writers really do need extra support in the sense that usually most of them are working. You know, another job besides writing and the writing field is a different arena, you know, big in the sense of writing and marketing. A lot more is expect, did. Now you know. Then it was maybe 15 years ago or even when you and I first started for that matter. And, um, I feel like that. You know, that the whole environment, it can be confusing because it's always changing. I mean, you know, you and I are always going. Okay, what's the new marketing trends and things like that? And that's next. Be exhausting, um, for seasoned writers, let alone for new writers who are just coming into it. And so I feel like that. That's partly just my passion, too. And I see that with you is just going okay, How can we help come alongside and go? Hey, let's do this is a team. Yeah,

Marissa Meyer:   38:22
So if you could give one piece of advice to the writers

Mary Weber:   38:26
who are listening for a one way that they could have more self care, what would you suggest?

Marissa Meyer:   38:34
And I know it's different for every author, and that's kind of questions like, Well, so who are you and what do you need? But like, what's one way you don't let me change it? What's when you take care of yourself? I think sometimes we we live in

Mary Weber:   38:48
a different fantasy world, you know, like as writers were living in our heads so much and we're developing different worlds, and it's sometimes it's easy to live on the page or on the editing page, or, you know, um, on the creation page and I think that it is massively important if you're going to write a good story to make sure that you're living a good story, and that doesn't mean you know that you're like off to Santa Rini or something and jet setting around the world. It just means that you are able to come back down and ground yourself and be present in your daily life enough to go. Hey, you know, like at the end of the day, you know, my practice for years and years is on my writing days. At the end of the day, I shut off the computer at four o'clock or 4 30 I will go in and I will get, you know, like 1/3 of a glass of wine because I cannot handle alcohol for

Marissa Meyer:   39:36
my first. You know, say my life. So I'll get like,

Mary Weber:   39:38
1/3 of a glass of red wine and I will make dinner and I will turn on music and I you know, and it's just something about the sunlight coming in and just letting myself, you know, I'll take my shoes off and it's like just being back down to what is real in my own world, not just in my head, but what's real in my own world. And, you know, we'll play a game night with the kids a couple nights a week and just making sure that, you know, even now is they're getting older and moving out of the home. I think it's just grounding yourself in what are the aspects of your life that you enjoy right now. And if you can't find any than you need, then that's really a sign that you need to be finding those, you know. And, um so I would just say it's living life. Uh huh.

Marissa Meyer:   40:17
E I love hearing other writers True, real rituals like that, because I have I have similar rituals myself. But you know something, even just the way that you talk about it. Just I find very soothing. Um, and it makes you want to come to your house and have a glass of wine. You cook dinner? Well, a post corona virus writing retreat. There you go. I'm so there. No, I I I love I love the way that you you talk about that and encourage, um, embracing those moments of your life. Yeah, and The other thing I

Mary Weber:   40:53
like to do is I go for a bike ride or a walk every single day, no matter what. And I was the Happiness Institute, which is like a real thing, released some research a couple of years ago, and they said that one of the discoveries they had is that some of the happiest people on Earth are those who ride bikes regularly. And I thought, Isn't that interesting? But I remember, you know, 789 10 man, I would. We were riding our bikes down the streets all the time and that wind blowing in your hair. And so I picked that up a couple of months ago to de stress from, you know, my past year. And I tell you what, I will not go a day without writing. You know, it's like this. It's my daughter's like actually, it's like this Yellow beach cruiser in It's So Old school and so shoot. But tell

Marissa Meyer:   41:35
you what? I totally believe that that's a true you know. It's like just things that we would

Mary Weber:   41:40
do when we were kids, that we just you know, we get too old for forget about

Marissa Meyer:   41:44
Yeah, I I don't ride my bike nearly often enough. But I know exactly what you're talking about. That sense of freedom that comes with it is incomparable. Okay, um, we're gonna wrap up with the happy writer Lightning round. It was exciting. Hey, um, Mary, what book makes you happy? The Princess bride. Oh, good choice. It's so funny. He's like, Yes, when you read that, you know, he's talking to the reader, and then he'll all of a

Mary Weber:   42:16
sudden say something about his wife and then go right back into the book. I love it.

Marissa Meyer:   42:19
Yeah, it's a quirky book, Super fun. Ah, what do you do to celebrate an accomplishment? Um, I like every writer. Probably, uh, clean my house eyes. It's it's dirty at

Mary Weber:   42:34
the end of ah, you know, deadline or something. Um, and I usually will take my family out to dinner because, you know, it's writing might be very solitary, but it means that your family doesn't sometimes see you as much. And so we all go out to dinner together to celebrate so we can all celebrate as a group. And then I like to bake, and I will just bake for like, a week straight. And then sometimes also, I think last time I finished on a deadline, I think I sent your girls aprons that I'd stone because I just needed a break

Marissa Meyer:   43:00
from anything to do with writing. Uh, how do you feel the creative? Well, um, I think what I

Mary Weber:   43:09
gave you before, which is, you know, just simply the making sure that I'm tuning in with my daily life and tuning and with things that make me feel alive. And I think those are different for everybody. But, you know, like for me, it's that evening glass of wine. It's the warm sun on my skin. It's going for a bike ride. It's, you know, that little glass of wine while I make dinner and the music on. And then, you know, like a bonfire we have, ah, you know, bonfire outside. That will do on summer nights, you know, with our white lights in the trees and that. But probably the everything to is now that I think about it is creating in a different medium, you know, like finding a different forum, which is why I love instrument. You'd ask me what Instagram earlier, and, um, I first of all like by photos aren't beautiful. The filters that I use for my photos And

Marissa Meyer:   43:51
if you could get agree it's a combination I like. I Googled I Googled, you know, good filters. And I was like, Oh, here we go. This is right. There's there's no key

Mary Weber:   44:01
to it. It's just, you know, Google is our friend. But But I think being able to do photography or, you know, just anything that's creative that resells me. Yeah.

Marissa Meyer:   44:12
Ah, and lastly, where can people find you? People confined me mainly on

Mary Weber:   44:17
Instagram Mary Weber Author. So I mean, I have a website and I have different stuff like that, but I have my my main Israel is probably where I'm most active, as you know. So

Marissa Meyer:   44:27
Yep. Merryweather author. Okay, well, I really, really hope that people will go and follow you on instagram. Um because truly looking through your feet is like being wrapped up in a cozy blanket. It makes in so comforting looking for your interest. And I love this podcast. I get so complimented. That's what I'm here for, Mary. Uh huh. Okay, everyone, Uh, definitely. Go check out Mary's Instagram and her books. including her most recent to best. The boys. Um, thank you so much for joining me, Mary. And so glad you're here. Thank you for having me. This was this was very happy. It was Go, um, everyone, please subscribe to this podcast on and let me know that you are listening. You can also follow me on instagram. Although my pictures are out of no, not as pretty. I'll admit. But I do my best. And I am there at Marisa Meyer. Author, um or you can sign up for my newsletter at Marissa Mayer. Duck, Come until next time. I hope you guys are staying healthy. Please stay cozy out in your bunkers and do your best today to try and make someone else's day a little bit.