In case you missed Jenny's book report, there are a few things you should know about Marie Lu's Legend:
1. The heroine, June, is a total badass.
2 . The hero, Day, is exceptionally swoonworthy.
3. The book is INTENSITY IN TEN CITIES.
4. The book... could be yours! (Keep reading to find out more.)
Since we loved Legend so much, we're honored that Marie Lu decided to drop by FYA HQ on her blog tour-- probably because she heard that our mini-fridge is filled with champ cans and cheese. Today, she gives you the scoop on how June evolved from a boy (!) to the fierce soldier gal whom I love but also occasionally want to punch in the face because SERIOUSLY WAKE UP WOMAN, DAY IS AMAZING.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Marie Lu was the art director at a video game company. She also owns the children's brand Fuzz Academy. She was first inspired to write Legend while watching Les Miserables one afternoon, and wondered how the relationship between a famous criminal vs. a prodigious detective might translate into a more modern story. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2006 and lives in Los Angeles, California.
June Iparis, the fifteen-year old girl prodigy protagonist of Legend (or, I suppose, an early antagonist to Legend's boy protagonist Day), was an interesting challenge for me. Unlike Day, who has been in my head since I was in high school, June came very quickly to life after I first thought of Legend's plot a couple of years ago. She's relatively new.
And she started out as a boy.
My original Legend idea was this: a teenage boy criminal gets hunted down by a teenage boy detective in the ruins of a futuristic United States.
I was discussing this idea with my boyfriend, Primo, in the car that very same day. When I finished, Primo gave me a thoughtful frown and said, "You know, this would be so much more interesting if the teen detective was a girl." And bingo---the light bulb went off. June was born. (To thank my boyfriend for his brilliant insight, I named the dictator of the United States after him. What? Primo just sounds like a name with power behind it!)
Some statistics on June:
Birth Name: June Iparis
Height: 5 feet, 4 inches
Weight: 105 lbs
Blood Type: AB
Hair: Dark brown, long
Eyes: Brown, gold
Dominant Ethnicity: Native (or, in our modern-day non-Legend world, Native American)
Secondary Ethnicity: mix of a whole bunch of other races (June is a melting pot of ethnicities)
(Here's a little side note, by the way, for anyone wondering why I'm including blood type as a stat for both Day and June. I specifically made June Type AB because ABs can accept blood donations from anyone, yet can only give blood to other ABs. I thought this actually fit June quite well---she is born into a life of great privilege, and given everything she could ever need without giving much in return to others. Day, of course, is Type O and the opposite---he gives a great deal to others without ever getting much back. Okay, tangent done.)
June was without question the most challenging character for me to write in Legend. Not only is she supposed to be a girl with an intelligence level far beyond her years (I quickly realized that it is NOT easy to write from the point of view of someone who is much smarter than me), but she also had very few personality traits in common with me. In fact, she might be the only character in Legend with whom I have absolutely nothing in common, aside from the fact that we both own dogs. I gave June a lot of traits that I lack but that I also wish I had---her borderline obsessive analysis of the world around her, her habit of using her extreme logic as her shield in the face of dire or emotional situations, her ability to roll with the punches and think on her feet, her athleticism. It's probably no surprise to anyone that June was inspired by both Ender (Ender's Game) and Sherlock Holmes.
Even though June also ended up with a few traits that I didn't plan but should have seen coming based on the strengths I gave her (i.e. her snobbery about class and money, her occasional rudeness and snark, her tendency at times to be cold and distant), she is more or less someone that I wish I could be more like. Plus, she has an older brother---which I always wish I had! At least, it would've been fun meeting all his hot older friends and letting him beat the crap out of people who made fun of me in school.
And that's June in a nutshell, the girl protagonist of Legend!
Wanna win a copy of Legend? Follow Marie's lead! Leave a comment with a blurb about a classic book, but with a twist-- change a boy character to a girl. And if you're dying to check out the book immediately, you can read a chapter sampler here or watch the book trailer!