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Marissa Meyer’s latest retelling is about the infamous Queen of Hearts before she was infamous.


Welcome to the Heartless Blog Tour!

I’m a big fan of retellings, stories that breathe new life into old, familiar (and well-loved) tales. Marissa Meyer is truly one of the best at crafting these stories—if you haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles, you should!—and her upcoming novel promises to be another fantastic entry in the retelling genre.


Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


For our leg of the tour, we’re sharing a fun Q&A with Meyer that will hopefully whet your whistle for Heartless' release.

We found Jest to be so intriguing. What can you tell us about his past?

Well, you learn lots about his past in the book, so I don’t want to give too much away! But I can tell you that he’s not originally from the Kingdom of Hearts, and where he comes from he plays a very different role in society than something as “low-status” as a court joker. Nevertheless, he takes his role as the royal fool very seriously! He has one good friend—Hatta—but their relationship is a bit more complicated than it seems on the surface. And … he has been given a very, very important mission. One that could change the fate of Hearts and everyone who resides there…

The scene where Cath and Jest first meet is so mysterious and romantic! Were you inspired by any particular book or movie when writing those scenes?

Mysterious and romantic is definitely what I was going for! It can be hard sometimes to pinpoint exactly where an image or idea may have come from—was this purely from my imagination, or reminiscent of something else I’ve seen? Half the time you don’t even realize you’re doing it, I think! But obviously there are references to Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass throughout the book, and Cath and Jest’s meeting scene is no different. (I know one particular line, in which Jest wants to give Cath a ham sandwich, is in direct result to a comment made in Looking Glass. It makes absolutely no sense—then, or now! Which is a lot of what I loved writing about this book.) Then there is Jest’s friend, Raven, who is my quirky take on the brooding, haunting bird from “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. And now that I’m thinking about it, I suspect that our very first sight of Jest—hanging from a large hoop over the ballroom—was probably inspired by the opening scene of the Wicked Broadway musical, when Glinda arrives via bubble.

See? You just never know!

We were so happy to see the Hatta in Heartless! Though he's not quite mad yet. What do you think motivates him throughout? Is it inevitable that he'll go mad?

I absolutely loved writing Hatta!! He is one of my favorite Wonderland characters and I really embraced the opportunity to show him pre-Alice, not as someone who’s plainly mad (and, to be honest, a little obnoxious) but as a charming, smart, determined businessman. I like to think of him as my “prince among fools”—sometimes literally, ha! Though I can’t speak much to his motivations, because … spoilers! I can say that I did not think it was inevitable that he’d go mad. I mean, in the world of classic literature and their prequels yes, but in the world of Wonderland, I think he could have avoided it. Here again, I think fate was lighting an alternative path for him … and he made his choice.

Do you collect hats? What was your favorite of the Hatter's magical creations?

I own two vintage hats, which is hardly a collection, but I do adore them—a green velvet beret that I break out once a year on St. Patrick’s Day, and a lacy white cap that I wore at my bridal shower (which, incidentally, had a Mad Hatter Tea Party theme!). I do love hats, though, or at least I love the idea of them. Gloves, too. They are so tasteful, so ladylike, so chic. I think it’s a little sad that our fashion trends have moved so far away from them. (That said, I am also really grateful that I can leave my house in jeans and tennis shoes and not be ostracized from society.)

As for Hatta’s creations, I absolutely adore the hat that we see Miss Margaret wearing at the king’s garden tea party—the rosebud that slowly, magically unfurls. In my imagination it has a very Disney-esque quality to it when it opens, all sparkles and enchantment.


Marissa Meyer is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Connect with Marissa via her website, Twitter, and Facebook, and be sure to check out the rest of the #HeartlessCountdown on Twitter and Instagram.

Heartless will be available Nov. 8.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.