Melissa Marr became a bestselling author on her first try with Wicked Lovely (HarperTeen, 2007), a debut novel that intertwines the realm of Faerie with a contemporary, urban landscape. This spring sees the release of a sequel, Fragile Eternity, a story that begins where Ink Exchange—Marr’s second novel set in the same world—leaves off. Fans will be happy to know that Wicked Lovely is 100% free right now on HarperTeen’s Web site, and that a fourth book, Skin Starved, is on the way.

Melissa Marr.

On the cover of Fragile Eternity it says “sequel to Wicked Lovely”—where does Ink Exchange fit in the series, then?

The reason Fragile Eternity uses the word sequel is to indicate that this book features the original characters from Wicked Lovely. But Ink Exchange is a sequel, too. All three books are set in the same world and are sequential in terms of events. Fragile Eternity couldn’t happen if Ink Exchange hadn’t. And in terms of readability, there are things that will not make as much sense in Fragile Eternity if you haven’t read Ink Exchange.

Fragile Eternity is really Seth’s book. Why did you choose to continue the story through his character?

I think a lot of times when people talk about Gender Studies they think of women only, but Gender Studies includes concern for equality among both parties. And by the events that happen in Ink Exchange, Seth is completely without power. He’s living in a world where his best friend is king of the Dark Court and his girlfriend is queen of the Summer Court, and both immortals more or less. Seth is fragile and this situation causes imbalance in his life. His interests have been subsumed by this world of Faerie, so I thought it important for him to explore his path. The Seth/Keenan/Aislinn love triangle continues, too. It’s not uncommon to have several people catch your interest at the same time, and loving one person doesn’t mean not noticing other people. The relationships between Seth, Keenan, and Aislinn represent this complicated situation.

Fragile Eterntiy is really the first book in the series that is not to be intended to be fully freestanding. It is very much a middle book. I believe the issues established at the onset of the book are resolved, but it also opens up more questions, too.

Does the series get more difficult to write with each new book?

No, it only gets easier to work with this world. When I write I often know where my characters will go in the future. For example, I already knew where Seth’s character was going when I was writing Ink Exchange, so by the time I got to Fragile Eternity I knew the whole plot. Also, once you’ve done the world-building—the history, the rules, when you know the characters’ pasts—it’s easy to step right back into everything, to pick up the threads and keep going. But there is also something satisfying and enticing about exploring a whole new world, too. And I want eventually to do both.

Fragile Eternity features another interesting Faerie Queen: the High Queen, Sorcha. What can you tell readers about her character?

Well, the questions about Seth’s future raised in Wicked Lovely I knew would resolve by Seth meeting Sorcha, who exists within Faerie. And by writing her character I was able to get closer to more traditional Faerie lore—she’s really an amalgamation, specifically from Irish and Scottish lore. In many ways, too, Sorcha is a Victorian-era woman, which was my focus in graduate school. Sorcha is very central to book four, too.

Speaking of book four, what’s next for the series?

Right now I’m in revisions for the fourth book, which I’ve been calling Skin Starved. It will either come out in summer or fall of 2010 and, like Ink Exchange, it will feature a different set of protagonists. Book five will come out in 2011 and will go back to the original protagonists. In Skin Starved, the primary protagonists are Devlin, who readers meet in Fragile Eternity, Ani from Ink Exhange, and a third character we haven’t met yet. Seth is in Skin Starved, too—we see him, but it’s not his story.

I do not have a title for the fifth book yet, and I’m not sure what I am doing for the sixth—If I’ll do a stand-alone or a fringe companion book to this world. But in the immediate future, I’m gearing up to go out on tour for Fragile Eternity, from mid-April until around June 6.

How do you feel about Harper posting Wicked Lovely online?

I’d requested an ebook so we talked about making Wicked Lovely 100% available back in September—it’s no different than checking a book out from the library. Besides, there are already pirated copies people have scanned and put online—so now if people are reading it, at least I know they are reading the right version. It will be up for about a month and it was posted on the anniversary of my selling the book and accepting the offer, so the timing couldn’t be cooler. I love celebrating the anniversary by giving the book away free online.

What else are you excited about?

Going on tour for Fragile Eternity—I love meeting fans of the series. And Unbound, an adult anthology I worked on with Kim Harrison, Vicki Pettersson, and Jeaniene Frost comes out this fall.