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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Five Fab Questions for Veronica Roth, Author of DIVERGENT!

Today I'd like to welcome Veronica Roth who stopped by today to answer a few questions about her dystopian novel, Divergent. Let's get started!

 Divergent (Divergent, #1)DIVERGENT BY VERONICA ROTH
May 3rd 2011

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.


1. What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in developing the five factions of dystopian Chicago?

I had a clear sense of two of the factions (Abnegation and Dauntless). I knew what kind of houses they lived in, what kind of environment they lived in, what they wore, what they did in their free time, how they talked—everything. But developing the other three factions was—and continues to be—a real challenge. I don’t know why the other virtues are harder for me to extrapolate from than bravery and selflessness, but they are! All the same, it’s fun to learn more about the other three factions as I continue to write.

2. Does music play a role to get the creative juices flowing?

Definitely. I wrote the rough draft of book one to the CD Memento Mori by Flyleaf. I must have listened to each song a hundred times, if not more. For me it’s mostly about the mood of the music—it has to match the mood of the book, and if it does, it doesn’t really matter what kind of music it is or how dead-on the lyrics are. I just put it on in the background to get myself in the right mindset to write.

3. What are some of your all-time favorite books? Do you think they influenced the writing of Divergent?

Some of my favorite books influenced Divergent, and some didn’t. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, for example, probably didn’t. But 1984 by George Orwell, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Giver by Lois Lowry? Definitely. They helped me figure out what I liked and what I didn’t like in sci-fi, and made me realize how far I could push the story—Ender’s Game, for example, never shies away from the dark side of human nature, and I tried to emulate that.

4. Can you tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know?

I drive a black Honda Civic, and sometimes can’t find it in parking lots because it looks like 50% of the cars that exist.

5. What is the best advice you’ve been given as an author?

Turn off the internal editor! I think that tidbit came originally from Anne Lamott, but it was reiterated by my favorite writing professor in college, and by half a dozen people since then. You can’t try to make every little thing perfect before you move on or you will never finish the story—and it’s only when you finish that you can really revise well, anyway, so what’s the point of obsessing about all the mistakes until then? I have a lot of trouble following this advice, but it’s nonetheless essential to my writing process.

Check out the Teen Book Scene for more of Veronica's tour stops on the Divergent Tour

Veronica RothVeronica Roth is only 22, so her bio will be short. She’s from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT, her YA dystopian thriller (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011!), while she was supposed to be doing homework. This was a decidedly good choice that will unfortunately make it difficult for her to someday lecture her future children on how important it is to get your homework done.

Visit http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/ to learn more!


Kat said...

Awesome interview! I love FLyleaf and will be listening to Divergent-esque lyrics and sounds the next I listen to Memento Mori.

Veronica's bio made me smile, because I write and read blogs when I'm supposed to be studying for the SAT. (Like I'm doing right now...) Divergent sounds like a book worth skeeving off schoolwork to read. :)

~Enamored Soul~ said...

Wow, I am in complete and utter AWE of Veronica Roth! I mean, writing a book that I have not heard a single person dislike, at that tender an age is beyond a doubt a great feat. Thank you SO much for sharing this interview with us, Kim, and thank you Veronica for answering these questions! I'm SO looking forward to reading this book! :D

Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

That was way cool! I can't believe how young the author is. That's super cool!