Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Veronica Roth event at a local bookstore called The Book Stall. I had somehow missed the initial announcements about the event, so I didn’t realize it was happening until the day of—that meant I wasn’t pre-registered and wasn’t eligible to win the opportunity to meet her, but I was still glad that I went to the event to see the interview. (100 people won that chance out of the roughly 250 people who attended.) It was fun to see her in person and I still got an autographed copy of the book.
Here are some fun details:
- Veronica was interviewed by Sarah Enni of the podcast First Draft. They seemed to know each other well, which made the interview feel more like a fun chat between friends than a super-scripted interview!
- The event was started with a fun game of MadLibs where they had audience members give nouns, verbs, etc, and they were filled into gaps in the book synopsis. (I’ll bet you had no idea that Akos and Cyra are vulnerable to Tasmanian devils in this book. Well, in the MadLibs version, they are!)
- Some of Veronica’s goals for Carve the Mark:
- She wanted to layer in more detail than she had in the Divergent Series because she felt like Tris’s POV was a bit sparse.
- She also wanted to have a villain who was more involved in the overall story so that she could be more developed.
- She says she’s horrible at leisure activities—she’d rather just work!
- She only writes by hand in super dire circumstances, such as the time she was in the doctor’s waiting room and her phone battery died (she blames Snapchat for her perpetually-dying battery).
- Veronica has playlists for each character whose POV she writes in and she plays them while writing.
- Inspirations for Carve the Mark:
- Veronica loves space because it’s a more outrageous equivalent to the Wild West—where you can do anything!
- She loved Dune and Ender’s Game
- The idea of a dictator was inspired by the fact that Veronica lived in Romania for five months and was fascinated by the idea of how a dictator had ruled the country for so long. She was also inspired by the book Nothing to Envy, about another dictator. She pointed out that many times a dictator controls his people by limiting access to information, so she played with that idea. The dictator in Carve the Mark limits what people hear because he does not allow them to learn any other languages. She shows that the people are not necessarily as savage as they seem, but they are being controlled by a savage dictator.
- Veronica’s patronus (if she could choose anything) would be an albatross because she feels a bit too big (she’s very tall) and awkward. She pointed out that some albatross can’t even land because they’re so big—they kind of awkwardly crash instead. Her patronus according to Pottermore is a sparrow hawk.
- When asked about the Divergent movies, Veronica was very gracious (she said that having movies made from her books and then complaining about them would be the most annoying thing in the world). BUT she did say that the director of the first movie was much more willing to collaborate and wanted lots of input from her. When the director changed after the first movie, she had a lot less input—and didn’t love the subsequent movies as much.
Have you seen Veronica Roth in person? Been to any other author events you loved? I want to know!