Teens’ Top Ten: An Interview with Veronica Roth
Teen Read Week was October 14th through 20th, but here at The Hub, we’re celebrating for ten days so we can bring you interviews, guest posts, videos, and more with each of the authors whose books made this year’s Teens’ Top Ten. Today we feature Veronica Roth, whose book Divergent is #1 on this year’s list.
Divergent is a book about bravery, self-determination, friendship, family, loyalty, and making choices. It is a book that positively captivated (not just) teen readers across the nation, myself included. When given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to ask Veronica Roth a few questions of my own. Here’s the interview:
If some of the Disney Princesses were to join factions from Tris’s world, in which factions do you think they might land?
I think most of the older ones would be Amity or Abnegation (Cinderella, hello), but obviously Belle, with her passion for books, is Erudite; Jasmine is Candor; and if Mulan counts as a “Disney princess” (I mean, she’s not a princess, but she’s my favorite Disney heroine, so I’m going to talk about her anyway), she would be Divergent the same way Tris is: Dauntless, Erudite, Abnegation. I haven’t seen anything after Mulan, sadly. Go out on a high note, I say.
Any urban survival skills that you (or Tris) might recommend for readers going into an uncertain future?
I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “urban survival skills,” because the way I survive in an urban environment is by memorizing the order of the red line L stops, always putting my keys in the same spot in my bag, and wearing lots of layers so I don’t freeze to death during the Chicago winters. Tris would say you have to learn how to run, fire a gun, and jump on a train, but she lives in a different world. If you’re talking “how to survive in a zombie apocalypse in an urban environment,” I would run straight to a Wal-Mart or a CostCo and set up shop on the roof. They have so many supplies.
Divergent has become so popular and has even been picked up for production as a movie. How has your life changed since the book came out?
Before the book sold, I was a senior in college completing a grad school application (not for further study of creative writing) with no job prospects. So I suppose you could say the book changed everything — it made me a self-sufficient human being who didn’t have to live with her parents, it began my career in writing, it gave me a new and different sense of purpose. Before the book came out, so many people had asked me if I was ever going to write for adults, which was sometimes a perfectly normal question and sometimes a condescending one, and I was starting to wonder if I should ignore my natural inclinations and try it. After the book came out and I had done several events and interacted with a lot of teenagers, I realized that I would probably never write for adults because what I truly loved was engaging with the teenage experience, whether it was through my characters or right there with the people who came to see me or on the Internet in my Tumblr ask box, or indirectly through librarians and teachers. So, movie or not, yes, my life is different now than it was before. I now have the distinct sense that I am standing in exactly the spot I should be standing in.
a. Favorite vacation destination?
It wasn’t exactly a vacation when I was there, but I have a special place in my heart for Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
b. Favorite childhood book?
Like most people, I don’t have one answer to this question. The Giver. A Wrinkle In Time. Harry Potter (though it didn’t actually come out when I was a child, per se). And of course, The Babysitters Club books.
c. Favorite writing snack food?
Goldfish crackers. Cheddar, preferably.
d. Favorite clothing item?
Right now I love my black sweater with the white skulls all over it.
We know you’re hard at work on the third book in the Divergent series, due out next year — any tidbits you can share with us?
Oh, tidbits about book 3. Um… Revelations. Deception. Impossible decisions. Arguing. (Smooching!)
– Jessica Miller, currently reading The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Cathrynne Valente