Author Interviews

Jessica Khoury

Author Of Origin and Vitro

Is there a sequel to Origin?

Origin is a standalone novel, so there will be no direct sequels to it. However, there is a companion novel which comes out in January, called Vitro, and which involves another project run by the company behind the Immortis Project in Origin.

What is your favorite quote/excerpt from Origin?

“Because you are young and free and one with the jungle. You are mortal, but instead of clinging to the hope of immortality, you embrace each day, one at a time, and never worry about tomorrow." - Pia thinks this when she is with Ami, and it is one of the moments when she is thinking about immortality versus mortality. It shows her growing fascination with idea of a life that will one day end, which she herself cannot experience.

In Origin, Pia likes M&Ms. What is your favorite flavor of M&M?
Well, it's actually Skittles she tries for the first time--of which red is definitely my favorite flavor!

What was your dream occupation as a child before you wanted to be a writer?
Being a writer was my childhood dream job, but a close second would have been an orca trainer at Sea World!

How has reading influenced your life? What are some of your favorite books?
Reading has been my favorite activity since I learned how to read! It is my love of reading which made me want to write my own books. Some of my favorites are Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, and the Harry Potter books.

How did you get the idea for Origin?
Origin came in a bolt-of-lightning moment, which began with an image in my mind of a girl trapped by glass walls and surrounded by jungle. I was immediately captivated by her and I ran home as fast as I could to start writing her story.

Do you have any other books in progress?
Right now I am working on the final edits for Vitro, the Origin companion novel.

How long did it take you to write Origin?
The first draft took one month to write, which is really fast for me! But I was just so in love with the story that I couldn't stop writing!

How did you feel after Origin was released?
It was so surreal! I had to keep reminding myself it was real, since it was a thing I had dreamed of since I was four years old.

Do you have any advice for future writers or those who have been rejected?

Keep writing!! And don't be afraid to make mistakes--sometimes you have to get it wrong before you can get it right. You can always, always improve, as long as you work at it, don't give up, and stay inspired!

Lauren Oliver
Author of Delirium and Panic

Why did you choose to leave the end of Requiem so open ended?

I actually addressed this in detail in a video post on my blog. Mostly, I wanted the readers to have the space to imagine for themselves what happens after the book ends.

Where did you get your idea for Delirium?

I was watching a TV news piece about the swine flu, and I started to wonder how people would react if the government told them that Love was a deadly and contagious disease.

How were you able to go about getting it published?

I have a great relationship with my agent, and my publishers. They're very supportive of my projects.

Most of your fans have read Delirium, but not Before I Fall. What (briefly) is it about?

It's about a girl who lives the last day of her life seven times, and changes in the process.

In Requiem, you left an open ending. In your opinion, do you think Lena ended up with Alex or Jullian?

I can't say anything that happens outside of the text of the books, because I don't know!

Why does the cure not work on some people, like Lena’s Mother?

The brain, and neurology is a very complicated branch of science that we still have so much to learn about. I think that the cure still hasn't been "perfected" yet, so there are exceptions like Lena's mother.

Do you think Hana might become immune to the cure?

Again, I can't say anything that happens outside of the books!

In your short novel, Raven, you revealed that Raven was pregnant. Was it harder to kill her in Requiem than it is other characters because of this?

It was really hard to kill her because she was one of my favorite characters to write! I found myself very surprised by how attached I got to her. :)

Do you think Alex really liked Coral?

All I know is what's in the book!

Do you have any other books in the works?

Yes! I have a standalone YA novel called PANIC that will come out in Spring of 2014, and in that year I will also publish my first book for adults called "Rooms". I'm very excited for both!

J.R. Johansson
12260608Author of Insomnia

What is Insomnia about? What makes it different from other books?

I think at its core, Insomnia is about the fight between good and evil that occurs within every person. It's a universal theme that applies to everyone. I think there are several things that make it different. It's a high tension, plot driven character with a male main character and there isn't a love triangle...just to name a few. ;-)

What gave you the idea for this book?

I have weird dreams and I started thinking about what other people would think if they saw my dreams or vice versa. It kind of spiraled out from there. With the book before this one, I realized that I had a real strength in the area of writing darker books and Insomnia was the first book where I decided to focus on that area and go all in. It was a unique experience that truly changed the entire path of my career. I couldn't be happier about it.
What are some of your favorite things about your main character, Parker?

I like how Parker faces some terrible and terrifying situations, but he keeps trying. He's resilient but he isn't perfect. I think these things make him a very interesting character.

If you were stuck in the Hunger Games arena, what would be your strategy to stay alive?

I think I'd be like Rue. Learn to hide and hunt and survive and wait for everyone else to kill themselves off. Of course, she did die...and I probably would, too.
If you could have the superpower of any superhero for an entire month, what would you choose?

I'd be able to stop time like Hiro from Heroes. I have SO much to do and not enough time to do it. I think this would help me finally catch up with everything. Plus, maybe I could knock out a few of those books on my massive tbr list. ;-)

Rosanne Rivers
Author of After The Fear
What were some of the alternative names for your characters, Dylan and Sola?

What a great question! I decided on their names very early, and didn’t change them once, but some of the contenders in the decision were Lawler for Sola, and Darry for Dylan.
Can you tell those who have not read your book a little bit of what it is about?  

After the Fear is set in future England, which is swimming in Debt. In order to pay this debt off, the government charge for tickets to attend the most popular public spectacle – criminal executions, called ‘Demonstrations’.
After a misguided kiss, resourceful and caring Sola Herrington is chosen to train to become an executioner in these battles to the death. She must learn how to kill with precision, deal with the Demonstrators, win over the crowd, and fight in twenty six Demonstrations before she can return home.

How did you get the idea for After the Fear? Also, your book is frequently compared to the Hunger Games, although I think it is different. What is your opinion?  
I got the idea for the society from what was happening around me. For example, from seeing where Facebook was heading (tagging you into locations, recognising your face in pictures, tagging other people in your statuses etc), I knew I wanted to explore a society in which social networking was mandatory, and everyone, everywhere knew where you were ALL the time. This social networking site became ‘Debtbook’ in After the Fear. The ‘trigger cameras’ are a version of CCTV cameras here in the UK which activate upon hearing certain words. Even the Demonstrations could be seen as an extreme form of the way certain criminals are sensationalised in the media.
Also, I really wanted to write about The UK living under a tyranny. I had read dystopian books set in America, but I found myself wondering how differently England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland might react to being put in such a position. The UK is effectively islands, isolated by the sea. There’s no need for ‘borders’ as such because we have them in-built by the coast. Would The UK become united once more? How might this affect the dynamic between the UK and other countries? Would the citizens be easier to control with less outside influences? These are all questions I thought about when writing After the Fear.
I find comparisons to The Hunger Games a huge compliment because I LOVE the series. However, in my opinion, the two books are fundamentally about completely different things. They are both dystopian and involve fighting, yes, but After the Fear is about a society who haven’t quite realised they are in a tyranny. Amongst other things, The Hunger Games is about standing up for what is right, rallying a society bit by bit to rebel against the evil Snow. In After the Fear, they aren’t standing up for what is right or starting a rebellion because they believe in the government. Public executions have been around since the dawn of time and as long as the atrocities aren’t happening to the masses, the masses will get on with everyday life. Who hasn’t watched the news and heard about all the evils that go on in the world, then turned the TV off and got on with their day?  
After the Fear is about an individual making the most of her situation, and the guilt that comes with not saving the world along the way.
What were some alternative ideas for After the Fear?  Are there any scenes that you had to take out?
So many! I was always planning on having a completely different ending, but as I got further into the book it just didn’t seem right, so I went with what seemed natural. I won’t give too much away with it, but it involved a marriage proposal... I also took out a scene where Sola and Dylan get a bit *ahem* ‘too involved’ with each other.

What is your favorite quote in the book?
I like this one:
        My eyes narrow at the pastry, sending it a message of we have unfinished business, before I catch myself. This place is doing weird things to my head.  

But a more serious one is:
She blows me a lacquered-fingered kiss, just like the one in the refectory a week ago, and strides into the pod shaft. All I see is the ragged rope that runs from her to me, understanding but not understanding at all.

Which character do you see yourself the most, and if possible, why?
Probably Alixis. We have a similar sense of humour, but she’s cooler than me!

What would happen if you were chosen as a Demonstrator? How would you stay alive and what would you do if someone you cared about entered the arena?  

If I was chosen, I think I’d try to escape a few times. I don’t think that would work though, so once I’d accepted that I was going to have to fight I’d try to train as much as possible and block it all out from my mind. I don’t think I could kill someone I loved, so I like to think I’d be novel and let them finish me!!  

Are you writing a sequel?
The book was always meant as a stand-alone, and I’m not currently writing a sequel. However I haven’t ruled it out for the future. 
Fun Questions
Divergent: If you were suddenly placed into the Divergent Chicago world, what faction do you think you would choose and why?  
Who wouldn’t be in Dauntless?! I like tattoos so I would go there.
Twilight: How would you react if your boyfriend or husband told you that he was a vampire? A werewolf?
I’d be so excited about what else was going on in the world that I didn’t know about! I’d probably also be a bit peeved off that he’d hid it from me for so long too, and I definately wouldn’t want to become one myself!
Hunger Games: If you lived in Panem, and could choose your district, what district do you think you would want to be in and which character would be your friend?
I’d want to be in the Capitol and be besties with Effie.  
The Selection: If you were Selected, would you be fighting for the prince, the crown, or something else?
Haven’t read The Selection, but I’d fight for myself more than a Prince or a crown I think.

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